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Ron, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 23001
Experience:  23 years with Ford specializing in drivability and electrical and AC. Ford certs and ASE Certs
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Ford Windstar: My Windstar 2001, engine gets very hot after

Customer Question

My Windstar 2001, engine gets very hot after 10/15 min drive, water starts to leak from top of water deposit. It happened after I got it repaired because a leaking hose (of a "T" hose assembly). It gives me the idea that there is not a normal flow of water in the unit cooling system. How could I get a cooling hose diagaram?
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Ford
Expert:  Adam Legler replied 6 months ago.
Hello, my name is ***** ***** I am an ASE Master and Advanced Level Certified Automotive Repair Technician with over 12 years experience and I've personally worked on over 25,000 vehicles. I also carry the Service Consultant and Parts Specialist certifications. I see you have a question about your Windstar and I can help you!I can provide you with a coolant flow diagram, but first did or does your vehicle have the rear heat unit installed?Also, which engine do you have?Please feel free to ask any questions that come to mind. Thank you!
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Yes, unit has a rear unit installed. 3.8 V6 Engine
Expert:  Adam Legler replied 6 months ago.
Ok, thanks for that info. You definitely have a complex cooling system. Believe it or not, Ford did not produce any literature on cooling system flow of the 3.8l engine. I have attached what I could find, however note it does not exactly match your system. Your rear heater will tee off of the coolant outlet from the engine to the primary heater core. The other tee will be between the coolant outlet from the front heater core back to the engine.However, what I'd like to focus on is actually diagnosing why your cooling system is overheating. As you can imaging there are MANY reasons a vehicle can overheat: From cooling fans not operating to low coolant level, to a bad thermostat. Did you bypass the front heater core because of a leak? Also, during this time prior to bypassing the front heater core, did the engine ever overheat, even once?Also, are you able to take a picture of the cooling hoses you're concerned about and send them to me? I can tell from looking at them if they're correct. However do note, that despite heater hose routing, improper or not, it should not directly affect the heating/cooling of the engine, since the heater system is operated on the bypass flow of coolant from the water pump, not the primary flow it produces.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Cooling fans are operative, I took out the thermostat from the engine several years ago, the coolant level has been watched through this problem (lose the water was the reason for the first repair: hose on the first "T"). I left the unit with my regular mechanic (other shop services the cooling system) to check the water pump. In the diagram you sent me the return of the main core heater discharges into or very close to the water pump inlet, if this line is restricted (i.e. line is closed) it will impair the water pump function, wouldn't you think so?
Expert:  Adam Legler replied 6 months ago.
No, not exactly. All vehicle cooling systems are designed to flow coolant to the heater core via a bypass system. Reason being is that if any part of the bypass system (heater core, oil cooler, etc...) became plugged that it would not affect the normal cooling operation of the engine via the radiator. Remember to, I do not believe that diagram I sent is a 100% accurate representation of your exact system on the 3.8l.I'm a little alarmed that the thermostat has been removed. Believe it or not it serves more purposes than just regulating coolant flow thru the radiator. Its actually very important because it slows coolant down from the water pump thru the motor. Without the thermostat coolant can travel too quickly through the engine, not allowing proper time to flow thru the radiator to adequately cool the coolant.If you had the vehicle with you, here's what I would have you check.When the vehicle begins to overheat,check the temperature of the upper and lower coolant hoses, an infrared thermometer comes in handy for this.feel the temperature of the air the cooling fans are bringing off the radiator, is the air cool, warm, or cold (as in ambient air temp)If all those readings check out to be within tolerance, I would seriously suggest adding the thermostat back into the vehicle, make sure its not made in China. Like I said above, not having it can cause coolant to flow too quickly through the radiator not allowing it proper time to cool within before going back into the engine.The only additional test you could do would have to be done either at a shop or with a block testing device to test for Hydrocarbons (HC's) in the cooling system, which would be the affect a head gasket failure. About the only other thing you could do is test for coolant flow. This test can tell us if we have a blockage in the system, however it is a little messy to do.You would begin by removing the thermostat (housing in your case) and starting the vehicle for a brief moment, coolant should come flying out. This is hard to do on reverse cooling systems where the thermostat is on the bottom of the motor. If this is your case, it would be advisable to removed the bypass hose that leaves the motor and would have went to the heater core inlet, again, briefly start the vehicle, coolant should come flying outNext, test is a little hard, and it would involve looking inside the radiator (where the coolant actually sits) to see the inside of the cores. They can become plugged up if improper cooling system maintenance is suspect, like using undistilled water. However, before you do this, testing the inlet and outlet temperature of the radiator would be the most important and tell us if there is a possible issue with the radiator. I do worry that the results of that test will be skewed from the fact that you have no thermostat though.
Expert:  Adam Legler replied 6 months ago.
Hello again, just wanted to let you know I'll be off the rest of the afternoon There is no rush at all, so please reply once you've completed your test, I can access my interface via mobile. Thanks again and I look forward to the results