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Old 04-20-2014, 05:33 PM   #1
FordZX32000
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Radiator and Cap- ???

I put the cap on too tight after topping of the coolant tank. After the car was driven and came up to normal operating temp, water begin to spew out of the radiator obviously from a leak near bottom on drivers side.
Took the cap off after cool down and put back on snug. Ran car again and now loosing very little coolant, as in a tiny drip if that. Is there a certain way to put the cap on snug versus tight ?


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Old 04-20-2014, 08:52 PM   #2
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Just finger tight is all I do , the coolant tank should only be filled to the hot mark if you fill it all the way up it will always blow some out

Tom
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Old 04-20-2014, 08:58 PM   #3
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Look at the drain petcock on the driver's side for a potential source of the leak that's not tragic. It's just sealed by an O-ring when pushed in & twisted to lock in place.
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Old 04-20-2014, 09:32 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1turbofocus View Post
Just finger tight is all I do , the coolant tank should only be filled to the hot mark if you fill it all the way up it will always blow some out

Tom
It's filled to the max level mark on the tank. It's not blowing out of the cap, when I put the cap on too tight. It was blowing it out of the radiator near the bottom on the drivers side and possibly in other areas of the radiator.
The petcock-water outlet to the radiator is not leaking. I can see a small drizzle of coolant just to the right of it on the actual radiator.
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Old 04-20-2014, 09:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailor View Post
Look at the drain petcock on the driver's side for a potential source of the leak that's not tragic. It's just sealed by an O-ring when pushed in & twisted to lock in place.
I'm sure it's not leaking from the petcock. However just to the right of it there is a small drizzle of coolant.
I did not realize that the cap on the coolant tank, had so much control on the amount of pressure in the system.
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Old 04-20-2014, 10:38 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FordZX32000 View Post
I did not realize that the cap on the coolant tank, had so much control on the amount of pressure in the system.
You should be able to simply tighten the cap fully on the reservoir and not worry about the "degree of tightening" of the cap. The fact that your car leaks when you have it properly tightened would indicate weaknesses in your cooling system that can't withstand the full 14 psi (iirc) system pressure. By leaving the cap lose or not fully snug, you're possibly decreasing the ability of your cooling system to cope with severe conditions. Fix the leaks; they could be sources of potential failure in the future that may leave you stuck on the roadside on a hot summer day.
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Old 04-21-2014, 04:46 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BC_ZX3 View Post
You should be able to simply tighten the cap fully on the reservoir and not worry about the "degree of tightening" of the cap. The fact that your car leaks when you have it properly tightened would indicate weaknesses in your cooling system that can't withstand the full 14 psi (iirc) system pressure. By leaving the cap lose or not fully snug, you're possibly decreasing the ability of your cooling system to cope with severe conditions. Fix the leaks; they could be sources of potential failure in the future that may leave you stuck on the roadside on a hot summer day.
You have valid points here.
I certainly do not want to be stranded here in TX on a hot summer day !!!
Is it a pain to change out the radiator ?
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Old 04-21-2014, 06:32 AM   #8
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I don't have a Zetec.... but doesn't that reservoir cap have a torque cap that you can't tighten but so much? One that clicks free once you've gotten it tight? Those can go bad, but it's rare and usually after the car is very old or had some sort of problem where it had to be removed frequently.
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Old 04-21-2014, 06:36 AM   #9
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The newer redesigned ones click, the older ones just get snug. I bought a aftermarket replacement one that's a few psi higher than stock, it just screws on snug. The new tank and cap I bought for my other focus as a clicking top that won't let you over tighten it.
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Old 04-21-2014, 11:07 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FordZX32000 View Post
I'm sure it's not leaking from the petcock. However just to the right of it there is a small drizzle of coolant.
one of the most common antifreeze leaks discussed on this forum is the thermostat housing. So, check that before you go to the expense of replacing a radiator, because a leaky housing could dribble down the engine/transmission and wind-up just a couple of inches from the petcock, fooling you into looking elsewhere for the source.
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