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97 Ford Explorer over heating...

centermass556centermass556 Senior MemberPosts: 3,579 Senior Member
Have a 97 ford explorer over heaating....

Just happened out of the blue. Plenty of coolant. In fact, coolant level does not change when engine is running. No leaking coolent. No adnormal sounds prior too...like the sound of a water bump going bad. Fan is working. Seems to be no hot air when I turn on the environment controls for the cab....

I was thinking either thermostat or water pump....
"To have really lived, you must have almost died. To those who have fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know."

Replies

  • jbp-ohiojbp-ohio Senior Member Pensacola, FLPosts: 10,826 Senior Member
    cpj wrote: »
    Thermostat is cheap.

    :this:
    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." Thomas Jefferson
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Dellrose TNPosts: 18,428 Senior Member
    Are you losing coolant, or is it just indicating "hot" on the dash gauge? With a good radiator cap of the proper pressure rating, the coolant can get to 250+ degrees before it boils. Where are you checking the coolant level, the radiator or the reservoir tank? One reason the heater will fail to warm the car is a very low coolant level in the radiator, even if the reserve tank is indicating "full". If there's a leak in one of the hoses, its very possible for air to get back into the system without drawing any fluid from the reserve tank, so always check the radiator level with the engine cold to get a good idea of the actual quantity of coolant.
    Jerry

    Edit: Try getting someone to do a pressure test on the system before you start swapping parts. The radiator should hold 15-18 lbs. of pressure for 30 minutes or so if everything is kosher in the cooling system.
    Jerry
  • BigDanSBigDanS Senior Member Miami, FL almost in the USA ;)Posts: 6,992 Senior Member
    Teach wrote: »
    Are you losing coolant, or is it just indicating "hot" on the dash gauge? With a good radiator cap of the proper pressure rating, the coolant can get to 250+ degrees before it boils. Where are you checking the coolant level, the radiator or the reservoir tank? One reason the heater will fail to warm the car is a very low coolant level in the radiator, even if the reserve tank is indicating "full". If there's a leak in one of the hoses, its very possible for air to get back into the system without drawing any fluid from the reserve tank, so always check the radiator level with the engine cold to get a good idea of the actual quantity of coolant.
    Jerry

    Edit: Try getting someone to do a pressure test on the system before you start swapping parts. The radiator should hold 15-18 lbs. of pressure for 30 minutes or so if everything is kosher in the cooling system.
    Jerry

    Mr. Jerry is a smart man! The first thing I recommend is change radiator caps. It would not be unusual for a 17 year old cap to lose pressure.

    D
    "A patriot is mocked, scorned and hated; yet when his cause succeeds, all men will join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." Mark Twain
    Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.... now who's bringing the hot wings? :jester:
  • MichakavMichakav Senior Member Southwest PAPosts: 2,907 Senior Member
  • centermass556centermass556 Senior Member Posts: 3,579 Senior Member
    Jerry, Two stupid questions...How do I check the fluid in the radiator ofter the cap is off....I know that is a stupid question, but the whole is small and I don't know what an acceptable level is...My first guess would be to shine down with a light, but is that a good mehtod?

    Second, if air is in the system and is not allowing fluid to pass through. How do I get the air out...
    "To have really lived, you must have almost died. To those who have fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know."
  • BigDanSBigDanS Senior Member Miami, FL almost in the USA ;)Posts: 6,992 Senior Member
    Have a 97 ford explorer over heaating....

    Just happened out of the blue. Plenty of coolant. In fact, coolant level does not change when engine is running. No leaking coolent. No adnormal sounds prior too...like the sound of a water bump going bad. Fan is working. Seems to be no hot air when I turn on the environment controls for the cab....

    I was thinking either thermostat or water pump....

    I don't know how long you have had this car, but it would not be unusual for it to have had a heater core leak in the past and have the heater core bypassed and that is why you would have no heat.

    D
    "A patriot is mocked, scorned and hated; yet when his cause succeeds, all men will join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." Mark Twain
    Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.... now who's bringing the hot wings? :jester:
  • centermass556centermass556 Senior Member Posts: 3,579 Senior Member
    So how do I look for that...
    "To have really lived, you must have almost died. To those who have fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know."
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Dellrose TNPosts: 18,428 Senior Member
    The radiator should be completely full. As the coolant expands and contracts, any trapped air gets cycled through the reserve tank, and as the system cools, it siphons coolant from the tank to completely fill the radiator. If there's a seep leak anywhere, such as at the water pump seal, or a pinhole in a hose somewhere, a small amount of coolant will escape, and air will be drawn in as the system cools down- - - -no change in the reservoir level. Over time, the system gets low, the heater quits working, and the engine eventually overheats- - - -still no change in the reservoir level because air is getting in without creating a vacuum to pull the level down in the reserve tank. A pressure test for several minutes is the only reliable way to spot that type of a leak.
    Jerry

    Has the heater EVER worked? If so, it hasn't been bypassed.
  • centermass556centermass556 Senior Member Posts: 3,579 Senior Member
    the Heater has never worked...But I get heat out of the defroster...Normally. today it was nothing.

    I am willing to I have a pin leak some where. But I can seen any wetness or drip. Every so often, I will think I smell a littl bit of coolant. But I can never find where it is coming from and then it goes away and fast as I smelt it.
    "To have really lived, you must have almost died. To those who have fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know."
  • centermass556centermass556 Senior Member Posts: 3,579 Senior Member
    I have always thought the flew valvue is broke and that is why I don't get heat...But I don't get cold either...I get nothing out of the airvents. Only the defrost vents.
    "To have really lived, you must have almost died. To those who have fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know."
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Dellrose TNPosts: 18,428 Senior Member
    The defrost vent is the default position in case of a failure of the vacuum system that operates the climate controls- - - -probably nothing worse than a vacuum line loose somewhere. A seep leak won't make puddles- - - -especially if it's near an exhaust pipe or somewhere else it can evaporate quickly. I'm betting on a slight seep at the water pump shaft seal- - - - -seen hundreds of them! Look for coolant stains at a small "weep hole" on the underside of the water pump casting right behind the fan.
    Jerry
  • Virginia BoyVirginia Boy Member VirginiaPosts: 213 Member
    For what its worth, how are the hoses ?
    Years ago my sister in law, had an AMC Hornet that was running hot.
    She had taken it to several different garages, that had replaced the thermostat,
    and flushed the radiator.
    She wanted me to look at it.
    I told her that if a mechanic couldn't find the trouble, I didn't think I could.
    But , I looked anyway, I raised the hood, and started the engine, and was
    looking for leaks , when the top radiator hose suddenly collapsed.
    It didn't have the spring inside, had gotten soft, and when it got it hot, it sucked
    closed, and when it cooled , went back to normal.
    Wouldn't hurt to check.
    Rights and freedoms, won with patriot's blood,
    shall not be taken away, by ink from a tyrant's pen.
  • Pelagic KayakerPelagic Kayaker Banned Soon to be in TexasPosts: 1,503 Senior Member
    How do I check the fluid in the radiator ofter the cap is off....I know that is a stupid question, but the whole is small and I don't know what an acceptable level is...My first guess would be to shine down with a light, but is that a good mehtod?

    ...so in other words the coolant has not been checked since 1997?



    :tooth:
  • centermass556centermass556 Senior Member Posts: 3,579 Senior Member
    Funny...No, I bought the car used here...That is different story...
    "To have really lived, you must have almost died. To those who have fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know."
  • Pelagic KayakerPelagic Kayaker Banned Soon to be in TexasPosts: 1,503 Senior Member
    Funny...No, I bought the car used here...That is different story...

    I was just messin with ya. lol.
  • jbp-ohiojbp-ohio Senior Member Pensacola, FLPosts: 10,826 Senior Member
    ...so in other words the coolant has not been checked since 1997?



    :tooth:

    I can't remember my last car that even had a cap on the radiator. Only on the recovery bottle
    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." Thomas Jefferson
  • Pelagic KayakerPelagic Kayaker Banned Soon to be in TexasPosts: 1,503 Senior Member
    jbp-ohio wrote: »
    I can't remember my last car that even had a cap on the radiator. Only on the recovery bottle

    No way! For realz? I haven't bought a new vehicle in 5 years now.
  • centermass556centermass556 Senior Member Posts: 3,579 Senior Member
    Yeah I knew you were messing with me...but it did make me think when the last time it was I had looked at a radiator.

    Funny thing, here lately, I am running into issues I haven't ever dealt with in a car. I am by far not a mechanic, but I have changed ignition switches, starters, alternators, batteries, brakes, done my own spark plugs, changed my own oil, busted and mounted my own tires...But here lately, I am coming across things that it seems I should know...But, I have never had to deal with cooling issues before...other than the time I knew without a doubt my water pump was gone, BUt I paid someone to do that.
    "To have really lived, you must have almost died. To those who have fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know."
  • centermass556centermass556 Senior Member Posts: 3,579 Senior Member
    Checked the radiator. Dry. Had some gunk up near the cap and I cleaned that off. Put some fluid directly into the radiator this time. I still need to go get more. The engine doesnt seem to want to overheat like it did before, but it is still not pulling fluid from the reservoir. I squeezed my hoses and they seem fine, no obvious cracks or rips. I will continue to pay very close attention until I can get to the hobby shop.

    I have to get the liberty over there too...I hate the fracking winter. Snow in the drive and it is too cold to stay out and work on the car. your tools turn to ice cycles. But then getting to the hobby shop at a good time is damn near impossible...ugghhh.
    "To have really lived, you must have almost died. To those who have fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know."
  • BufordBuford Senior Member CA. Beach citiesPosts: 6,721 Senior Member
    Checked the radiator. Dry. Had some gunk up near the cap and I cleaned that off.

    Check the engine and transmission oil levels if it's an automatic. If it's not puddling and the radiator is dry it may be going somewhere else.
    Just look at the flowers Lizzie, just look at the flowers.
  • rberglofrberglof Senior Member North DakotaPosts: 2,985 Senior Member
    My 97 Explorer had the same problem and found that the thermostat housing had cracked, problem had been there awhile and finally became obvious.

    http://www.amazon.com/Thermostat-Housing-Explorer-Mercury-Mountaineer/dp/B008032R4Q
  • BigDanSBigDanS Senior Member Miami, FL almost in the USA ;)Posts: 6,992 Senior Member
    The bottom line for you is that a 17 year old car is going to have issues regardless of the mileage. Plastics especially breakdown with age.

    D
    "A patriot is mocked, scorned and hated; yet when his cause succeeds, all men will join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." Mark Twain
    Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.... now who's bringing the hot wings? :jester:
  • centermass556centermass556 Senior Member Posts: 3,579 Senior Member
    Yeah Dan, I know those are gonna be issues... But this is a little bigger. After further troubleshooting and getting it on a lift, I see it is he water pump. When I have it apart I will replace the hoses and thermostat too
    "To have really lived, you must have almost died. To those who have fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know."
  • rberglofrberglof Senior Member North DakotaPosts: 2,985 Senior Member
    It is the bottom of the housing that had cracked and did not find the crack until I pulled it off.
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