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Unworthy1 01-16-2013 11:21 PM

My '00 ZX3 overheated and is now running rough
Greetings all. I'm hoping I can get some answers from the experts here. I recently ran my '00 ZX3 with a leaking water outlet housing and it overheated and starting running a bit rough before I got it home. I replaced the water outlet housing and thermostat. That seems fine now, but it still sputters a bit and is lacking some power, and the check engine light is on. I pulled the plugs and there is some oil around 3 of them. I am going to try to replace the valve cover seal, but what other things should I be looking for? Is a new seal apt to fix the sputtering?

The engine is a Zetec

Thanks for taking the time to read!

amc49 01-17-2013 12:09 AM

Depends on how long you drove with it overheating, was it out of water? If all the bad running started then, well, you may have toasted it. The sputtering could easily be a blown head gasket...............

If the oil leak not horrible, then change just plugs for a short term check, dirty plugs can miss, the overheat may have cooked the oil to short the plugs. Save the valve cover gasket until sure the motor's still good.

I'd be looking into the check engine light..........


Unworthy1 01-17-2013 12:40 AM

Drove it less than 5 mins with temp in red range. It was nearly out of water. I'll see what the light tells me if I can get it to a parts store. Thx!

don627 01-17-2013 11:40 AM

I thought the Zetec cars had fail safe cooling systems that would make it run on 2 cylinders during a loss of coolant event. That is what my owners manual says anyway on my '03 zetec. I think it also says it will not go back to normal running until the CEL is reset. I have never had this happen so I'm just repeating what the manual says.

Unworthy1 01-17-2013 04:35 PM

That's interesting. I'll check my manual for the '00 model.

Just checked it and it does say that it may do that. Guess I really need to find out what the CEL is going to tell me.

Thanks for the info!

amc49 01-18-2013 12:32 AM

Running on two cylinders and running a 'bit rough' are two totally different things, on two cylinders you will not have enough power to maintain speed and it will be so noticeable that I'd think even the rookie could not miss that...........however?

In my world people are taught that if they go ONE minute with temp solidly in the red they have just risked walking until enough money saved to buy new car. While one minute may not necessarily break it, I cannot imagine five. That programmed-in engine shutdown is an attempt to steer customers into dealer repairs, some engines will be damaged by the time they begin running on two cylinders. Zetecs are tough little engines but they run routinely and correctly at 230-240 degrees, by the time you register something is wrong the engine is already in engine damage from overheat territory. That little gimmick will not stop all of it..............

What I'm saying here is if you are relying on that feature to stop you from burning up your motor you are simply asking for it. When it happens you should have already been stopped and engine turned off.

don627 01-19-2013 11:51 AM

Thanks for the lecture I don't recall anyone in this thread promoting driving in this manner. It is simply a feature of this vehicle that must be dealt with if it overheats that is all.

amc49 01-19-2013 06:48 PM

My point is if you are dealing with it you have gone too far, one either gets that or they don't. Maybe many don't realize it and read it thinking they can rely on that saving them, definitely a mistake.

You need to realize how many engines I've changed for those who simply thought you drive it until it quits, then fix a small problem and continue for years more. The enlightenment (and repair bill) was not pleasant for them, if you get yours without having to buy new motor or car you should be thankful. ANYTIME you encounter temp at max you are risking the engine by continuing to drive it. Five minutes there is often certain death.

jetrinka 01-19-2013 08:13 PM

If you drove 5 minutes with the temp in the red and now its running rough, i'd be checking the integrity of the head gasket first thing... You'd be lucky if that head didn't warp like a banana seeing as the Zetec runs pretty dang hot even under normal operation...

Unworthy1 01-19-2013 10:59 PM

OK, here's the latest. I managed to drive it to town to the local AutoZone. I had them run the diagnostics on the CEL. He told me it said "cylinder 4 misfire" (or something very similar). Recommended I try new plugs, and if that did not work, replace the wires. Well, I did both, but to no avail. He said after that I should consider replacing the coil pack.

Before I spend about $85 and an hour or two of labor on this, is this what you folks would recommend? Any other ideas? Is there any way to test the coil pack before I just blindly replace it (as it would seem my plugs and wires were probably OK to begin with...)

I'm thinking that whatever it is can't be too major if the car can make a 20 mile round trip without running hot. (Then again, maybe I'm an idiot for trying it...)[nono]

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