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'98 Ford Taurus Water Temperature

08/01/2009 5:54 AM

I was just completing a very detailed post and apparently hit a wrong key and everything I wrote disappeared. I don't know if it was posted or not.

To recap, I installed a new radiator (expansion tank) cap, thermostat, radiator and high speed radiator motor relay and am still having indications of overheating. My water temperature gauge still will show normal while driving and upon stopping and idling for a couple of minutes, begins to climb to very near the top of the bracketed area. A diagnostic instrument was plugged into the underdash port and showed a steady 224F. During this time the dashboard gauge went from the middle to high and back while the 224F remained constant.

When the car idles and the temp gauge rises, when I rev the engine to 2000 RPMs, the gauge quickly returns to the middle position.

At this point, I do not know whether my car is working okay or not. I may have not needed a new radiator though at 141,000 miles, and with all the rust in my old thermostat, it was probably due for a replacement. What should I do next?

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#1

Re: '98 Ford Taurus Water Temperature

08/01/2009 10:47 PM

Did you ROD the raditor ?

Most vechiles that are over 5 years old are running around with radiators that have at least 50% of the cooling tubes blocked and fliud can not flow thru them freely

When you rev up the engine your water pump drives fluid higher into the radiator then you get cooling.

Many people just add antifreeze or water and never flush or add rust preventive.

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#7
In reply to #1

Re: '98 Ford Taurus Water Temperature

08/02/2009 1:33 AM

I started out by replacing the radiator cap because I did not know if it was holding the pressure. There were times when the coolant was boiling out. I did not always have the proper 50/50 mix and running mostly water probably caused the water loss and the rust buildup. I cut out a section of heater hose and installed a Preston flush tee and flushed the system. A radiator guy said he would not even work on that model of Taurus because it was so difficult to R&R the radiator. He suggested that I replace the thermostat as the next step after the radiator cap. I flushed again the themostat removed. I don't know if the original thermostat was not working, only that it had a lot of rust build up inside. I then check to see if my electric fans were operational and they were. At that point, I did not realize that there was a low and high speed.

The radiator shop said that he could do a better flush using air and high pressure water pulsations but it would cost $80 and there would be no guarantee that it would fix the problem. I thought about having the radiator removed and rodded but with the price of a brand new Visteon radiator only $115 including shipping from Amazon, it did not make sense to rod out my old one considering the labor for removing and replacing to be the same.

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#2

Re: '98 Ford Taurus Water Temperature

08/02/2009 12:02 AM

These engines are known for cracking cylinder heads and blowing head gaskets. It would be advisable to have a pressure test done on the cooling system with the spark plugs out.

Either of these two problems will make them overheat.

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: '98 Ford Taurus Water Temperature

08/02/2009 12:06 AM

That was what I have been trying to remember.

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#40
In reply to #2

Re: '98 Ford Taurus Water Temperature

11/01/2010 6:13 PM

Hello Standarded,

I do not want to make you wasting your time, Seems like you know very well those

3.8 engines (Taurus 95):

-I am driving one and I may have a cracked head on it. Why?; I already changed the head gasket's, planned the head's and still have some white smoke comming out from the exhaust pipe.

-The shop who planned the head's already did a head pressure test and they confirmed that there is no crack. But, I am not sure about how serious they did that test!

-What do you suggest?; To buy two second hand heads from a rebuild-shop

and install them?

(It is a lot of work)

Thank you

Have a Nice Day

Nick

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#4

Re: '98 Ford Taurus Water Temperature

08/02/2009 12:11 AM

I don't know about models as late as 98, but several Taurus engines had head gasket, and a lot of times, head problems that all showed up initially as mild overheat problems. They always get worse if this is the case and will leave you setting with a cooked engine if you don't act on this very soon. Look for ANY small bubbles in the radiator to start with. On these problem models, just replacing the head gasket won't usually fix it. You may find a warped or cracked head or problems with the fit to the block. It usually is fairly expensive fix. I wish you the best, but I'm not overly optimistic about what you'll find.

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: '98 Ford Taurus Water Temperature

08/02/2009 12:20 AM

Yes that is what a friend told me that he even had to take a new head and the block to the shop to have them milled to get his to stop leaking pressure into the cooling system.

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#6

Re: '98 Ford Taurus Water Temperature

08/02/2009 1:02 AM

Rust in the radiator? Did the engine get "real'" hot before the replacenment of the parts you listed. If it got hot you have probably injured the head gasket. Air is being injected into the cooling system and overheating the motor; it wont cool with air in the cooling sytem. The temperature gauge and sender do not transmit correctly in absense of water . Altho 140.000 miles seems a little soon for the thermostant to die the fact that you say you have rust in the system means that the antifreeze/coolant has gotten out of the correct percentage. This has probably eaten/eroded/corroded the aluminum cylinder head to the point that the head gasket cannot seal any longer. If the thermostat has failed so soon its probably because of the rust. The thermostat has to move with every change in throttle position to keep the motor at consant temperature. Rust in the system is very abrasive to this part and can cause it to sieze open(if you are lucky) or closed, which will burn up the motor real fast(if you are unlucky). Look for extra moisture in the valve cover, or a white milky "stuff" . Many times the head gasket will only leak compression into the water jacket before it leaks water into the oil. As posted before check for bugs that have decided to use your radiator for a mausoleum and besure that the radiator is really full of water/coolant, many cars need to have the air purged from the high spots in the cooling system......... good luck

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#8
In reply to #6

Re: '98 Ford Taurus Water Temperature

08/02/2009 2:17 AM

I don't think the engine ever got "real" hot at least according to my temperature gauge.

I had been running mostly water because I had a leak in the heater bypass tube and kept topping it off with water. One time, long before this episode, I when driving on a hot day, I heard a banging sound and parked. I opened the hood and saw steam escaping from the pressure cap. After it cooled down, I put in a gallon of plain water and made it home without further incident. Having this much plain water probably lead to the rust and also clogged up the heater core.

There was no evidence that I know of that I blew a head gasket. I checked the oil for signs of water and found none. No bubbles in the expansion tank. Engine has plenty of power and runs good. No steam coming out of exhaust.

Now that I have all new parts, except for the water pump, I can't explain why it would be running hot when at a idle. The mention of air not being purged out may be on the right track. Maybe the flush I did with the old radiator still installed did not remove the sediment from the water jacket. There is a TSB on these engines because of a known manufacturing problem that left metal shavings in the block. When the mechanic put in the new radiator, I don't think he flushed the system again. I also do not know if he purged the air out of the system after the radiator installation.

My brother seems to think that the water temperature gauge itself could be wrong and suggests installing an aftermarket gauge. I am disinclined to want to do that since it would look like a total hack job. Maybe there is a way to install one neatly but at this point I am not wanting to do it. I may take it back to the mechanic and see if I can use his diagnostic instrument which plugs in under the dash and reads the coolant temp from a different thermocouple. I could then try to match the readings from my factory gauge to the test gauge. Again from my previous post, right after the new radiator was installed and it still showed high temp at idle, the test gauge seemed pretty steady at 224F while the original gauge moved down going from idle to 2000 RPM.

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#9
In reply to #8

Re: '98 Ford Taurus Water Temperature

08/02/2009 3:32 AM

From all the boiling you spoke of I'd say your temp gauge is accurate.

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#10
In reply to #8

Re: '98 Ford Taurus Water Temperature

08/02/2009 10:01 AM

From a lot of experience with these things, I would still advise doing a pressure check. They can fail to show water output (steam) at the tailpipe and still have head/gasket problems.

Also, the leakage area can "seal" itself unless the system is pumped up to operating pressure. In essence, the leak path may not be evident under atmospheric or less than maximum pressure. I've seen several in which no bubbling in the overflow/radiator was evidenced, along with no steam at idle, but still had head and/or gasket trouble. I base this upon 12+ years experience as a service tech, plus years as a factory field service engineer and design engineer for a major auto maker.

The test is too easy not to take a few minutes to verify the situation. It's cheap insurance.

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#12
In reply to #8

Re: '98 Ford Taurus Water Temperature

08/02/2009 1:00 PM

I think that the rust is a clue. If you have so much rust that it clogs the thermostat at the top of the engine, consider how much rust is at the bottom of the water jacket surrounding the cylinder walls. I have seen this OFTEN particularly in inline six cylinder engines. The force of the water flow diminishes as it gets to the rear cylinders and particles (minerals in the water and inevitable rust particle) precipitate out, banking up against he back wall of the water jacket. When sufficient material accumulates, hot spots develop in that area due to water not being able to contact the cylinder wall. Under normal engine driving speed, enough water flows to cool the excessively heated water in that area and prevent a boiling condition. When idling, there is not enough flow and boiling occurs, causing some of the rust/sludge particles to dislodge and eventually flow through the system, getting caught in any restriction, like thermostats and radiators. In addition, boiling causes a more rapid breakdown of the cast iron block scale into rust/sludge and will also dislodge, as occurs when boiling out the cooling system.

I would suggest knocking out a freeze plug at the rear of the block to see if there is a build-up of sludge. Professional cleaning WILL NOT remove this impacted and "cooked" material. It is even quite a job poking at it with a screwdriver and garden hose. If this is your problem, you will be truly amazed that the engine didn't fry a piston. Besides, popping a freeze plug is easy and less than $5.00 to replace with a Doorman plug available at probably ALL parts stores.

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#11

Re: '98 Ford Taurus Water Temperature

08/02/2009 12:08 PM

Just a couple of thoughts:

1) These analog gauges are known for some strange and non-linear response curves. Our '94 consistently read below the "N" of NORMAL even on long drives. Idle in city traffic, and the gauge would go over the "M". Hooked up a Stewart-Warner mechanical gauge and found the total delta t to be about 12 deg. F. Same with a new gauge sensor. Ended up R&R gauge and marking dial face. Just living with it...

2) The actual test you need to run is called a "Leak Down". Using compressed air, 2 ea. 0 to 160 PSI gauges and a hose/fitting to fit into your spark plug holes, you seek the differential from the supply to the cylinder sides over time. Set-up takes some time as you need to rotate the crankshaft so that each cylinder's valves are closed (remove all spark plugs and radiator cap, please). At 141,000 miles, yes there will be a slow loss past the rings and perhaps some past the valves. This will take some time. Any rapid loss will be indicative broken rings, cracked valves and, in your case, a gurgling at the radiator cap neck from the cylinder(s) under test..

Probably NOT what you wanted to hear, but this is a method that the "shadetree" mechanic can employ him/herself.

Best of...

GLB

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#13

Re: '98 Ford Taurus Water Temperature

08/02/2009 3:19 PM

You can do a leak down test, and it can be helpful, but what I was specifically referring to was a cooling system pressure test in which you attach a pump to the radiator cap connector and pressurize the cooling system to the operating pressure with the plugs; you can often determine specifically which cylinder(s) have problems.

You can also have a hydrocarbon test done on the cooling system. A special adaptor with a test instrument is attached once again to the radiator cap connector. In this case, the vehicle is then started and run until the test temperature is reached in the engine. Hydrocarbons will infuse into the coolant from combustion and turn the coolant in the test apparatus a specific color, indicating a coolant system leak. Of course, this method does not specifically determine where the leak is.

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#14

Re: '98 Ford Taurus Water Temperature

08/02/2009 3:49 PM

Check the oil filter housing for rust accumulation or blockage in the water jacket, it's common bottleneck.

When writing a detailed or extensive post use a text editor then copy and paste.

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#15

Re: '98 Ford Taurus Water Temperature

08/02/2009 3:55 PM

Since you ran with mostly water as coolant you now have a lot of rust in the block.

You need to get rid of it as per. your rad guys advise . I would make sure your head gasket is ok . You can do the leakdown test but it aint cheap . To see if the head gasket is blown across the coolant passages , simply bring the engine to operating temp . " meaning the thermostat is open " and check for bubbles in the coolant . If there are bubbles " or oil " you have a blown head gasket . Also , since the overtemp. only occures at idle i would also check the water pump for good flow rate. Pull the hose at the outlet and see if there is good flow . Do you get good heat from the heater ? Pull the heater hoses off the pump and see if they are partially blocked with rust , if they are then that is an indicator of the condition of the rest of the cooling system.

Keep us informed as you go.

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#16
In reply to #15

Re: '98 Ford Taurus Water Temperature

08/02/2009 6:07 PM

Also observe if you get excessive water vapor out the exhaust once the engine is up to temperature and while you are driving. Some may be normal with newer engine emission systems but if you look at it and say hmm, it might be another clue. You can cross your fingers and do a "throw $20.00 at it" repair by dumping a can of K&W block sealer into CLEAN (or as best as you can get it) cooling system water. It is a ceramic based sealer and is/was used by the NASCAR guys as a cross-your-fingers fix during races.

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#17

Re: '98 Ford Taurus Water Temperature

08/02/2009 6:13 PM

Head leaks are not the problem. Cooling fan controls are.

Taurus has a 2 speed fan control.

The relay center is under the fan shroud. The low speed fan is the one used in normal driving, being controled by a block sensor. The high speed is controled by a manifold sensor for ambient air temperature. If the low speed fan does not work, it WILL overheat in stop and go driving.

If the head leaked, it would overheat under a load, not at an idle. As long as the cooling fluid is normal colored, look for the fan control circuit.

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#18

Re: '98 Ford Taurus Water Temperature

08/02/2009 6:21 PM

In addition, my car now varies about one letter from off to on fan. About lower side of mid scale. The slow speed fan should cycle on and off under normal idling. There is a 2 wired plug sensor in the cooling path that controls this close to where the top radiator hose comes out of the block.

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#19

Re: '98 Ford Taurus Water Temperature

08/02/2009 7:44 PM

I would return the antifreeze/water solution to a 50/50 mix. Antifreeze raises the boiling temperature of the coolant so you won't see the boil over so soon.

Also, it will help keep rust from forming in the block and/or corroding the aluminum head.

Check for a soft (spongy) lower radiator hose - it may be collapsing.

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#20

Re: '98 Ford Taurus Water Temperature

08/02/2009 9:55 PM

Hi just wondering if you had pulled the water pump & checked the fins on the impellor? I have seen a water pump on a ford that kept having cooling system problems!The water pump was the problem! It was checked out by many mechanics & also had $100's of dollars spent on replacing parts & sensors ...thermostats...rad...everything! but after my buddy bought the car cheap because of the car had a cooling system problem & no matter how much the spent on the cars cooling system it would always over heat! check it out & let me know if that fixes your problems!

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#21
In reply to #20

Re: '98 Ford Taurus Water Temperature

08/03/2009 8:38 AM

GA for CrewChief - I agree on the impellers maybe the issue, and a tell-tale sign is that your coolant before you R&R'd everything was stained an off-color brown, or "not green"??

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#37
In reply to #20

Re: '98 Ford Taurus Water Temperature

10/23/2009 3:54 AM

Just to bring completion to this thread, I found out that the impellers on the water pump were completely disintegrated. It was just a flat piece of metal spinning around. Yet there was no water leakage. The pieces that came off the impeller are probably lodged in the heater core. It is amazing that the car worked at all. This is such a common problem that Ford issued a technical service bulletin (http://rockledge.home.comcast.net/~rockledge/RangerPictureGallery/BrownCoolant.pdf) that recommended replacing the water pump no matter what the mileage or build date.

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#38
In reply to #37

Re: '98 Ford Taurus Water Temperature

10/26/2009 1:58 PM

Thank you for the reply. It is all too often that we never hear from the OP. I once saw a 1972 Chrysler product with that same problem. But I thought those days were over.

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#22

Re: '98 Ford Taurus Water Temperature

08/03/2009 9:14 AM

It would seem that the problem is with AIR FLOW. If the temp is normal when moving and only rises when idling at a stop, there is obviously not enough air flow thru the radiator to keep things cool. Seems rather obvious, doesn't it?

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#23

Re: '98 Ford Taurus Water Temperature

08/03/2009 11:38 AM

So you have replaced the radiator, thermostat high speed fan relay and still the gauge reads hot, and the computer shows the temperature is holding steady. There are two devices that are reading the coolant temperature on your car. One tells the computer what the coolant temp is. The other tells you what the coolant temp is. The computer's device is called a coolant temperature sensor. The one for your gauge is called a water temperature switch. Both are in the intake manifold, near the thermostat housing. If there was air bound in the engine that needed to be bled out, it should affect both sensors. Just for laughs why not change the $10 water temperature switch?

From this side of the desk, I would never rule out a cracked block, head, or any other part. But for 10 bucks I could eliminate the cheapest thing in the system. There is a specific ohms reading that this should show at specific temperatures. Also, there is a specific ohms value that should make the temperature gauge at each of it's markings. This information would only be available from Ford, or perhaps Snap-on.

There is no coolant fan switch listed for your car. That means that the fancy cooling control module that you bought has to get it's information from one of the other 2 sensors. Because the gauge switch only controls the gauge, then the temperature information for the cooling module has to receive a signal from the engine control computer. If the water temperature switch does not cure the issue, testing the coolant temperature sensor would seem to be worth a try. If you look around, you may find someone you know with an infrared thermometer. It can give you more information on the location of heat in your car than you can use. But it will tell you what is at what temperature.

The test for combustion gasses in the cooling system is a fast and conclusive. The cooling system pressure test is not as conclusive, but you might be surprised how many coolant leaks can be on your car that you did not know of. Most are just hose clamps that leak. If you do have a coolant system check that leaves you with a loss that you can not find, pull the spark plugs, and let the coolant system sit under pressure. If the pressure is dropping, keep rebuilding it. After this has gone on for about 20 min. have an assistant turn the engine over, while you watch for water coming out of the spark plug holes. If there is water from any of the holes, you have coolant entering the cylinder somewhere.

If you have the 4.2 L engine, it is possible for the intake manifold gasket to leak coolant into the intake runner on the front of the front head, and the rear of the other head. If the intake valve is open on that cylinder, water will be in that cylinder, and yet the heads will not need to come off. Sorry for the long post. Good luck.

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#24

Re: '98 Ford Taurus Water Temperature

08/03/2009 2:22 PM

I suggest looking at your water pump, perhaps the impeller is not what it should be. Next, do a pressure test; you may have a head gasket leak, or worse a cracked head or block.

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#25

Re: '98 Ford Taurus Water Temperature

08/10/2009 12:18 AM

It seems like the most logical reason for my car to still be overheating at idle after replacing everything that I did would be for the water pump impellers to be degraded. I thought the failure mode for a water pump would be leaking seals and I never thought to rev the engine at idle before my radiator was replaced to see what would happen. It seems logical that if there is some damage to the blades, there may not be enough coolant flow at idle speeds but when revved up it has enough cooling.

I guess at this point with 142000 miles on my car, I should change the water pump whether or not it is responsible for my current cooling problem. When I change the pump, should I get all new parts including the serpentine belt, idler pulley and belt tensioner? How critical is it to torque the bolts to the specified amount when installing the new pump? I don't know if I still have a torque wrench or not.

How difficult is this job for a novice with more time than money on his hands?

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#43
In reply to #25

Re: '98 Ford Taurus Water Temperature

11/02/2010 12:54 AM

Hi aerospacecase,

Based on my previous experiences with a Taurus 3.8 model 1995 (motor Essex), I will not think that the water pump impeler is defective. (but, you should analyze and decide by yourself because I did not seen your car in order to be sure).

-Personally, I think that your engine have a head gasket problem, lower intake gasket problem, crack in the head or something like this whick make your engine to work in abnormal conditions.(start checking the thermostat, radiator, ... after think to a head gasket which is major and expensive problem)

-The water pump is what?; A metalic propeler on an axle!; Do you think that the respective propeler is rusted in such a way that in not moving the water into the circuit?;

-Personally I never saw a water pump with that defect; always the bering and seal was worn-out and I had to replace the water pump because of the collant leakage.

-The thermostat could be defective and not oppening at the respective temperature,

197F or whatever is written on the unit. (You can buy different models, 193F, ..).

-The main radiator could be locked with rust or other dirty things; You can wash this with your garden hose and ensure that there is good circulation

Good Luck

Nick

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#44
In reply to #43

Re: '98 Ford Taurus Water Temperature

11/02/2010 3:31 AM

My problem was fixed a year ago. The culprit was a bad water pump. It did not leak and the seal was still good but the impeller blades were gone. All that remained was a horizontal disc... the vertical portion of the blades were gone. See my post #37 from 10/23/09

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#26

Re: '98 Ford Taurus Water Temperature

08/10/2009 10:20 AM

Hello again,

Serpentine belt: For Sure.

Idler Pulley: check to see if it has 'off-axis' wobble and/or sounds like a child's roller skate wheel.

Belt Tensioner: likewise for rotation as above and also for the spring travel/and stiffness.

The above are subjective judgements and are proportional to your desire to go back and do it again at some later date. The belt runs "everything" and is subject to typical belt decay. The others are rather robust in construction for such a small engine (actually used on larger Taurus 3.0 and Aerostar 4.0 units). You will find them Very Pricey at the dealership and only marginally less so at the Parts Store. Parts Store units have a provenance problem: you don't know where they came from and also high 'infant mortality (they crap out at about 600 miles, or just when you feel comfortable enough to take your first long trip).

Lastly, it is usually the Belt Tensioner Pulley that develops the signature Ford "squeak, squeak, squeak... ..." you hear at idle and low RPM.

The above are strictly the result of 'been there, done that'. Fancy analysis for MTBF, MTTR and TBO not included, but, available upon request...

Best to 'ya!!

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#27
In reply to #26

Re: '98 Ford Taurus Water Temperature

08/10/2009 10:41 AM

In addition to your excellent suggestions, I would add to check the plastic pullys for wear. Some of them are prone to this.

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#28

Re: '98 Ford Taurus Water Temperature

08/10/2009 7:25 PM

Hi aerospacecase,

I had a previous thread about my 1996 Taurus losing coolant. I had a thermostat stuck shut. I replaced that and the cap, but the problem was not completely fixed. I looked into changing the water pump but it looked like a hard job. I think the power steering pump will have to come out. Mine had a hard pipe on it, so the fluid would have to be drained. I recommend a "power flush" by someone with the right tools and experience. It could be some small water path is plugged with rust or dirt. After seeing your thread, I think this model has a design problem. Good luck.

-S

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#29
In reply to #28

Re: '98 Ford Taurus Water Temperature

08/12/2009 12:02 AM

And right you are. Both the 3.0, and the 3.8 engines required the PS pump to be removed first. And the bolts for the PS pump were behind the PS pulley, so you need to first use a special puller to remove the pulley. Ford, where quality is job 1. Engineering is not that high on the list.

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#30

Re: '98 Ford Taurus Water Temperature

08/13/2009 7:35 PM

A diagnostic instrument was plugged into the under-dash port and showed a steady 224F. During this time the dashboard gauge went from the middle to high and back while the 224F remained constant.

When the car idles and the temp gauge rises, when I rev the engine to 2000 RPMs, the gauge quickly returns to the middle position.

Seems like you have fault isolated the problem...not problem with everything but the dashboard (instrument panel) gauge! And/Or intermittent inadequate current to (resistance by) the gauge. Could indicate a failure of shunt in the gauge (Voltmeter) needle actuation cirtuit...such that needle input impedance is too low. I'd switch out the gauge for a known good one to see if the problem goes away (Remember, on a car old enough to need major cooling system renewal, the price of a gauge will not be a penny-rich, pound-foolish option--even if the old gauge is not defective.

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#31
In reply to #30

Re: '98 Ford Taurus Water Temperature

08/13/2009 8:44 PM

It would be worth repeating the temperature reading test with a diagnostic computer before I spend any more money on something like a new water pump. I may buy and install an aftermarket temperature gauge to get a better feel for what is really going on.

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#32

Re: '98 Ford Taurus Water Temperature

08/14/2009 6:11 PM

After reading your post I tried the 2000 RPM thing and my dashboard readout came down too. check this out. I have since traded my car off.

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#33
In reply to #32

Re: '98 Ford Taurus Water Temperature

08/16/2009 11:18 PM

StandardsGuy,

I have seen that TSB before. Too bad it is not an official recall that would be covered by Ford. They were calling for a water pump replacement on cars with less than 10000 miles in one of the 82 steps.

If you had the same result by revving the motor to over 2000 RPM, then what can I assume? Either your temp gauge is also bad or maybe you have a degraded water pump. I don't think the electric fan is directly linked to engine speed.

It looks like the water pump needs elective surgery, not an emergency operation.

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#34
In reply to #33

Re: '98 Ford Taurus Water Temperature

08/17/2009 6:43 PM

"If you had the same result by revving the motor to over 2000 RPM, then what can I assume?"

I would certainly NOT assume the gage is bad. I would assume that there is not enough water flow around where the sensor is located. The reason could be restricted water channels or hoses, low output water pump, or bad design.

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#35
In reply to #34

Re: '98 Ford Taurus Water Temperature

10/10/2009 1:53 AM

It has been a couple of months since I last checked this thread. I have been managing the overheat symptoms by not going out where I will be stuck in traffic at idle for a long time or by simply revving the engine to over 2000rpm when the needle starts climbing.

I finally saved enough money to take it in to a reputable mechanic. He appreciated all of the background info that I gave him and started out by replacing a couple of the sensors and the thermostat that I put in with a factory replacement. He is not charging labor for that, only parts. He did some library research and found the same article (01-11-6, http://blizzard.zmm.com/waterpump/BrownCoolant.pdf) that describes multiple symptoms with this engine.

We came to the conclusion that replacing the water pump is probably necessary. He said I could order my own parts from Amazon instead of paying Ford dealer prices. The Motorcraft PW404 OEM water pump is $75 with free shipping and no 9% Calif tax. instead of the $140 he quoted me for the dealer price. I got similar savings on the serpentine belt, idler puller and belt tensioner.

Since August, the engine started running a little rough when under a load such as climbing and the service engine soon light stayed on. The mechanic read the code and it said "misfire on cyl 1" With over 142,000 miles on the original plugs and wires, I added those to my order.

My question is this - why is it so confusing as to what spark plugs to buy? I understand the original plugs are good for 100K miles and have a platinum electrode. Mine lasted much longer than that and are probably still good for all I know. The car has always run very good until this latest episode with the misfiring (that may not even be related to the wires and plugs.) There are many plugs listed for the Taurus ranging from cheap to expensive. I checked with my mechanic and he said that it was important to get the right voltage and get Motorcraft instead of an off-brand. I ended up buying the Motorcraft AGSF32FMF6 plugs that cost $11.82 each. The mechanic said that dealer price for the good plugs could be from $15-18 each so I guess I did okay. But my head is stuck in the '60s where it was easy to change your own plugs and they were a buck each. If the new plugs and wires last another 142K miles, it will be money well spent. But I can't help but wonder if a NGK 3186 Platinum Plug for $2.94 each would work just as well. I am not even sure that the AGSF32FMF6 plugs are the right ones to get. Some people on other forums said that the AWSF series is the correct ones even though there are several that start with thoses characters. Very confusing.

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#36
In reply to #35

Re: '98 Ford Taurus Water Temperature

10/11/2009 3:53 PM

I think you paid way too much for those plugs. Late electronic ignition systems have enormous amounts of power available to fire plugs. This will help to keep deposits from building on the plugs. Platinum plugs run hotter, also helping to burn off any deposits. Ford will not allow any manufacturer to recommend a product for their vehicle that would not allow it to perform properly. A non platinum plug may not last as long as a platinum, but will perform properly. The spark plug wires also need to contain all of that energy. After that many years, they need changing. I have found that Autolite brand spark plugs are marketed very well in south FLA. I also have not experienced any problems in years of using them. I believe that the $1.89 that I pay for Autolite Platinum plugs, would have done just as well in your car. Sorry to say this to you. The best news though is if your car is running correctly again. I hope your car and you are happy again.

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#39

Re: '98 Ford Taurus Water Temperature

04/11/2010 1:08 PM

If the water level does not reach the temp sensor due to an air lock or low coolent, the radiator fan will not turn on, except when overheated and then it is too late hence the overheating. I finally pulled out the temp sensor and there was a big burb and then the fan operated as it should after that. By reving the engine you are forcing water to contact the sensor which turns on the fan but when idling the sensor is not making contact with the coolant.

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#41

Re: '98 Ford Taurus Water Temperature

11/01/2010 7:20 PM

Have you checked the water pump? with the motor shut off grab the pulley & see if you can rock the pulley. the best way would be to remove the belt & turn it free hand! also before that you could listen to the water pump with a stethiscope or a cheap way is use the largest screw driver you have put the screw driver on or close to the water pump when the motor is running be carefull & put your ear against the screwdriver! listen for loud scraping squealing niose! that is the next step I would do?

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#42

Re: '98 Ford Taurus Water Temperature

11/01/2010 10:34 PM

Are you sure the steam in the tailpipe is new? Could it be from before the heads were replaced? Are you lousing water? If so do you k now where the water is going? Test don't guess

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