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Old 08-18-2011
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I am: Daniel C
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Monroe, LA
Vehicle: 2000 Ford Ranger 3.0 2wd
Posts: 7
Total Props: 0
Coolant recovery reservoir doesn't go up or down, normal?

Another question on my quest to get this darn ranger running right...

I did a flush in the engine cooling system yesterday with one of those flush kits (basically just needed the T that hooks to the water hose), then did a chemical flush with some stuff from autozone. New radiator cap, thermostat and gasket. I took the hose off the recovery reservoir and flushed it out with a water hose and then sucked out the water and debris with my shopvac cuz it was draining so slowly out of the drain hole that the debris would settle back down before flowing out. I did shoot water up that hose into the bottle with the water hose which seemed to make the draining flow about normal through a hose that size.

I filled the radiator with coolant, then with water and then cranked up the engine and kept filling with water till it didn't seem to want any more. I filled the coolant reservoir tank with a 50/50 mix.

After running the truck and now having driven it a couple times to town, I notice that the coolant level in the bottle doesn't go up or down, doesn't get warm or anything. Is this normal? How much should I expect the level to go up or down in that bottle? Maybe the hose is clogged from the rad cap?

Also, I notice that when I drive the truck to town, turn off the truck, come back out in about 5 mins, turn the ignition back on, the temp gauge goes way up over half way, about 3/4 way up, then when I crank the truck, it settles back down to right on half way after about 30 seconds. Is this normal? I never noticed it doing this before the flush and clean.

Sorry my posts are so long... wanna get all the info in! :)
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Old 08-28-2011
I am: Wildlife Control
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Albany, NY
Vehicle: 1999 Ford Ranger
Posts: 12
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I have a 99 3.0. The level should only go up about half an inch once it gets warm. It's hardly noticeable. When it cools it'll go back down that half inch. It takes a lot longer for things to cool, so you probably won't notice it lowering for several hours.

I had a bad radiator cap that only let the coolant out and wouldn't let it back in. The hot coolant would go into the bottle, but the return valve was jammed with gunk so nothing would come back. Something had to give, so my hoses ended up getting squashed flat. When I opened the cap, it'd release the vacuum and the hoses would go back to normal and the level in the radiator would drop by the amount that went into the bottle. I replaced the cap and that fixed the problems.

Check to make sure the return valve (looks like a button) on the bottom of your radiator cap pulls out easily. Definitely check if there is a blockage where the overflow hose connects to the radiator. I had to clean some gunk out of there with a q-tip handle.

The 3/4 gauge reading might be air in your system. Try burping the air out of the top radiator hose. Squeeze it a few times. It should feel like you're pumping liquid not an empty hose.

Air might've also gotten into your heater core when you flushed. Run the heater to clear the air out. Open the cap (when cool) and top off the radiator if needed.
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Old 08-28-2011
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I am: Alex P
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Flat Rock, Mi
Vehicle: 1999 XLT off road.
Posts: 6,313
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your not supposed to have a ton of movement in your overflow canister. to check to make sure your return line is working, once your truck is running and hot, grab the line. Your Cooling system is under pressure, so it should be pretty firm.
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