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  #1  
Old August 22nd, 2016, 05:57 PM
jperakis
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James Perakis
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Overheating

My 94 3.9 is acting up again.

She's been running like a champ since her header overhaul other top end engine TLC.

A couple days ago was driving home - noticed that sweet smell of coolant (no heater running) and immediately turned her off and popped the hood.

No signs of issues other than the smell.

I get back to my truck maybe an hour later and she's dripping coolant from what looked like the driver's side of the engine. Admittedly it could have also been expansion overflow - but I was a little frazzled with the issue so i'm not 100% sure.

Today I get back to her and check coolant levels - they were expectedly low - as the expansion tank was almost 100% empty.

Filled up the tank and checked the internal level of coolant which seemed to be at the right level.


I turned her on and watched the coolant level.

Temp in the truck was steady for about 15 minutes but there was zero action in the radiator - no coolant moving in or out.

Then all of a sudden the thing starts to boil over and newly filled expansion tank starts to overflow.

What gives?

New head gasket - headers - water pump and thermostat no more than 3 months ago.

My first guess is to say the radiator is clogged and needs some serious love, but i'd love to hear what the gurus have to say and answer any questions you all might have.

Thanks guys and happy to be back online at the d90 source!
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  #2  
Old August 22nd, 2016, 06:23 PM
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Sounds like you need to check the whole cooling system. Water pump, rad, tstat.
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Old August 22nd, 2016, 06:37 PM
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Zero action in the radiator means the thermostat isn't opening,or an air lock. Try topping it off again when cold and not putting the coolant bottle top on and starting it up and let it warm up. Are you also pulling the plug on the radiator and topping that off @ the same time as the coolant res ? Rover V8's aren't the best @ self bleeding. Top radiator hose orientation can cause an air lock.
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  #4  
Old August 22nd, 2016, 06:45 PM
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So the truck was fine, then you did a rebuild and now it overheats?

Did you properly fill and bleed the cooling system when you refilled it after doing the top end? If there was a giant air bubble in there it would explain why you aren't seeing any movement in the radiator. That would be the cheapest thing to troubleshoot. Also, If you have an infrared thermometer, you can use that shoot temps on the radiator and the hose on the top and bottom to see whats going on.
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Old August 23rd, 2016, 06:29 AM
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You also want to be sure you know why your head gasket failed to begin with. It is possible the overheating caused the gaskets to give and you've not addressed the initial problem yet.
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Old August 23rd, 2016, 07:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Douglas View Post
Zero action in the radiator means the thermostat isn't opening,or an air lock. Try topping it off again when cold and not putting the coolant bottle top on and starting it up and let it warm up. Are you also pulling the plug on the radiator and topping that off @ the same time as the coolant res ? Rover V8's aren't the best @ self bleeding. Top radiator hose orientation can cause an air lock.
Think. The truck was running fine (how long you didn't say). Suddenly, it overheats. The first thing to look at based on your assessment is the thermostat. Swap it out. Also, make sure the upper hose is trimmed so it doesn't rise higher than the top of the radiator. The small bleed hoses are oriented such that the outer goes to the overflow bottle and the inner to the throttle body. The radiator may need replacement but if it were clogged the problem should have occurred earlier. Don't concern yourself with the headgaskets just yet. These engines can take a good licking before that fails despite many opinions to the contrary.
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  #7  
Old August 23rd, 2016, 08:26 AM
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If it suddenly, unexpectedly overflows, what that typically means is that it hits boiling point and does just that, it boils. Thermostat and radiator can cause this with the thermostat being the most likely. But also the cap on the radiator overflow--if it isn't holding pressure (which allows the coolant to get hotter without boiling) can also be a culprit and something to check out. My money is on a combination of both thermostat and radiator if you haven't had the radiator cleaned in the last 5 years or less...
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Old August 23rd, 2016, 08:39 AM
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the cap is to pressurize the system so that it doesn't boil. Water boils @ 210 degree's @ sea level but pressurizing it raises the boiling point. Your v8 shouldn't reach 210 sitting @ idle so you should be able to trouble shoot this in the driveway with the cap off. If the cap was off, thermostat open, top hose hot, ie everything working as it should and you got explosive boiling up through the coolant bottle, that would be compression leaking into the cooling system ie headgasket. No warmth in the top hose/flow through the radiator sounds like a thermostat stuck closed or a huge airlock.
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  #9  
Old August 23rd, 2016, 09:07 AM
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Based on everything you did, and excluding a clogged radiator, I would think you have an air bubble somewhere in the system. However, I have to ask: when was the last time the radiator was replaced? If it has been longer than 10 years, you may have answered your own question. Given the truck is over 20 years old, if it is on the original radiator, it is time to at least do a re-core. I would say it is cheap insurance of you not having a radiator problem in the near future.

If you get a new radiator, or recore, you will be able to rule that out, and you will not have to worry about the radiator for a fair bit of time.... look at it as preventative maintenance.

Let us know what the eventual fix is!


Quote:
Originally Posted by jperakis View Post

What gives?

New head gasket - headers - water pump and thermostat no more than 3 months ago.

My first guess is to say the radiator is clogged and needs some serious love, but i'd love to hear what the gurus have to say and answer any questions you all might have.

Thanks guys and happy to be back online at the d90 source!
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  #10  
Old August 23rd, 2016, 09:58 AM
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Not to hijack the thread, but what is the usual cause for the 3.9 that gets warm when under load like going up mountain passes? My RRC temp shot up recently while headed up mountain. Pulled over, cooled down, headed back down mtn and all was well. Normal flat land driving never even moves past center on temp gauge.

Head gaskets been done, water pump seems ok, radiator looks original so I'm thinking its time for recore??
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  #11  
Old August 23rd, 2016, 10:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WeBeCinYa View Post
Not to hijack the thread, but what is the usual cause for the 3.9 that gets warm when under load like going up mountain passes? My RRC temp shot up recently while headed up mountain. Pulled over, cooled down, headed back down mtn and all was well. Normal flat land driving never even moves past center on temp gauge.

Head gaskets been done, water pump seems ok, radiator looks original so I'm thinking its time for recore??
Do the newspaper test on the viscous fan when hot. unless you got an electric fan?
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Old August 23rd, 2016, 10:15 AM
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Do the newspaper test on the viscous fan when hot. unless you got an electric fan?
Have electric fan set up, so it could be that it is not efficient enough when under load. May go back to standard fan set up at some point.
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Old August 23rd, 2016, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by WeBeCinYa View Post
Have electric fan set up, so it could be that it is not efficient enough when under load. May go back to standard fan set up at some point.
Do you have the electric fan running in the shroud? seal up any gaps with foam to stop hot air being pulled in from the engine side.

I don't like to way most companies make the flat plate mounting system for fans, I can not see how you can ever get a full amount of air flowing from the sides.

Is your fan controller automatic, adjustable? or hard wired into a sensor. Run a by-pass to run the fan when you need it, and be able to switch it off when fording the great lakes.

I do want to apologize to all but I just had surgery last night and on a full belly of happy meds So
I have nothing else or can do for the next coupe of days but read and watch the box.
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  #14  
Old August 24th, 2016, 01:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WeBeCinYa View Post
Not to hijack the thread, but what is the usual cause for the 3.9 that gets warm when under load like going up mountain passes? My RRC temp shot up recently while headed up mountain. Pulled over, cooled down, headed back down mtn and all was well. Normal flat land driving never even moves past center on temp gauge. Head gaskets been done, water pump seems ok, radiator looks original so I'm thinking its time for recore??
Is your system getting pressurised properly? The cooling system is only working properly when the hoses firm up.
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  #15  
Old August 24th, 2016, 07:35 AM
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Is your system getting pressurised properly? The cooling system is only working properly when the hoses firm up.
Good point. Pressure test the system, including the cap.
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