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overheating 2003 Explorer 4.6 L 230000


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olford
New User

May 22, 2017, 10:44 PM

Post #1 of 9 (646 views)
  post locked   overheating 2003 Explorer 4.6 L 230000  

Has been losing coolant for several years (about 1 gallon over 400 miles) without a noticeable leak. I've used tap water (mixed with antifreeze in the winter) to replace.

About a year ago I forgot to replace the cap on the fluid expansion tank and it boiled over and overheated and I ran the engine for about a minute in its overheated state.

Since then it overheats when the weather is very warm and I go up a long hill or use the AC or use 3rd gear.

I bled the air out of the coolant system, changed the thermostat without any improvement.

There is no white smoke from the exhaust, no loss of engine power, no milky oil, no obvious signs of radiator rust or scale.

So I'm thinking blown head gasket (from the initial overheating episode) vs. clogged radiator (from 14 years, 230K miles and tap water).

Options are to change the radiator (which I have) or try a chemical gasket sealer. Which would you do in which order?


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

May 23, 2017, 5:13 AM

Post #2 of 9 (637 views)
  post locked   Re: overheating 2003 Explorer 4.6 L 230000  

That's plenty of miles if it had incredible care.


OK - Don't use a sealer - period. This engine would overheat if it can't hold pressure via the pressure cap or any other reason which raises boiling point and it can normally get above the boiling point without pressure. Just water you've added a corrosion mystery now it needs it all year round.


Using one gallon with no evidence in 400 miles can be found where and why with this history and miles perhaps think about how much you really want to invest in this engine vs swapping it out which has it's risks by nature.


Your call it's been thru a lot including the overheat and long time consuming coolant not fixed,


T



Discretesignals
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Discretesignals profile image

May 23, 2017, 6:34 AM

Post #3 of 9 (626 views)
  post locked   Re: overheating 2003 Explorer 4.6 L 230000  

Have you pressure tested the coolant system to see if there are any leaks?





Since we volunteer our time and knowledge, we ask for you to please follow up when a problem is resolved.


olford
New User

May 23, 2017, 8:33 AM

Post #4 of 9 (613 views)
  post locked   Re: overheating 2003 Explorer 4.6 L 230000  

Thanks Tom for your advice. Could you explain further why you think I shouldn't use the gasket sealer on this car - I couldn't understand your explanation. As I drive I have my OBDII connected monitoring engine temp and boiling over/overheating occurs when the temp hits 250. Most of the time the engine temp is 190 - 220.

Yes there's a lot of miles on this car and it's not worth investing money into it at this point so I'm approaching this fix as a last ditch effort to get a few more miles out of it.

I have not done a pressure test on the cooling system myself, but I have had it looked at by a mechanic to look for leaks and none were found.


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

May 23, 2017, 8:58 AM

Post #5 of 9 (608 views)
  post locked   Re: overheating 2003 Explorer 4.6 L 230000  

There is no such thing as "Mechanic in a Can"

Sealers are designed to plug holes. Unfortunately, that's what a whole cooling system is, small passages that you do not want plugged up.



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



olford
New User

May 23, 2017, 11:05 AM

Post #6 of 9 (591 views)
  post locked   Re: overheating 2003 Explorer 4.6 L 230000  

Do you think there's enough likelihood that the overheating could be from a bad radiator (given its long use and running with tap water for years) that it would be a good idea to change it out?


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

May 23, 2017, 1:27 PM

Post #7 of 9 (583 views)
  post locked   Re: overheating 2003 Explorer 4.6 L 230000  

I guess this is what you are asking for.






~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



olford
New User

May 23, 2017, 3:21 PM

Post #8 of 9 (575 views)
  post locked   Re: overheating 2003 Explorer 4.6 L 230000  

Hey, that's okay if you don't know the answer to my questions. No reason to feel ashamed. There's all levels of ability here I'm sure. I mean on a forum like this with nice guys giving free advice the pressure is off - I'm sure no one would give it a second thought if you draw a blank.Angelic


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

May 23, 2017, 3:53 PM

Post #9 of 9 (569 views)
  post locked   Re: overheating 2003 Explorer 4.6 L 230000  

Yes, we are professional techs here that donate our time but I assure you we do not allow any of our Moderators or admins to be attacked or insulted. Your help from this site has ended.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



(This post was edited by Hammer Time on May 23, 2017, 3:53 PM)






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