1998 Ford Explorer Check Gauge light/engine cooling problem

Tiny
SMARTBIZ38129
  • MEMBER
  • 1998 FORD EXPLORER
  • 6 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 80,000 MILES
I just came back from the mechanic. Here's what happened. I saw the check gauge light on yesterday after I took it for an oil change. I drove a really short distance to go grocery shopping and when I turned on the air it ran HOT(I live in Miami and it's August)
Took it to the mechanic and on my way to the mechanic who is less than a mile from me, the coolant gauge read H. They diagnosed and found that the radiator cap was bad. I drove to the parts place, and then the engine started to overheat. The guy put on the new cap I bought and on my way home (less than 3 blocks away) I overheated. Now, is there still a problem OR does my engine need to just rest and cool down?
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Friday, August 28th, 2009 AT 1:11 PM

7 Replies

Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Have you checked the thermostat? Is the fan clutch working properly?
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Saturday, August 29th, 2009 AT 12:21 AM
Tiny
SMARTBIZ38129
  • MEMBER
The mechanic said that the fan clutch is fine but the thermostat had to be replaced. THE WHOLE THING. He told me that I could drive it without the thermostat but I didn't feel comfortable doing that. His argument was not convincing. So I'm waiting for the car tomorrow or Thurs. Hopefully it won't overheat again because I don't have another $400+ to spend on a bigger problem.

Question, can a car truly drive safely without the thermostat?
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Tuesday, September 1st, 2009 AT 1:16 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Are they charging you 400.00 for a therostat? It's a 10.00 part.
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Tuesday, September 1st, 2009 AT 1:29 PM
Tiny
SMARTBIZ38129
  • MEMBER
Based on what you said, I don't appreciate being price gouged and will gladly take steps to rectify the situation. I was told that the part was from the dealer and the cost was $298. The rest was labor and taxes. Could it be the larger system containing the thermostat? I'm just trying to figure this out

Let me know
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Tuesday, September 1st, 2009 AT 1:59 PM
Tiny
SMARTBIZ38129
  • MEMBER
He told me thermostat when he meant thermostat, sensors, housing, the who thing for $298. So it's not just the little thermostat. That's what he meant by the whole thing
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Tuesday, September 1st, 2009 AT 2:29 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Is the housing leaking / cracked? Usually they don't go bad. They are made of steel and the t-stat sits inside of it. As far as the sensor, I will assume he is refering to the temp sending unit. Honestly, I would try one at a time. The thermostat itself may take care of the problem, and you may not need the other items. As far as the housing, I would like to know what is wrong with the one on the car. And the sensor could be bad and send a false reading to the gauge making you think the car is overheating. I would start with the cheapest item to see if it takes care of the problem then move on. Regardless, ask what is wrong with the housing. If it wasn't cracked or damaged when you took it in, it should be fine unless they damaged it.

WHen it overheats, have you ever heard coolant boiling or had it boil over?
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Tuesday, September 1st, 2009 AT 3:27 PM
Tiny
SMARTBIZ38129
  • MEMBER
As far as your boiling question, yes. When the mechanic took off the radiator cap, it was so hot and pressurized that the cap on the coolant box popped up. It was somewhat scary.
What they are going to do is that they're going to try the cheaper option that you mentioned; piece by piece. From what I understand the housing component in my car is plastic which has been warped and cracked because of the heating and cooling. So I'll find out the verdict tomorrow. It may not cost me $400 but they'll let me know what happened.
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Tuesday, September 1st, 2009 AT 3:50 PM

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