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almost overheating? now what?

Joined
February 23, 2005
Messages
37
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City, State
Milwaukee WI
Year, Model & Trim Level
'00 Sport
Well, got another new twist out of my Explorer, it is something new every day. last night driving home, and again this morning, the vehicle (per the temp gauge) warms up normally, reaches normal operating temp and stay there for about 3-4 miles (10 minutes city driving), and then heats up to almost redline overheating. Then, it drops back to normal. After a few more minutes it starts up again, and seems to stabilize somewhat at running hot, about 3/4 up the gauge when it normally ran right in the middle. I have been told I need to flush the coolant "this fall". It does look pretty dirty in the reservoir. Could that be the problem? Or is this probably something electronic that is kicking in late to cool it down? The fact that it does come back to normal after almost overheating makes me think it couldn't be just the coolant, could it?
Also, the idle, though steady, seems to have increased to about 1100 rpms.
Could these be related?

Any help/ideas are appreciated..... thanks!
 



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I think I found sufficient information through a search to suggest it is the thermostat. And probably flush the system. So my next question is can a non-mechanical person safely get this right? I saw it is about $30 for the part, if I end up taking it in how much time should be involved in changing the thermostat? thanks again for all the help here!
 






I'd start by putting a new thermostat in. It's a pretty easy/cheap repair. Make sure you also get the new gasket with the thermostat. Needless to say, you should refrain from driving it if it's getting near the redline. If the thermostat closes completely, then it will definitely overhead and you could be looking at some major (head gasket and/or heads) repairs.
 






Which motor do you have? Follow the top radiator hose to where it attached to the motor. That is where the thermostat is. You need to remove the hose and the thermostat housing to get to the theromstat. It's generally about a 1/2 job depending on which motor you have.
 






I have the SOHC V6. Is this something I should not attempt if I have not done much mechanical work before? Or is it rasther obvious when you get into it?
thanks again!
 






The job is relatively "easy".... but they left out a few things like having to drain the rad a bit to bring down the coolant level so that when you take off the hose / thermostat housing, you don't have stuff running all over. Make sure you observe how the old unit was set in place so that you put the new one in exactly the same way ... there is a top and bottom to them. There is probably a few other minor points but again it is relatively easy.
 






When I replace a thermostat I also flush the cooling system, not just drain a little fluid, drain it all.

Factory temp gages are not the most accurate things in the world, not sure if they improved them on the later models.

It sounds to me like you almost had some air in the system. make sure you burp all the air out properly when you install the new thermo.
Also I like to test the store bought thermostats prior to install, make sure on the kitchen stove they actually open fully at the temp they are designed to, in your case 195.
boiling water and a kitchen thermostat work perfect.most of them are fairly accurate, but I have had some dogs I wouldnt install in my truck :)
 






Do the new thermostat, flush the system, and you might need a new sensor.
 






John, what is the sensor?
I am thinking I should have this done by someone. Is it safest to drive it at freeway speeds or should I take city roads to get it where I am going? thanks again!
 






Last year I had an overheating problem, the dealer did the above and a sensor, at least that's what was on the order. I drove it on the highway, the gauge went down some there.
 






How do you "burp" the radiator free of air? i know its a noob question, but its stopped me from flushing my radiator on my own.
 






Its a relatively simple task.

Just remove the upper radiator hose, the three retaining bolts and pull out the thermostat and O ring.

Installation is the reverse.

Should take avout 30 minutes.

Good luck ... you can do it.
 

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As Aldive has indicated, replacing a thermostat IS a very simple task, the most difficult part of which is actually getting to the bolts. A fairly decent socket set with ratchet and universal would make it a no-brainer.

Burping the air out is not hard either, just takes a little time and patience. First fill the system to almost overflowing by adding coolant to the opening where the thermostat goes in, then insert the t-stat and gasket, tighten the bolts to 72-98 INCH/pounds (DO NOT overtighten). Then fill the radiator squeezing the upper radiator hose to "burp" air out. Start the engine with the radiator cap off and let idle until the thermostat opens. You will know that happens when the fluid level in the radiator drops suddenly. Top it off, install the cap, make sure the coolant in the overflow tank is at proper level and you are done!. Check for leaks and tighten the thermostat housing bolts only if you have to.
 






the bolts on the OHV 4.0L were the fun ones, you SOHC guys have it made :)
 






Mine started in tonight. UGH! I drove it about 4 miles, shut if off and went into a store. Came out and drove maybe a mile before the CEL came on. The temp guage was way up (not redlined). I slowed down and it dropped to almost normal. I slowly drove on to the school (2 miles). I parked it and checked the fluid level. It was fine and there is fluid in the overflow tank. When I drove home tonight it started climbing again. Only 2 more miles.

The fluid is sort of dark and nasty looking. My first plan of attack is to change the thermostat and the fluid. :thumbsup:

EDIT: My mom made a parts run for me. :) This is my only vehicle.


My only question is:

Is there any possibility the fan clutch is going out? If so, how would I check it?



Thanks guys,
Brian_B
 






Brian_B said:
Mine started in tonight. UGH! I drove it about 4 miles, shut if off and went into a store. Came out and drove maybe a mile before the CEL came on. The temp guage was way up (not redlined). I slowed down and it dropped to almost normal. I slowly drove on to the school (2 miles). I parked it and checked the fluid level. It was fine and there is fluid in the overflow tank. When I drove home tonight it started climbing again. Only 2 more miles.

The fluid is sort of dark and nasty looking. My first plan of attack is to change the thermostat and the fluid. :thumbsup:

EDIT: My mom made a parts run for me. :) This is my only vehicle.


My only question is:

Is there any possibility the fan clutch is going out? If so, how would I check it?



Thanks guys,
Brian_B

Is it possible? Yes. But with your symptoms? I wouldn't count on it. If the car overheats at idle, coolant is good, and thermostat is new, I would say yes, it might be the clutch. If the engine overheats at speed on the freeway (where you could actually take the fan OFF alltogether) odds are it's the thermostat not opening completely. If it never heats up to begin with, or takes FOREVER to heat up, then overheats, it's definately the thermostat.

In any case, your symptoms point to the thermostat.

And yes, as Lloyd explained, it IS a simple job. For a rookie, it may take an hour or two. For someone with the right tools on hand, it might take 1/2 hour. I suspect a shop would charge you an hour of labor plus parts and fluids.... probably around $150, I'm guessing.

Oh, and I always recommend getting the OEM Ford thermostat. It's a German part, but I've heard of a lot of aftermarket ones not holding up... plus the Motorcraft part comes with the proper gasket too.

-Joe
 






gijoecam said:
......And yes, as Lloyd explained, it IS a simple job. For a rookie, it may take an hour or two. For someone with the right tools on hand, it might take 1/2 hour. I suspect a shop would charge you an hour of labor plus parts and fluids.... probably around $150, I'm guessing.....

I have replaced tons of thermostats over the years. Knowing how and the tools are not a problem. I intend to flush the whole system today while I am at it. It looks like it might be the factory stuff in it. :eek:

The only fan clutch I ever replaced was screeching really bad. Pretty obvious it was out. I didn't know what the symtoms might be or what to look for there. Thanks. :)
 






Brian_B said:
I have replaced tons of thermostats over the years. Knowing how and the tools are not a problem. I intend to flush the whole system today while I am at it. It looks like it might be the factory stuff in it. :eek:

The only fan clutch I ever replaced was screeching really bad. Pretty obvious it was out. I didn't know what the symtoms might be or what to look for there. Thanks. :)

Brian, now you might have an excuse for the electric fan.

Good luck .......
 






for what it's worth, I had a shop flush the fluid and change the thermostat, cost was exactly $150, and it fixed the problem....

thanks for all the help here!
 



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youonlylivetwic said:
for what it's worth, I had a shop flush the fluid and change the thermostat, cost was exactly $150, and it fixed the problem....

thanks for all the help here!

Dang I'm good!!

Sometimes I amaze myself!! :p
 






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