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Old 06-06-2014
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Florence, AZ
Posts: 12
Icon4 Help!!! Overheating

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).
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Old 06-06-2014
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Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 7,579
I would test for a bad head gasket first.

Free test and works well is the Glove Test.

Cold engine
remove rad cap
remove overflow hose and plug that opening in rad, vacuum cap or short hose with bolt in it.
Place latex glove over rad cap opening and hold it in place with a rubber band, or use a balloon instead or even a condom :)

Cooling system should now be air tight.

Turn key on
Press gas pedal to the floor and hold it there, this will turn off fuel injectors so engine shouldn't start(this is called Clear Flooded Engine Mode)
Or you can just unplug the coils, you want a no start

Crank engine, watch glove
If glove bounces, inflates, then you do have a head gasket leaking

If it doesn't then you don't.

Cold Cooling system has no internal pressure, the pressure comes from coolant heating up and expanding, which doesn't happen until temp gets up above 180degF.

An engine is basically an air pump.
Head gasket leak causes over heating because "air" from a cylinder is being pumped into the cooling system, this raises the pressure in the system, opening the rad cap, and coolant is pushed out into the overflow tank, so coolant level in engine goes down and engine heats up.

If pressure from a cylinder is leaking into cooling system then glove will show that by bouncing, and cold engine works best because metal engine parts haven't expanded.

If glove does bounce and you want to find which cylinder is leaking, remove 1 spark plug at a time and crank engine, when glove stops bouncing, last spark plug removed was from the leaking cylinder, replace spark plug to confirm.

I have used Rislone head gasket fix with good results, and no it doesn't clog up the rad or heater core.
But it is just temporary, I have gone 9 months with it before installing new gasket, but it could fail at anytime so carry plenty of water, lol
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Old 06-09-2014
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Florence, AZ
Posts: 12
Thanks RonD.
I have not done the test, but I did use the K&W and it seems to be ok. Only slight upwards movement of the needle (about 1/8 of the entire range) right after I get off the freeway, and then comes back to normal a little after. Will see how long that takes me.
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Old 07-09-2014
Join Date: May 2014
Location: MCKENZIE
Posts: 33
Replacing the head gasket is alot of work but its not difficult, its just slow cause you have to remove alot of parts.
Get a Haynes Manual. It helps with questions and has pictures and other specs you'll need.
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