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'04 Ford Explorer Overheating issues...

Discussion in 'Stock 2002 - 2005 Explorers' started by schroerj, August 20, 2010.

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    1. schroerj

      schroerj New Member

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      Hi.

      I have an '04 Ford Explorer. On Monday I was on a long trip, and it overheated/steam/boiling/shut itself down just as I pulled off the highway. I have a Garmin Nuvi w/ ecoRoute HD and right as it was shutting down, the temp registered at 330 degrees (it had shot up from around 198 pretty suddenly). It took over an hour and about 8 bottles of water before it would start again. A mechanic pulled over to look at it and told me to add the water and let it sit for a while, so that's what I did. Anyway, got to my destination with no problems, and took it to the mechanic on Tuesday (since it was after closing time when it happened).

      Took it in to the shop, and they flushed the radiator/changed the oil/said it should be good. Drove it for the rest of the day on Tuesday and it was fine. Wednesday night, I ran to the grocery store, and on the way back (at about 7 minutes drive time), it shot from 140 up to about 270. I pulled over, and it dropped back to 198.

      Thursday, the same thing happened. At about 7 minutes drive time, it shot from 140 to 270 and then dropped to 198. No matter how long I drive it for after that, it sits at 195-205 degrees.

      Any ideas? I've stopped driving it for the time being and I'm taking it in again on Monday and would like an idea of what I'm looking at.

      Thanks.
       
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    3. xlt03

      xlt03 Active Member

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      Bad thermostat or temperature sensor would be my guess. If they flushed radiator and changed oil, why didn't they change the thermostat.
       
    4. eeprete

      eeprete Active Member

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      From the sounds of it, it does sound like you have a bad thermostat. But also if you've needed that much coolant and have overheated twice, I'd keep an eye on the overflow bottle and see if its using any coolant also.
       
    5. muzzymaniac

      muzzymaniac Active Member

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      Definitely start with the thermostat if it hasn't been done.
       
    6. schroerj

      schroerj New Member

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      They apparently "took a quick look at it" this morning, and said the engine needs to be replaced?

      I don't know if I believe them, since it doesn't seem to be handling any differently, etc. the only thing that happens is the sudden rise/fall of the temp, which everything I can find points to the Thermostat... even though they won't just replace the thermostat.

      I think it's time to take it to a 2nd place and get another opinion?

      Thanks!
       
    7. eeprete

      eeprete Active Member

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      Find out exactly where the failure point was and ask why the entire engine needs to be replaced. Replacing the engine is sometimes easier than repairing the failed parts and that may be why, however ask them to put it all on paper. But a second opinion can help.

      Let me ask you these questions though:

      - which engine is this
      - did the engine ever go into Reduced Power Mode
      - How many times has the engine overheated
       
    8. schroerj

      schroerj New Member

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      The V6 flex fuel engine.

      Yes it went into Reduced Power Mode before it shut down the first time. And it only overheated and shut down the 1 time (which I thought was supposed to prevent it from having major problems?)

      It has supposedly overheated (but dropped back to normal within 10 seconds/never shut down/etc.) approximately 4 times since then.
       
    9. eeprete

      eeprete Active Member

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      Where are you getting the exact temperature readings from?

      For an engine to spike to 330 degrees, I'd think it would take more than 10 seconds to come down over 100 degrees to operating temperature.

      First thing I'd do is get it running and have your technician check with a temp gun the temp at thermostat housing both behind and in front of where the thermostat is at.

      You can also pull the thermostat and use the old school method of a pot of boiling water to check whether it is opening correctly at the correct temperature to rule that out.
       
    10. schroerj

      schroerj New Member

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      I have a Garmin ecoRoute HD... It's a bluetooth sensor hooked up to the OBD port that sends operating data to my garmin GPS which displays all the information. Coolant temp is one of the displays.

      The initial event that caused this whole thing to go happen was the 330 degree overheat/power loss. At that time, it boiled off most of the coolant and took close to an hour and a lot of water to bring back to the point where it would run again. Since then it's showing a spike of 270 degrees about 7 minutes into the engine runtime, which immediately then drops down (within 10 seconds) to 195 degrees (and then it runs at a steady 195-207 no matter how long thereafter that you run it).

      I don't think they even considered the thermostat, even though I suggested they start there based on what I have read.
       
    11. Hitchhikingmike

      Hitchhikingmike Well-Known Member

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      Does your water temperature gauge needle move at all when your temperature spikes like this?
       
    12. schroerj

      schroerj New Member

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      Yeah, I get the check gauge light and the needle jumps to just below the red zone.
       
    13. jrford

      jrford Well-Known Member

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      you are right the PCM should go into FMEM mode to save the engine from disaster. If you shut it down right away. . .i'd expect it to be ok.

      with that diagnosis i'd take a 'quick' hike out of there. . . .did they supply any good reason other than how thick you wallet is??

      To replace an engine there needs to be a very good reason with concrete evidence, like it doesn't turn over - hydro-locked, there is a piston sticking out the side of the block, no oil left. . .as some examples. . .a compression test will tell you roughly what condition the block is in.

      But if there is major problem that's causing the over heating, blown oil pump, sluge(d) engine (oil turns to jelly and not a fluid), a better second opinion would be best in this case.

      Like others suggested, make sure its running at normal temp. Then I'd check/replace the thermostat first its a classic symptom of it sticking, another idea is the water pump maybe on the way out?

      Short version of the story, My sister-in-law on her way back home 2hour trip lost all the coolant, the sharp whip that she is figured she could make it home 45mins away. . .15-20mins later she had to pull over as it slowly lost speed. She pulls up to a gas station, well of course there is a hole in the Rad, which they replaced $400. But it started right up no problems, however with the Chrylser the trans is cooled by the radiator fluid (Not the Explorers the transmission has its own separate cooler) but since there was no fluid in hers it overheated and burned itself up, trans estimate was way more than its worth, so long story short the trans guy bought it off her and drove it another two years.
       
    14. schroerj

      schroerj New Member

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      OK, so here's the new information... Went and picked it up. They said they tested the coolant and it had emissions gases in it (which they didn't tell me over the phone) and the ONLY way to fix it would be to completely replace the engine. I took it anyway, and dropped it off at a different shop on the way home (one that I spent some time researching, instead of randomly pulling the name out of the phonebook). I'll know tomorrow for sure what's wrong with it, since I can already tell there's a night and day difference between the shops (I told the new shop what happened and the diagnosis that the other shop gave, and was told it was probably a head gasket issue, not a total engine problem, and at 84k miles it should be a fairly easy repair).

      Thanks for the info, everyone! I'll try to update this once I know for sure what the situation is.

      Coincidentally, on the drive between the 2 shops, I didn't have the temp spike issue... but the only real thing that the shop did (other than the coolant test) was rotate the tires... and I don't think that had anything to do with the overheating problem.
       
    15. eeprete

      eeprete Active Member

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      emissions gases can be due to a head gasket. Oil should be drained from the crankcase and sent for an analysis to see if there is coolant present in the crankcase. If not, I'd safely bet its a head gasket. Not exactly easy but not a total disaster. I'd imagine its an easier job on the 4.0 than the 4.6.
       
    16. schroerj

      schroerj New Member

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      Got the verdict back today... the heads were warped well beyond where they should have been. They couldn't believe that it had only overheated that badly one time. As a result, we went ahead and told them to put a new engine in. I'm not thrilled about the whole situation, but if it runs better than it did before this whole thing happened, I guess I'll live with it.

      I asked them to make sure it was a flex fuel engine that they were putting in since that's what was in it before.

      Is there anything else I need to consider?

      They're replacing the thermostat and all the radiator hoses at the same time.
       
    17. mmckey79

      mmckey79 New Member

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      04 ford explorer overheating problem

      my vehicle overheated numerous times over the course of approximately two weeks. on the last day that it was drivable, it overheated repeatedly and i added over 15 gallons of water to the reservoir. when it overheated it was steaming from the area right in front of the engine. it overheated the last time on the interstate, i noticed that i was progressively losing power and the spedometer was dropping so i pulled over and turned off the vehicle. since then i have refilled the reservoir and waited a good while for it to cool down. now the vehicle won't start, after repeated attempts. what could it be do you think?
       
    18. 2Trux

      2Trux Active Member

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      I hope you mean 1.5 gallons.:eek: If the engine won't crank it could be a bad head gasket that dumped water into a cylinder and hydro-locked it. You can pull all the plugs and crank it over by hand and blow out the water.
      It could also be a lack of oil (what does yours look like?) that has siezed the engine.

      If it cranks over but doesn't start you have to look at the regular stuff, air, fuel, spark. A bad water pump can cause the overheating.

      From your description of multiple over-heating problems I would guess you have a major problem with your engine.
       
    19. mmckey79

      mmckey79 New Member

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      "fifteen gallons of water". oil was checked and was fine, not out of gas, new alternator and battery as of 12/2014.
       
    20. 2Trux

      2Trux Active Member

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      Well since the cooling system only holds 4 gallons I will assume you mean you put "a lot of water" in it. This would seem to indicate there is a serious leak.

      You never stated if the engine is cranking over or is locked. Have you pulled the plugs to check for water?

      edit: After rereading your first post I am guessing that the 15 gallons was over the course of the day not all at once. This would make me think blown head gasket. Multiple over heats can also warp/crack the heads.
       

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