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Coolant System issue

Smiz

New Member
Joined
February 25, 2014
Messages
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City, State
Lacrosse, WI
Year, Model & Trim Level
2006 Ford Explorer Limite
Hey everyone,

New to this site, wanna see if I can get some advice or opinion on a situation with my Explorer. I have a 2006 Ford Explorer limited. Had brand new radiator put in May of 2012. Heres the lowdown...

Back in the beginning of January, here in Wisconsin, we had a day where it was -50 below zero with the wind chill. My wife took my explorer to work and on her way home, the thermostat failed and the truck overheated. My wife limped it home, about 3 miles after it started overheating. When she got it to the house, it had blown coolant all over and was smoking from all the coolant burn off. I replaced the thermostat, and all was good. Until the following week.

I had topped off my reservoir tank, coolant levels in radiator were fine. Drove about 15 miles to work, stopped at a gas station to fuel up. Shut the truck down, filled up, went inside to pay, came out and started the truck up. Immediately upon starting the truck, white smoke came from the hood for about 15 seconds, then was gone. Following this, every time i drive the vehicle and it gets a hot and I park and shut it down, i smell a small hint of coolant burn off from the FRONT of the vehicle. I pop the hood to find its steaming from between the back of the radiator and the radiator fan. Not alot of smoke, very little, but its there. And the reservoir tank is empty, however, the radiator level never goes down. There has never been a coolant leak on the ground. Until yesterday.

Yesterday, approx below where the reservoir tank is, was a small silver dollar sized puddle of coolant. A friend of mine, who happens to be a mechanic, came by last night to check it out and see if we could find where its coming from. We can't see any leaks, only signs we see is a bit of coolant on the tray to the radiator on the passenger side. Otherwise, nothing. We removed the radiator cap and ran the vehicle, and seemed to have released an air pocket that was pretty decent sized it seemed. Well, then today, same kind of situation. I drove 15 miles to work, shut the vehicle off. Filled the fuel tank, went inside to pay, came back out and started the vehicle, and what do ya know? White smoke again. Not as much as the first time, lasted about 15-20 seconds and then was gone. Not sure if this was burn off from the night before when we got the air pocket out and spilled coolant or what? I have now filled the radiator up to full and filled the reservoir to the cold line to see if i lose more coolant.

Things we have checked for: We are almost 99 % sure its not a heater core issue or blown or cracked head gasket. Friend checked for both, the vehicle has no signs of either. No signs in oil or exhaust, no smell of coolant inside the cab, performance is fine.

Since I replaced the thermostat, no overheating issues at all. No performance issues at all. The vehicle runs perfectly fine, has absolutely no issues at all.

Radiator has never decreased in coolant level that i can tell. Only lost it in the reservoir. We removed the reservoir last night and checked for leaks, found none.

Any ideas or suggestions? I am gonna have a pressure test ran if this reservoir goes empty again or i see more coolant on the ground. I am hoping my friend was right, he seems to think that maybe the air pocket in the system was causing the coolant to leak.

Any help will be appreciated. I am not the most mechanically inclined person, but can kinda work my way around a vehicle to an extent. Anything i should check? Anything i am missing? Maybe a pressure test is the best way to find out for sure, but just wanna see if anyone has any other ideas it could be that i could check.
 




polizi212

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Joined
October 3, 2012
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City, State
Northeast Ohio.
Year, Model & Trim Level
2008 Ford Explorer XLT
I would be inclined to say you have a leak somewhere. The radiators on these trucks are known to fail at the bottom of the radiator where the plastic and metal come together. you are more than likely going to need to have the system pressure tested to find the leak! Also look around the area of the Thermostat Housing for any tell tell signs of leaking.
 




Smiz

New Member
Joined
February 25, 2014
Messages
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City, State
Lacrosse, WI
Year, Model & Trim Level
2006 Ford Explorer Limite
Hoping its not the radiator again, but I am beginning to wonder if it has a small crack somewhere. I had that issue with the radiator in May 2012 that you spoke of. My mechanic that fixed it got a radiator he thought would withstand the issues that everyone has with them. Never had an issue with it until my wife overheated it. Before that happened, it was fine.

Its just weird that it has never leaked on the ground, and now, as of yesterday, it started to. Maybe just starting to get worse. I will have to watch the levels of this overflow tank and see if it leaks more i guess, or like you said, get the pressure test.
 




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