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Truck Overheated - Now What?


jrobinson004

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My 1998 Ranger, 4.0 L, 4-Door, 4x4 recently overheated - the Check Engine light came on, but the temperature warning did not. I was on the freeway, turned on the heater and slowed down. The temperature instantly went down (not quite to normal temp), but a few miles later the temperature went back up and cold air came out of the heating unit.

I managed to pull into a gas station just as smoke started coming out from under the hood.

The next morning, I rinsed off the engine, let that water dry and then tried adding water to the radiator - it's definitely leaking.

My plan - please let me know what you think:
1) Replace radiator, upper & lower hoses, thermostat, radiator cap
2) Remove and inspect water pump
***3) Inspect fan & fan clutch (not 100% sure what to look for with that)***
4) Get that all together, fill up with coolant/water and try to start the truck

My questions:
1) How do I know if my head gasket is torched (other than the fact that my truck won't start)?
2) Should I replace all the spark plugs? Is it common for them to foul when the engine gets hot? Is it possible to have a "false positive" for the head gasket if a plug is fouled?

I managed to get all the radiator & cooling parts cheap (minus the water pump at this point) but am very afraid if I need to replace the head gaskets - the truck has over 200K on it and I just rebuilt the tranny.

Anything else I am possibly missing?

Thanks for the input,

Justin
 


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RonD

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If the rad was the leak and you put a new rad in then that is all I would do at first.

Refill system with WATER and see if there are any other leaks.
Turn engine over if it starts great, if not don't worry yet.
Check for leaks again.

OK, now do a free head gasket check
The Glove test
You need a latex glove with rubber band, or a balloon, or a Condom :) hey it works

Remove rad cap
Remove overflow hose and block that port on the rad, vacuum cap from engine will work

Place latex glove over rad cap opening and seal it with rubber band
Cooling system should now be air tight

Crank engine
If glove starts to bounce you have a head gasket leak(or cracked head)
If glove just lays there you don't.

If glove bounced, remove 1 spark plug at a time and crank engine, when glove stops bouncing the last spark plug removed was the leaking cylinder, put it back in to confirm.

Heat could have effected the coil.
I would remove the PCV valve hose from the intake(or power brake hose) spray some Starting Fluid(ether) into the intake then replace the hose.
Crank engine, if it starts then dies the fuel system is the issue
If it doesn't start or fire then the spark system needs the attention
 

jrobinson004

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Thanks for the advice so far - regarding the water pump, I did not pull it off, but removed the bottom hose and looked inside with a flashlight - I could see the impeller moving. Based on that, is the water pump likely okay?
 

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Water pump is fine. Do you have the overhead cam engine or overhead valve. Most likely (and common) causes are leaking hose, leaking rad, or leaking heater core. More serious leaks would be the head gasket or cracked head.
If the heater core was leaking, you'd smell it inside the cab.
Check hoses, both upper & lower, and heater hoses.
*If you have the overhead cam, the thermostat housing is notorious for leaking
As stated, replace the hoses and fill with water only. Start truck and get to operating temp. Shut off, check for leaks, if none, check water in rad (after truck has cooled), if you don't see an oily residue, check oil dipstick for milky substance, if neither are found, drain & fill with antifreeze. If you find either oil residue in the rad or milky substance on the oil dipstick tube, or water drops coming from the exhaust while truck is running, you have a head gasket leak and/or cracked head, but from your description, I doubt you have that problem.
My guess is leaking hose or rad, possible water pump seal leaking, or thermostat housing leaking (if SOHC)...

SVT
 

NIPs

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My credo
One shot one Kill
Open the radiator start the truck if ur head gasket was blown u would see bubbling in the radiator, or go thru and pull the plugs if any of ur plugs look real white or clean then u probably have a blown head

Sent from my ME173X using Tapatalk
 

jrobinson004

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Thank you -

It was definitely a leaky radiator. I have it all together - new rad, hoses, hose clamps, thermostat, thermostat seal. The thermostat housing had quite a bit of corrosion, so I cleaned it up as best as I could.

I did as advised - filled with water and the truck started right up. No obvious signs of water/smoke from the tailpipe and no leaks.

There was some residue (small, white chunks) present when I opened the radiator cap, but no oil.

At this point - should I drain and fill with 50/50 and test it around the neighborhood?

Thank you again for all the advice!
 

RangerSVT

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Yep, drain and fill 50/50 mix, you're good to go...

SVT
 

jrobinson004

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Well, it has been a while and my truck has been on the shelf this whole time (fortunately we have been sharing the family car).

I thought I was good to go, but now it appears I do have a blown head gasket - no anti-freeze in the oil, but a little oil in the anti-freeze. The truck will start, but shutters horribly and white smoke comes out of the exhaust.

Any recommendations for a used or re-manufactured engine company? My mechanic mentioned Jasper, but I am not sure if they make the 4.0L.

I believe a new engine is the route to go - the truck has over 200,000 miles on it, I just rebuild the transmission, and put on new tires and brakes.

Thanks,

Justin
 


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