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  #31  
Old 01-19-2017, 05:51 PM
Harbor_Handed Harbor_Handed is offline
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Default Re: Do I really need a new radiator?

Update:

Got my new Motorcraft thermostat installed (I've decided I'm not doing any more mechanical projects under the hood or under the vehicle, except changing my oil/filter. I just don't have the temperment for it!). I'm happy to report that my temperature gauge now goes to exactly where it should - nearly halfway up the gauge - and it stays there! Never budges.
Here's a before & after pic:


I tossed the old coolant & refilled with Zerex Gold. The levels of coolant in the reservoir kept varying a lot after refilling & driving around, it seemed like I was losing coolant somehow. I noticed milky splotches on top of my coolant-reservoir...So I bought a new plastic coolant-reservoir cap today at Advance Auto, and I screwed it on very TIGHT after the truck was cool. I drove it and did some errands, and it seems like the coolant level is now staying consistent and no more coolant puking. And again, the temp gauge is working just as it should now, so I'm hoping I can finally forget about cooling issues, radiators, etc. from now on.

Thank you so much to Soledad and everyone who helped me in this thread.
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  #32  
Old 01-24-2017, 11:43 AM
Harbor_Handed Harbor_Handed is offline
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Default Re: Do I really need a new radiator?

I had a bad setback today.

I was driving, everything was normal. Had the AC on for a few minutes. Pulled into a parking space, got out, and smelled a strong hot-coolant smell. Popped the hood, and saw some wisps of smoke or steam under the hood near the AC compressor. Looked at the coolant reservoir and saw that it was low - just below the minimum line. Oh crap.

Went in and did my errand, then came out and drove 10 minutes to somewhere else with AC off. I parked, and popped the hood again and saw that the coolant level was even lower now. Looked under the car and sure enough, there's coolant dripping out rapidly from passenger side around where the AC compressor is (but I don't know exactly where it's coming from).

Waited a while then opened the reservoir cap and added more coolant, and started driving toward home. A few minutes after pulling away, the "Check Engine" light comes on. During all this, the temperature gauge stays exactly where it should be though.

I get home, check the coolant level again, and it's staying steady at the level I just filled it to. I look under the car and don't see any drips now.

Note that I also have a thread on this forum about a hissing noise coming from behind the bezel (or even deeper in) that happens when the truck is running and all the climate controls are in the off position.

What could be happening? Thanks.
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  #33  
Old 01-24-2017, 11:51 AM
Tyler46 Tyler46 is offline
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What's the code you got?
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  #34  
Old 01-24-2017, 12:11 PM
Harbor_Handed Harbor_Handed is offline
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Default Re: Do I really need a new radiator?

I don't have a scanner/code reader (although some posters on here have recommended that I get one). I'm not a very high tech person or mechanically inclined.

I was hoping someone might be able to have ideas on what the problem might be based on my symptoms/experience. I'm going to drive it to my new mechanic tomorrow.
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  #35  
Old 01-24-2017, 12:17 PM
Soledad Soledad is offline
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Default Re: Do I really need a new radiator?

Unfortunately you are going to have to track down where that leak is coming from. You'll have to dry everything off, then start the truck and look for the leak. It may be something as simple as a hose clamp that wasn't installed tightly or correctly.

The known leak failure spots on that side of the engine are only the heater valve. The rest are just hose connections such as the large radiator hose, the smaller Coolant recovery bottle hoses and the actual heater core hose connections. And then there's the large metal tube we had talked about a week or so ago. My coolant recovery bottle was actually disintegrating and finally sprung a leak. Very easy to replace and so I'd wait for the engine to cool down and run your hand around it checking for any coolant.

You might try getting a screw driver out and some pliers and tightening up those that you can and double check any spring hose clamps as well as maybe reseating them better.

Thinking more about this, it could be possible that because you now have an engine running at the correct temperature, that's put more pressure on the system causing a part to fail that was near the threshold of already failing. Running the A/C demands even more from the cooling system. When you run the A/C the electric fan should kick on every now and then to assist in cooling the radiator. If that fan never kicks on then that would be a problem and put even more demand on the cooling system.

As for the hissing, they could be two separate issues. If a cooling system component were hissing I'm sure you'd see a lot of steam or coolant unless it was the heater core but a leaky heater core can make a mess.
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2003 Ranger XL | 2.3L | 2wd | 5spd manual | standard cab | short bed | 112" wheel base | 3.73 rear (open diff) | no power windows or locks but at least it's got A/C!

Last edited by Soledad; 01-24-2017 at 01:06 PM.
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  #36  
Old 01-24-2017, 01:50 PM
Harbor_Handed Harbor_Handed is offline
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Default Re: Do I really need a new radiator?

Thanks, Soledad!

I forgot to mention that I checked around the plastic coolant reservoir and didn't see any sign of leakage.

My assumption is that the slight wisps of smoke/steam that I saw initially was leaked coolant droplets being burnt by the heat under the hood.

I think you are right: the engine is now operating at a significantly higher temp than it had been, and with the AC running, it's creating a lot more heat/pressure which seeks an outlet. At first it was puking out of the old reservoir cap - but I replaced that and it's now sealed tight. So now it's finding somewhere else to come out of. :-(

Regarding the fan, I had the fan clutch replaced and I believe the fan is working fine. When the mechanic looks at it tomorrow, I'm sure he'll notice if it's not working properly though.

I'll update this thread with what I find out tomorrow. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge.
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  #37  
Old 01-24-2017, 03:47 PM
Soledad Soledad is offline
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Default Re: Do I really need a new radiator?

Actually, our trucks use two fans. The main or primary fan is the clutch fan. The auxiliary fan is an electric fan attached to the radiator and it comes on when the A/C is on.

Hopefully they will do a pressure test on the cooling system. If there's a leak, that will show them right away where it is. If the system will hold 12-15psi for a few hours and not budge then it's probably good.

I ended up having to do the pressure test on mine. That's how I found the "T" above the starter was leaking. It was an incredibly slow leak but just enough to cause problems.
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2003 Ranger XL | 2.3L | 2wd | 5spd manual | standard cab | short bed | 112" wheel base | 3.73 rear (open diff) | no power windows or locks but at least it's got A/C!

Last edited by Soledad; 01-24-2017 at 03:53 PM.
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  #38  
Old 01-24-2017, 05:28 PM
Harbor_Handed Harbor_Handed is offline
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Default Re: Do I really need a new radiator?

I didn't realize there was another fan that comes on when the AC comes on. Maybe that's the problem right there - that the aux fan has stopped working.
I'll request a pressure test and mention the aux fan to them tomorrow.

Really hoping I can get this truck to a state of "homeostasis" soon, all these repairs are getting ridiculous. lol

Thanks again. :-)
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  #39  
Old 01-25-2017, 07:20 AM
tomw0 tomw0 is offline
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Default Re: Do I really need a new radiator?

Whenever you have liquid on the ground that you think came from your vehicle, you should try to check closely for color. The A/C will drip condensation when it is in use. There is likely a small opening at the bottom of the evaporator case that drips. If the fluid on the ground was water, it should be colorless.
If anti-freeze / coolant, either green, orange, or gold. (there may be more colors)
ATF would be in the 'red zone', being purplish, reddish, or dark ruby red(like that name?)
Oil would be various colors depending on how long it has been in use. From honey colored(gold) to dark black, darkening with use in most cases.
A pump can be attached in place of the radiator cap or degas bottle cap and air pumped in to pressurize a cold, un-running system. Inspection for leaks can then be done without risk of getting burned or grabbed by the pulleys/radiator fan/etc.
The coolant will contract as the engine cools. The level of coolant in the expansion tank or degas bottle will fall as the coolant cools. The level on the side of the tank should be labeled similar to: "Full Cold" and "Full Hot", with the lower level being the 'cold' level. Fill to the cold level when the engine has cooled off. You should not have to add much coolant between oil changes unless the system leaks. You may have had some air trapped in the engine water jacket(coolant spaces) that burped out, and allowed the level to fall from 'full'. It may re-occur, or it may not. Fill to 'cold full' level, and watch for a week or so, checking when cold before use.
tom
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  #40  
Old 01-25-2017, 03:42 PM
Harbor_Handed Harbor_Handed is offline
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Default Re: Do I really need a new radiator?

Update: What a day.
Went to new mechanic today. When I pulled in, steam was coming out from under my hood. :-(
Turns out it was the heater control valve that was leaking, it was totally busted. They let all my new Zerex Gold coolant drain onto the pavement. Ugh. They refilled with whatever brand they had on hand. :-(

Regarding the "check engine" light, the code read that it was running lean so they thought it was a vacuum leak, which they found and fixed, and sent me off. Everything was great, I went to the store and when I got out I headed toward home. Then the "Check Engine" light came on again, so I turned around and headed back to the mechanic. Again, code came up running lean. So they did a smoke test, found no leaky lines. He examined the MAF sensor and the tiny wire was broken, so he said if I replace that, it SHOULD solve the "Check Engine" issue. I said let's go forward.

They ordered the part and I waited. They informed me after an hour that the WRONG part had been delivered, and they had to order from somewhere else and it should be there in an hour.
2.5 hours later, it still had not arrived so I said "I need to go, I'll bring the truck by tomorrow for you to install the new MAF. Just put the old one back on."

I get out on the road, and every time my automatic truck shifts from 1st to 2nd, ,or from 2nd to 3rd, it BUCKS hard when it makes the shift! I was beside myself. It NEVER did that before!

I'm hoping replacing the MAF sensor tomorrow will solve THAT issue. If it doesn't then I'll have a new big problem on my hands... Please GOD, let the new MAF sensor solve this shifting issue! I am reaching the end of my rope with this vehicle. The owner drove my vehicle himself today (very aggressively I might add) and said it drives great, idles great, sounds great for it's age and miles. But now it's started BUCKING when shifting!!

Is this bucking related to the MAF? Any ideas appreciated!
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  #41  
Old 01-25-2017, 03:54 PM
Soledad Soledad is offline
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Default Re: Do I really need a new radiator?

Wow! Ok, I feel pretty bad for ya. It's never fun having to deal with a vehicle that needs so much TLC. BUT! Once these engines have the TLC they need these Duratec 2.3's are pretty awesome little engines.

The bucking and bad shifting can most certainly be caused by a bad MAF. But, what I find odd is that had the MAF wire been broken the entire time I'm sure you would have felt this problem before today.

And yeah, those heater control valves are a known weak point on these once they get a lot of miles on them. The cooling system components used on this engine are a problem because Ford decided to go with plastic (or whatever it is) which tends to get brittle and crack with age due to temperature stresses.
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2003 Ranger XL | 2.3L | 2wd | 5spd manual | standard cab | short bed | 112" wheel base | 3.73 rear (open diff) | no power windows or locks but at least it's got A/C!

Last edited by Soledad; 01-25-2017 at 04:16 PM.
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  #42  
Old 01-25-2017, 05:52 PM
Harbor_Handed Harbor_Handed is offline
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Default Re: Do I really need a new radiator?

Thanks, Sol'. I googled and saw a few posts from other people correlating rough shifting/bucking with the MAF sensor, so it's my HOPE AGAINST HOPE that my truck will make it the few miles to the mechanic tomorrow, and when MAF gets replaced this sudden shifting bucking problem will DISAPPEAR!

Not sure why the problem never appeared before if the MAF wire was split before. Maybe the wire had been only making a partial connection before, but after the owner was fiddling with it, he created a complete break? I'm not sure.

I've just about had it with this truck. I'm starting to develop a nervous tic, I'm getting a globus hystericus in my neck, and I'm snapping at loved ones. LOL. Every time I tackle one problem with this vehicle, another pops up, and it is REALLY. Wearing. Thin.

OK, I'm done venting.
I'll update tomorrow with how things go. Thank you to Sol' and everyone!
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  #43  
Old 01-25-2017, 08:59 PM
Harbor_Handed Harbor_Handed is offline
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Default Re: Do I really need a new radiator?

Quote:
But, what I find odd is that had the MAF wire been broken the entire time I'm sure you would have felt this problem before today.
I've been thinking a lot about this.
Right after they did the repair work, the owner wanted to take my vehicle for a spin because I was asking his opinion on the condition of my vehicle. So he got in the driver's seat and I got in the passenger seat, and he drove it around for about 15 minutes. He was very aggressive and I commented on how hard he was driving it, because I believe in driving vehicles very gently. We went up a hill and he put the pedal to the metal; to me it sounded like he was really pushing the engine. And I noticed that in the garage he was always revving the engine of the vehicles he was working on, which I think is horrible. Pushing an engine like that really puts so much wear & tear IMO.

Anyway, I now believe that the way he was driving my vehicle, revving it, and just pushing it hard (the exact opposite of how I drive) might have actually blown out that wire of the MAF sensor. After we came back from him driving it, I slid into the driver seat and drove away and I noticed then that I could hear a grainy, gritty sound that wasn't there before. After I went to the store and started driving again, the check engine light came on. Then when I was driving home after having it at the mechanics for the 2nd time, it was bucking wildly with every shift into another gear.

So I now believe that the owner of the mechanic shop probably blew out my MAF sensor with his revving the engine and very hard driving. :-(
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  #44  
Old 01-26-2017, 07:52 AM
tomw0 tomw0 is offline
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Default Re: Do I really need a new radiator?

I don't think airflow will blow out a MAF. The MAF is actually a pair of wires that are heated by DC voltage. Their resistance changes as they heat up. Air flow will cool the wires and change the resistance. If it is a lot of airflow, the wires will cool a lot, and change the resistance a lot. If airflow is low, the wires won't cool, and the resistance will not change.
So, revving the engine, and applying full throttle should not affect the wires. They are brittle and delicate. If someone cleaned them with a brush, for example, they could be damaged.
tom
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  #45  
Old 01-26-2017, 02:16 PM
Harbor_Handed Harbor_Handed is offline
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Default Re: Do I really need a new radiator?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomw0 View Post
So, revving the engine, and applying full throttle should not affect the wires. They are brittle and delicate. If someone cleaned them with a brush, for example, they could be damaged.
tom
Thanks, Tom - Perhaps he didn't blow out the filament. Or maybe the wire was brittle and on its last legs, and his hard driving was the straw that broke the camel's back? I just don't know.

Anyway, I was scared to drive the truck back to the mechanic today because I thought it might not make it with the old MAF sensor causing such harsh bucking during shifting. So I drove my other vehicle to the mechanic, picked up the new MAF and borrowed the T-20 Torx from the garage, then went back home and installed the new MAF myself. It was easy-peasy - if only all mechanical endeavors could be that easy! Before starting, I tried to take my negative battery cable off in order to clear the code, but the bolt head is too stripped to move even with a 6 point 8mm socket. :-/

With the new MAF, there was no more bucking while shifting. Thank God!!

Drove the truck back to mechanic and he cleared the code, and they gave me a $40 refund for bringing the old MAF core back to them. I drove about 10 miles today and the Check Engine light never came back on. Also, the hissing sound from behind the bezel was gone after they worked on the truck yesterday, so don't have to worry about that anymore.

Everything seems A-OK for the time being. Hopefully I'm done with these repairs for a good while!!

Thanks to everyone who responded, I really appreciate it.
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