Mechanic Help: Overheating Prob

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by lg_mouth, Apr 21, 2008.

  1. lg_mouth

    lg_mouth It's Trigger Time!!!

    Well, my 91 Escort is having some overheating probs. It started with overheating and I changed the thermostat to no avail. A buddy mentioned draining the radiator and refilling it to see if that would help. So I did and it did. Drove it to church yesterday evening and then again this morning to work. But, as I pulled into work, the gauge began to go over to hot again. Any guesses as to what this may be? Thanks for the help.

  2. Lewis


    How old is the radiator?
    10-12 years is about the maximum life of a radiator.
    They become pretty plugged up over time.
    You could try a system flush..sometimes it helps.
    Is the electric cooling fan coming on when the car is hot?
    If could be a faulty cooling fan or tempetare sensor.

    Any steam coming out of the tailpipe?...could be head or head gasket issues.
    Dont drive the car in an overheated condition too much...severe damage can result.

  3. lg_mouth

    lg_mouth It's Trigger Time!!!

    The fan does work.
    I am assuming the radiator is as old as the car
    No steam that I have seen

    I am going to check the fluid when I leave and hope and pray I make it home without a problem.

  4. freyedknot

    freyedknot useless poster

    is the coolant circulating when the thermostat opens??? could be the water pump went out too!or you might have what is known as vapor lock.
  5. lg_mouth

    lg_mouth It's Trigger Time!!!

    With me being able to drive it in this morning with no trouble, I am thinking vapor lock. Anyway to eleviate that problem?

  6. FOSR

    FOSR name of Alex

    When it happens, are both radiator hoses hot? If the lower one is cold, it's either a plugged radiator or a bad water pump, or both.
  7. Lewzer

    Lewzer Powderfinger

    It's a stupid question but I have to ask...You didn't put the thermostat in upside down did you?

    I did that when I was young in my old '79 Caprice and it took awhile to figure out what I did.
  8. UFM82

    UFM82 The one others want to be

    The coolant is pushed through the system by the water pump. Under positive pressure you eliminate vapor lock issues. Fluids boil more easily under negative pressure- that's why carbed engines could actually suffer from it. The fuel pumps were mechanical pumps on the block and they sucked the fuel up from the fuel tank, thus putting the gas under negative pressure. If the metal fuel line was too near a heat source, you could develop vapor lock. A water/anti-freeze mix won't vaporize like gas does and it's not being sucked through the engine so that ain't it.

    Check your hoses once the car is hot- both upper and lower hoses should be hot, as should the heater hoses. If any are not, you have a blockage. Radiators do in fact have limited lives depending on upkeep- if you've never changed the anti-freeze and it's not clean and green, you may have build up clogging the veins. Same with a heater core. It could easily plug and cause a gradual overheat issue.

    You can't put the thermostat in an Escort the wrong way because the housing won't go back on if you do. One thing to do for certain though would be to run the engine with the radiator cap off until the thermostat opens. Then fill the radiator the rest of the way. It's very difficult to fill a 1.9L with it cold. I always had to warm them up to get them full.

    Finally and this may be the worst case scenario- you may have a blown head gasket. Escorts were very fond of eating them with the aluminum head/cast iron block combination, especially if it got hot once. The head gasket would either fail between cylinders 2 and 3 or the head itself would crack between 1 and 2. That would create an overheat only after the car was totally warmed up and the head expanded. The gasket may let gases through the same way. There is a test kit that you can get to determine if there are combustion gases in your anti-freeze.

    Good luck.

  9. soua0363

    soua0363 Master of Nothing

    When I had my Taurus SHO I was having a lot of overheating issues like you. I replaced the thermostat and flushed out the radiator to no avail. A co-worker of mine mentioned going to a car wash and using the sprayer to spray out any dirt and debris caught in between the radiator fins. I tried it and it worked for me. It washed out alot of dirt that has been caked up in there through the years from before I got the car to when I got the car and all my driving. I had never thought to ever hose out the radiator whenever I wash my car but now I do.

    If the radiator is pretty old, you can try it and see it helps any.

    Another thing...when you filled up the radiator, did you leave the cap off with the car on while filling? If not, it could trap air in the engine causing the engine to overheat because it is preventing the coolant from circulating correctly.
  10. i had overheating problems on my chevy beretta. it was the fan motor. F.Y.I. an electric fan doesn't come until the car gets to a certain temp. it does not come on when you start the car
  11. lg_mouth

    lg_mouth It's Trigger Time!!!

    Well, thank God it is no longer an issue. I drove it home fine yesterday and back into work this morning with no problems what so ever. Big blessing because of gas prices.

    Thanks for all the info.