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Old 02-01-2010, 06:03 PM   #1
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Taurus overheating problem

I'm going to keep this as short as I can, sorry if it's still a long read, but please, I need help.

The car is a 1996 Taurus with the Vulcan engine.

First off let me start by saying the car has always gotten a little high on the temp gauge, but has always been able to keep itself out of the red. About a week ago my belt started squeeling, and the other day my car overheated to the point that the coolant was pushed out of the reserve tank cap (my car doesn't have a radiator cap). This made me think the belt wasn't grabbing the water pump enough to flow good enough.

I replaced the thermostat and serpentine belt, but the car still ends up pushing the coolant out of the cap.

Today I read online about "burping" the system to let air out. So, I let the car cool down, and topped the coolant off in the reserve tank (since I can't do it in the radiator) and left the cap off while the engine warmed up. Once it warmed up it started to push the coolant out, but then it would suck it all into the system, and I added more. I kept doing this for a while.

Things seemed like they were going good, but then suddenly the coolant started spitting out of the tank pretty violently. So I shut the car off, and all the coolant got sucked into the system. I topped it off and put the cap on.

I drove to the store and back, which is about 5 minutes each way, and I didn't let the car get to an overheating point but it seemed like it was getting up there again. And I could hear a boiling type sound under the hood.

I'm fairly sure its not a head gasket problem, I don't have any indication in the oil, and it doesn't blow white smoke. Not to mention, no noticeable power loss.

So what could it be? Could it be the cap itself? The cap on the reserve tank is rated for 16psi. I'm pretty sure the pump is working because it was sucking the coolant in. Also, wouldn't I not get heat if the pump wasn't working?

I think that's about all the info I have. Any help is much appreciated. The car is at 218k and I'd like to see it keep going. Thanks.


Again, sorry for the long read, I figure its best to give all the details I have.


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Old 02-01-2010, 06:58 PM   #2
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Sounds like the same problem i had with my SPI focus. Smell the coolant resavoir, if it smells like gas then the head might be blown. I blew the head and never knew it until it really started to have problems......
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Old 02-01-2010, 07:08 PM   #3
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Thanks for the response. Everything looks and smells as it should fluid wise. The more I read online the more I think it might be the stupid cap. I still would appreciate any input.
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Old 02-01-2010, 07:43 PM   #4
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sounds like a head gasket to me....have you done any compression testing on the car?
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Old 02-01-2010, 08:07 PM   #5
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No, not yet. I have no signs of a blown head gasket though. Oil is clean as could be, no smoke from the exhaust at all besides when I first fire it up in the morning (below freezing temp). No power loss. When I blew the head gasket on my Accord I could tell instantly. I'm not ruling this out, or arguing, trust me I appreciate any input. Just doesn't seem like its a head gasket.

Plus, wouldn't the compression from a blown head gasket cause a consistant push of the coolant out of the cap? I'm not very good at cooling systems, thats just what I thought.

Just repeating this to keep the details current, but from what I've read online, a bad cap can cause similar symptoms of a blown head gasket. So I'm going to to try the Ford dealer and Advance Auto tomorrow for a cap. This isn't the normal radiator cap I'm used to, and Advance doesn't list it online, so worse case it might have to be ordered overnight.

Once I get the cap I'll definitely explain what the outcome is. Thanks again.
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Old 02-01-2010, 08:56 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mix1983 View Post
No, not yet. I have no signs of a blown head gasket though. Oil is clean as could be, no smoke from the exhaust at all besides when I first fire it up in the morning (below freezing temp). No power loss. When I blew the head gasket on my Accord I could tell instantly. I'm not ruling this out, or arguing, trust me I appreciate any input. Just doesn't seem like its a head gasket.

Plus, wouldn't the compression from a blown head gasket cause a consistant push of the coolant out of the cap? I'm not very good at cooling systems, thats just what I thought.

Just repeating this to keep the details current, but from what I've read online, a bad cap can cause similar symptoms of a blown head gasket. So I'm going to to try the Ford dealer and Advance Auto tomorrow for a cap. This isn't the normal radiator cap I'm used to, and Advance doesn't list it online, so worse case it might have to be ordered overnight.

Once I get the cap I'll definitely explain what the outcome is. Thanks again.
Something else to consider is the age of the car, when was the last time you had the radiator checked or even flushed. If it is the original radiator it might be time to have it replaced. I had to do it to my 2 mustangs I owned since they were dong the same thing and I found out htat the stock radiators would start getting clogged over time.
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Old 02-01-2010, 09:36 PM   #7
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I know on my old Honda Civic you had to be very careful on how you put the thermostat in. Did you make sure it was put in exactly as it is supposed to be?
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Old 02-02-2010, 03:40 PM   #8
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Yeah I didn't have it in quite right the first time and it leaked as soon as I added coolant, I got it the second time. I just got off work, going to Ford for a coolant cap, I'll let yall know. Thanks again.
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Old 02-02-2010, 06:37 PM   #9
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Ok, I got the cap on. By the time I got home the engine was cool so I added more coolant (since I lost a lot to and from work today). Took it for a 10 minute test drive and let it idle in Drive for about 5 minutes. The needle got kind of high, but it stayed out of the red. I also lost no coolant.

I'll know tomorrow for sure if this fixed it, I don't feel like driving across town and back tonight. I still plan on getting a flush done on it when payday arrives.
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Old 02-03-2010, 05:21 PM   #10
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Ok the car has been put through its normal routine today and it did great. The cap was definitely the problem. Thanks again for the input.
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