Question about 1999 Ford Taurus

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Slow to rapid coolant rise after engine is shut off

I have a 1999 Taurus SE 3.0L Vulcan Engine (12 Valve OHV). We have recently replaced the head gaskets, one cylinder head, intake manifold gaskets, exhaust maniford gaskets, water pump, thermostat, timing chain, timing cover gasket, front oil seal, and all other related gaskets. Saved one cyclinder head because it showed leakage of 20% in number 3 and passed warpage tests. Have not done any additional leak down tests or block chemical tests. Now the coolant level rises slowly from the bottom bar of the cold fill to roughly between the top bar of the cold fill and the black lid of the expansion tank when the engine is turned off. The cap whistles, but no steam escapes, and there are no bubbles in the coolant. Is this normal for cooling system operation and I don't know because I've just recently began checking the bottle after turning off the engine? Please help because I'm freaking out about it and want to know if I'm doing this unnecessarily. Thanks.

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  • Joseph Weisenberger
    Joseph Weisenberger May 31, 2009

    Thanks so much, electricdah. I shouldn't worry about the speed or the height which the hot coolant rises? I was having heavy problems with coolant overflow before the work we did on it. Just wanted to make sure everything was on the up and up. Everything's good as long as it doesn't steam, boil, or overflow?

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Normal. This is called heat soak. When you stop the engine, its temperature rises since the coolant is no longer being circulated by the water pump through the radiator. The coolant then expands and goes higher in the overflow tank. As the engine cools, it retreats back into the engine. Proper level should be determined only when the engine is cool.

Posted on May 31, 2009

  • electricdah May 31, 2009

    Yup. As long as the coolant level is correct when cold and never overflows when hot, it normal.

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