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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen. I have a frustrating issue that I hope you might be able to help me with. First I'll tell you the problem and then I'll tell you how it came about.

As the title states, I have a 2001 focus ZX3. From a cold start, after driving it for about 20-30 minutes in normal city driving, my temperature gauge begins to climb towards hot at a very consistent rate, eventually overheating, once to the point of activating the fail safe. It seems to have nothing to do with how fast I'm driving. Once this starts, I pull over and let it cool down. Under the hood I notice that the coolant level in the reservoir has risen, and one time (after not putting the cap on tight enough) the cap blew open. The upper radiator hose also feels very pressurized. I suspected it might have been the fans, and after running it with the A/C on to force the fans on high, I still had the same issue. I have done nothing to it except replace the coolant.

It started when I noticed my coolant was running a little low after a record breaking summer, so I put some water in it to top it off till I could afford proper coolant. That is when the issue started. I had a mechanic look at it and he said that it was because I was running mostly water, so I replaced the water with 50/50. The same issue occurred again, and the mechanic suggested that It might be because there is air in the coolant system. I have tried the method he told me to "burp" the system, running it with the cap off, no burp same issue. I also tried running it with the defroster or heater on, still no burp same issue. It has been about a month now and nothing has changed.

I don't live far from work so I can live with this issue for a while, especially since we are moving into winter. However I would like to get it fixed and I don't want to pay another mechanic to guess what it is and not fix the issue. My best guesses are either the thermostat being stuck closed (Would the upper hose still be hot and pressurized if it was?) or blockage in the radiator (If so would it still drive normal for 20-30 minutes before overheating?)

Sorry if I left out any details and thank you in advance for any advice provided.[wave]
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi! Thanks for the welcome and the quick reply!

Thank you for the link and I will definitely check it out. However since I can get both fans running on high with the a/c on, and it still overheats, wouldn't that indicate that the problem isn't necessarily the fans turning on? please correct me if I'm wrong I'm kind of a nub.
 

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Hi! Thanks for the welcome and the quick reply!

Thank you for the link and I will definitely check it out. However since I can get both fans running on high with the a/c on, and it still overheats, wouldn't that indicate that the problem isn't necessarily the fans turning on? please correct me if I'm wrong I'm kind of a nub.
check your water pump! check the engine oil too, if the oil looks greyish may be your cylinder head gasket problem. and also pull out the spark plug cable to inspect may be any water around them. if that so, replace the water plug located on the cylinder head in between the plugs.
 

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The fans don't cool the car while it's moving, air flows naturally through the radiator more than the fans can assist. I agree with the stuck thermostat being the first thing you should look into. When you have the thermostat out, reinstall the thermostat housing without a thermostat, refill the system with water, and turn the engine on. Now grab a hose and make sure you're circulating water. If not, then you have a bad water pump. Another way to tell is to grab a heater hose while the engine is idling- in this car the heater circulates coolant continuously. It is more difficult for me to tell if I have flow through a smaller hose.

Now flush the radiator, the engine, and the heater core while you have the system drained of coolant, and it's still a little warm outside. That will help insure that you don't have any other problems. Flushing is simple, and should be done when the thermostat housing is removed. All you do is force water forwards and backwards through the engine, radiator, and heater core using the hoses until no rust runs out. Replace hoses as needed. If you need a more detailed description of flushing I can give you one.

Hopefully you'll be able to verify that you have a working water pump, and after the repair you'll have a vehicle that doesn't overheat. Multiple overheating sessions with any engine can cause the head gasket to fail, so be aware of that, and when that happens it will go one of 2 ways. You'll have water in the oil, and loss of coolant. The engine will loose coolant quickly and overheat within 20 mins. Sometimes it will overheat in minutes, and the hoses will feel very bloated and swollen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks guys, that's 2 telling me to check the thermostat, as well as a couple irl friends. I will definitely do that at my first opportunity and will let you guys know how it goes! THanks again!
 

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I replaced my thermo on my Zetec Focus and 14 months later it failed. This was a Ford Original part, don't rule that out!

Water pumpts usually last a long time. How many miles does your car have? I replaced mine at 100k miles and it looked fine...but don't rule that out either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Good news guys! It was the thermostat! Thanks again for the help, you guys saved me a lot of money! You guys rock!
 
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