1996 Ford Thunderbird V8 Two Wheel Drive Automatic 255k miles
This is a bit of a novel, but I wanted to make sure you had all the info.
I'm a bit baffled by some recent traumatizing events with my baby (she's only been fed synthetic fluids, k&n, 3.73s, never had a fluid leak, really try to take good care of her).
Anyways, in a recent huge snowstorm, I lost power steering, but kept driving like an idiot to try and get home (there was nowhere to pull over on the hwy). Started losing battery/charge and temp gauge went up to the red zone a couple times, but never stayed there. I know now that it was my serpentine belt, but at the time I was just trying to limp home.
Almost made it, but she finally stopped (battery dead). The next day, we replaced belt, pulley, tensioner and she was running again. But, I did see some unusual white smoke out the back, and coolant level was really low (i had to add about 2/3 of a jug). In the following days, I added about another jug of coolant. On one day in particular, the temp gauge did go back up to the red zone, then came back to the middle. This happened on a short 15 minute drive home from work.
So I assumed blown head gaskets and started looking for a new car. In the meantime I did put a little flour mixed with water in the rad overflow (I know this is frowned on, but I was desperate and just needed to get her to last for a few more days until I could find another car).
Well several days later a mechanic I know offered to check her out and he tested the coolant for hydrocarbons and said she's fine. He ran her at high rpm for 5 minutes, tested the operation of the thermostat, and whatever else needed testing and says he thinks my head gasket is ok. He also topped up the coolant, but he has not pressure tested the cooling sys yet. He said to drive it, keep an eye on coolant level and temp gauge. I told him about the flour and he said that would have blown out if the gasket was gone.
Since then, coolant level is stable and temp gauge stable also. Yesterday I took her on one very long trip (300 km) which included an hour of idling waiting in line at the border. She was fine and seems to be stable and back to normal.
I read somewhere that my 4.6 might have a cylinder head temp sensor that helps to safeguard against overheating.
So my question is: what is going on? Aside from the fact that I'm an idiot for trying to drive the car without a belt (and maybe for the flour trick), but what could explain why the car was so low in coolant and what could explain the temp gauge acting the way it did especially the second time, with nothing happening now. I don't see so much white smoke coming out the back now, but there is a little still. Still no fluid leaks. Am I ok to keep driving?
Thx for your help solving this puzzle,
have the same problem?
Sunday, February 17th, 2008 AT 10:54 AM