How to get 2.3 engine to warm up?!?


venuspie1

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I've just picked up a 95 ranger 4 cylinder. It has a good many miles on it so I thought I'd do some routine maintenance. After t-stat install, I can NOT get it to warm up to anything warmer than 175(temp gun). I flushed out radiator, heater core and all hoses. I can't even burp the system or add anymore 50/50 other than what I put in the radiator because the t-stat won't open. Dummy gauge reads low but I always check it in various places with a temp gun to be sure. I've seen others with this problem and wonder what is going on? I had a 180 t-stat and thought that was the problem so I took it back apart and installed a 192 degree one. I saw where the housing could be the issue and that water could get past the t-stat even when it is closed. I installed an extra o-ring to push the t-stat hard against the housing. With the extra o-ring, I can't blow air past the t-stat now so I KNOW it is sealed. You would think riding around in 95 degree weather with the A/C on would warm it up. When I stop and raise the hood, the temps drop down to the 160's. I know cardboard in front of the radiator may help but what is the real problem? I know this truck didn't do this when new?
 


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Shran

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Does it have the tiny, thin 4 cylinder radiator? They're maybe 3/4" thick or so. I've installed 4.0/auto radiators in a few vehicles where a thinner radiator was originally installed and it made a dramatic difference. They stayed cooler quite a bit longer, I think just because of the extra coolant capacity.

Fan clutch? Is it stuck on (will be quite loud) and over cooling?
 

venuspie1

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Does it have the tiny, thin 4 cylinder radiator? They're maybe 3/4" thick or so. I've installed 4.0/auto radiators in a few vehicles where a thinner radiator was originally installed and it made a dramatic difference. They stayed cooler quite a bit longer, I think just because of the extra coolant capacity.

Fan clutch? Is it stuck on (will be quite loud) and over cooling?
It does have the 4 cylinder radiator. Very thin and small. I haven't noticed the fan clutch being overly loud. It seems to spin normal and spun with normal resistance as I was installing it. Maybe I should remove it and see. I'd love to heat it up enough just once to open the t-stat and burp the system. No way it has enough coolant in it from just topping of the rad after install
 

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I usually burp them by removing the radiator cap and starting the engine, while cold... then open the throttle and keep it at 2500rpm or so while adding coolant. The water pump will suck the radiator down enough to add some, or a bunch. Put the cap back on and let it idle down. Then fill the overflow tank to the cold fill line. It will suck coolant from there if it's still low. This method almost always gets it perfect in my world.

If you don't think the fan is overly loud it's probably not the issue. I've had several fail and they are LOUD.
 

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192deg is correct thermostat

Yes, it did this new, 2.3l Lima engine doesn't generate alot of extra heat, one of the complaints in colder climates when trying to get HOT heater, lol.
And where blocking air flow thru engine bay came in, i.e. cardboard in front of radiator, and some use 205deg thremostat

Yes the mechanical fan could be the problem, take it off and drive it
Electric fan gives better horse power and MPG, and...............you can control it better than mechanical fan

Also the temp sender for dash gauge is at the rear of the block, drivers side, so doesn't show true temp, always reads lower
 

venuspie1

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Thanks for the responses. I'm worried if it doesn't heat up in this hot weather, I may not have any heat when it gets cold. I will remove the fan and see what it does.
 

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It should stay almost the same temp in the winter

Check if upper rad hose is heating up a bit that means thermostat is opening so there is "some" extra heat
In winter it probably won't open very often, it at all.
The radiator is just there for extra heat, most engines do generate extra heat every time they run for more than 5 minutes.

There is no reason the radiator should be used on any engine if there is no "extra" heat, the cooling system is the water pump circulating coolant thru engine and block and thats it.
The thermostat will route some coolant thru radiator when it detects "extra" heat

Thermostat should open/close within +/-3deg of rating, but it doesn't open fully until 10-15deg above rating
 

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My old '96 had excellent heat... same truck as yours, 2.3, 5 speed.

My current 2.3 powered '88 has the worst heater I've ever experienced. Actually all of the first gen trucks I've had, have had awful heaters, but this one is far worse than any. Everything in the cooling system is new and my theory is that the new style aluminum heater cores do not work as well as the factory brass/copper ones. My '86 is V8 swapped and has the same heater core, and it's awful too, but wasn't bad before I changed it.
 

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My old '96 had excellent heat... same truck as yours, 2.3, 5 speed.

My current 2.3 powered '88 has the worst heater I've ever experienced. Actually all of the first gen trucks I've had, have had awful heaters, but this one is far worse than any. Everything in the cooling system is new and my theory is that the new style aluminum heater cores do not work as well as the factory brass/copper ones. My '86 is V8 swapped and has the same heater core, and it's awful too, but wasn't bad before I changed it.
Yes, I would agree

Replacement cores have a straight pass thru in most cases, so hot coolant doesn't have to flow thru the whole core to get out.
While is would prevent a complete blockage of flow, lol, it doesn't make for an efficient heater core
 
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I have the 1996 2.3 5-speed manual 4x4 and yeah the heater was one of the first things I was concerned about (winters get down into the 20's (F) here) with the temp gauge bearing reading up into on what most cars would be considered the "Normal" zone, I have to get on a seriously long uphill climb to get the gauge to even start moving up into where most people would expect it to be.

I tried replacing the thermostat thinking that maybe it was just stuck open (or didn't even have one at all due to some un-diagnosed overheating problem) and it didn't change anything but come the first winter I had it the dash heater more than put out plenty of heat and I was toasty warm and had no complaints at all.

So I'd say just turn it all the way on to HOT and see what kind of heat you get if its barely warm you might have some other problem like the heater core is plugged up or the air control door isn't closing off the outside air like it should.
 

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All I can add is to get a STANT or MOTORCRAFT or other well known brand name thermostat. I don't have a lot of faith in off-the-wall brands from unknown locations. When you install the replacement, bend the legs to insure that the thermostat body is pushed into the outlet casting tightly so the O-ring is sealed well, and will stay there. The 'feet' of the legs should be able to be mangled so they fit into the slight groove on the housing alongside the gasket. Plop the housing in place, and the feet get trapped between housing and the block. If the O-ring is loose or the stat not nailed down, it won't work nearly as well.
If you use a infrared thermometer, you should monitor the upper hose, where it is clamped onto the thermostat housing with the engine running. If the stat is working, the hose will stay cold. And. Then. All at once start to get warm as the stat opens. It should NOT get warm-warm-warmer-warmer over a period of time, but pretty much go from cool to hot within a short period of time. The stat should cause recirculation of the coolant within the block and the heater core until it opens, at which time the coolant should be HOT.
tom
 


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