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Discussion Starter #1
2001 SE Wagon DOHC with about 110,000 miles. The temp gauge normally sits at or just below the middle of the range, even in stop and go city traffic. However, if I drive it around 70mph or a little higher for any sustained period, or go up a lengthy incline at freeway speeds, the temp gauge needle goes well past the center and towards the upper part of the range (without getting to the red and overheating).

Just slowing down to about 60, and then stepping on the gas slightly, will bring it right back down to the middle, but running at higher speeds will cause it to go right back up again. Any thoughts as to what could be going on here?
 

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Possibly your thermostat is stuck...it is not fully opening.

Since it is December and NY is quite cool right now, radiator fan problems are not likely to cause this, so that can be eliminated.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yes, highly unlikely to be a fan problem this time of year in this part of the country. Anyway, I pretty recently replaced the fans, resistor, wiring, etc. Could be thermostat, but how often do they stick part way? Usually in my experience they either fail open or closed.

A friend mentioned that his car (not a Focus, or even a Ford) once had a similar problem and the dealer just changed the radiator cap.
 

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Yes, the usual stat fail is open or shut, but partially open does happen.

The only other thing I can think of would be a blocked radiator (mud, bugs, whatever), or the radiator is clogged internally.
 

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They stick partially more than you think.................
 

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Yes, highly unlikely to be a fan problem this time of year in this part of the country. Anyway, I pretty recently replaced the fans, resistor, wiring, etc. Could be thermostat, but how often do they stick part way? Usually in my experience they either fail open or closed.

A friend mentioned that his car (not a Focus, or even a Ford) once had a similar problem and the dealer just changed the radiator cap.
Yea they can stick slightly open. I'd start w/ a t-stat.
 

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If car has been run long term with no/too low antifreeze amount in the coolant then residue and sediment buildup inside the water jackets can do this too. If so the cure will not be easy.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Open the cap and check your coolant level too. Sometimes the reservoir gets stained and we can't see what the level is.
My reservoir so dark that I can't read the levels anymore from the outside. Have to open it up and shine a light down in there to see the level. The level was fine until I did some transmission work a few weeks back and lost some coolant. I guess didn't refill it quite enough, because the it was low once I drove it a bit. So I added coolant/water mixture to the "puddle in the bottom of the reservoir" level shown on the outside of reservoir. But the problem described has been the same.

Radiator is clear, with nothing blocking it.
 

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If it is gunk on the inside preventing you from seeing the level, take that reservoir off and put some ice with a little water in it. Give it a good shake and let the ice scrub the inside.
 

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I use gasoline and let it soak for a couple days then rinse with water and add small particle (1/8") aquarium gravel. I also cap up the ports with old hose. Small enough gravel so you can tilt bottle every which way to get it in all the passages there, then shake hard for a few minutes, the gravel will chew the loosened sediment right off the plastic to make an almost brand new looking bottle there. I was amazed when I did my last one, that idea panned out like gangbusters.
 

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I use gasoline and let it soak for a couple days then rinse with water and add small particle (1/8") aquarium gravel. I also cap up the ports with old hose. Small enough gravel so you can tilt bottle every which way to get it in all the passages there, then shake hard for a few minutes, the gravel will chew the loosened sediment right off the plastic to make an almost brand new looking bottle there. I was amazed when I did my last one, that idea panned out like gangbusters.
Never thought of that^^^^^
 

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Brother, it will freak you out how clean it gets, at least that one did. Part looked brand new other than the plastic itself had yellowed ever so slightly from aging.
 
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