Say it ain't so! Milky liquid in rad. | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Say it ain't so! Milky liquid in rad.



Hi There,

I own a 94 xlt 4.0 /w air 170,000km. The engine ran semi hot over the weekend, (May 29th), but didn't overheat. The temp gauge went up to the 'L' and stayed there. I proceeded to turn the heat on to get rid of the access heat. After the engine cooled down, I checked the fluid in the rad, it wasn't to bad but after flushing it it seemed a little cloudy. The resevoir had a very small amount of a white liquid in it. Worst case senario, which I hope not, a cracked block but chances are it's the head gaskets.

I replaced the thermostat and completely flushed the system and the temp is runing between 'N&R', which I think is pretty good.

My question is are there any tell tale signs I can look for to pin point the problem, ie. cracked block, blown head gaskets, etc.

Yours Truely,
Myles 'OH NO' C.

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If coolant is getting into your engine, one sign of this occurance is the color of your exhaust fumes from your muffler. I believe the color is black for coolant and white if it is burning oil. If your emissions is otherwise clear, you shouldn't have any problems.

Thanks for the advice Mike.

It's been a couple of days now and the truck seems fine. I checked the rad fluid and it seems to be fine also.

The only concern I have now is the temp gauge is running up to 'O', at it's hotest point. The gauge only seems to sit at 'N' or a little less. Is this too cold? Is it possible that the 50/50 ratio (water/antifreeze) is too rich? Will this put extra strain or wear out the cooling system faster than normal?

[This message has been edited by Myles (edited 06-03-99).]

You may be having trouble with your thermostat. It could be that it stuck partially closed over the weekend, and now it's hanging open. If you haven't ever changed it, now would be a good time.

Most repair shops can very easily determine if you have a leak between the cooling system and the engine by doing a very simple test for exhaust gasses in your antifreeze. They suck some of your antifreeze into a tester, and if the color changes, there's exhaust in your antifreeze, and you have a problem.

"Whoever said you can't fool all of the people all of the time, was a damn fool" Vince McMahon, 1999

Myles - I don't quite understand what you are saying as far as the gauge running at its highest point and then N & O for a little while. If you radiator is running cool, there is no immediate worry.
Speaking from experience, my thermostat was busted (stuck in the wide open position) from when I purchased my truck 88k miles to 119k miles when I have just changed it. I experienced no problems whatsoever - only the benefits of a much cooler running engine! The only thing that I must mention is that once it's broken, it's bound to go on you sooner or later and possibly close up. Thats what happened to me, I noticed a change to higher temperatures and so I changed my stat.
Hope this helps.

just a note on running cool all the time. I have a 91 xlt with the towing package and I have had it for 3 years and it always runs on c. I have never had a problem with the engine as to date. I do however have a little problem in the winter with the heat not getting very hot on really cold days but I have a shield that I place in between the radiator and the grill for this purpose. I know that my thermostat is working but for the really cold days it is a little nusence that I can live with. I should say that I think that it is to my advantage when I am towing my camper to the beaches of Florida and Myrtle Beach, SC during the summers hot months. Just my thoughts and for as long as I have been working with cars and trucks it hasn't been to wrong. Richardp

Reason for the thermostat is heat transfer. Heat from the engine transfers to the coolant, then the thermostat opens and the radiator cools the coolant for another trip through the engine to do the same again. If the thermostat is stuck open there isn't enough heat transfer and although your guage reads cold the iron in your block and heads is actually overheating because the coolant isn't staying around long enough to absorb the heat before it goes back to the radiator. Remember, your guage just reads cooland temp, not the temp of surrounding metal. As for the smoke, white is coolant, blue is oil, and black is fuel. Explorers are prone to cracking heads so a thermostat is something you want to replace as a part of regular maintenance. Don't wait until it fails.

91 Sport
Supperrunner 5.5" lift

Just for you guys' info in case you care: if coolant is combusted in the engine, the smoke is white, if oil is present, it's blue, and if too much fuel is being burned up, then it's black. Hope that helps someone out there, as this info was mentioned above and I wanted to clarify it.

Hello out there,

As for the problem with the rad, all it was was the cap. I took it in for a pressure test - problem solved.

I got a new one for ya. I took the truck for a tour this weekend, nothing heavy just a good drive. This morning it had a hard time shifting. The tranny fluid was fine and there was no slipping just had a hard time getting past second gear. After about 5 min. of driving it all worked out and now it seems to be shifting just fine. Call it paranoia but when it comes to the tranny there is no Fu&*#$% around, you know? Any suggestions?

Lifes to short not to drive the beaten path

1994 XLT 4.0 Loaded
and loving it