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Ask Wayne Crawford Your Own Question
Wayne Crawford
Wayne Crawford, Shop Owner
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 3904
Experience:  General Repair Shop Owner
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Focus zx3: My 01 focus is heating up to the point of overheating,

Customer Question

My 01 focus is heating up to the point of overheating, but only when i sit in stop and go traffic for more than 10 minutes or so. Otherwise, the tempeture stays a little bit under the halfway mark on the gauge. Just tying to find out if I'm having a fan issue or if its another problem.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Ford
Expert:  Wayne Crawford replied 1 year ago.
Hello. My name is ***** ***** I will be helping you today.Generally when it only gets hot sitting still it is a fan issue. Have you let it idle and made sure the fans come on with the A/C on?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

No, i haven't. It seems like i have to sit in stop and go traffic for 15-20 minutes plus for the temp gauge to read past the halfway mark. But it happened again this morning. It was dropping coolant. It appeared the coolant was shooting out in what seemed like a hole in the reservoir.

Expert:  Wayne Crawford replied 1 year ago.
Turn the a/c on and let it idle and watch the fan and see if its turning.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I went out and did that. I heard the fan come on immediately. I only let it idle for a few minutes, though.

Expert:  Wayne Crawford replied 1 year ago.
Have you checked the coolant level?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

The coolant level is sitting right on the minimum fill line. Its been that way since this morning.

Expert:  Wayne Crawford replied 1 year ago.
When it runs hot i the A/C on or does it matter?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

The two times this has happened in the last month, i haven't had the A/C or heater on. It only runs hot when i sit in stop and go traffic, for some reason.

Expert:  Wayne Crawford replied 1 year ago.
After 20 minutes in stop and go if its hot enough outside any car will run hotter. With a hole in the reservoir it will lose pressure and the coolant will boil at a lower temperature so we need to get to the bottom of that first.. it doesnt sound like the temperature is a problem in itself from what you are saying.Where does it look like the coolant is coming from? The cap on the surge tank? (overflow bottle)
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I understand. Its just that this has never happened in the 11 years I've owned this car. I have sat in NYC traffic for hours in the car and never had heat up like that. The first time it happened coincided with an oil change the day before, i don't know if that could contribute in anyway.

The coolant looked like it was just shooting right from the side of the reservoir tank itself, underneath where the cap is. I saw it this morning. It was as if somebody poked a hole in it or something.

Expert:  Wayne Crawford replied 1 year ago.
OK. Well then the first thing you need to do is replace the reservoir if there is a hole in it. The coolant will boil if there is no pressure in the cooling system. With a hole in the tank that will reduce or eliminate pressure so you want to start by fixing that issue. Chances are good that is all that needs done.Theres always a slight chance that a head gasket is leaking or something causing combustion in the cooling system which could crack the surge tank but that wouldnt be my first thought if it runs ok.Other than this does it seem to run ok without any warning lights or anything?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Ill see if i can get one at a salvage yard.

The engine seems like it runs ok. No unusual sounds from the engine and no warning lights come on. The clutch needs replacing but i wouldn't imagine those two things are linked. I checked the oil and there is no unusual coloration in it.

Expert:  Wayne Crawford replied 1 year ago.
OK. Well start by replacing the tank. That for sure is an issue and can cause all of your symptoms. Once its replaced recheck operation and let me know if its still running hot and we can move on.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Ok. I will do that. Ill see if i can get a another bottle today and let it run without air going through it tonight or tomorrow. I will get back to you once i do this - if i am able to. Im not sure how this all works.

Expert:  Wayne Crawford replied 1 year ago.
The question will stay open as long as needed for follow ups even if you rate my service. Just come back to the same page to continue.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hello Wayne,

I had to order a new coolant bottle online after not being able to find one at salvage yards. I filled up the coolant and it hasn't been leaking strangely. Temps are all normal as well. When the new coolant bottle arrives in the mail ill change and and run it idle for awhile to see if it overheats.

Thanks!

Expert:  Wayne Crawford replied 1 year ago.
Sounds good.