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2004 Ford Freestar minivan cooling issue????

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New User

Jul 24, 2010, 3:52 PM

Post #1 of 5 (11626 views)
  post locked   post icon 2004 Ford Freestar minivan cooling issue????  

MadI have an issue with my van and it has to do with the cooling system. When I drive around town it runs fine at abot 1/3 on the gauge. When I drive over 60 the gauge climbs to about 8/10!! I've replaced the upper radiator hose and thermostat, and of course the radiator. It still is doing it. Also note that ever since this started I can hear water flowing through the heater core and hoses very loudly....especially when I accelerate from a stop. It has never boiled over and I'm getting frustrated!!! Could there be air in the system that is causing the water noise??? And how do you burp it out when the radiator fill is in the overflow basin??? HELP

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Jul 25, 2010, 4:41 AM

Post #2 of 5 (11611 views)
  post locked   Re: 2004 Ford Freestar minivan cooling issue????  

Did this do this before changing the thermostat, hose and radiator? I ask as if identical before and after there's something else going on. If worse after I'd say there's air in the system that just can't self purge out the last bit.

Recovery tank should stay steady. System should hold pressure which is regulated by the radiator cap frequently on the recovery tank.

At cold start you can feel upper hose for pressure - should squeeze easily and no pressure and stay cold till thermostat opens -- KEEP HANDS FREE OF FANS AND MOVING PARTS! Hose will get hot to too hot to touch and the expansion makes the pressure build as it warms up. Excess from expanding goes to recovery tank - and will read high on the range. Upon cool down that pressure cap allows air on top of liquid as coolant in engine shrinks again taking back recovered coolant only - not air.

If pressure from before a cold start instantly builds up in short order - one minute or so let us know as it shouldn't.

Some possible reasons for heating up at speed and ok when slower include:

* Low coolant level in engine itself - air still stuck, could account for noise and inadequate cooling. Unusual to not self purge last bit of air after a few cycles once filled it should stay filled and free of air in radiator and all engine parts. Heater core too.

* Water pump impellers may be worn. Usually notices as poor heater performance that gets better with RPMs at first. If erratically worn (corroded) could be cavatating making bubbles and be heard and the bubbles wont cool well and heater wouldn't heat well.

* Antifreeze mix way too strong! Yes - the heat exchanging ability of strong antifreeze doesn't transfer heat well. More than set to -34F is suspect area. Straight antifreeze used about always causes a problem unless very cool outside. It's real purpose is preventing freezing and for it anti-corrosive properties/additive. Makes a lousy coolant for cooling!

* Suction hose to water pump may be collapsing if water pump is strong some can suck them shut or close impeding flow. Springs placed inside those that historically are subject to that problem and usually longer hoses had that issue.

* Air flow must be correct. Any add ons the block air thru grille need be removed. No decorations or alterations or troubles CAN happen.

* Often forgotten is the air dam underside that nicely breaks off with some road to parking areas or those cement parking bumpers used in lots. Even a curb in parking can bust those right off.
There's a key reason for those - not just for looks. As air flow of speed increases the forces CAN/MAY create pressure on underside where the radiator is exiting air so it becomes a stand off and speed of air creates poor flow thru radiator! Fan is needed on several models even at speed but not a match for highway air speeds. Shape of vehicle and design of grille/body matter for this.

** Any of these and more could be the cause. Fan must be operating properly. At the higher temp as mentioned it could be boiling in corners of engine creating bubbles that could cause noise and the overheating.

** If pressure cap can't hold pressure or any item stopping pressure from happening the lower pressure will boil close to the boiling point of water even with antifreez/coolant mix. The pressure allows water and or coolant mix to be 3 degrees hotter F per each pound of pressure it allows. Average pressure caps are about 15lbs meaning plain water wont boil until not 212F but raised to stay as liquid to about 257F. Boiling water or coolant doesn't transfer heat well. In fact cars boiling over the heater will quit as the hot air to air doesn't make heater work - hot liquid can.

All that comes to mind for now. Next lousy reason is engine gaskets like head and or intake gaskets allowing combustion gasses to enter system acting as air. If slow enough it might go un-noticed as coolant loss,


New User

Feb 5, 2011, 1:00 PM

Post #3 of 5 (11299 views)
  post locked   Re: 2004 Ford Freestar minivan cooling issue????  

I actually have just now reviewed your post. I was searching for another problem and seen this one. I moved and changed emails soon after the last post and the problem fell to the back burner.

I already replaced the upper radiator hose and it isnt collapsing. At least i dont think. I doesnt do this in the winter temps but only..."ONLY" when running high speeds up a long hill. It will try to creep up...the collant temp that is.

I'm starting to believe it is the impellers in the water pump. I'm gonna get it into a shop as soon as i get my tax return back!!! THANKS!!!!!!!

New User

Jul 13, 2011, 6:50 AM

Post #4 of 5 (10959 views)
  post locked   Re: 2004 Ford Freestar minivan cooling issue????  

I am having the same exact trouble with my 2004 freestar.
Did you have any success with the water pump?

Also, did you have any issue with the heater core? My first problem was lack of heat in winter. (when temp was below 20 deg) and did you get an antifreeze odor in the cabin when the heat was on? I think I have two separate problems, but the overheating one is exactly the same as yours. I am stuck..

Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jul 13, 2011, 7:11 AM

Post #5 of 5 (10955 views)
  post locked   Re: 2004 Ford Freestar minivan cooling issue????  

You need to start a new question of your own please.


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