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1997 F150: 178,000 miles on a 4.6L engine..heater core..garage

Customer Question
I have a 1997 F150...
I have a 1997 F150 with 178,000 miles on a 4.6L engine. My problem is the heater core has been replaced 4 times in less than a year by a Ford garage. The last time was 3 weeks ago but it started leaking again today. Ford said that they will not eplace it again and told me that I had a blown head gasket. I got a 2nd and 3rd openion and was told after testing that it is not the head gasket. What is causing the heater core to rupture? Is it because of the cheap core's coming from Mexico? That is where the Ford garage said they were coming from. Is it because it isn't exactily as the origional and it is being installed in a bind?
At whits end. I bought this truck new with 5 miles on it and can't aford to get rid of it.

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1997 Ford F-150 4.6L

Already Tried:
4 different machnics





Submitted: 12 years ago.Category: Car
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11/21/2005
Auto Mechanic: john, Auto, ATV, Sleds, Bikes, Tractors replied 12 years ago
john
john, Auto, ATV, Sleds, Bikes, Tractors
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 298
Experience: 26 years of mechanics experience
Verified
You can change your radiator cap so your system will not build up as much pressure.
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Customer reply replied 12 years ago
That has been done by the Ford garage and it was checked by another machanic with the preasure being 16 lbs.
Customer reply replied 12 years ago
Relist: I want a different opinion.
I have a 1997 F150 with 178,000 miles on a 4.6L engine. My problem is the heater core has been replaced 4 times in less than a year by a Ford garage. The last time was 3 weeks ago but it started leaking again today. Ford said that they will not eplace it again and told me that I had a blown head gasket. I got a 2nd and 3rd openion and was told after testing that it is not the head gasket. What is causing the heater core to rupture? Is it because of the cheap core's coming from Mexico? That is where the Ford garage said they were coming from. Is it because it isn't exactily as the origional and it is being installed in a bind?
At whits end. I bought this truck new with 5 miles on it and can't aford to get rid of it.
One opinion was to change radiator cap. That was done by Ford Garage and checked by another machinic found to have 16 lb pressure on new cap, new core still leakes.

Optional Information:
1997 Ford F-150 4.6L

Already Tried:
4 different machnics
Auto Mechanic: autodoc_2000, Auto Service Technician replied 12 years ago
autodoc_2000
autodoc_2000, Auto Service Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 2,563
Experience: ASE Master Tech w/ Advance Engine Performance
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Here is a Technical Service Bulletin from Ford that pertains to your truck for repeat heater core leaks. At the end of the tsb it talks about installing a restictor in the heater hose. This restrictor will prevent excess pressure from going through the heater core. I would check the other items out that it talks about also.


Article No.
01-15-6



08/06/01


CLIMATE CONTROL - REPEAT HEATER CORE FAILURE

COOLING SYSTEM - REPEAT HEATER CORE FAILURE

FORD:
1985-1994 TEMPO
1985-1997 THUNDERBIRD
1985-2002 CROWN VICTORIA, ESCORT, MUSTANG
1986-2002 TAURUS
1988-1993 FESTIVA
1993-1997 PROBE
1994-1997 ASPIRE
1995-2000 CONTOUR
2000-2002 ESCORT ZX2, FOCUS
2002 THUNDERBIRD
1985-1990 BRONCO II
1985-1996 BRONCO
1985-1997 F-250 HD, F-350
1985-2002 ECONOLINE, F-150, RANGER
1986-1997 AEROSTAR
1988-1997 F SUPER DUTY
1991-2002 EXPLORER
1995-2002 WINDSTAR
1997-2002 EXPEDITION
1999-2002 SUPER DUTY F SERIES
2000-2002 EXCURSION
2001-2002 ESCAPE, EXPLORER SPORT TRAC, EXPLORER SPORT



LINCOLN:
1985-1992 MARK VII
1985-2002 CONTINENTAL, TOWN CAR
1993-1998 MARK VIII
2000-2002 GLS
1998-2002 NAVIGATOR



MERCURY:
1985-1994 TOPAZ
1985-1997 COUGAR
1985-2002 GRAND MARQUIS
1986-2002 SABLE
1991-1999 TRACER
1995-2000 MYSTIQUE
1999-2002 COUGAR
1993-2002 VILLAGER
1997-2001 MOUNTAINEER



ISSUE


Some vehicles may exhibit (repeat) heater core leaks. This may be caused by a chemical reaction called electrolysis. Electrolysis involves an ion exchange between the heater core and engine coolant which can result in a breakdown of the heater core material. This is similar to the operation of a battery.


ACTION


Check for electrolysis on any vehicle with a heater core failure. If electrolysis is verified, flush the coolant and follow additional steps as required. Refer to the following Service Procedure for details.


SERVICE PROCEDURE


Electrolysis Inspection


If there is a condition of a heater core leaking or repeal heater core leak, check for electrolysis using the following procedure:


1. To check for electrolysis use a DVOM set on DC volts. Place the positive probe of the meter in the engine coolant and the negative probe on the negative battery post.

2. Adjust engine throttle to 2000 RPM to properly get coolant flow and true electrolysis voltages.

3. If more than .4V is recorded, flush the coolant and recheck (follow guidelines in TSB 98-23-16 for Cougar). See Coolant Fill Procedure below to remove trapped air on 4.6/5.4/6.8L modular engines.

NOTE EXPORT MARKETS, BE SURE THE WATER IS DESALINATED.



4. If there is still excessive voltage present in the coolant, check the engine to body/battery grounds. Also, verify proper grounding of any aftermarket electrical/electronic equipment which has been installed into the vehicle. Improperly grounded electrical devices can cause electrolysis to occur.

5. If the condition is still present after the grounds have been checked, it may be necessary to add extra grounds to the heater core and engine. A hose clamp can be used to secure a 16 AWG stranded copper wire to the heater core inlet tube. The other end should be secured to an EXISTING FASTENER on the body sheet metal. Extra grounds to the engine should be attached between EXISTING FASTENERS on the engine and body sheet metal. Verify continuity of any added grounds to the negative battery terminal.

6. If the condition is still present, add a restrictor (part F1UZ-18D406-A) on the inlet hose with the arrow facing the direction of coolant flow (toward heater core). Cut the line and install with 2 hose clamps. It is important that the restrictor be installed in the right direction of flow and as close to the engine block as possible (not near the heater core itself).



Coolant Fill Procedure


At times, in order to completely remove any trapped air in the cooling system of vehicles equipped with 4.6/5.4/6.8L modular engines, it may be necessary to use the following procedure:


1. Disconnect the heater hose at the right front or rear of the engine.

2. Remove the thermostat and housing.

3. Using the thermostat opening, carefully fill the engine with the proper clean coolant mixture until observed at the engine side heater hose connection.

4. Reconnect the heater hose and reinstall the thermostat and housing.

5. Fill the degas bottle to the coolant fill level mark.

6. Run the engine until it reaches normal operating temperatures.

7. Select max heat and max blower speed on the climate system.

NOTE IF THE HEAT OUTPUT IS INSUFFICIENT, OR THE ENGINE DOES NOT REACH NORMAL OPERATING TEMPERATURES, VERIFY PROPER THERMOSTAT OPERATION AND REPEAT PROCEDURE IF REQUIRED.







































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