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I'm looking for some answers and I hope someone can help me before I get totally ripped off being a woman taking a car to a random garage. No offense against men but it does happen often.

Any way, I have a 93 cavalier, 139 grand miles on it.. just recently it started overheating, can't find any leaks yet I am loosing fluid. I bought some kinda stuff u put in the radiator run the car for three days then flush, it had this clay like stuff in it all mushy looking. so I did that, drove it around then had it flushed till water was clear, two days later it started overheating again and fluid just disappearing?.
since yesterday I have had a hell of a time starting it. this am it started fine but I had to put fluid in it again kinda bubbled as I was putting it in and almost immediately I could see it heating up from steam coming out. I was running the car while filling this evening I went out to check it and of course hardly any fluid in it tried to start it and it just cranked and cranked and I could hear water bubbling around...maybe a air bubble from flushing? I had the heater core bypassed 3 years ago when I had a overheating problem . never bothered again till just recently. I live in florida so I really don't need heat in it. no white smoke coming out of back although the catalac converter sounds packed.. or I just need a whole new muffler system. not sure but I am thinking catalac converter is bad. any ideas? maybe new water pump? thermo stuck? it's a old car but it was running like a rocket ship, not a lot miles on it for a 93, I know nothing last forever but I really don't think it is the heads from all that I have read. I do smell gas from time to time idle isn't right , and of course smell exhaust because that system most definitely needs replacing, never had done. Just hate to take it to a garage and have someone rip me off tell me it is something major and it really isn't.... thank u...

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Location: Oregon
First of all I would like to say that you could have a headgasket problem. If your car overheats even if it's just one time (where the needle pegs the end of the gauge) you could have damaged the headgasket. I am sorry but you will have to find a repair shop in your area that you can trust in. Hopefully they won't let you down but you don't need to have your car repaired there. you can always try another shop and get a second opinion.

you need to have your cooling system pressure tested for a leak. It might be something simple. maybe not after multiple overheats. Is your engine a 4 cylinder or a V6? It is also possible that you have a restricted exhaust causing the no start problem. What do you mean when you say the catalytic converter sounds packed?

If you have your cooling system pressure tested they can see if there are any visual signs of leakage. If they leave the tester on for a while they may be able to verify if there is a leak into the engine cylinders. But, with the engine not starting, that will have to be determined first. It may or may not be connected.

I hope you understand that I am an auto repair person. I have been in the profession for forty years. I know there are some shady repair shops but for the most part shops rely on their reputation to survive in today's market. There are just as many shady people in any other business. Ask your friends and family for a shop they trust in your area.

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