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Des Moines, IA
Certain years did have a recall for fires after engine shutdown, and IIRC 97 was an included year. Check with your local GM dealer, they should be able to tell you, and can tell you what sticker they put on the vehicle to indicate the recall service had been performed. HTH
My first thought is a wheel out of balance, but if it is fine on asphalt, I am not sure... Is it possible you had a clump of mud clinging to the inside of the wheel, and it became dislodged?
10-1 it is the internal shaft seal in the water pump. Behind the pulley, there will be a hole drilled up from the bottom, (weep hole) and most likely this is where the coolant is coming from.
IIRC, that car uses a multi-stage cooling fan setup with one fan coming on at a certain temp, and the other will be sequenced at a higher temp. You may want to check and see if both fans are running when the temp goes up to 5/8, or just one fan. areas to check, continuity of the fans themselves, fan relays, coolant temp senders.
Bad brake lines, or kinked lines can cause this. You should clean the mating surfaces where the caliper will slide against the caliper mount. Do not use grease or any lubricant there. If you get it on the brakes, you will not be able to stop very well, and the oil will attract dirt and potentially make the problem worse.
did they tell you it was the TCC or torque converter clutch solenoid? I am not real familiar with Geo, but there were many GM vehicles that had a problem with the TCC solenoid. Usually it is inside the vertical transmission pan on the side of the trans, not the bottom pan.
sounds like heat soak in the starter or a weak/bad solenoid. Try putting a new solenoid on the starter, (about $10-15) and a heat shield of some sort between the starter and the exhaust manifold.
It sounds like a head gasket to me. If you have white smoke coming from the exhaust, it is usually coolant. Have you noticed a kind of sickly sweet smell? If so, that's coolant you smell. Oversimplified smoke color test: white = coolant or water blue = oil black = fuel mixture too rich As for not wanting to start, when you shut down the engine, the pressures in the cylinders will leak down to atmospheric. However, the cooling system will still be under pressure, blowing coolant into the cylinder. The heat in there will cause some steam, which can condense on the plug thereby shorting it out so there is no spark. This coupled with the partial loss of compression in the affected cylinders will prevent the engine from starting. Some parts houses have a tester that will "sniff" your radiator to check for blown head gaskets. It uses some color change fluid that detects gasoline or exhaust products in the steam.
Most likely up under the dashboard, towards the passenger side of the vehicle.
Just bought a 97 Bravada, was going to buy plugs, and the guy said that GM OEMmed and recommends Pt plugs to go in this W motor? I don't have a problem with that if true, but it just kind of struck me as odd, and want to make sure I am not being taken for an up-sell. Granted, all of the 4.3's I have had in the past were the older CPI setup and recommended 91 oct fuel. So I was also taken back by the manual stating 87 was ok in this engine.
As autotechpat said, it is probably a heat shield, but the monolithic catalytic converter may have become damaged, and is rattling inside the housing. I do not know if you can get a large stainless steel clamp and go around the body to help snug it up. If so, this will be temporary at best, and will need to be replaced eventually. HTH