Cooling problems & overheating on a 2003 Focus Wagon 2.3L - Ford Focus Forum, Ford Focus ST Forum, Ford Focus RS Forum
Ford Focus Forum
HomeContact UsAbout UsGalleryDiscussion ForumsMarketplace


Go Back   Ford Focus Forum, Ford Focus ST Forum, Ford Focus RS Forum > Ford Focus Tech Discussions > General Technical Chat

General Technical Chat This section is for technical discussions relating to general maintenance, electrical issues, engine trouble, and recalls.

Search This Forum | Image Search | Advanced Search    
FocusFest

Like Tree1Likes
Reply




 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 01-14-2016, 10:30 AM   #1
Focus Enthusiast
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Fan#: 284689
Location: California, CA
What I Drive: 2003 Focus SE Wagon 2.3L

Posts: 60
Points 121, Level 2
Points: 121, Level: 2 Points: 121, Level: 2 Points: 121, Level: 2
Level Up 43% Completed
Level up: 43% Level up: 43% Level up: 43%
Forum Activity 3%
Activity: 3% Activity: 3% Activity: 3%
FF Reputation: 3 Aleks Good Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (0)
Cooling problems & overheating on a 2003 Focus Wagon 2.3L

Hey guys,

I'm currently fixing up a focus I bought on the cheap, and hoping I could bounce some ideas on the problem I'm having with the coolant system.

I bought the car pretty cheap and its in good condition, and the engine runs great, but it overheats under load.

The car:

2003 Focus Wagon 2.3L automatic w/ 189K miles

I drove it back home and it rode great but overheated at home.

Things I have replaced thus far in the cooling system this weekend.
  • Gates waterpump
  • Gates serpentine belt
  • Stant #48708 thermostat
  • Coolant overflow bottle
  • Fan resistor & pigtail w/ dielectric grease on connector

So now we get into some trouble. I took it for a test drive on Tuesday to work in the morning. All was well in the morning it seemed. After I got out I noticed there was a puddle underneath the car, and when I drove it back home on the highway the gauge would move around (I have a bluetooth OBD w/ app on my phone) the gauge was going closer to 230* and bouncing around unless I was just cruising on flat road.
  • On any kind of uphill grade the temp will rise quite fast
  • On a downhill grade it drops to ~180-190 ish.

When I came back home I parked and opened the hood and the overflow tank was empty, and I heard a hissing from the bottom hose of the overflow tank, and when I gave the hose a squeeze, the Tee in front of the thermostat housing developed a pinhole and coolant squeezed out.

Yesterday I took apart the Tee (which broke, the barb broke off in the hose at the slightest touch, so I thought it was that) and replaced it with a new Gates heater Tee, and while there I replaced the coolant bottle with my new one since the old one was being rubbed by the hood stand I think and was wearing away, and put on the new generic 20PSI pressure cap that came with the new tank.

I took it for a drive to a local store, and when I came back out I looked underneath the car, and not a drop on the ground, and the coolant tank was full, so I thought that was that.

Right after that I decided to go to the gas station to check the tire pressure, so while idling and waiting for the car that was already using the air hose, I was keeping an eye on the temperature gauge, and t started climbing past 200, 220, it hit 230 before I shut it off. When I moved closer to the compressor I noticed a huge coolant puddle where I was, so I popped the hood and the new generic radiator cap unscrewed somehow and blew completely off the tank, and it was empty with coolant everywhere. So i filled it up with water, and put the cap back on and drove home, which was only 5 min away, the gauge stayed in the normal temp range. I put the stock radiator cap back on which is a lower pressure (18psi i believe), after the drive home.

not quite sure what it would be, some info that might be of help to diagnose
  • Fans work and turn on, both with the AC switched on, and by themselves
  • Heater seems to work, and blows very hot
  • When I changed the oil, it was dark, but clean and non milky
  • Old radiator fluid was bright green and non cloudy

I went ahead and bought a new radiator since maybe it's clogged and at $40 bucks, not too big of a hit since the car was very cheap.

I don't think I need to flush the heater core since it seems to blow nice and hot, and I don't smell anything through the vents, but maybe I should? where are the connections, and are they easy to get to on the car?

How much should the car fluctuate temperature wise?

I have another car as a daily driver that I'm using as a point of reference (98 Saturn 1.9L sohc), and it stays ROCK steady at 195* in any kind of driving, highway or city, and as long as it's moving even a few mph it will be +/-2* no matter what. Only on long idling on a hot SoCal day will it ever start climbing and then I will just turn on the ac and the fans turn on and cool it right back down to 195* within a few seconds.

The focus seems to jump around +/- at least 20*, but hasn't gone below 180 with the new thermostat. The old thermostat was definitely bad as downhill would cool the temp down to ~160*, and when I took it off, it was stuck half open.

Any help or ideas are appreciated.


Aleks is offline  
    Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 01-14-2016, 10:38 AM   #2
Elder
 
sailor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Fan#: 57268
Location: Lockport, NY
What I Drive: 2004 Pitch Black ZTS 2.3 5spd.

Posts: 34,625
Points 24,130, Level 94
Points: 24,130, Level: 94 Points: 24,130, Level: 94 Points: 24,130, Level: 94
Level Up 78% Completed
Level up: 78% Level up: 78% Level up: 78%
Forum Activity 100%
Activity: 100% Activity: 100% Activity: 100%
FF Reputation: 117 sailor Excellent Standing Member sailor Excellent Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (0)
Moved to General Tech Chat where you can find more information.

Focus runs hotter than you're used to, and the fans play a LARGE role in controlling temps when not on the hwy..

Once you get the leaks tamed it should be fine as long as both fan speeds continue working.
__________________
"Rubber Side Down"

S.R. #275
Focus Takeover #003 / Tarbo Fan #003
sailor is offline  
    Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-14-2016, 10:47 AM   #3
Focus Enthusiast
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Fan#: 284689
Location: California, CA
What I Drive: 2003 Focus SE Wagon 2.3L

Posts: 60
Points 121, Level 2
Points: 121, Level: 2 Points: 121, Level: 2 Points: 121, Level: 2
Level Up 43% Completed
Level up: 43% Level up: 43% Level up: 43%
Forum Activity 3%
Activity: 3% Activity: 3% Activity: 3%
FF Reputation: 3 Aleks Good Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (0)
Quote:
Originally Posted by sailor View Post
Focus runs hotter than you're used to, and the fans play a LARGE role in controlling temps when not on the hwy..

Once you get the leaks tamed it should be fine as long as both fan speeds continue working.
Thank you, I'm hoping the new radiator will be the last piece of the puzzle, and I can do one last fill of coolant and be done with it.

So I see the resistor blowing seems to be a common problem, what causes this? My connector was burned, so I'd like to do everything I can to make sure the new set lasts.
Aleks is offline  
    Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-14-2016, 10:50 AM   #4
Elder
 
sailor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Fan#: 57268
Location: Lockport, NY
What I Drive: 2004 Pitch Black ZTS 2.3 5spd.

Posts: 34,625
Points 24,130, Level 94
Points: 24,130, Level: 94 Points: 24,130, Level: 94 Points: 24,130, Level: 94
Level Up 78% Completed
Level up: 78% Level up: 78% Level up: 78%
Forum Activity 100%
Activity: 100% Activity: 100% Activity: 100%
FF Reputation: 117 sailor Excellent Standing Member sailor Excellent Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (0)
You'll read a lot about the resistor pack & connector here, but if you pay attention you'll see it's primarily from Zetec engine cars.

Theirs is closer to the engine (engine side of shroud) and the exhaust is right there to heat things up. Missing heat shields don't help either.

Don't see a lot of problems with them on the duratecs.
__________________
"Rubber Side Down"

S.R. #275
Focus Takeover #003 / Tarbo Fan #003
sailor is offline  
    Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-14-2016, 11:21 AM   #5
Focus Enthusiast
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Fan#: 284689
Location: California, CA
What I Drive: 2003 Focus SE Wagon 2.3L

Posts: 60
Points 121, Level 2
Points: 121, Level: 2 Points: 121, Level: 2 Points: 121, Level: 2
Level Up 43% Completed
Level up: 43% Level up: 43% Level up: 43%
Forum Activity 3%
Activity: 3% Activity: 3% Activity: 3%
FF Reputation: 3 Aleks Good Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (0)
Do you think anything could have happened before/after to make the overflow tank cap forcibly pop off? The cap was a generic one that came with the overflow bottle and was rated for 20PSI. Are they supposed to vent through the center?
Aleks is offline  
    Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-14-2016, 12:30 PM   #6
Elder
 
sailor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Fan#: 57268
Location: Lockport, NY
What I Drive: 2004 Pitch Black ZTS 2.3 5spd.

Posts: 34,625
Points 24,130, Level 94
Points: 24,130, Level: 94 Points: 24,130, Level: 94 Points: 24,130, Level: 94
Level Up 78% Completed
Level up: 78% Level up: 78% Level up: 78%
Forum Activity 100%
Activity: 100% Activity: 100% Activity: 100%
FF Reputation: 117 sailor Excellent Standing Member sailor Excellent Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (0)
Can't judge the quality of the aftermarket cap/bottle from here, they certainly should vent before popping off. Hopefully the stock one fits & works better.
__________________
"Rubber Side Down"

S.R. #275
Focus Takeover #003 / Tarbo Fan #003
sailor is offline  
    Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-14-2016, 05:53 PM   #7
Focus Enthusiast
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Fan#: 284689
Location: California, CA
What I Drive: 2003 Focus SE Wagon 2.3L

Posts: 60
Points 121, Level 2
Points: 121, Level: 2 Points: 121, Level: 2 Points: 121, Level: 2
Level Up 43% Completed
Level up: 43% Level up: 43% Level up: 43%
Forum Activity 3%
Activity: 3% Activity: 3% Activity: 3%
FF Reputation: 3 Aleks Good Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (0)
So I took it for another drive just now with the stock coolant overflow cap. It is still fluctuating a lot with temperature, were talking +30* [195*] -15* depending on grade, even an easy grade up an offramp from the highway raises the temp by about 10* and thats barely giving it some gas to round the loop.

Up a large hill ~55-60mph it climbed from ~195* to 220* within a few seconds, and down the same hill with no throttle cooled down to ~180* within a mile.

I then parked it and watched the idle, and both fans kicked on around 217* and turned off around 210*

For another point of reference I went for a ride in my roommates saab, and though he has a cooler thermostat, 177* was his regular operating temp, and up the same big hill it went up maybe 10*, and never went below 175*

I then drove back to where I was parked the Focus, to check if the coolant cap was still under pressure, and it was still pressurized a fair bit when I slowly turned it to release the pressure. The car was off at that point for about 20/25 minutes or so.

I'm hoping it's a dodgy radiator, and I will report back once I install the new one hopefully next weekend.
Aleks is offline  
    Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-14-2016, 09:00 PM   #8
Focus Fanatic
 
Marde's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Fan#: 115991
Location: Mesa, AZ
What I Drive: 2004 ZTW PZEV 2.3 ATX

Posts: 2,791
Points 5,146, Level 45
Points: 5,146, Level: 45 Points: 5,146, Level: 45 Points: 5,146, Level: 45
Level Up 98% Completed
Level up: 98% Level up: 98% Level up: 98%
Forum Activity 29%
Activity: 29% Activity: 29% Activity: 29%
FF Reputation: 33 Marde Great Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (0)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aleks View Post
...I then parked it and watched the idle, and both fans kicked on around 217* and turned off around 210*...
I am not seeing any problem with the temps you reported.

The odometer test-mode measures CHT in Celsius, so I also set-up my OBD adapter Phone App to measure in C. I had to convert your temps-in-F to understand where your numbers are; the temps look fine.


The two links below have some good info, you should check these out->

High Engine Temp/Potential overheating?


2.3 Thermostat, can I just get the 'stat itself?
see post-8 at this link; it shows temps when measuring with two different tools (1) odometer test mode (2) OBD adapter with Torque App.
__________________
You've got to ask yourself one question: Do you feel lucky? -and could you really drive a Focus ATX Wagon?
Marde is offline  
    Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-14-2016, 09:22 PM   #9
Focus Enthusiast
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Fan#: 284689
Location: California, CA
What I Drive: 2003 Focus SE Wagon 2.3L

Posts: 60
Points 121, Level 2
Points: 121, Level: 2 Points: 121, Level: 2 Points: 121, Level: 2
Level Up 43% Completed
Level up: 43% Level up: 43% Level up: 43%
Forum Activity 3%
Activity: 3% Activity: 3% Activity: 3%
FF Reputation: 3 Aleks Good Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (0)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marde View Post
I am not seeing any problem with the temps you reported.
I just don't feel comfortable driving the car when just going up one hill and the temp climbs 30-40* and then drops 50* going down the same hill, and it has already dumped coolant twice at me when it went north of 235* idling at a stand still.

This is on a cool brisk day of 65 ambient air temp, let alone in the summer when ambient temperatures get to 90*+, if the cooling system doesn't have the overhead to dampen one hill climb on a cool day with no traffic all at 50mph speeds, it's not something I can trust.

the glass is definitely half empty, as the rest of it dumped out a coolant line somewhere.
Aleks is offline  
    Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-14-2016, 10:05 PM   #10
Focus Fanatic
 
Marde's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Fan#: 115991
Location: Mesa, AZ
What I Drive: 2004 ZTW PZEV 2.3 ATX

Posts: 2,791
Points 5,146, Level 45
Points: 5,146, Level: 45 Points: 5,146, Level: 45 Points: 5,146, Level: 45
Level Up 98% Completed
Level up: 98% Level up: 98% Level up: 98%
Forum Activity 29%
Activity: 29% Activity: 29% Activity: 29%
FF Reputation: 33 Marde Great Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (0)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aleks View Post
I just don't feel comfortable driving the car when just going up one hill and the temp climbs 30-40* and then drops 50* going down the same hill, and it has already dumped coolant twice at me when it went north of 235* idling at a stand still. ...
The coolant "dump" is its' own issue, so forget about that for a moment.

The temp swing seems either normal or maybe a bit odd. Needs further thought or analysis.

My post was focused in on what normal temps are for the 2.3 engine. Your highest temp reported so far is 235F = 112 or 113C = normal... -And that temp is about the temp that the fans kick-on Low speed. Completely normal, no overheating going on here.
__________________
You've got to ask yourself one question: Do you feel lucky? -and could you really drive a Focus ATX Wagon?
Marde is offline  
    Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply

Bookmarks & Social Networks

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Ford Focus Forum, Ford Focus ST Forum, Ford Focus RS Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:
What I Drive
Year, color, and model of your car. Example: 2003 Pitch Black ZX3
Name
Your real name.
City
State
Country
Insurance
Please select your insurance company (Optional)

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:22 AM.


Copyright 2002-2015 FocusFanatics.com. All Rights Reserved : Privacy Policy : Advertise Information

Focus Fanatics Ford Focus Forum offers many fun ways for you to engage with other Ford Focus Owners from across the world. Whether it be about the aftermarket performance modifications, technical how-to's, European tuned suspension or awesome fuel economy similar to the Mazda CX-3, Audi S3, Mazda MX-5 Miata and Acura TLX. You can find all Ford Focus, Focus ST and Focus RS related information here. Join our Ford Focus discussion forums and chat with local Focus enthusiasts in your area. If you own other makes have a look at Challenger Hellcat Forum, Charger Hellcat Forum, Cadillac ATS-V Forum, Cadillac ATS Forum, Cadillac CTS-V Forum, Lexus RC-F Forum, Lexus GS-F Forum, Mercedes GLA Forum, Mercedes GLE Forum, Civic Type-R Forum and Volvo XC90 Forum.




 

Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.1