My 1997 ford explorer is overheating often. When this happens the antifreeze goes out of the radiator into the overflow filling it up causing the overflow cover to blow off and antifreeze is spilling out onto the ground, and blown on the engine and underneath the hood. My vehicle is running good not missing. They performed a carbonation test on it 3 times and it failed all 3 times. They say it is either a cracked block or heads or gaskets. No signs of any except running hot often. What are the symptoms of a cracked block, head or gasket? Could there be another cause for the loss of compression?
Have you checed the thermostat, often when they are locked closed a vehicle will overheat and "regergitate" fluid through the overflow. And just so you know noone can tell by a "carbonation test if you have a problemb. (a carbonation test tells you af a change in ph.) wich is not always the affect or result of a blown head/ head gasket.
My sugestion would be change the thermostat. ($20.00) flush cooling system. (Do it yourself $15.00/ and a hose) Drain water and fill with 50/50 mix of coolant and water.
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Re: possible cracked block or head
A cracked block often results in oil in the antifreeze. A cracked head or blown gasket is often heard while accelerating plus it my chug or miss. Take it to another garage and get the system pressure tested. I am not sure if thats what you meant by "a carbonation test". Check for milky looking oil on the dipstick first. If its normal then have the garage inspect the head for leaks using an ultraviolet light around the heads. It may a clogged rad or a faulty water pump too, even a faulty rad cap. Let me know any more info when this is checked. I hate to see someone ripped off.
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Somebody been using tap water in their radiator? The vehicle is old enough to have a lot of accumulated rust and crud in the Radiator which, depending on relative water quality and location of water pump could over pressure the system and have it squirting into overflow. If the threads of the plug have antifreeze on them it's coming from the OUTSIDE not the inside.
You have an air bubble at the top of the engine. The antifreeze spewing out of the overflow happens due to your perfectly functional radiator cap passing the overheated coolant/air mixture out of the system into the reservior (in an attempt to relieve overpressurization of the cooling system) The sudden nature of your overheating comes from the boiling of the inadequate amount of coolant/antifreeze in your engine, since it cant properly cool the engine, so it boils (overheats quickly), and pressure rises immediately within the cooling system. The Fix is free: locate and open the (air) bleeder port at the top of the engine, and add the usual 50% coolant/50% water mixture to the radiator until the radiator is full to the level indicated in your owner's manual (or the "Full" line). Then close the bleeder port and replace the rad (radiator) cap. The air bleeder port is normally located near the thermostat, and should be opened each time that coolant is added to the radiator. The air bleeder port need not be opened when adding 50/50 coolant to the reservior, since the rad cap is going to be closed while adding coolant to this part of the cooling system. Warning: driving beyond the point where your engine temperature gauge indicates overheating will destroy the car's engine - it'll seize up due to overheating, and the only fix for a seized/burned-up engine is replacement (of the engine). Seizing an engine is really easy with an air bubble in the top of the engine - you could easily burn up/warp the head, necessitating replacement of the head and head gasket.
It is normal for some antifreeze move into the overflow tank when the engine cools down after it is shutoff and draw the antifreeze back into the engine when it is warmup, but if it is push antifreeze into the overflow tank and overflowing the tank then most likely the cylinder head is cracked or the headgasket is blown. You can take it to a automotive shop and have them check for hydrocarbons (exhaust gases) in the radiator.
It's overheating. check thermostat and water pump, also radiator coolant levels. once you get it running at normal temp again take it to the shop and have them do a chemical test to see if the head gasket was damaged or the block was warped or cracked as this usually happens when your car overheats.