1999 Ford Escort SE

Tiny
RINGS
  • MEMBER
  • 1999 FORD ESCORT
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 14,400,000 MILES
The coolant is low, I refilled it. I replaced the thermostat. The heat gauge goes all the way to high when I am driving fast, but at idle it cools down to the temperature it should be. I stop at a red light and it cools down immediately. There isn't anything leaking as far as I can tell from looking under the car when it's been parked awhile. I had to refill the coolant again today after refilling a day ago. There is not heat at all. The blower fan works. Blows cold air out :( there are no strange sounds aside from the loud idling, but that's always been a problem really. I have a 1999 ford Escort SE. After changing the thermostat, I am not sure what to try next. The fan seems to be working. Can anyone help? I live in Colorado and I have to wipe the windshield with a paper towel because it won't defrost and it's so cold it's like torture to touch the steering wheel. The Gauge has not gotten into the red zone yet because I stop and let the car cool down. It's not smoking. I checked the caps and they are all on tight. Do you think it's the water pump? Should I replace the head gasket? I don't even care what you think the real issue is and what it will cost. I would rather drive a car whithout wheels than have no heat. Thank you for your help! ~ A Desperate Girl
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Thursday, January 20th, 2011 AT 5:41 AM

4 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
It does sound like a head gasket issue but other things should be ruled out first. Start with a cooling system pressure test to see if the source of the leak can be identified. Typically you will see white smoke from the tail pipe when coolant is leaking into the engine, but coolant can go into the oil too. If that's the case, the oil level will be too high. Get that fixed right away because a head gasket and oil change will take care of it. If you wait, antifreeze will melt the soft outer layer of the engine bearings resulting in more repairs to the engine.

When coolant leaks into the engine, it is also possible for combustion gases to get into the cooling system. Normally air pockets will work their way out of the cooling system but if more air keeps seeping in, those air pockets can cause coolant to stop flowing. Air in the heater core prevents coolant from circulating, and air by the thermostat prevents it from opening properly. Thermostats respond to hot liquid, not hot air.

Your mechanic can also perform a "sniffer" test at the radiator to check for a leaking head gasket. That involves drawing air from the radiator through a glass tube partially filled with a dark blue liquid. In the presence of combustion gases, that liquid will turn bright yellow. That is conclusive for a leaking head gasket, but there are other places the gasket can leak that don't show up in the cooling system.

Caradiodoc
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Thursday, January 20th, 2011 AT 7:10 AM
Tiny
RINGS
  • MEMBER
Well I am having the water pump replaced this weekend. I hope it works :( I am leaking radiator fluid like crazy and the oil was low (Probably from burning away)
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Saturday, January 22nd, 2011 AT 1:31 AM
Tiny
RINGS
  • MEMBER
I would like to let you know that it was the water pump! I have heat! The Impeller in the water pump snapped clean off. Thanks for your help. Hopefully this information will help someone inthe future. A Girl With Heat!
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Tuesday, January 25th, 2011 AT 2:24 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Happy to hear you're toasty. I'm freezing in WI.

Caradiodoc
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Tuesday, January 25th, 2011 AT 2:37 AM

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