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Old 03-14-2013, 06:30 PM   #1
spatacuulous
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2001 ZX3 Purging Coolant

Just bought this 2001 ZX3 I6V Vtech. Never overheats on me but coolant steams out of the cap and purges coolant heavily when I ran it to get the air bubbles out of the system. I had hoped it was that but much to my chagrin it's a continuing issue. When I drive anywhere I can hear coolant bubbling inside the expansion tank when I stop and turn the car off.

SO- With all that said and based on my prior experience- it's the head gasket. BUT there's no white smoke and the oil is not milky as other vehicles have been for me. I'm hoping someone can help.

Thanks in Advance!


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Old 03-14-2013, 06:36 PM   #2
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Could possibly be a heater core, do u smell coolant? And do u have the old style cap?
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Old 03-14-2013, 06:40 PM   #3
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Take it to the dealership and have them run a test for combustion gases in your coolant. It sounds like a blown head gasket. It will not overheat until the exhaust gases come out on a larger volume. It may not have become a head gasket leak into the oil passages yet.
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Old 03-14-2013, 09:15 PM   #4
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Are the two engine fans activating at all? If you are hearing a boiling sound coming from the degas tank.....both engine fans sound be running. Low speed cut in is @ 233*/ high speed cut in is at or about 240* degrees. I know, I know.....This is how the system is designed from factory. I had the same problem, and when I heard the boiling sound-and saw steam.....I turned on my ac to engage the ac fan. To my surprise only the ac fan worked....engine fan was dead. Cooling was greatly reduced to the engine and while I still could drive the vehicle, I had to keep the ac on. A scan tool with live data streaming can verify when cut in/cut out fan time begins. My 3 cents.
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Old 03-15-2013, 05:35 AM   #5
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Get a new cap. Seriously. It sounds like your cap is part of the problem if the coolant is not overflowing completely through the overflow hose. It shouldn't be coming out around the cap. You might even need a new coolant reservoir. I have heard of those cracking around the top, so inspect it carefully. I seem to remember a TSB on early coolant reservoirs too, so you might get an "improved" part. If you have to order one, check our our vendor Village Ford for a big discount on OEM parts. Of course, check prices locally and see if it's worth it too.

Cooling systems like the ones in your car must be sealed in order to work. Pressure is what helps keep the coolant from boiling over. If you continue to drive a car that is boiling over like that- you will have head gasket problems that you can identify with oil discoloration or bloated hoses.

You may still have a small leak somewhere. The thermostat housing on these cars is a problem leak spot, and so is the crossover pipe that runs over the top of the cooling fans.

That car is more than 10 years old now. Rubber tends to last about 10 years without issues. Consider that also. It might be time to do a complete cooling system hose replacement- heater hoses, upper and lower radiator hoses, and crossover pipe. Yes it's expensive, but DIY and know that you won't be having any cooling system problems. If you decide to go crazy on the problem like that- first fix your immediate problem, test it with water instead of coolant, and then when you're sure it's fixed- get on to replacing and refill with a coolant mix.
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Old 03-15-2013, 01:09 PM   #6
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WOW! Thank you guys so much for all the info. The fans are going, I hear the engine fan kick in while I'm running it with the hood up. The AC fan? I have not turned it on but I will today and see what happens. I do not smell coolant in the car. I will head to autozone and get a new cap. I already replaced the expansion tank because there was a crack in it where it bolts to the body but I used the old cap.
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Old 03-15-2013, 01:19 PM   #7
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Are both fans running?
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Old 03-15-2013, 03:13 PM   #8
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The Focus is self purging , The line from the top of the thermostat housing to the coolent tank purges all the air out of the coolant system

Bubbles is normal but you shouldn't me hearing them or seeing any coolant coming out , if you do only 2 things will cause this if the fans are on

Stuck thermostat or head gasket would be my guesses , could be a crack some where but that would be very rare
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Old 03-15-2013, 09:03 PM   #9
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Thank you for all the information so far. I replaced the rad cap today and no change. Still bubbling and purging. I will check tonight to see if both fans are running. If they are I will change the thermostat and if that doesnt do it I think I know whats next.... HEAD GASKET.
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