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Old 11-20-2015, 05:36 PM   #1
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Unhappy Overheating ZX3 Kona

Hey folks, brand new here.

A few weeks ago I bought a 2000 ZX3 Kona with only 83,000 miles. The price was great and everything appeared to work well.

I have a huge commute, and I've noticed that the car overheats at about the 3 hour mark. Symptoms are always the same, car goes from medium temp and drastically ticks to into the red over the course of less than 5 miles. If I attempt to drive again without letting the car cool COMPLETELY, within 20 miles it's the same thing.

The fans run when hot, the fan turns on when A/C is turned on. Plenty of oil, and performance is perfect and I only lose coolant when I open the reservoir and it boils out. I've done tons of research and water pump, thermostat housing and thermostat seem to be the most common suggestions.

My concern is that if these things were out, how can I drive 200+ miles before the problem presents itself? I'm also concerned there may be a crack in the headgasket.

Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated, I'm stuck on this one.

Thanks in advance,
John.


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Old 11-20-2015, 07:22 PM   #2
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The usual suspect is a lack of low speed fan operation (or intermittent, not common) since that is the one keeping the car in the middle zone of the "idiot light" like gauge.

That gauge shows normal before the car is fully warm, and stays there until overheat is approached. High speed fan usually kicks on then but it can get into the red before that can bring it down to the normal range.
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Old 11-21-2015, 12:17 AM   #3
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And just to elaborate on sailor's comment a bit, the lack of low speed fan operation is most commonly due to a failed (burnt) cooling fan resistor or faulty/burnt wiring near the resistor.

A failed head gasket would expel or consume coolant.
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Old 11-21-2015, 11:21 AM   #4
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Awesome, thanks for the advice. Have checked the forums, and folks have said that when the A/C is kicked on the high speed fan is the one that runs. I do get a fan when I turn on the A/C, but is it possible that perhaps my low fan isn't running right? Seems like a cheap part, so I'll buy it anyways.

I've also read about a notorious 'Thermostat Housing' going bad on Zetecs in particular; so it's off to amazon to pursue that possibility. What's blowing my mind is how/why it takes the car so long to overheat, has anyone ever heard of a similar scenario?

Really cool to be part of a community like this, will keep you guys posted.

*Edit: Just re-read response 1, definitely buying the resistor*
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Old 11-21-2015, 02:44 PM   #5
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Thanks a million guys.

Turns out the resistor was bad, I pulled it and noticed that one terminal was fried. New part is on the way and I was able to get a kit for under $30 on Amazon.

Will do my best to be more than a lurker here, communities like this are priceless.

Cheers,
John.
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Old 11-22-2015, 12:04 AM   #6
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Next suspect the low fan relay, they can appear to work fine all day yet be sticking, only one time would get your result. They don't just go bad at once, often just get erratic to not come on 100% every time they should. Look at relay plug point too, they overheat sometimes where they plug in.
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Old 11-22-2015, 11:15 AM   #7
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Thanks, will do. Question for the people:

I'm terrified to drive the rig because the low fan clearly isn't turning on so I know overheating is an inevitability .

Wondering if I can bypass that fan entirely by running the A/C the second I start it. A very cold proposition, but if it can prevent me from borrowing cars until my parts arrive it's something.

Appreciate all who have been along for the ride; by the way (fortunately) the thermostat housing looks newer than the motor and every contact/entry point has been covered in silicone (think they knew a thing or two)

John.
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Old 11-22-2015, 11:32 AM   #8
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Yes you can drive the car with the AC on so the AC fan will run. This will work fine till your parts come in. I had to do this for a week and had no problems. But! If you wait for the temp to climb before you turn the AC on that one fan will NOT move enough air thru the radiator to bring engine temps down in traffic. Trust me... I tried! lol
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Old 11-23-2015, 06:54 PM   #9
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Funny, but some original thermostat housings were fine. My original Focus (an '01) went almost 400 000kms before it became a parts car. When the housing was leaking on my second Focus (an '03), I took the one from the parts car and swapped it in. I've done another 254 000kms with it since, and no leaks.
And I haven't changed a water pump on either car.

Do check that low-speed fan relay. Mine tested fine several times, but like amc49 said, they like to fail intermittently. Swap with another or just buy a new one to be sure--they're not expensive.
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Old 11-24-2015, 07:32 PM   #10
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Well, put the part in today and it seems to be running the low fan before middle temp is reached. Drove 25 miles and let it idle for God knows and temp stayed in safe range.

I think I'm back in business, thanks guys!
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