Question about 1996 Ford Thunderbird LX

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Overheating 96 ford t-bird w/3.8

The radiator the hoses an thermostat have all been replaced in the last month...the car heats up to the point that the lite goes on then comes down...there is know heat either...i checked for an air pocket an there r none

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Possible that you have a headgasket leak. When the vehicle is cold open the rad cap and make sure the coolant is at the top of the rad. With the rad cap off start the engine. leave the cap off and and warm up the engine till the thermostat opens and you should at that point need to add coolant if there was any air the the cooling system. with the cap still off and the rad topped up wait until are the air bubble out of the cooling system then replace the rad cap. If this solve your problem your are OK, but if the bubbles keep coming and the vehicle keeps over heating it is possible that you have pressure from a blown heat gasket entering in the cooling system thus have the system pressure checked.

Posted on Nov 29, 2008

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Hi Kim,

I can feel your frustration. It sounds like you've done all the logical stuff already. The "donut hole" in your process would seem to be not changing the water pump. The water pump as you might imagine, is responsible for circulating (pumping) the relatively cool water in the radiator into the running engine that contains the hot water. Hoses connect the two together. A thermostat is between the radiator and the engine. Once the water in the running engine gets to a certain temperature, the thermostat opens allowing the water pump to send cool water into the engine and hot water out to the radiator to be cooled. The heater core is usually on the passenger side firewall area.

It sounds like the water pump is the only thing left to change - if it isn't working - it can't circulate the water - and will result in overheating. Lastly, a clogged heater core shouldn't cause the engine to overheat - in fact, if the engine begins to overheat, you should turn the heat to HIGH fan and HIGH temperature to help remove some of the heat in the coolant.

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HI Anon.
Remove your radiator cap (WHEN ENGINE IS COLD), run the motor and let it warm up a minute or two, have someone rev the engine a little while looking into the radiator. If the water goes down and/or you see the water moving, your water pump is good. If not this means that your water pump is bad and is not moving enough water through the system. Try Removing your thermostat and run the engine without it. Keep checking the radiator hoses to see if they are the same temperature. If they are not the same temperature the water pump is bad. If they are the same temperature your thermostat is more than likely the culprit. Hope this helps.

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This is a sign that the thermostat is sticking shut and then opening after the temp gets past a certain point. If the heat gauge goes to high and then drops down suddenly, this is the likely culprit and you need to replace the thermostat - again.

I have had them arrive from the parts store and be defective.

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I had the same problem, whole new radiator, new hoses, new thermostat, and still overheating. What the problem was for me...bad radiator cap...all that money and a $20 fix...try it?

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1 Answer

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First, plastic tube may be the overflow vent from the coolant bottle.Check to see where the attached end goes. You are going to have to check engine for coolant leaks (carefully refill system without spilling anything, then look for dripping anywhere. Look for leaks from all hoses, fittings radiator, water pump etc) After checking for leaks, start it up and check again (watch where you put your hands though) While running, check that the fan comes on when the vehicle reaches operating temp.(no fan, check fan motor, sensor & relay) Turn the heat on (does it have heat?) Check temp of lower hose and upper hose. If overheat happens, is lower hose still cold? (likely bad thermostat). If you found a leak, replace whatever is leaking...best insurance is to change thermostat after any overheat. Last, is there any white smoke from tailpipe, does engine run rough? If so, could be a failed head gasket or crack in cylinder head. (at this point last thing to worry about unless there is excessive smoke or rough run or oil in radiator or coolant in oil).

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