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  #1  
Old 07-27-2010, 01:13 AM
Jake S Jake S is offline
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Default Overheating Up Hills

Hi guys, I have a 2000 Ranger with the 3 liter v6. Lately it's been getting dangerously close to overheating when going up long hills on an open freeway, especially when it's hot out. Around town and even up long hills on surface streets it stays fairly cool, at least nothing alarming. The problem only occurs when being pushed up big hills on an open freeway, it shoots way up. So far I've flushed the radiator and had tests conducts to rule out the head gasket. My mechanic can't figure out what's wrong, he thinks everything looks fine. I was thinking maybe it needs a new radiator? I was even considering getting a bigger one, I've heard the radiator from a 5 liter Explorer will fit in a ranger. Any ideas or suggestions?

Thanks,

Jake
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  #2  
Old 07-27-2010, 07:01 AM
Chris Chris is offline
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Default Re: Overheating Up Hills

Can't see it doing it because of a fan going out, but if its got an electric fan then I'd check fuses, but if its belt driven then make sure your clutch is kicking your fan in... Did you change the thermostat? Check your radiator cap as well, those can go bad and the vehicle wont get the pressure it needs. Water pump's can get weak, happened to my Taurus I had awhile ago with a 3.0 Vulcan in it, it ended up destroying my head gaskets.
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  #3  
Old 07-27-2010, 07:14 AM
ranger5572 ranger5572 is offline
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Default Re: Overheating Up Hills

I'd say to check the thermostat and the sending unit if it has one...don't know. I'm thinking kinda the same thing where it'll look like you have more gas cause the fuel gauge moves when going uphill or going downhill...That's my thoughts. If it doesn't get hot when your level, then maybe you're fine. I'm just throwing out ideas cause I'm clueless otherwise........
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  #4  
Old 07-27-2010, 10:05 AM
BerniniCaCO3 BerniniCaCO3 is offline
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Default Re: Overheating Up Hills

The fuel gauge does that because it's floating on top of the fuel-- no such relation for the engine temperature gauge :-)


I had the same issue on a ford crown vic.
If it was 100F and I had the AC on full blast, and I was going up hill (engine working harder), or stuck in traffic (less airflow), it would get up there in temperature!

All the ideas sound good!
Now on my crown vic, I'd replaced the thermostat anyway when I did the water pump, so I knew it was good. But one way to tell if it's good, is that when it's cool and not under load you'll see the engine warm up and then suddenly dip again (when the thermostat opens).
That is to say, when I drove at night on the highway and it was cool enough outside that the car could keep itself cool, I would see it get past 200F and then suddenly drop, which is the thermostat opening. If you see that dip in temperature in the first 10 minutes of driving then your thermostat is opening.

Not hard to replace anyway though, and only $5.

The temperature sending unit is probably the last thing to check; if it fails usually it just gets stuck at one temperature. The fact that you're seeing it heat up under load means it's probably still doing its job.

It could be as simple as a pinched/ partially collapsed radiator hose.

Maybe the water pump?

The radiator cap is a good idea. Also a $5 fix and just a minute's work. An old cap can release pressure.

But finally, in my case: i'd done a simple flush with water (no corrosive chemicals), and it was running out clear, so I thought I was good; but in fact it was still clogged: just that the deposits (rust, calcites) weren't coming loose.
I replaced the radiator just last week, finally, and now it runs great. Last saturday I was running errands in 103F weather with the ac on full blast, and the engine temperature stayed cool!

I had replaced the radiator cap, flushed the coolant, replaced the thermostat, replaced the water pump (it had started leaking anyway), and only THEN replaced the radiator, which was the fix.

How many miles do you have, and how rusty did the coolant look when you last flushed it? If very dirty, then the radiator could be clogged. There are chemical agents too, to try and break some of those deposits free!
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  #5  
Old 07-27-2010, 05:09 PM
DHEM DHEM is offline
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Default Re: Overheating Up Hills

it sounds like the thermostat to me
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  #6  
Old 07-27-2010, 08:37 PM
sgtsandman sgtsandman is offline
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Default Re: Overheating Up Hills

If none of those work, check your timing. I had that problem with an '82 Celica. Turns out the timing was set wrong. This is assuming you have a distributor.
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  #7  
Old 07-28-2010, 12:08 AM
Jake S Jake S is offline
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Default Re: Overheating Up Hills

Thanks for the input guys. I absolutely should have mentioned that I have already changed the thermostat, I forgot.

Bernini I think you may be right about the radiator, there may be a clog in there. I ran water through it, it didn't come out too dirty and the flow seemed ok, not great, but I'm not exactly sure how good the flow should be. I'll try changing the radiator cap, the next step after that will have to be to replace the radiator and hoses.
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  #8  
Old 07-28-2010, 04:20 AM
FireRanger FireRanger is offline
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Default Re: Overheating Up Hills

The thermostat would really have nothing to do with these symptoms so no sense wasting time on that one. They either stick open and prevent heating up, or stick closed and blow the engine up. Neither is happening here. I don't even know where the temperature sending unit idea even came from. It doesn't control anything, it's just a sensor.

Chances are the radiator is fine as well. If the radiator was plugged up, the symptoms would present themselves in other phases of operation besides just uphill on highway. It would be very obvious.

It isn't the fan or fan clutch because the fan is completely irrelevant at road speed. The ram air coming through the grill is far more than the fan could ever move. A fan problem would present itself at idle or slow traffic. Total opposite of the symptoms.

It probably isn't the radiator cap because the symptoms are wrong for that as well. Normal cooling system pressure is about 12PSI when hot. The cap is designed to start releasing pressure to the overflow tank at about 14psi. If the cap was releasing pressure at less than that, the symptoms would be coolant blowing out the overflow tank, steam, low coolant level, and subsequent overheating during all phases of operation. If the opposite was happening and it was stuck closed, the symptoms would be an exploding radiator eventually if it got too hot.

By process of elimination and logic, that leaves us with the water pump. And the symptoms fit. If the impeller blades on the water pump are worn down a lot, then they will just cavitate at high RPM and water flow will drop significantly. High RPM and climbing a hill means more work and therefore more heat to dissipate. If the coolant flow is reduced, it is going to overheat pretty quickly. Someone is going to say "well there is no coolant in the weep hole". The weep hole is only to indicate the bearings are going out and will not indicate the impeller blades failing.

So, I would pull your water pump off and have a look. I bet you will find the impeller blades are almost flat rather than having edges to move water with.
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Last edited by FireRanger; 07-28-2010 at 04:23 AM.
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  #9  
Old 07-28-2010, 04:50 AM
DHEM DHEM is offline
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Default Re: Overheating Up Hills

thermostats sometimes wont open or close all the way
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  #10  
Old 07-28-2010, 06:21 PM
BerniniCaCO3 BerniniCaCO3 is offline
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Default Re: Overheating Up Hills

I'd argue that there are an infinite degrees between a completely clean and a completely plugged radiator. Mine was far from clogged (in which case I'd get rapid overheating), but it was definitely partially gunked up, which limited its ability to cool in more extreme conditions. Never a bit of a problem in weather below 80F, highway cruising, etc: just 100F, AC, mountain driving, stuck in traffic.

But no disagreement on the water pump possibility too. Only argument is that a radiator is much easier :-D

How many miles are on your car? What's your budget like?
If your car has, say, 150,000 miles, and you have a weekend and $150, buy yourself a radiator and a water pump, and do 'em both: you'll know that they're good for many more tens of thousands of miles then :-)
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  #11  
Old 07-28-2010, 06:46 PM
FireRanger FireRanger is offline
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Default Re: Overheating Up Hills

If it's any consolation, I was out driving on the 4x4 beaches in Coralla today. I had to have the hood popped with a headwind to keep it from overheating trying to drive through sand with 6 people and a full tank of gas. Not fun.
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  #12  
Old 07-28-2010, 10:48 PM
sgtsandman sgtsandman is offline
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Default Re: Overheating Up Hills

Good point on the water pump. I saw a pic on here the other day where there was nothing left of the impeller vanes to move any coolant.
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  #13  
Old 07-28-2010, 11:11 PM
Jake S Jake S is offline
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Default Re: Overheating Up Hills

Water pump huh? Ok, good to know. I was driving the truck around today, I live in LA, and the whether was pretty cool so I had no overheating problems. However, after I had pulled into my parking garage and turned off the engine I could definitely smell coolant. I popped the hood and couldn't see anything, I also looked underneath and could only see what I'm pretty sure was water dripping from the AC condenser, not coolant. Does that smell point to anything?

Thanks again.
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  #14  
Old 07-29-2010, 09:33 AM
BerniniCaCO3 BerniniCaCO3 is offline
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Default Re: Overheating Up Hills

I had one time where the heater hose that ran over the engine block (and back to the heater core, I think) severed, and was pumping coolant right onto the engine, creating clouds of coolant vapor :-) I exaggerate

But where I'm going with that is, you can smell coolant but the leak doesn't need to be obvious.

When my water pump was leaking from its seal, it wasn't dripping; there was just the slightest bit of wetted surface around it, and the coolant would need to be refilled just every other day.

Or if it's leaking over something hot, like when my heater hose broke, it could just be vaporizing.

Finally if your heater core is leaking, it would be in the cabin, no where in the engine compartment. Just for example.

Not saying you have a cooling leak: do you? If you do, even a small one like my water pump will become evident after a few days, when your overflow tank is empty! Normally you should only have to refill the coolant only every few months, if at all.
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  #15  
Old 07-29-2010, 09:35 AM
BerniniCaCO3 BerniniCaCO3 is offline
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Default Re: Overheating Up Hills

Water pump is a bit of a pain, that's all; radiator's easier.
You have to take the fan and serpentine belt off, then most of the components that were driven off the serpentine belt, and the water pump is at the center of all of that. At least, on my old crown vic... ranger is still low in miles and I haven't really looked at its mechanics yet.
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