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Adventures with Radiators

2010 Eddie Bauer

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I have an 07' 4.0L with 105K miles on it now, I bought it in December 2018 90K on it. The only cooling system problem I have experienced so far has been having to replace the thermostat housing which I read here is a common problem. After reading this thread, I'm wondering if using a 16# radiator cap might be a good proactive move to get more life out of both the radiator and the thermostat housing.
Isn't it true though that radiator caps lose pressure over time with age? Wouldn't all of our stock 20 psi caps be holding a lower pressure at this point?
 



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Blackhawkxx

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Isn't it true though that radiator caps lose pressure over time with age? Wouldn't all of our stock 20 psi caps be holding a lower pressure at this point?
I have never seen evidence of that, have you?
 






2010 Eddie Bauer

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I have never seen evidence of that, have you?
I have spoken to a couple of mechanics who have affirmed that the caps can and will lose pressure over time. The question is how much pressure they will lose, and whether or not it's negligible or significant. The caps have a spring in them. Based on my limited experience thus far, I find it feasible that a spring could lose "tension" over time. Ford's spring-loaded coolant hose clamps sure don't retain pressure over time. I have replaced four so far.
 






94Eddie

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I have an 07' 4.0L with 105K miles on it now, I bought it in December 2018 90K on it. The only cooling system problem I have experienced so far has been having to replace the thermostat housing which I read here is a common problem. After reading this thread, I'm wondering if using a 16# radiator cap might be a good proactive move to get more life out of both the radiator and the thermostat housing.
If running at 16 psi doesn't cause any cooling issues they I see no downside to doing it. I'll know this summer if running at 16 psi causes problems.
 






Blackhawkxx

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If running at 16 psi doesn't cause any cooling issues they I see no downside to doing it. I'll know this summer if running at 16 psi causes problems.
I have read on here that guys in Florida run it without issue and I have had the 16 for two.
 






94Eddie

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I have read on here that guys in Florida run it without issue and I have had the 16 for two.
I think the odds are very high that I won't see any problems running at 16 psi. If this is the case then I have to wonder why Ford keeps the cooling system at 20 psi. Could it be planned obsolescence? I swear the reason they say transmission fluid in so many transmissions is "lifetime" is to promote replacements of it once the vehicle is out of warranty. Plus, having a vehicle last for 300k miles, or more, without major, costly repairs will eventually cause fewer sales of new vehicles. Call me a cynic but I think there is a lot of truth in what I just stated and it applies to most auto makers to varying degrees.
 






digifoss

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I think I'm going to give it a try.
 






94Eddie

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I think I'm going to give it a try.
What I did was take the 20 psi cap and stick it into the box for the 16 psi cap. Then put the box in the center console. If I ever have an issue this summer I can just reinstall the 20 psi cap and be on my way.
 






D Hook

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I did the same thing when I traded my caps. Just in case.

RE: you comment above about planned obsolescence and the transmissions, I have a different view. I think they tout their life-long transmission fluid for the female customer. My wife can check the oil in her car, no problem but transmission fluid?....no way. So they make it a selling feature so their female customers aren't intimidated. There's a lot of this that goes on in the car business, heck, in MOST businesses....all geared to capturing the female customer. It's a great marketing strategy, but not always a good design/engineering strategy. Do most cars REALLY need a flip down mirror on BOTH sunvisors? Probably not. Oversize buttons on the radio and other accessories? .... better access than small buttons if you have long fingernails. Same with outside door handles. On the 06 models there is no cup in the interior arm rests to grab the door to close it....just the handle mounted too low on the door and totally unintuitive. But it's less abrasive to grab a handle than stick you fingers into the cup to close the door. Fortunately, they corrected this design flaw in the next few model years. And the anemic heat coming out of the floor vent?... Yep, you guessed it. My wife used to complain about the amount of heat that came out of the floor vent in my Mustang a few years back. It had a great heater that flowed a lot of air out of the floor vents. But she never complains about the Explorer's floor heat. Instead, she complains about the noise of the fan when I replaced the factory one with an aftermarket one that, according to her, sounded like a jet engine. I never noticed a difference.

I have no problem whatsoever with them building their products to accommodate the widest customer base possible. Good for business and good for the economy. Just doesn't always translate into the best product, IMO.

Okay, sorry for the off-topic stuff. Lower pressure radiator caps....good choice. Waiting to see what the temp difference is this summer between the 20 and the 16.
 






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