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Hi guys,
I am in need of some help with my 1988 VogueSE 3.5.
Previous owner complained of coolant loss. The guy i bought it from said he had the system flushed and checked for leaks but found no problems.
I have noticed that the temp guage only ever comes up to about 1/4 which leads me to believe the stat has possibly been removed. When hot both top and bottom hoses are hot and firm (pressure?) and releasing the expansion tank cap (slowly!) results in water being ejected under pressure. There is some staining around the exp. tank and overflow pipe suggesting water is being lost. Engine running and vehicle hot the viscous fan is running as expected.

I am thinking that the water loss is a result of overheating, not overheating as a result of water loss. At first i suspected head gasket problems but there is no evidence of this altho i havent done a compression test yet.

Where do i start? Any thoughts much appreciated.

cheers!
 

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I would say head gasket. The pressure I think is from exhaust gases. There is a dye that you can put in with your coolant that will only change colors when in contact with exhaust. That's might be a place to start and will either confirm or dismiss the head gaskets. Most auto parts stores will carry the dye.

Regards,
-Nate
 

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Are you actually losing water or just assuming you are because PO mentioned it? If so, how much?

When the engine's hot I would expect the hoses to be firm and for water to come out of the header cap - it's under pressure.
 

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I would think that if it was a head gasket, it would add pressure to the system quite fast. Have you noticed how long it takes to get hot (hoses)? I would take the easiest path first (and usually the most likely)and have the radiator serviced (rotted etc), about $75 in most places, or less. Easy removal and install. Then see if that makes a difference.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
cheers guys.
Yeah coolant level in header drops about half way after about 200 miles. Theres staining evidence around header tank/overflow pipe. Think i will carry out a compression test, fit new stat, and see what happens. Hopefully if i fit a stat i will be able to see if it does actually overheat.
will keep you posted!
 

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A cooling system pressure tester will allow you to pressurise the cooling system without the engine running hot or cold, if the pressure bleeds down you should find coolant somewhere. It can also help diagnose a headgasket by showing the pulses of pressure as the engine forces compression into the cooling system.
 

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I have this exact problem on my '88.

I know for fact that the coolant is blowing out the overflow, but the engine is not running hot, AFAICT.

I suspect the expansion tank is somehow not sealing well, as the radiator cap on it is replaced.

I have a question for you folks with the newer expansion tank on the classic, that uses the Y-style hose. The '88 doesn't use the Y-style hose and has the older metal tank, which has the pressure release cap and overflow like most systems.

The newer style uses a Y-style hose that connects to the expansion tank from the bottom radiator hose, and also from the radiator. It seems there is no way for the system to overflow if it overheats in that setup?

I am not certain, but think the inside of the expansion tank, the cap is not seating properly, and it seems to my advantage to stay wtih the older metal style tank as it has an overflow, just if it wouldn't overflow all the time. I have the newer style expansion tank I bought off ebay for $15, but realized I need the newer style hose if I want to use it. I would like to better understand how that system works per my comments above, before changing it over.

Steve at British Pacific suggested adding another gasket under the cap gasket in case it wasn't sealing properly. I thought in that regard maybe I should try to dremel that smooth inside in case the rubber gasket wasn't seating properly.
 

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what they all said above.

bad head gasket wont necessarily overheat the engine or cause any running issues apart from coolant loss which then leads to problems. My classic has a bad head gasket at the moment, pressurising the system. The past 15,000 k's I have simply filled it up, takes a litre of water every 1,000 K's or so.

Its easier to tell on the older metal style classics, leave the car overnight so its stone cold, take the radiator cap off, and start it up. Watch for bubbles in the expansion tank as engine warms up when being reved a little.

Do get it looked into though, or like mine the first I knew was when the heater core split.

I have had 3 headgaskets go now on varios 3.5 and 3.9's. Never on a 4.6. Wierd luck.
 

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jsp said:
what they all said above.

bad head gasket wont necessarily overheat the engine or cause any running issues apart from coolant loss which then leads to problems. My classic has a bad head gasket at the moment, pressurising the system. The past 15,000 k's I have simply filled it up, takes a litre of water every 1,000 K's or so.

Its easier to tell on the older metal style classics, leave the car overnight so its stone cold, take the radiator cap off, and start it up. Watch for bubbles in the expansion tank as engine warms up when being reved a little.

Do get it looked into though, or like mine the first I knew was when the heater core split.

I have had 3 headgaskets go now on varios 3.5 and 3.9's. Never on a 4.6. Wierd luck.
John,

I guess the best way is to test the compression of the cylinders. If one or more are drastically lower that would mean I have a head gasket problem also. Could be, I don't doubt that. I've thought about this before, it seems peppy in low end range, but not in the upper range, hard to tell as the Rangie is so slugish compared to my Porsche... :roll:
 

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Just another idea as to what it could be, I don't really have that much knowlege about cooland systems, however my 93 when I first got it wouldn't get above 1/4 temp. I found out the thermostate had jamed open. The car was using a small amount of water, (about 1/4 of a header tank per 1000km) though a reasonable amount of oil. I put a new thermostate in and it stopped using water and oil, (and goes a lot quicker too `)) Also you say the header drops about half way, your not filling it up to the brim?
 

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benji said:
Just another idea as to what it could be, I don't really have that much knowlege about cooland systems, however my 93 when I first got it wouldn't get above 1/4 temp. I found out the thermostate had jamed open. The car was using a small amount of water, (about 1/4 of a header tank per 1000km) though a reasonable amount of oil. I put a new thermostate in and it stopped using water and oil, (and goes a lot quicker too `)) Also you say the header drops about half way, your not filling it up to the brim?
Unfortunately I can't find my pressure tester to test the cooling system...I will try to troubleshoot some tomorrow. Seems it might be worth a thermostat as they are inexpensive.
 

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SoftOrchestra said:
Unfortunately I can't find my pressure tester to test the cooling system...I will try to troubleshoot some tomorrow. Seems it might be worth a thermostat as they are inexpensive.
I put the thermostat is today, picked it up from a local Napa (Beck-Arnley) for $9.95 + $3.29 for the gasket.

News at 11:00 as they say...but the first thing I notice is that the temp gauge now comes up past 1/4, and goes to between 1/3rd and 1/2, it's under the 1/2 way mark.

Light came on, and I pulled into a gas station to top the coolant off, as it sucked quite a bit of air when the system was opened, then it kinda leveled out and the light went out after I got going again. Will wait until the morning and top it off again.

Seems the thermostat was definitely bad, just not sure if that was causing my blowing coolant out the overflow.
 
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