Hello everyone! It's a bit of a ramble but please give it a read and help me, if possible!
I drive an '03 Ford Focus wagon with the 2.0 Zetec. It has been quite trouble free with mostly routine maintenance for the last few years. However since last December, I have been experiencing these weird episodes of the car threatening to overheat, especially in extended traffic jams(doesn't usually matter the time, though middays are particularly troublesome). However, the car's temp will stabilize as soon as I turn on the air conditioning.
I first traced the problem to a dodgy primary cooling fan. I changed the fan, and the problem seemed to go away, temporarily.
It was then apparent that my coolant overflow tank had a crack in it. It wasn't too big, but then I believed it would be enough to mess up the pressure of my cooling system. I then sought another expansion tank from my mechanic.
After searching for an extended period however, he could not find the exact type of overflow tank.(I happen to be in Ghana, Foci are not too common here)
He however found a smaller one that fit quite well. The problem however, never really went away- although it got a bit better.
Things however came to a head last week as my temperature needle quickly charged almost to the red on my way to work. I pulled over, and whiles the coolant hadn't boiled, the hose leading to my thermostat housing had expanded to more than twice its size. Seeing that, I concluded I had a failed thermostat and quickly removed the thermostat on the side of the road. I made it to work with no problem.
I automatically assumed my thermostat had failed closed, thus solving my mystery. Boy, was I wrong.
Three days later in extreme rush hour traffic, I caught the temp needle inching away from it's normal midpoint to the red...I quickly turned on the air conditioning and the needle quickly fled back to its point at the center. Sigh. The problem was back! When I got home and checked, the pipe leading to the thermostat housing had expanded once again.
I have multiple suspicions, highest of which is the smaller overflow tank. I believe it affected the pressure of the entire cooling system. Here are pictures of the old and new tanks so y'alls can be the judge.
But then, could it also be that my head gasket is going? I haven't really given this much of thought as the signs (oil in coolant/ vice versa,) are not noticable. However I do have to top up coolant every week or so (Have had long standing thermostat housing leak as well).
Thanks for reading this far and not clicking away in boredom . Please help a brother!