Coolant Pressure Cap Melted - Anyone Heard of this or know how much to fix?
I have a 2002 Mazda Protege 5. About 2 weeks ago, while driving down the highway, I noticed my temperature gauge at full temp and smoke coming from the engine. Not long before that I'd noticed the heater wasn't working. I brought it to a mechanic right away who told me that one of the belts was chewed up because something had seized, although he couldn't tell what, and that the temp had gotten so hot that the threads for the coolant pressure cap on the female end had melted. He said he'd never seen anything like that in 30 years of working on cars. He put on a new belt and got the pressure cap back on but said to start looking for a new car unless I wanted to put a lot of money into this one.
Yesterday I noticed the temp gauge climbing again and pulled over. There was steam and coolant coming out from under the pressure cap, so I guess it couldn't hold any longer. I really need this car to last me longer and am wondering if anyone knows how much something like that goes for? How much has to be replaced to fix the cap so it can maintain pressure? How big a job is this? Has anyone heard of this before?