2003 XL Ranger, Standard Cab. 167,000 miles.
2.3L Engine, Manual Transmission.
About a month ago the A/C was not working, so I took it to the shop and they fixed it. They said the wiring was bad.
Until that point, I had not ran the A/C. But here in Arizona the temps started getting high, so about three weeks ago I turn the A/C on. When I got off the freeway, the gauge showed it was getting hot. I turned the A/C off and it helped. For the next few days I drove without A/C until I took it to the shop two weeks ago. On my way to the shop the reservoir cracked and I had to epoxy it enough to make it there.
The mechanic said I had a bad fan clutch. He replaced it as well as the cracked bottle and charged me $386 bucks.
Then, I drove away and noticed the gauge got higher than mid range, so I called him and he said to bring it in the next day. On my way there (early morning) the truck never got hot, so he said "must have been an air pocket, you should be fine".
I drove it back and forth with about a 1/4 range of motion of the needle around the middle, which I was told was ok.
Last Friday, as soon as I drove off the freeway it got on the hot side again, and then the radiator cracked and leaked all the fluid. I commute 42 miles to work and this was at 1/2 way point, on a 108F degrees afternoon.
I refilled it with water (several stops) and made it home.
I ordered a new radiator, a new water pump, a new thermostat and replaced all over the week.
Today (Friday) on my way to work I drove WITHOUT the A/C and the needle seemed to move to the higher side as soon as I get off the freeway. I parked it and let it cool down.
Later on, I ran it in city traffic with the A/C on and seems fine, it is only moving the needle when I go from freeway to city.
I took it to the shop, and the guy said I could have a bad head gasket, and that's the only thing he can think of. I don't have any more cash, and I told him that (he said it would not be cheap to fix). So he suggested I try the K&W Permanent Head Gasket and Block Repair.
Has anybody dealt with this before? If this does not work, how hard would it be to DIY repairing it? (I am ok with some repairs but I am no mechanic, I have, however, replaced the entire cooling system now so I can do some stuff myself).