Question about 1988 Ford F 250

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1989 Ford F250 Diesel is spiking to red in temp gauge

I just purchased an 89 F250 diesel (new to me). Seemed to run fine - have run it uphill once or twice with no problem. Last week, ran uphill turned off, truck sat for 1/2 hour and then, going back downhill, engine light came on. Three miles or so later, temp gauge spiked from "normal" to redline.

Have tried to duplicate the problem - letting truck run, running across town - with no success. Until today. Ran it across town (on the flats), guage was reading normal. Then ran it uphill - got less than 1/2 mile, was shifting from 3rd to 4th, I think - and the engine light came on and the gauge spiked red again.

I have fluid, the truck is not leaking fluids, and the truck is not overheating, in the conventional sense (steam and fluid flying everywhere).

PLEASE HELP? This is very frustrating, as I live in the moutains and not going uphill is not an option...

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  • 2 more comments 
  • ddapo16 Aug 10, 2008

    Thanks for your advice. I'm not trying to fix it, per se, but rather get an understanding of what level of effort/expense I'm looking at to GET it fixed - or know if it's even FIXABLE?

    Other solutions would be welcome.

  • ddapo16 Aug 10, 2008

    What am I looking for in the electrical diagram?

  • ddapo16 Aug 10, 2008

    thanks, toddg.

    When I say it's not leakign fluid, I mean that I do not have a noticeable leak of antifreeze (on the ground) when the truck is parked. nor is it spewing fluids/steam when the spike occurs. Have to admit, I'm not sure if the overflow tank id filling up - I have not actually checked that when the spike occurs. I can say that, when I got it home and checked, the fluid level in that tank was about 1/4 to 1/3.

    The spike is very quick and noticeable. The gauge goes from 1/4 to 1/3 "normal" to full redline and the engine light comes on.

    Can't give a good answer on the "only on upgrades, as I've had it happen on a DOWNGRADE (!), level and an upgrade (15%).

    The truck has not been under load - though at some point, I will be pulling a horse trailer with it. Hence my concern!!

    Thanks for your assistance. hopefully this is something that is relatively easy and not too spendy to fix...

  • ddapo16 Aug 10, 2008

    Will a mechanic be able to troubleshoot with relative ease?

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Just take it to autozone or just about any autoparts stores, they will check your code for free, then you will know what you need.

Posted on Aug 10, 2008

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  • Ford Master
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Normalle a vehicule that goes in the red like ours idle or running slow is ok the radiator is not cooling that big engine enough just good for slow speed im sure if the faster you go the hotter or going uphill or pulling something heavy the radiator is not doing is job our asking more from the engine and the engine need more cooling radiator not good= overheat redline hope it make sense to you thank you pierre p.s l dont like to say like that but like toddg say our not been spoiled by expert here so let me know

Posted on Aug 10, 2008

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When a temp gauge spikes it usually is not a real heating problem, but possibly a sending unit, or wiring to sender problem. Most especially with the diesel and its vibration. Difficult to say from way over here, but I would rather believe that there may be a bare spot on the wire which occasionaly touches ground.

Posted on Aug 10, 2008

  • bill  willis
    bill willis Aug 10, 2008

    You must remember this is an 18 year old vehicle, all the harnesses and such have been there a long time, but to answer you question relative to whether a mechanic could find the problem with ease, this would depend on whether you have a wiring problem , or sender problem. I am convinced that you have no heating problem because if it got hot enough to peg the needle you would smell it and the engine would make make some horrible noises. So as I said above I believe you will find the trouble in that sender or it's wiring. If it's wiring, this could be time consuming in locating the trouble spot. I would start by replacing the sender, as they are reasonably priced, and it has been there a very long time.

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Check electrical diagram...

Posted on Aug 10, 2008

  • ritchie dempacco
    ritchie dempacco Aug 10, 2008

    or maybe a faulty gauge

  • ritchie dempacco
    ritchie dempacco Aug 10, 2008

    check the electrical diagram



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