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I have replaced radiators on cars that said to evacuate the AC system, and pull the AC parts out of the way. Good to know it is doable on my car without cracking the AC system.

I hope mine lasts awhile.
 

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Just an update. I refilled the cooling system with distilled water (still had some coolant, although it looked diluted) and drove it for three days to prove it wasn't leaking. Coolant level didn't change, nor did it overheat. But I know sticking thermostats are intermittent, and I wasn't about to find out the hard way about the thermostat. Really no other cause for an otherwise-working cooling system to overheat like that anyway.

So the new Ford thermostat arrived Friday, I installed it today and flushed the system with reverse osmosis filtered water before filling with the purple Chrysler OAT coolant.
 

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Just an update. I refilled the cooling system with distilled water (still had some coolant, although it looked diluted) and drove it for three days to prove it wasn't leaking. Coolant level didn't change, nor did it overheat. But I know sticking thermostats are intermittent, and I wasn't about to find out the hard way about the thermostat. Really no other cause for an otherwise-working cooling system to overheat like that anyway.

So the new Ford thermostat arrived Friday, I installed it today and flushed the system with reverse osmosis filtered water before filling with the purple Chrysler OAT coolant.
 

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Discussion Starter #24 (Edited)
When the car overheated... did you check if the active grill shutters where opened?

If the grill stay closed it will overheat. Failure is not that common but could happen.
 

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When the car overheated... did you check if the active grill shutters where opened?

If the grill stay closed it will overheat. Failure is not that common but could happen.
No, I didn't check the grill shutters. The behavior really wasn't what I would expect with restricted airflow. It was pretty typical of a stuck thermostat - overheated 2 minutes after a cold start, all the way up to warning light temperature.

Really no good way to know for sure with an intermittent problem. If it doesn't recur, it was the thermostat. If it does, I was wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter #26
No, I didn't check the grill shutters. The behavior really wasn't what I would expect with restricted airflow. It was pretty typical of a stuck thermostat - overheated 2 minutes after a cold start, all the way up to warning light temperature.

Really no good way to know for sure with an intermittent problem. If it doesn't recur, it was the thermostat. If it does, I was wrong.
Just curious...what are the warnings on the MK3? Will the car display a warning and go limp mode?
 

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Just curious...what are the warnings on the MK3? Will the car display a warning and go limp mode?
It displays something like "engine high temperature" and sounds a chime. My understanding is it will go into limp home mode when it gets hot enough, apparently I did not let it get that hot. The gauge was close to "H" but not pegged.
 

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Darn thing appears to still have a small leak, coolant level is down nearly 2" after several days. I'm not sure, but it kind of looks like it might be leaking from the new thermostat housing. Which doesn't make a lot of sense as I was pretty careful when I replace the thermostat/housing assembly, checked the mating surface and torqued to spec.

I really need to put a pressure tester on it while it is cool and look around. But the degas bottle cap is apparently not standard in the usual coolant pressure test kits.

Does anybody know what coolant system test adapter part number to use for this car?
 

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Discussion Starter #29

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Don't know but I use this for coolant fill and leaks. Some shops use this model.

Fit perfectly in the coolant bottle cap. (many adapters included)

https://www.amazon.com/UView-550000-Airlift-Cooling-Checker/dp/B0002SRH5G
Looks useful, although the connection to the degas bottle is the "universal" rubber cone.

I went with the Stant kit and the correct Ford adapter. Which is not to say your universal approach is wrong.

Stant 12270 30 Pound Cooling System And Pressure Cap Tester


Stant 12043 Cooling System Pressure Tester Threaded 'Cap' Adapter
 

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Discussion Starter #31 (Edited)
Looks useful, although the connection to the degas bottle is the "universal" rubber cone.

I went with the Stant kit and the correct Ford adapter. Which is not to say your universal approach is wrong.

There is no pressure, it only work on vacuum and rubber expand when you screw the adapter.

You can vacuum test...but I bought it for vacuum filling mainly...some cars need this tool to fill properly. Ford also recommend (helm manual) vacuum filling the MK3 but I think regular fill works well.

I just gave to you this alternative because it cost the same price as your pressure test kit.
 

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There is no pressure, it only work on vacuum and rubber expand when you screw the adapter.

You can vacuum test...but I bought it for vacuum filling mainly...some cars need this tool to fill properly. Ford also recommend (helm manual) vacuum filling the MK3 but I think regular fill works well.
I see. I want to pressure test the cooling system to see if/where I have a leak. Just looking for wind-blown wet spots after the fact isn't going to cut it.
 

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Discussion Starter #33
I see. I want to pressure test the cooling system to see if/where I have a leak. Just looking for wind-blown wet spots after the fact isn't going to cut it.
Agree
 

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Ordered a water pump, tensioner and two serpentine belts. 76K on the water pump when it started leaking, presuming my second guess is correct. Hopefully the pressure tester arrives at the same time as the repair parts, I still want to try and confirm before swapping the parts.
 

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Discussion Starter #35
Ordered a water pump, tensioner and two serpentine belts. 76K on the water pump when it started leaking, presuming my second guess is correct. Hopefully the pressure tester arrives at the same time as the repair parts, I still want to try and confirm before swapping the parts.
Be careful with the AC belt...it's a stretch belt... I presume you already know [grinking]
 

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The AC belt has no tensioner........?
I have an Escape that has the Water pump drive belt that is like that. Been working on cars a lot of years, but have yet to change one of those.
 

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Be careful with the AC belt...it's a stretch belt... I presume you already know [grinking]
Oh joy. No, I didn't know. Do I have to loosen the AC compressor or something? I'll go read the Helm's manual. This car has needed quite a bit of maintenance for only being 5 years old, 75K miles. The control arm bushings ripped twice, struts, tie rods, two clutches, TCM, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #38
The AC belt has no tensioner........?
I have an Escape that has the Water pump drive belt that is like that. Been working on cars a lot of years, but have yet to change one of those.
No tensioner on the AC belt... it require a stretch belt install / remove tool. Do not install with force it will damage the belt.

Stretch belt tool is not that expensive. <40$ on amazon.
 

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Maybe too little too late; but I flush and clean my cooling system yearly. Easy to do yourself; Takes about forty five minutes; but I have a 92 Ranger with 300k and a 2000 Super Duty with 175k; both have the original radiators...
 

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Maybe too little too late; but I flush and clean my cooling system yearly. Easy to do yourself; Takes about forty five minutes; but I have a 92 Ranger with 300k and a 2000 Super Duty with 175k; both have the original radiators...
Not necessary with the OAT coolant in the Focus, should last at least 5 years if not longer. In this case a leaky water pump is just a leaky water pump, not neglected coolant.
 
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