1997 Ford Taurus Sudden Overheating

Tiny
JUSTDON
  • MEMBER
  • 1997 FORD TAURUS
  • 6 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 125,000 MILES
We purchased this car 3 years ago and found that the intake was leaking, allowing coolant into the oil. The intake and heads were removed. The heads checked OK at the machine shop. We replaced the intake gasket (with RTV where called for) and the head gaskets. We also replaced the heater core, radiator, hoses, and a complete AC system. Other than a heater problem (not getting hot very fast), the car has ran great from that point on with no overheating problems. The other day, my wife drove home from work via the interstate as she has for the past 3 years. When she exited and came to a red light, the temp gauge started to climb. She drove 6 blocks to the house and stopped. When she turned the car off, coolant began pouring out from under the cap on the coolant bottle. My first thought was a stuck thermostat. I replaced the thermostat and checked for any leaks throughout the rest of the cooling system. After refilling with antifreeze, I let the car run for about an hour with the cap off to help purge any air. The coolant released an air bubble about every 30-60 seconds for about 30 minutes before settling down. It ran for another 30 minutes with no further bubbling. I replaced the cap with a new one and drove the car about 2 miles on the interstate before exiting. When I exited, the damn gauge started climbing. It never pegs out since it immediately returns to about normal when the car starts to move again. When I got it home and opened the hood, the coolant was pouring from under the cap again. With the car off, the coolant pours from the bottle for several minutes before stopping. The fans do come on and off as they should. I really need help with this one. She needs this car for work. Please respond! I have donated in the past and will again when money isn't so tight. Thanks.
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Wednesday, June 16th, 2010 AT 9:47 PM

8 Replies

Tiny
RASMATAZ
  • MEMBER
Hi justdon, Welcome to 2carpros and TY for the donation

My suggestion here is to block and pressure test to rule out a blown headgasket, cracked/warped head and also the block and intake manifold leak and also check if the water pump is circulating the coolant thruout the engine
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Thursday, June 17th, 2010 AT 1:48 AM
Tiny
JUSTDON
  • MEMBER
Rasmataz,

I placed a pressure tester just shy of 16 psi and let it set for about 30 minutes. The needle just barely dropped abot 1/16 or less of 1 psi. I used the block tester that utilizes the blue fluid and vacuum for about 3-4 min. And the fluid remained blue.

I'm not really sure how to check for water pump flow. I don't see any movement in the plastic bottle but, the coolant rises and falls as the car warms up.

I used a scan tool while the car was idling and the temp stayed around 200 degrees after sitting at idle with the cap off for about an hour. The outside temp here is about 90 degrees.

I put the cap on and had my wife take me for a ride with the scan tool attached and the AC on. It took about three blocks of city driving for the temp to start climbing past where it had been. When we stopped and opened the hood, coolant was again pouring out under the cap. The scan tool read only 230 at that point. The anti-freeze bottle stated that the boilover point should be 265 degrees. I did notice that the plastic bottle wasn't pulsating like a full boilover while the coolant poured out.

I'm really confused with this problem.
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Saturday, June 19th, 2010 AT 3:22 PM
Tiny
RASMATAZ
  • MEMBER
Recheck the thermostat, could also be airlock in it -try bleeding it and see what happens
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Saturday, June 19th, 2010 AT 3:32 PM
Tiny
JUSTDON
  • MEMBER
Razmataz,

I removed the new thermostat and placed it in boiling water. The damn thing didn't open all the way. I replaced the NEW thermostat with another NEW thermostat and the problem appears to be corrected. Thanks a bunch for the help!
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Saturday, June 19th, 2010 AT 7:33 PM
Tiny
JUSTDON
  • MEMBER
Rasmatz,

I'm in need of your assistance again with this stupid thing. I thought it was fixed but, the next time my wife drove the car about 20 miles, the coolant came out of the cap again. I drove it only around the block and the coolant rapidly rose and poured under the cap when the car was turned off. I let it cool some so I could remove the cap and re-filled to the proper level. I started it and let it idle for just a few minutes with the cap off (it was hot enough that the thermostat would be open.). When I shut it off, the coolant filled the bottle and came about 1 inch above the neck as it poured the coolant out, even with the cap off. The bottle filled so fast that I could hear it filling, like listening to a bottle fill up under a faucet. I could also hear loud air hissing through the small tube from the intake to the bottle. I could also hear a boiling sound coming through the upper radiator hose. This all lasted about a minute before stopping. I used my pressure tester and tested the cap. It opened at 16psi as it should. I then placed the tester on the coolant bottle and started the engine. The tester showed a rise of 3psi within a minute or so. I turned the car off, removed the tester and found that the coolant had flooded the inside of the tester in the short time it took me to walk around the car and remove it. It continued to pour out of the bottle for a short time after I remove the tester. Since the tester did not raise, how would the flow happen so fast without being backed up by alot of pressure? The scanner at this point read 210 degrees with a proper mix of coolant. I re-filled again (taking a small fortune in anti-freeze now) and removed the small hose coming from the intake to the coolant bottle and placed the end of it in the bottle neck. I started the car and noticed a small but steady flow of coolant. The flow was like just barely turning on a water faucet to where the water just starts to come out. When I turned the car off to replace the hose. Gush, out the coolant came again with the cap off and no pressure in the system. I sure hope you can help! Additional donation was made for your time.

Thanks!
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Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010 AT 9:29 PM
Tiny
RASMATAZ
  • MEMBER
Open up the rad cap and leave open fill it to about an inch from the opening start the engine look into the opening do you see coolant squirling around if so pinch the upper hose tightly for a few secs to built pressure look inside the opening as you let go the hose did the coolant flow increase if not you have a problem with water pump.

Also double check if the cooling fan is coming on. Also while engine is idling feel the front of the radiator for cold spots if so its clogging up. If you think everything is fine so far-try bleeding the cooling system
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Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010 AT 9:57 PM
Tiny
JUSTDON
  • MEMBER
Rasmataz,

This system does not have a cap on the radiator. Would your advise work by using the plastic pressure bottle? There aren't any bleed screws on this Taurus, and they are known for air problems. How would I bleed the system?
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Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010 AT 5:53 AM
Tiny
JUSTDON
  • MEMBER
Rasmataz,

Part of the problem has been solved. I was advised by a Ford dealership mechanic (a rare one that would talk to you) that the overflow problem was the cap and bottle. He said that over time, the plastic will wear out due to the heat and the bottle neck will deform. He also said that the aftermarket bottles and caps for these cars aren't good enough. I bought a Ford bottle and cap and the coolant now remains in the system when the car is shut off. However, the heating up problem still exists after the car has been driven about 10 miles with the AC on. After putting the new bottle and cap on, I drove a 5 mile loop on an interstate system with no problems at all. I then drove the same loop with the AC on and when I would stop, the gauge would climb fast. Again, as soon as I started the car rolling, the gauge woud drop just about as fast.

Here's a really odd thing, I think I need a TRS (neutral safety switch for the old timers. Lol). I have read many posts here that blames the switch when you start having radio and power steering problem. The radio speakers will cut out on this car when you put it into any other gear except Park or Neutral. Since this switch seems to mess with other components, would it be possible that it also messes with the fans when the car is in gear? I noticed that I can let the car idle with the AC on in park and it doesn't heat up too fast. But, if I hold the brake and put it in drive, the temp will gradually climb. Put it back in park and the temp will gradually drop. This may not be related at all but it just seemed strange.

Any ideas?
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Sunday, June 27th, 2010 AT 6:03 AM

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