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Steve, Sr. Tech
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 718
Experience:  20 years as a FORD dealership tech
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95 Windstar: 3.8L..overheating..water pump..radiator cap, leaking hose

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My 95 Windstar, 3.8L, is overheating. I have replaced the water pump, thermostat,radiator cap, leaking hose and still overheating. However I just noticed that the bottom hose from water pump to radiator was not hot and the heater was not blowing hot air. The hoses pressurize. Please tell me the posibilities. Also when you anwser this question can you tell me, does the coolant run from the block past the thermostat to the radiator or the other direction.

The engine you have and that year have been very problematic with blowing head gaskets that allows exhaust into the cooling system. You can try replacing the thermostat on the top of the manifold but don't expect a real change afterwards. With your symptoms I have to really expect you to find one or both head gaskets blown. An auto repair shop is best equipped to diagnose this.

The coolant runs from the engine to the radiator top hose.If you get air(exhaust) introduced into the system it goes to the top of the manifold as steam. T-stats won't open with steam causing the overheating--no heater temp. and cool radiator that you describe.due to no circulation. Expect a $1500.00 repair bill from a shop to replace both gaskets.

I hope this answers your question.


Steve and 3 other Ford Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Is it possible that the radiator is not flowing properly? The top hose that is pass the thermostat then runs to the top of the radiator is hot, the bottom hose running to the water pump is not hot. At 98,000 miles ford replaced the engine because it was runed from the defect that you described. As a side note, I couldn't figure out what was wrong so I took it to a shop. They suspected the problem you discribed and ran a test with the antifreeze fluid and said it came up negitive. The recommended to change the water pump but they were not sure if that would fix the problem. I changed the water pump and as you know it didn't help. Please reply.
Many things are possible but with the added info we can narrow it down some. Did ford install a "long" or a "short" block assy.? Did this happen over a long period of time to where the heater slowly lost heat and engine temp. start rising? Was it one week it was fine and the next not? This will be great info to have on my end. RSVP
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
The overheating happend over a long period. It started when I would stress the engine, like going up a major Colorado hill. I first noticed it because the air conditioning would stop blowing cold air and then come back on. I noticed this corisponded to the water temp moving to the high range. When the engine was less stressed the water temp would come down and the AC would come back on. This continuded for 3 or four months. I just took the car on a 3000 mile trip and it only did the AC thing once. The heater core, not blowing hot air, is a new development after the repairs I did. Before that I would crank the heater to cool the engine and it was blowing hot air and this did help cool the water temp.When I changed the t-stat and then the water pump and as soon as I did the overheating got much worse. The temp in this area have also got much higher. I don't know the anwser to the long or short block. How can I check it to tell and what is the significance?
It sounds like the heater core is just airlocked and an easy repair. The radiator might be a little harder. At any time before or after the new engine did you add a leak stopping agent to the cooling system? Where you drive do you have cottonwood trees? Has the lower radiator hose been replaced? Check to make sure that it has a coil spring inside of it. Let me know.