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anyone have an idea of why...?

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anyone have an idea of why...?

Post by Matt; My carpet cleaner on Thu Nov 15, 2018 4:57 pm

So ive been having issues with my 2004 ford 350 van(5.4L).
overheating, but "not" overheating.
I leave in the morning(mid 30s) drive 40-50 blocks; the temp gauge dosnt move off of cold. Then it will redline for a few seconds, then down to normal temp. I pull over, shut off the van and restart it. This has happened 4 times. The overflow tank will spew out alittle(1-2 cups of anifreeze).
-my mechanic replaced the termistat; but it did it 2 more times, of redlining.
So the guage is stone cold for 40 blocks, spikes for afew seconds, then to normal temp.
And its always been about the 40-50 blocks; of driving when it first redlines.
-My mechanic is stumped. Him and his crew mulled it over for a day and half.
-the only thing they can figure out is; termistant was bad and the replacement was defective. So today HE is putting in a motorcraft stat.

Now before anyone says "fire your mechanic"; he has done work for me for over 20 years. He always takes care of me on price and service. Something didnt go right; he fixes it on his dime.
-afew years ago he did a bunch of front end stuff. Then about 2 months later my tires were getting chewed up. He ask if I had it aligned after the work he did? Nope, he never told to do that.
He bought me new tires, and paid to have them put on and paid for alignment-on his dime.

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Re: anyone have an idea of why...?

Post by milspec6 on Thu Nov 15, 2018 6:14 pm

My first thought was t-stat as well by those symptoms and yes, it could be a bad replacement as well.  Ford is famous for protecting their own parts to the point that they sue any after-market suppliers to make certain that they are not the same part.  I recall on the Ford 300 engine, you absolutely had to use the Ford t-stat or else you would have leaks...no exceptions.

If really does sound like the t-stat is stuck open and then slams shut causing the spike.  What else could it be?  A corroded radiator that is sending chunks of debris into the flow affecting the t-stat or just an eradic flow due to low volume or weak water pump.  It could also be a collapsed radiator hose that is creating eradic flow.

I would replace the t-stat with a Ford part from the dealer before doing anything else.
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Re: anyone have an idea of why...?

Post by Matt; My carpet cleaner on Thu Nov 15, 2018 6:55 pm

I just got back from picking it up. Had a OEM stat put in. It acted up, again. spiked, then normal.

"In 35 years as a mechanic, Ive never seen a temp gauge do that." He said.

One main concern is i drive 40 min north to do work. Up and down hill on the freeway. Worry that it really, really over heats and blows a hose- thats when real damage on part can happen. Been there, done that.
-He told me that a stat doesnt just go from open to closed. Its gradual. So the sudden spike is confounding to him.

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Re: anyone have an idea of why...?

Post by milspec6 on Thu Nov 15, 2018 9:58 pm

He is correct, it is a gradual closing by design, but I have seen some that did snap shut rather quickly.

Interesting situation and you might not like my next suggestion. There are only 3 factors that matter: Coolant volume, flow, and pressure. If the coolant is good and the pump is not making noise, that leaves pressure as a question. It could be a steam pocket in the head causing that spike. This is a case where an actual temperature gauge is valuable on a vehicle instead of just needle gauge of some kind.

Excess pressure in the coolant system can prevent the t-stat from closing and then when that changes, the t-stat can close rapidly since it isn't moving due to temperature, but due to the drop in pressure. I would check for compression pressure in the radiator at this point. Remove the cap and watch for bubbles when running, if see some, that will be the issue.
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Re: anyone have an idea of why...?

Post by milspec6 on Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:14 pm

Before I run off to bed there is something else to keep in mind.

Your motor does not use a coolant temperature sensor any more. It used to be located near the t-stat and would send data to your dash gauge regarding the coolant temperature. Now they use a cylinder head temp sensor screwed into the head to provide that data. So, your dash gauge is telling you what the temperature is inside the head rather than at the t-stat. Any air pockets or steam pockets in the head will give spikes and eradic guage behaviors.
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Re: anyone have an idea of why...?

Post by Matt; My carpet cleaner on Wed Nov 28, 2018 10:57 am

Head gasket.
Did a hydra carbon test. Measured 250, when it should be about 50. My mech said, "the  test will pretty much tell you its a head gasket, its the only reason the reading would be high like that."
About $2 k! To fix head gasket.
But were going to ad a product to the radiator to seal up the leak. He's had some good results with it. One job it was good for more that 2 years. And only 2 years cuz the car owner came back and said "let's replace the head gasket". So it not like the seal gave way.
Taking van in later to get it done. -fingers crossed-

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Re: anyone have an idea of why...?

Post by Matt; My carpet cleaner on Wed Nov 28, 2018 11:01 am

$2k repair  on a van with 189,000miles.. Started thinking about finding a newer used van with less miles and moving TM over.

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Re: anyone have an idea of why...?

Post by Matt; My carpet cleaner on Wed Nov 28, 2018 11:02 am

That should be 198,000+ miles.

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Re: anyone have an idea of why...?

Post by Freemind1 on Wed Nov 28, 2018 9:46 pm

Yeah, I'd buy a different van too.

IMO, when it starts costing you a bunch of money, it's gonna keep doing it until you have replaced ALOT of part and rebuilt a lot of things.

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Re: anyone have an idea of why...?

Post by milspec6 on Thu Nov 29, 2018 7:42 pm

There are some racing products that are used to seal minor leaks in the head gasket between races which do work as a short term fix. I see no reason to not give it a try. Having gone through that last year, I would certainly not replace the head gasket...waste of time on that motor. If the van is otherwise in good mechanical shape, just replace the motor. If there are some issues with the van (bad rust for example) then just look to replace the vehicle.

My motor replacement took awhile to rid the bugs, but it has been reliable for the last 8 months and now has just over 9,000 miles on the new longblock. Unless you plan to buy a new van, the next vehicle will likely have over 100k miles as well with no warranty. My motor came with a factory 7 year / 100k mile warranty which I think makes it a better deal than buying another used van.

Try the head gasket sealer and start saving money for either direction that you plan to take. With luck, you will have at least a year until you need to make the decision.
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Re: anyone have an idea of why...?

Post by Mo on Sun Dec 02, 2018 7:40 am

I had a pretty bad coolant leak a few.months ago. I used kseal and it stopped the leak immediately and has held for a couple of months. It wasnt a blown head gasket but the label says it works for that too. It's only 12.00 so you have nothing to lose and it has pretty good reviews too https://m.autozone.com/antifreeze-radiator-additives-and-windshield-wash-fluid/radiator-additives-and-flush/k-seal-multi-purpose-one-step-permanent-coolant-leak-repair/454327_0_0

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Re: anyone have an idea of why...?

Post by milspec6 on Sun Dec 02, 2018 9:03 pm

I am not familar with K-seal, but I have seen BlueDevil work very well with dirt track racers and like you said, couldn't hurt at this point.
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Re: anyone have an idea of why...?

Post by Freemind1 on Mon Dec 03, 2018 8:11 am

Maybe they are different than the products I've used in the past.....
My experience has been that it usually works to stop the leak, but also plugs your heater core and that ends up needing replaced because of the stop leak....

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Re: anyone have an idea of why...?

Post by Matt; My carpet cleaner on Wed Dec 05, 2018 11:03 pm

It was bluedevil. Empty radiator, add cold water and sealer, let run for while, empty, rinse with water again, then put in antifreeze.
Its still acting up.
Went in yesterday and re tested for hyrda carbons: none, zero,Nada. So looks like the headgasket leak sealed.
Figuring the temp sensors where damaged from overheating.
Gonna replace them.
..the saga cont......
That's how boring my schedule is right now

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Re: anyone have an idea of why...?

Post by milspec6 on Fri Dec 07, 2018 11:03 pm

Temp sensors are a good step, you really need to know if it really is over-heating and not just a bad reading. It does sound like the Blue Devil worked so you might be able to get another year out of that motor with some luck.
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