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post #1 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-02-2013, 08:51 AM Thread Starter
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At my wits end - sudden overheating

All of a sudden yesterday, the car decided to overheat, and run hot.

Ran fine on the way to work, then decided to overheat on the way home (7 mile drive) - It hasn't gotten to the check gauges light or PCM code, but, defiantly running warmer than it has been for the past 9 months.

Head gaskets (and heads which are 96+ style) have about 30k miles on them now, work done by Ford dealer in 2001. No smoke at tailpipe, no milky oil (or oil loss)

Water pump about 3 months old, hoses about three months old. Radiator cap is about 3 weeks old (lever type started leaking on me)

Belt about 9 months old.

Cooling fan about 3 years old.

I was able to use the "cheap" code reader to do a code read, and during the read the high and low speed of the cooling fan comes on.

I have been getting a rich/lean codes (176 and 177) on the drivers side for a while now. O2 sensors are new (same codes before) and Fuel injectors are also new. Engine vacuum sits at 20 at idle. MPG has been varying - but - I also have a roof rack on the car, so, city wise I'm getting pretty close to expected.

Only thing I did was top off the overflow with some water the night before.

I am hoping someone might have a suggestion on this - I'm officially stumped (again...)

Last edited by fkostyun; 10-02-2013 at 09:01 AM.
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post #2 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-02-2013, 08:58 AM
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You may have a stuck thermostat . Have seen this before on other rides .

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post #3 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-02-2013, 09:06 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThunderChecken View Post
You may have a stuck thermostat . Have seen this before on other rides .
That was also replaced when the water pump was replaced. I had that thought also.

Upper radiator hose appears to be hot, lower appears cool.

Could the radiator be clogged?
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post #4 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-02-2013, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by fkostyun View Post
That was also replaced when the water pump was replaced. I had that thought also.

Upper radiator hose appears to be hot, lower appears cool.

Could the radiator be clogged?
That sounds like the cause , No expert here but many years of seeing vehicle issues .

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post #5 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-02-2013, 09:53 AM
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Try to get an actual numeric reading for the coolant temps if you can, 200-210 is normal. Make sure there's no air in the system. Coolant flows into the radiator from the engine through the top hose and into the engine through the bottom, so the top should be hotter than the bottom. Again knowing the actual temperatures will shed a lot of light on the situation.

As for your lean/rich codes, it might be time to clean or replace the MAF sensor.

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post #6 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-02-2013, 10:30 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by theterminator93 View Post
Try to get an actual numeric reading for the coolant temps if you can, 200-210 is normal. Make sure there's no air in the system. Coolant flows into the radiator from the engine through the top hose and into the engine through the bottom, so the top should be hotter than the bottom. Again knowing the actual temperatures will shed a lot of light on the situation.

As for your lean/rich codes, it might be time to clean or replace the MAF sensor.

MAF has been cleaned and cleaned again (doh...) I'm pretty sure its near its end of life. Maybe I'll try running home on tables and see if that helps.

I have been thinking of putting a real gauge in - just remove the sensor for the time being. I put a triple gauge pod in recently, and only have 1 full (vacuum) and was planning the temp gauge.

Might do a flush and temp gauge before digging in to far - just get tough on me since I have a condo and no place to work (other than going to my parents which is 15 miles away) I can get away with quick things, but, nothing severe or major.
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post #7 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-02-2013, 12:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fkostyun View Post
All of a sudden yesterday, the car decided to overheat, and run hot.

Ran fine on the way to work, then decided to overheat on the way home (7 mile drive) - It hasn't gotten to the check gauges light or PCM code, but, defiantly running warmer than it has been for the past 9 months.

Head gaskets (and heads which are 96+ style) have about 30k miles on them now, work done by Ford dealer in 2001. No smoke at tailpipe, no milky oil (or oil loss)
head gaskets are finicky things. they can last a long time, or go out the next day, and they dont always show signs of being an issue right away.

Quote:
Water pump about 3 months old, hoses about three months old. Radiator cap is about 3 weeks old (lever type started leaking on me)
these items are generally bullet proof except the radiator cap. i have bought new ones that had the same problem as my old one in that they would not hold pressure. the other items are generally affect by time and wear.

Quote:
Belt about 9 months old.
same as the water pump and hoses, but it can still be a bit loose, and that can cause an issue if the rest of the system is not up to par.

Quote:
Cooling fan about 3 years old.
if electric it should not be a problem, but you can trigger the relay to make sure the fan and relay are operating properly. if so then likely there is no issue here unless the trigger signal isnt getting to the relay in a timely manner, and is shut off early, or is an intermittent signal.

Quote:
I was able to use the "cheap" code reader to do a code read, and during the read the high and low speed of the cooling fan comes on.

Only thing I did was top off the overflow with some water the night before.

I am hoping someone might have a suggestion on this - I'm officially stumped (again...)
ok so you know you are getting the signal to the fan relay, and the fan most likely. perhaps you have air in the system, or, and i hate to say it, another bad head gasket. or most likely you have a radiator that has finally plugged up enough to cause a cooling issue.

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post #8 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-02-2013, 01:04 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbohm View Post
... likely you have a radiator that has finally plugged up enough to cause a cooling issue.
I'm thinking an IR temperature gun is in order to start checking things to search this out.

I can do things such as a thermostat at the local DIY carwash at night as long as its not a long job, so that may be my first order of business. Its cheap enough and simple enough to just change it out. The more I think about it the more it seems like a "flow" issue, and especially since it happened all of a sudden the way it did. The heater itself when on does seem to help cool down the car.

I did do a "procedure" refill check last night to make sure also, and it still got warm this morning. The other thing I've noticed it it seems to be getting warm FAST

If I do need the radiator - are there any "alternate" recommended radiators that may offer more cooling or capacity for a larger motor at some point in time>

Last edited by fkostyun; 10-02-2013 at 01:14 PM.
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post #9 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-02-2013, 06:39 PM Thread Starter
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I swear my car is nothing but a finicky ......... perfectly fine on the way home, with the AC on, 7 miles 20 minutes with a idling stop at the post office.

Only thing I did at work today was pop open the radiator cap, check the coolant levels (looked good) and push on the cap spring a down a couple of times.
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post #10 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-03-2013, 02:02 PM
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I would change your thermostat, it sounds like it may be sticking. It's not that expensive or time consuming.

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post #11 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-03-2013, 02:14 PM Thread Starter
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Think I've got it - corrosion on ecu connector and also ran it hard this AM and found a small leak on the side tanks.

New radiator tonight and already wore brushed the connector - so it's staying cool again, but need to fix that drip ASAP!
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post #12 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-03-2013, 05:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fkostyun View Post
Think I've got it - corrosion on ecu connector and also ran it hard this AM and found a small leak on the side tanks.

New radiator tonight and already wore brushed the connector - so it's staying cool again, but need to fix that drip ASAP!
its always that nasty little stuff that you dont think about. did you put some dielectric grease on the connector after cleaning so it doesnt corrode again?

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post #13 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-04-2013, 02:40 AM Thread Starter
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New radiator is in - grabbed a bottle of flush at lunch and dropped it in, then drove around for two hours to get that nice and clean before the new radiator went in.

So far so good - running nice and stable - which is good as I'm heading 100 miles south to tucson tommorow!
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post #14 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-05-2013, 01:09 AM Thread Starter
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Still having some odd ball issues - what's the average operating temp for these engines? Thermostat is next, but, I want to get a new water outlet first.
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post #15 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-05-2013, 01:47 PM
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210-220 is about normal. i wouldnt want to go muh over 215 myself.

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post #16 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-10-2013, 01:20 PM Thread Starter
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Still acting up on occasion, but, each little thing seems to be helping. Looks like it could have been multiple little issues that came together in a big issue.

- Radiator leak fixed
- New cap and rotor
- New spark plug wires (this fixed an whine in the stereo... go figure)

I have not yet replaced the thermostat, the water outlet itself had been showing signs of wear, so that replacement arrives today.

I've done two drives on the new wires, and since they've been done I haven't gotten hot, but, it was fairly cool this morning so that isn't a great test or idea.

I haven't gone above M since the radiator replacement, and R since the spark plug replacement but, its still not "right"

A test last night after three miles of "hard" driving (outside temp 76 degrees) put the thermostat outlet temp at 205, and the top of the water outlet pipe at 195 degrees, so I feel as if things are headed in the right direction.

Of course, now I've got a sudden rattle/noise on the drivers side (sounds like an exhaust rattle.. but, haven't pinpointed it yet)

When I do the thermostat, I am also going to use the block test fluid to make sure that I'm not seeing signs of exhaust gas. I do not appear to be loosing coolant though (and no milky oil, or white/blue smoke)
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post #17 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-10-2013, 01:49 PM
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it does sound like you are going in the right direction.

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post #18 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-14-2013, 11:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fkostyun View Post
Still acting up on occasion, but, each little thing seems to be helping.
On my 94 Cougar, it took a new radiator, water pump, t-stat, hoses and replacing the intake and head gaskets to get my 3.8 to stop over heating. It still gets pretty warm after being on the freeway for some time then getting off of the freeway. But after a few mintues the temp drops to normal again.

Good luck in your ventures to fix your issues. These engines are a PITA, but do run nice when running properly.

As for the coolant leaks, you may not SEE them, but will know them by the way the car runs. Mine would start cold and run like **** for a while then be fine from then on. Turns out I had an intake gasket leak into one of the cylinders. The only tell tale sign was poor cold starts and engine would not cool down correctly and I was always leaking coolant.

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post #19 of 31 (permalink) Old 10-14-2013, 03:24 PM Thread Starter
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At this point, after a thermostat and the housing change the temperatures have been stable, as even with hard runs, I haven't been able to get it much over 200 for the temperature now.

Thankfully - I do not appear to be loosing coolant, thankfully - the car starts and runs nicely.

When I did the thermostat and housing, I also use the block test fluid - and after a 10 minute run and check, no signs of exhaust gas in the fluid.

Now - onto the next issue with is the cats, and it looks like one has blown up on me, so I'll address that (at least a temporary fix) this weekend when I can get a lift rental.
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post #20 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-23-2013, 09:19 PM Thread Starter
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Still fighting the good fight with this beast. I ended up having to bypass the heater core as it started to leak (I am kicking myself for not replacing it when I had the dash out) and have fixed and additional two

Couple of questions: what temperature is the fan supposed to kick onto low and high speed at (Right now, it doesn't seem to kick onto low until 220 "ish")

The radiator now seems to be sitting at a constant ~1/2 in below the top with air, and I no longer appear loosing coolant (3 days/ ~75 miles) and the overflow has about the same amount.

While my dash gauge on the dash seems to still bounce around a bit, I don't seem to be exceeding 225 at the radiator outlet (IR thermometer)

Am I just worry about nothing? Maybe my dash gauge has simply failed and I'm driving myself bat! crazy trying to fix nothing? At this point, I need to keep the car running decent enough so it can be sold.

Should I do a full system drain and refill? After replacing the replacement of the heater tubes (took me forever to find non-rusted ones) I didn't do a full drain and refill.

Of course - not going far! I'm looking for a Mark VIII

Last edited by fkostyun; 12-23-2013 at 09:31 PM.
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post #21 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-24-2013, 11:16 AM
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You might try a hydrocarbon test on the antifreeze.
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post #22 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-24-2013, 11:45 AM Thread Starter
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It passed the hydrocarbon test a few (strike out years) months ago.

I had to run out to the other side of town today, and it'd run hot, then be normal, then be hot again.

One thing I noticed - when on the highway, I could rev the engine to 3000 ish RPM, and was then able to get it to drop - do I have yet another failed thermostat? I'm tempted to pull the thermostat out at the point just to see what happens.

Last edited by fkostyun; 12-24-2013 at 11:46 AM. Reason: Months, not years
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post #23 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-24-2013, 02:23 PM
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What kind of shape is your water pump in? Have you checked it yet?

It almost sounds like your water pump isn't. Pumping, that is.

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post #24 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-24-2013, 06:02 PM Thread Starter
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Water pump was replaced in the July time frame, when I replaced the heater tube - I gave the pump a spin by hand and it did spit out fluid from the heater tube port. Belt was also replaced this weekend just to make sure there was no slippage.

The idle pulley is "starting to fail" I broke off one of the seals and flushed it out and put new grease in it as a temporary fix, and I just received a new one today.

At this point, remove thermostat fully to see if that helps, if that seems to cure the issue, run a flush for a couple of days, then rinse lather and repeat - hopefully it was just some of the airpockets from the leaks killed the thermostat.

Other thing I may do is on the replacement thermostat is drill a weep hole to allow easier transfer of air on a refill.

Ran a hydrometer on the fluid today also, and it check at at 40% concentration.
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post #25 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-24-2013, 06:12 PM Thread Starter
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Could it be a "bum" replacement water pump?
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post #26 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-24-2013, 06:58 PM
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Before you get to deep into get mechanical gauge on it to make sure you are running hot.

My SC was showing hot and fix some power and grounds (all secondary installed stuff) and resolved my problem.

If all else fails get a bigger hammer!

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post #27 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-26-2013, 07:00 PM Thread Starter
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I was always IR gun checking it when hot - and today to and from work - completely normal, IR gun showed 200 when getting home.

Only thing I can think of at this point it maybe there was still air in the system that it had trouble burping out. I'll give it a couple more days, but.... who knows at this point.
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post #28 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-26-2013, 07:13 PM
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Quote:
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Couple of questions: what temperature is the fan supposed to kick onto low and high speed at (Right now, it doesn't seem to kick onto low until 220 "ish")
Should be low speed fan on 210/200 off, high speed on 220/210 off. This will be the temperature at the sensor for the PCM. If you're seeing 220 at the radiator before it kicks on, I'd suspect a temp sensor out of range - might want to ohm it out and check it against spec to determine if it's reading correctly.

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post #29 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-30-2013, 10:13 AM Thread Starter
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Haven't tested the sensor yet (temp sensor was replaced in ~Oct from Autozone) but I did pull the thermostat out this weekend.

Did the first drive on the car this morning - ambient is ~48, and the car didn't get much past 110 to 120 on the 8 mile drive to work (with lots of idling - stuck at 9 lights on the way in) That's also good, as to me that would indicate that the water pump is flowing.

Picked up a 180 degree thermostat yesterday - and it starts to open at 180, full open at 190 or so, and it has a weep hole.

Old thermostat is a 195 (which is a tad above spec for car.. dang Napa) didn't open till 210 on the first test, but, I threw it into the water again and it opened at 195 - so that could be the issue and explain the random work/not works.

I was having small leaks on the heater tubes (and heater core) but those have been fixed with some new tubes (took me a while to find nice ones at the junkyard)

I think I'm going to "rerun" the engine block / exhaust gas test - as with no thermostat, I think that might be a great time to run that test (so no restrictions to block the gasses from flowing if they are present.)

I've also replaced the MAF sensor last week - but - its still giving some O2 sensor codes for the drivers side (both rich and lean)
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post #30 of 31 (permalink) Old 12-31-2013, 05:36 PM
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thermostat is one thing i always get from the dealer.

every time Ive used a parts store one its either worked funny, or not at all. had one in our old 93 ranger that opened and closed rapidly the whole time you drove causing the gauge to fluctuate up ad down >.> got annoying, it was a murry from Oreilly.

otherwise yeah, leaks will definately cause the system to run a bit hot so hopefully now you've got them sealed up it might even out.

bummer on the core though, those are certainly fun >.> had to do one last year on my sisters jetta. half way through i just wanted to leave the dash in the front yard and walk away... don't ever put anything but the 'volkswagon' coolant in those dang things... blows the core every time, it had green in it when we got it.

and the sensors from our years were know for being kind of inaccurate, Ive found myself ignoring mine if it gets warm because i know from previously checking and checking that its perfectly fine, its just the sensor...

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