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My 2002 Volkswagen GTI has been overheating. It almost hit 290 every time. But it only does that when im driving. Theres also steam coming from the bottom of the reserve. I notice my auxiliary pump is leaking pretty bad. I also noticed, when i used to turn the car off one of the fans would kick on. It stopped doing that. Could the auxiliary cause this? Im going to try to change the thermostat this weekend and see if thats the problem. Anybody know what might be causing this?
 

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I would not drive it if it's overheating like that. You risk blowing the head gasket or worse. Has the water pump, timing belt and tensioner been done? How many miles on it. Quite often these problems are the water pump or thermostat.

If you have steam coming out the bottom of the coolant ball maybe there is a small crack in it.

If you'r fans aren't running it won't help the overheating situation either. Should be able to check the fans with the engine at normal temp - engine off, ignition on and a/c turned on - both fans should be running at that point.
 

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Sounds like the waterpump, when it starts to overheat turn the heat on, if it comes out cold or just normal air temperature its the pump, mine cracked in half, while it was idleing it would spin, but as soon as the rpms rose the shaft inside the blades would spin and it couldnt flow to keep the engine cold.
 
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