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Old 05-14-2011, 10:20 AM   #1
aiwasoundsystem
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2003 2.0 Zetec Overheating

Ok not to rush the experts but I only have today and tomorrow to try and figure this out until I have free time again in a week. This is a daily driver and I can't have it down during the work week.

While I'm driving at highway speeds my car will stay cool. In town driving in outside air temps above 65ish my car starts to overheat. I can start 3 miles from my destination and about halfway there it can start to overheat. There are some hills but I wouldn't think it should overheat that fast. To keep the car cool I have to run the heater full blast to keep the engine cool.

What I have done:

1) Replace resistor and pig tail due to fans not spinning when needed. They now work correctly about a year ago.

2) Replaced thermostat/thermostat housing due to cracked housing about a year and a half ago.

3) Cooling system flush 6 months ago.

4) Replaced coolant bottle and cap due to cracked coolant bottle 6 months ago.

I have a new pump and thermostat that I have as just in case parts. I would just like some input as to any other ideas anyone may have about this situation. Thanks in advance for any help or light you can shed on this situation.


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Old 05-14-2011, 01:46 PM   #2
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Also, how would you check to make sure the coolant is circulating correctly in the system?
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Old 05-14-2011, 05:59 PM   #3
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If you "run the heater full blast to keep the engine cool" and it belts out hot air and you did a flush fairly recently and nothing untoward showed up, I doubt you have a coolant circulation problem.
You didn't mention in any of the stuff above about whether or not you've actually confirmed the fans are indeed coming on when commanded - a year is enough time for things to break again depending on conditions - or if the engine is actually overheating. i.e. it may be a faulty gauge or CHT sensor or the associated wiring. Does the engine "feel" hot when it's indicating a hot condition?
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Old 05-14-2011, 06:04 PM   #4
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First advise, go to your local autozone, and "RENT" a pressure check system. Pressurize the system to see if it will hold pressure. Make sure your radiator fans are comming on. (Let car come to temp in a drive way have someone watch temp for safety and see if fans come on). Check to see how much collant is in the system, Is it full??? Does the hose to thermostat get hot? Is the thermostat opening???? If you aren't holding pressure, check for leaks, and head gasket issues. If pressure is steady 5-10PSI. Check for blockages, or passageways not opening.

hope this helps.
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Old 05-15-2011, 12:51 AM   #5
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I live 70 miles from the nearest autozone so it's hard to do that. That being said, I am not losing coolant anywhere and the coolant level stays steady and full. The fans do kick on (both high and low) both when the car get's hot and if AC is in use. My first job will be to change out the thermostat tomorrow. I haven't felt the hose (don't know why I haven't yet). I will boil test the old thermostat to see how it behaves.

Yes the engine is getting hot and I can definitely feel it and hear the coolant make a bubbling noise when I turn off the engine. But, I think it's just hot coolant returning to the bottle.

If that doesn't work I should have enough time during the week one day to swap the water pump. It has 188k miles on it and the previous owner was running the green crap through it so I'm sure it will need it soon anyways.

When I get a chance to get to town I'll get the pressure check done. I am going to flush the system again tomorrow when I change out the thermostat and then run a bunch of distilled water through the block and radiator to see what all comes out as a rinse.

If I'm not losing coolant it should indicate that i'm not losing pressure at least.

Thanks for all the info and suggestions guys, if anything else springs to mind let me know and I'll keep you updated on progress.
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Last edited by aiwasoundsystem; 05-15-2011 at 12:53 AM. Reason: cause i'm an idiot and it's late ... and I have beer in me system.
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Old 05-15-2011, 12:54 AM   #6
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Also, one other quick question. To rinse the radiator to I just need to introduce the water into the top of the radiator and let it flow out the lower hose?
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Old 05-15-2011, 01:16 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aiwasoundsystem View Post
Also, one other quick question. To rinse the radiator to I just need to introduce the water into the top of the radiator and let it flow out the lower hose?
It's better to fill the radiator system with water and a flush compound..... then run it for a spell and dump it.
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Old 05-15-2011, 01:30 AM   #8
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My zetec has no top radiator full. Buy a Radiator Flush kit, hook into a hose going to the heater core, and run water till its clean :) also get a cleaning agent let it run for 4-6 hours prior to the flush kit, it will look pretty pretty when your done.
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Old 05-15-2011, 08:50 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexorg View Post
It's better to fill the radiator system with water and a flush compound..... then run it for a spell and dump it.
I planned on flushing it before rinsing it out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serenity181 View Post
My zetec has no top radiator full. Buy a Radiator Flush kit, hook into a hose going to the heater core, and run water till its clean :) also get a cleaning agent let it run for 4-6 hours prior to the flush kit, it will look pretty pretty when your done.
I haven't seen a cleaning kit or a flush kit (with hoses to hook up). All I have seen for a flush is an additive you add to straight distilled water and run through the engine for an hour with the heater on high.

What would I be looking for as a cleaning agent?
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Old 05-15-2011, 09:03 AM   #10
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http://www.amazon.com/Prestone-AFKIT...5468177&sr=8-1

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