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OP, I assume your "idiot" lights work so in the event the car overheats the light will come on. With that said that temp range can be variable and quite high so its not clear what temp the car was and for how long before it came on....and in your case it didn't (again assuming it even works)

Given you say the shop says (2nd hand 411) the cap was lose than without any pressure the boiling point is 212 ish which is not a problem in terms of heat as under pressure boiling point is quite a bit more

IMHO gauges allow one to see wtf temp, oil pressure, etc IS vs a light when it comes on is holly shiat you don't know how hot or how low oil pressure got. Amp meter will say if it's charging correctly but a failed battery or alternator or voltage regulator will cause no harm other than one of those components going bad. Overheating or low oil pressure can cause considerable engine damage

So,,,,consider putting in gauges. The 3 gauge under dash cluster has been a mainstay in hot rods for decades or if you are a purest than stock cluster or console gauges are available.

I have both, maintained my idiot lights but installed a 3 gauge Autometer under dash but instead on ALT, I put a tach in. Of course, an idiot light r gauge is worthless if one chooses not to look/monitor them, but the gauge will show what it is when viewed

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I pushed a limit of driving while overheating in my el camino. I though it was just hot and limped it to the store shutting off at stop lights couple of miles. Turned out it was fully out of coolant by the time I made it to the store. That was a hard to fill back up as any water added would instantly boiled out. Amazingly that did not kill it and it is still running fine to this day.
 

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'68 396 SS/RS, '97 SS, '02 SS
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I had something similar happen. Pretty positive someone at the car show loosened my cap as well. Like others have said, I doubt there is any permanent damage.
Definitely not a fellow car enthusiast, they look out for one another! Do not touch without the owners permission...
 

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'68 396 SS/RS, '97 SS, '02 SS
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161 Posts
I pushed a limit of driving while overheating in my el camino. I though it was just hot and limped it to the store shutting off at stop lights couple of miles. Turned out it was fully out of coolant by the time I made it to the store. That was a hard to fill back up as any water added would instantly boiled out. Amazingly that did not kill it and it is still running fine to this day.
Years ago a coworker's wife drove his C10 to work with a fairly freshly built 350. She called him and said the engine died. He began asking questions and she said the needle on the temperature thing is far right. Is that okay? Turns out it melted the bearings into the journals and warped the heads and block beyond repair. He was livid to say the least.
 

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69 Camaro SS convertible
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Took my '68 to a car show yesterday. It was a 100 mile trip one way. Got to the show with no problems and the car ran fine. On the return trip we were about halfway home when the engine overheated. Pulled off the road as quickly as possible, shut off the engine and popped the hood. There was steam blasting out on one side of the radiator cap. Called a local towing company(thank God for cell phones!) and he got us home with the car. Off loaded it at the local automotive repair shop and had a closer look at it since it had time to cool down. Everything looked normal until one of the guys went to remove the radiator cap and discovered it was not installed properly. I have a ritual I follow religiously before even starting the car. Check oil level, check coolant level, check transmission fluid, check battery, check tire pressure and etc. As for the radiator cap, I've removed and re-installed it hundreds of times and always make sure it is on there properly. Never had any overheating issues before and the radiator was repaired last summer due to a tiny pinhole leak and passed all pressure tests at a local radiator shop that has been in business for over 50 years. How did the cap come loose?? The only explanation among everyone in the shop was that someone at the car show must have tampered with it as a sick joke. Anyway, if I ever show the car again, I'll be checking the radiator cap and other things before heading back home!!
Now to my question...Is my engine shot?
I haven't heard back from the service manager yet, but he assured me that they would check everything this week and get back to me.
If this has ever happened to you, I would be interested to hear how you turned out.
Sorry for the long read and thanks in advance for any input!!
(also, I'm not looking for sympathy, just answers)
If you shut it off quickly you'll be fine. Once it's home, first check your oil and make sure it's not watery. If not, let it run at idle until it comes to running temp. Look good for leaks, especially around the head gaskets. If no leaks, run it a bit hard with semi-high rpms but stay close to home. Once it gets really warm, after high rpm's, check again. No leaks, you're good to go, but keep an eye on that temp gauge the first few times out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
I pulled the engine and transmission and delivered the engine to the local machine shop. They will do the disassembly and provide an estimate of the repair costs. I haven't pulled an engine in over forty years! But, as I progressed, my memory kicked in and it all went smoothly. Now I can address cleaning up the engine bay and the underside of the car.
I'll keep everyone posted.
 
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