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  #1  
Old 09-16-2009, 06:24 PM
RangerChad RangerChad is offline
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Default Is this normal, or am I Wylie Coyote?

My '00 4.0L Ranger sends coolant to the overflow tank everytime I run it for awhile and then turn it off. I recently bought this truck, and several days ago, I noticed the coolant level in the radiator was low. I filled the radiator and then added some to the overflow tank to the "full cold" mark, after it had cooled. The next day, when I drove home from work, the coolant tank started gurgling. Then about a minute later, it overflowed on the ground.

I have two theories, one I really hope isn't the case:

1. I overfilled the coolant recovery tank
2. It's blown a head gasket and evertime it shuts off and sits, it starts purging. That might explain the initial low level in the radiator.

I have yet to pull a spark plug and see if there's any sign of coolant. Thoughts and prayers are appreciated!

The temp. gauge shows a steady in-the-middle reading at all times.
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  #2  
Old 09-16-2009, 06:38 PM
02'4.04x4 02'4.04x4 is offline
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Hmmmmmmmmmm, this is an easy one. . .
Run(idle) it from cold till it hits the normal mark with the radiator cap off when the thermo kicks you'll have your answer. If it is the head then you should notice it may tend to warm up purty quickly. If you are like me you can go put your face at the exhaust and feels for gross humidity and give it a sniff for a nostril burning sweet pissy smell, depending one how much anti-freeze you are actually running. G/L
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  #3  
Old 09-17-2009, 08:29 AM
Johnbaum13 Johnbaum13 is offline
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When you shut off the engine, the coolant ceases to circulate, and sits in the engine heating up, the boiling over as you have mentioned.
Two things are supposed to keep it from boiling.
1: pressurized system. Water won't boil under pressure, so check for a faulty radiator cap. Could also be a blown head gasket, but lets check the simple things first.
2: Antifreeze. This solution raises the effective boiling point of the water, as well as lowering it's freezing point. Make sure you have the proper 50/50 mixture in the radiator.

If all else checks out, check the oil for any "milkyness", and start the truck when cold and run it for about 30 seconds, shut it off, then immediately remove the radiator cap, and see if there is pressure in the system. Either of these would point to a blown head gasket.

Else, you may just be running too hot, possibly from a lean condition, a failing water pump or thermostat, or clogged system. If the block is getting too hot (the gauge only measures the water temp), it may just be putting too much heat into the coolant when you shut it down.

Kinda hard to completely diagnose a system over the interwebs, but these are a few things to check.
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Old 09-18-2009, 04:12 AM
RangerChad RangerChad is offline
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Thanks for the tech help guys. I just got off of the mid-shift, so when I wake up later, I will delve into it. I thought too, that the radiator cap could be bad. I will see if I can get ahold of one of those radiator pressure testers and test the cap and pressurize the system to see if something turns up. First I will try your suggestion on checking it cold. Man, I hope it's not a head gasket or cracked head! Will update later - Mark
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  #5  
Old 09-20-2009, 08:13 AM
RangerChad RangerChad is offline
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Update:

I bought a radiator pressure tester from Summit. (any excuse to buy tools!). There does not appear to be a leak in the cooling system, or at least when it is cold (which is the only time you can test the system).

The tester is supposed to be able to test radiator caps separately, but the Ford cap is so dinky, it doesn't fit on the tester.

So I spent $8 on a new cap from Napa and drove the truck last night about 30 miles. So far, no overflow, no gurgling, nothing. I think and hope it was a bad (weak) radiator cap. It appears to be fixed. Thanks to all for posting here.
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  #6  
Old 09-20-2009, 08:56 AM
DieHard4rd DieHard4rd is offline
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OMG!!!


You ARE Wylie Coyote!!!
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  #7  
Old 09-20-2009, 09:26 AM
greyghost greyghost is offline
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lol the important thing it seems to be ok and didn't barbeque the block
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  #8  
Old 09-20-2009, 09:54 AM
RangerChad RangerChad is offline
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Default Spoke too soon $%^&!!!

I spoke too soon, guys...

I tested the radiator again w/ the pressure tester. After about 2 minutes of holding 16 psi, the gauge was down a pound.

I then started the engine up with the gauge still attached, and the gauge rose to 20 psi before I shut it off.

Sounds like a leaky head gasket. What do you think? Any other possibilities? I think it could be the exhuast manifold area of the head perhaps. But I don't think it would be the intake manifold, because then wouldn't it be drawing coolant into the engine?

Whatever it is, it's going to be a pita to fix. I'm not sure if I should just take off the top of the motor including the heads, or should I pull the whole stinking engine?

Last edited by RangerChad; 09-20-2009 at 10:02 AM.
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  #9  
Old 09-20-2009, 10:14 AM
RangerChad RangerChad is offline
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I found this snippet on google. I think I will run a compression check and/or leak down test first, to see if it is a head gasket. If it's leaking on the head at the mounting area of the exhaust manifold, then it probably won't show up under a compression test.

Mysterious Coolant Loss On
1997-2000 Ford 4.0L VIN E Engines

The AERA Technical Committee offers the following information regarding coolant loss on 1997-2000 Ford 4.0L VIN E engines. The amount of loss reported varied depending on the driving habits of drivers. The area of coolant leakage has been in the exhaust port of the cylinder head. This engine is a V-6 SOHC design and either head may be suspect of leakage.

It has been reported the head casting temperature is a contributing factor on the amount of leakage. Short trip driving produces different amounts of loss than extended highway driving. Pressure testing suspect heads may not produce leakage until the head is heated. In these instances, a submergible type tester that has heated water in it is preferred. The vehicle diagnosis may be accomplished by loosening the exhaust manifold bolts on both heads and looking for coolant in the exhaust port.

In most instances there is no evidence of moisture (coolant) coming out the tailpipe until the leak gets bad enough to leak all the time. The cracks in the exhaust port(s) leak coolant into the hot exhaust flow and almost all traces of coolant are removed by the catalytic converter. Using a fluorescent dye in the coolant may show the coolant trail when checked with a blacklight at the tail pipe opening.

If the coolant leaks long enough an exhaust restriction may be created in the converter. It is suggested an engine exhaust backpressure be taken after this type of cylinder head failure.

The AERA Technical Committee
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  #10  
Old 09-20-2009, 09:53 PM
02'4.04x4 02'4.04x4 is offline
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Sweeeeeeeeet, that's nice to know.

Well at this point I would still check the plugs, check the TB, and sniff it's tail. Then I would top it off with the truck parked up an incline, bump it a couple of times, then refill, ensure there is fluid in the reserve shake the truck a bit, then run it with the cap off, yes again, off. The plugs should tell you if it is leaking into the cylinder, the oil will tell you if it is leaking into the jackets, and your wife will tell you if it is leaking into your drive. . . There's is alot more than most people understand to my recommendations. . . . . G/L
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Last edited by 02'4.04x4; 09-20-2009 at 10:00 PM.
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  #11  
Old 09-21-2009, 12:17 AM
Bird76Mojo Bird76Mojo is offline
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Have you also looked at the underside of your oil fill cap? If you have a bad head gasket or any gasket that leaks coolant into the block, after a little time you'll usually get a "snot" looking stuff forming and accumulating on the underside of the oil cap..

Just a quick thought.

GB
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  #12  
Old 09-22-2009, 04:26 AM
RangerChad RangerChad is offline
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There isn't any condensation under the oil cap and the dipstick keeps coming up clean as well. I plan on tearing into it next week and will start a new thread w/ pics when I do.
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  #13  
Old 09-23-2009, 04:43 PM
RangerChad RangerChad is offline
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What's really weird about this is, I've driven easily over 100 miles now, and it's not using a drop of coolant. But the radiator pressure was at least 20 psi and climbing, indicating a cylinder leak of some kind. Also, it warms up quick, but does not overheat.

I've got a '69 Camaro I've been working on all summer. I should be done with that this week and will start tackling this problem next week.
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