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  #1  
Old 09-18-2013
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Overheating 1998 3.0L

I have a 1998 Ford Ranger with 3.0 L, automatic. I had an accident and rebuilt the front end about 8 months ago. I put in a radiator from a junker, but not the fan/clutch that impacted the radiator.

Since it has gotten very hot here in Florida, my truck has been showing signs of overheating, however, the temp gauge isn't showing that, except in one circumstance. After a long drive, when I stop at a light, the guage goes up, but not fully. Also, the radiator overflow tank blows its cap and you can hear water gurgling in the upper radiator hose. There appears to be an orange substance in the water and I thought it was Barsdahl that I had used to plug a leak. I flushed a bit with the garden hose and replaced the radiator cap. This solved the tank cap blowing off, but did not solve the overheating.
When I am on the open road, such as the interstate, there doesn't appear to be any issues except one. I'm having a problem with the A/C. The air output appears to go down, and the truck seems a bit humid. Definitely not cool. Sometimes it corrects itself. Sometimes I can change the A/C switch from Max to regular, then back to Max and it appears to right itself. I suspect an issue with the A/C heater flap, via the vacuum, thought I'm not sure. I would swear the A/C issue ties into the overheating issue, as when I stop for a light after leaving the interstate, the guage would go up and the A/C would cut out. Also, if I accelerate, or hit the brakes, it can cause the A/C to go out. Radiator hoses appear to be fine and there does not appear to be water in the oil pan. I replaced the thermostat and that fixed nothing.

I have a few issues that I am considering and I'm trying to get this narrowed down to one:
1) Fan clutch is out (if you flip the fan with your finger it moves about 1-2 inches and stops)
2) Radiator is plugged (felt up radiator and appears to be same temp across the face in a all areas)
3) Head gasket blown (all cylinders appear to fire fine, full power)

System is not leaking water. Oil is fine, no water and no leaks.

Appreciate any and all help. Please don't say take it to a mechanic as I'm disabled and not getting any money yet. I need to fix this myself.
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Old 09-18-2013
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Do a coolant system flush and go from there.

The AC ive no idea minus the fact that under engine load the compressor will kick out
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Old 09-19-2013
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Sounds like a bad fan clutch. I personally would flush the cooling system as a start but im willing to bet its the fan clutch. Also NEVER and let me say this again NEVER use stop leak think about it how does the stop leak know to stop that leak and not every other passage in the cooling system....

Oh and welcome to R-F Im also Shawn from Florida lol.
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Old 09-25-2013
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Thank you both for the replies. Finally got a break in the weather and got the truck flushed out as suggested. I have yet though to take it for a long, hot, test drive. I got a lot of orange water out of the system. I did open up the heater to let flush water flow through it as well. My first thought was it is the fan clutch, but it does have some friction on it, considering it will move 2 inches when you flick it. It doesn't spin freely. I'll see what happens on my next long drive.
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Old 09-25-2013
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you may be on to something with that fan clutch, I cant remember what they are supposed to feel like but I know it will spin freely for a few revolutions before it stops
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Old 09-26-2013
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Okay, did some more mechanicing. I let my truck cool down for over 5 hours. I went and felt the top radiator hose before starting it. I squeezed the hose and pressure would force water out of the open radiator neck. Then I started up the truck, and felt the hose. I let it run with the radiator neck open. Ever now and then I would check the upper radiator hose and it never did build up pressure. It was warming up, but it didn't feel to me that there was anything moving. I visually inspected the radiator water and never saw any flow. What did happen was finally, I think after the thermostat opened, water started gushing out of the radiator. I refilled with warm water and observed the water. No flow. The lower radiator hose is just as warm as the upper hose. I felt the front of the radiator and it was warm all over.
I think this narrows things down a bit. It has to be either a bad water pump, a clogged radiator, or both.
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Old 09-26-2013
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Before the water shot out, about 5-10 mins into running, the water in the radiator slowing built up and ran out of the radiator. First a little stream, then it built up some, then finally, the engine made some sort of noise, and the water gushed out for maybe 10 seconds. As I said, I refilled and the gushing had stopped, but there was no observable flow to the water in the radiator.
So would anybody kindly narrow it down for me?
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Old 09-26-2013
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Oh and there is orange sludge in the water. The water has an oily sticky feeling to it, but I think that might be leftover Barsdahl, although it's dark brown, instead of the orange in my radiator.
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Old 09-26-2013
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is your water pump moving water? or is the thermostat stuck shut?
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Old 09-27-2013
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I replaced the tstat right away, first thing, because its cheap. That didn't change anything. As for the water pump, i assume that lack of water moving through the radiator means the water is out.
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Old 09-27-2013
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could be, you said the rad hit the fan. Well that fan is connected to the water pump. Might have damaged it
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Old 09-27-2013
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I tested it again today in the driveway without driving it. I let it run and run, thermostat definitely opened. Temp guage didn't even go past the half way point. I had the a/c off, and the heater on. Top hose got hot but not firm. I could squeeze it easily, but could feel some flow in the hose. Peering into the radiator inlet showed what I think is no flow. I don't see water moving anyways. Bottom hose got hot but not as hot as top hose.

Checking the fan, prior to startup showed you could move it about 2 inches with a flick. After startup I used an old piece of hose against the fan, it did not stop it or slow it. After shutdown I flicked the fan again and it moved the exact same amount - about 2 inches.
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Old 09-27-2013
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I tried it again, this time keeping the radiator cap on. The upper hose gets very hot and extremely stiff. Bottom hose gets warm.
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  #14  
Old 09-27-2013
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ok so there is pressure in the system, at this point you could try a new clutch fan. Suppose it wouldnt hurt anything
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  #15  
Old 09-29-2013
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My3.0 had a similar issue. It was the lower hose being bad. You may want to chnge it. I thinli it has 2 paths on it.
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  #16  
Old 10-05-2013
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I'm dealing with this right now in my 96. I think I blew the hg.. I'm in the process of swapping mine out. New water pump, gaskets, thermostat, ect .. Looks like mine was leaking coolant from the water pump
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  #17  
Old 10-05-2013
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Well I'm waiting on the results of what I have done so far. I emptied out the system and flushed it again. Then, I took the hoses off the radiator and flushed with the water hose and nozzle. Surprise, less water came out the lower end than I was squirting in the upper end. So I wrapped a washcloth around the nozzle and upper radiator entry, and held it tight as I triggered the spray. In two seconds I heard/felt a thud, and black water comes gushing out of the radiator for a few seconds, then dark brown, then light brown, then finally clear. So that sure seems to me to be a plugged up radiator. I have put radiator flush in my truck and I'm driving it, but it will take a few days for me to get to that 3-6 hour drive time for a deep flush before I drain it and start over with clean anti-freeze.
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