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Steve
Steve, Auto Service Technician
Category: Car
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Experience:  25+ yrs experience as a professional working technician; ASE L1 master technician
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heats..hood..small hose coming from the radiator to the fluid resevoir

Customer Question

When my car heats up to normal running temp, there is a moderate amount of steam coming out of the right side hood and wheel well. I looked for cracks in the small hose coming from the radiator to the fluid resevoir, and didn't see any. What could be the problem?
Submitted: 11 years ago.
Category: Car
Expert:  Steve replied 11 years ago.
hello;
   What kind of car do you have?   do you know what size engine is in it? this information may be helpful in pinpointing the problem...
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Steve Rapp's Post: I have a 89' Ford Taurus. Engine Size is a 3.0L, V6
Expert:  Steve replied 11 years ago.
   This car has a radiator which has plastic tanks retained to teh radistor core with rubber gaskets; it is common on this type of radiator for teh plastic tanks or rubber gaskets to deform or become brittle and crack when the vehicle gets older.     You may be able to see steam or liquid coming from teh side of the radiator in that area if you inspect closely; but be careful, as steam and hot coolant can scald you badly.   Never remove teh cap from a hot cooling system!
Expert:  Steve replied 11 years ago.
It is also possible that you may have a broken or split hose soemwhere, or a leaking water pump. The pump is located on the side of the engine closest to the right fender, and is belt driven.   you may be able to see coolant dripping from that side of teh engine to teh ground, if the water pump is leaking.
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Steve Rapp's Post: I don't believe it is a problem with the water pump, there is no leaking present. The belt did just get replaced though. However, the heating and cooling instruments inside the car work fine.. it is just when the car is at that warm temp, which is a little over the middle line of the car temp gauge on the instrument panel. Also the "steam", perhaps it is not steam as much.. it didn't feel damp.. but i wasn't sure if it would have been smoke or steam... should i take it in for a complete flush maybe? or do you think it is still a split hose?
Expert:  Steve replied 11 years ago.
after the steaming episodes, have you needed to add any coolant to the vehicle?   If so, this would indicate a leak somewhere.
   Coolant steam also has a distinctive sweet smell to it; this could be a clue as to whether it is overheating and losing coolant, or if it is smole from oil, power steering fluid, or transmission fluid leaking onto a hot surface and burning off.
   If in doubt, it would be best to take it in for investigation; if the engine truly IS overheating it could result in expensive damage such as cracked or warped cylinder heads if not corrected in time.
Steve, Auto Service Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 5494
Experience: 25+ yrs experience as a professional working technician; ASE L1 master technician
Steve and other Car Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Steve replied 11 years ago.
Also, a repair shop can very quickly and easily (therefore cheaply) perform a pressure test of teh cooling system.   For this test, they have a tool that attaches to the radiator in place of teh cap, and has something like a bicycle pump and a gauge attached. They will pump air into the cooling system untill it reaches a specific pressure and then sit back and watch for it to lose pressure or start dripping somewhere. Its a quick easy test that works very well.   In our area, this test usually costs around $20 depending on the amount of time involved
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Steve Rapp's Post: Okay.. thank you for your time.. i will have to take it in.. i don't have the tools needed to do anything to it myself. Thanks again!

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