Tiburon problems



Here is the deal:

2001 Hyundai Tiburon 2.0

69,000 miles

This is my friends car. She has a thing for sporty looking cars with many problems. When she bought it 2 years ago, I advised against is because non of the panels lined up, it looks to be like it had been in a wreck and not repaired all too well.

The current problems are:

~Overheats. Id does so at city and highway speeds, in <1/2 an hours worth of driving. It is not leaking coolant, at least not noticeably, and the coolant is clean.

~A/C hasn’t worked since she bought it. The dealer told here that there was a leak and that the only repair is to replace the whole unit for a >$1000 charge.

~I can hear sloshing behind the dash. I am thinking it is the heater core (heat does not work well either). When I asked her about the sound she said it has been there since she bought it.

~The Speedometer is out, been that was for 3 months.

~Check engine light is on. Here are the codes: PO501 and PO335. I figure one of those has to have tripped for the vehicle speed sensor, but I just asked for the codes and not the 15 year old Autozone employees take on it.

Just looking for opinions before I change the thermostat and take it down to my mechanics shop for them to fix the rest. I don’t particularly want to work on this car; too many problems with it is so short a time and I don’t want to be blamed for future problems. After the hosing she took with this car so far, she doesn’t want to go back to the dealer. I don’t blame her and told her I would look into it.


Overheats. … I can hear sloshing behind the dash. … (heat does not work well either).

With luck both of those are connected and it is nothing more than the fact that no one properly removed all the air from the cooling system. Any local mechanic should be able to do that one. You are likely right that it is the heater core. It may be that there is a air lock somewhere else as well. Thermostat could also be a part of the problem, but get the air out of the system, and if it is not hard to get to you likely should replace the thermostat while you are at it. It should be cheap.

A/C hasn’t worked

Find a real A/C shop. It may be an expensive fix. I may be far less than $1000, but the A/C shop will be able to tell.

codes: PO501 and PO335

Smart move getting the codes. I don’t have a reference, but someone should be along to help you out there.

The Speedometer is out I don’t know if it is a cable or electronic speedo. If it is a cable, it could just need a new cable. Those engine codes may help you out there.


Sounds like your friend has a few problems, so let’s take them one by one.

Overheating sounds like it’s all yours for the moment and changing the stat would be a good first step.

A/C - A $1000 would indicate compressor failure, you’d need to check. Rebuilt compressors are available from the A/C Parts House for $165, you’ll need a new drier and of course the system will need recharging : http://www.acpartshouse.com/listitems.aspx

The 2 OBD codes : P0501 is reporting a VSS (Vehicle Speed Sensor) problem, probably the reason for the inop speedo. P0335 is reporting a crankshaft position sensor problem.

Now for the sloshing problem. Could be a blocked firewall drain and you have water trapped. This could also be the heater matrix percolating an air trap, if you have no heat in the car, this is possible. You’ll need to purge the cooling system.


Thanks Joseph and Scudder. I was planning on leaving the A/C alone and have her use the 2-55 A/C for the time being. She needs the car to run for her for a couple of years before she can buy another, hopefully more reliable, sporty car. She just graduated and is looking at a couple of decient jobs right now.

I was also thinking that the timing belt and the water pump should be looked at, if not replaced, because of the time more-so than the miles.

Thanks again. If you two or anyone else have any more advice I am open ears (or eyes I guess).


So, I did an old mechanics trick. I waited for it to cool off all of the way and topped off the coolant. I ran it for a little, in the driveway, with the radiator cap off and it was bubbling like crazy. My current diagnosis it that the head gasket failed and is letting a lot of air into the cooling system. What do you all think?


I think I’m agreeing with you. A compression test or leak-down test will tell for sure. Also, there are some test strips that check for indications of burnt fuel in the cooling system that also indicates a BHG (blown head gasket).


I refilled the coolant, that was lost from bubbling out during my test and what was lost from before it got to me, it took over 1/2 a gallon. And took it down to my buddies shop. It took a couple of stops to keep it from overheating. The heater core wasn’t gurgling when I left but it was when I got there and I could see where coolant was pushed out of the reservoir during the drive. I figure that she didn’t notice any coolant leak because air was replacing the coolant but keeping it relatively at the correct level in the reservoir. I checked the oil, it did not look like it was contaminated with coolant.

We are going to rip into it tomorrow. So far he agrees with what I am thinking as well. I am much more confident working on the car with him at his shop than in my driveway by myself. I’ll let you guys know if my diagnosis was on or not. Anything else I should look for?