Truck overheating

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Mike in Pa, Jan 31, 2004.

  1. Mike in Pa

    Mike in Pa Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    352
    Joined:
    May 29, 2002
    Any mechanics out there?

    My truck is overheating in zero degree weather. I warmed it up and went a mile from home ... the heat went cold and the temp pegged out at 260 plus. I can't find any leaks. I don't think the thermostat is sticking because the heater core sounded like it's "gurgling" a bit. I thought something might be frozen in a hose or connection but this did the same thing recently after I was driving for 20-30 minutes ... but it went back to normal and was fine the rest of the way home.

    Any suggestions?

    P.S. It took about 1/2 to 1 gallon of anti-freeze. (if it comes in 2 gallon containers).
     
  2. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

    Messages:
    10,853
    Joined:
    May 22, 2003
    Location:
    Zone 7
    The thermostat IS sticking
     

  3. charles

    charles Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    90
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    You apparently had lost water, adding maybe a gallon after the incident.
    I suspect you'vg got a leak.

    I you are low on water, the heater will go cold first.

    Leak could be apparent or a slight one in the radiator core or a heater hose connection. I may leak only when the vehicle gets to normal running temperatures. It will be more pronounced if the vehicle gets hot.

    Check to see from where the fluid is dripping after you stop driving. Any fluid means a leak. Of course, if you over-heat again you can also see where it leaks out.


    A cheap thing to do ($12.00, very quick test) is have a pressure test done on your system. The radiator cap gets pulled of and the system is pressurized.

    Water/fluid gets pushed out any leaks at pressures increase.

    This is better than haveing someone randomly replace hoses for a greater price.

    If your thermostat is sticking you should be able to tell by looking at the water flow into the radiator when its down a bit.

    Course, in the South you can always just pull the thermostat.
     
  4. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,243
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2003
    Location:
    Whiskey Flats(Ft. Worth) , Tx
    When you replace your thermostat pickup a NEW Cap as well. Depending upon the age of your truck...if your hoses are 5 years old, I would replace Them as well as your heater hoses.
    ............Check This.......Most waterpumps have a "Weep" hole Directly under the input shaft. If you have a leak from this hole you will need to replace your waterpump.....Oh!.....It's called a "weep" hole because you'll Crying when you have to "ROB" your piggybank to pay for the parts..........
    ............If you are going to drain your coolant to install a new thermostat You might as well take your radiator OUT and leave it with a competent radiator shop and have them "Rodd" it out. All those little vertical , metal vanes in your core will eventually become clogged like arteries and need to be cleaned. The shop will have to unsoldier the TOP reservoir of your core so they can push a rodd down thru each little vane. Some may be Too clogged and they will be unhooked and soldiered Closed. It maybe time to replace your coolant....if so mix 50% antifreeze and 50% DISTILLED water(no minerals)........fordy.. :eek: :)
     
  5. before you spend any money or time working in the cold diagnose the proplem first, top off coolant and allow to come up to temp. see if problem occurs again. if you are losing coolant try to find leak. no visable leaks found but still losing coolant could be head gasket check for water in oil, oil floating in overflow, smell of gas in radiator or tiny bubbles perculating in radiator . one or all can indicate crack or bad head gasket may have smell of coolant in exhaust.
     
  6. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

    Messages:
    10,853
    Joined:
    May 22, 2003
    Location:
    Zone 7
    "did the same thing recently after I was driving for 20-30 minutes ... but it went back to normal and was fine the rest of the way home". .........this statement identifies the problem. Nothing but a stuck thermostat would have let the vehicle return to normal. It just stuck again and remained stuck this time.
     
  7. Upham

    Upham Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    69
    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2003
    Location:
    Massachusetts 02048
    The first thing I would do is remove the thermostat. If it still over heats you have a bad head gasket= lots of money. If not it is the thermostat or an air bubble in the system.
    Good luck,
    Up
     
  8. Please give more info, such as truck type,year, engine size,mileage, & condition.
     
  9. clovis

    clovis Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,511
    Joined:
    May 13, 2002
    Most likely a stuck thermostat.

    Do you have a proper antifreeze/water mix? I had a friend once that did not have the right mix, the water froze, caused the truck to overheat, but then thawed when we moved the truck indoors and it idled for a while. He got VERY lucky by not cracking the block, overheating a head or losing a freeze plug. He was too embarrassed to admit that there was little, if any antifreeze in the cooling bock.
     
  10. clovis

    clovis Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,511
    Joined:
    May 13, 2002
    Also, if you are losing water because of a bad head gasket, you can pull each spark plug. Very often, a bad head gasket will cause one of the plugs to be spotlessly clean, while the others will show 'dirt' and wear.
     
  11. Steve

    Steve Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    95
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Location:
    West Central Illinois
    If you're losing coolant, but cannot find a leak, it is probably going "into" the engine somewhere. Either the crankcase or through a combustion chamber. A white sluggy film on the dipstick (especially if the oil level is elevated) would indicate a leak into the crankcase from either a blown head gasket or a cracked block. A white "sweetish" smelling and steamy exhaust coupled with a rough running engine would indicate that the coolant is entering a combustion chamber. That would indicate a blown head gasket or in some cases a blown manifold gasket.
     
  12. Mike in Pa

    Mike in Pa Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    352
    Joined:
    May 29, 2002
    Thanks guys.

    It's a '96 Dodge Ram with a 360. About 150,000 miles and hasn't been run very much for a while.

    I thought a thermostat (as I said) but I forgot to mention ... I did smell anti-freeze when I cranked up the heater fan when the temp was pegged out. It wasn't leaking underneath for sure ... unless very small. I thought I could see a smaller leak close to the radiator cap area ... near a hose connection. Not good info and not very observant I know but I was in a hurry. I got home, switched vehicles and haven't touched since.
    I thought the "leak" or wet area might have been melted snow that fell there from having the hood up for a few minutes. Like I said, I was in a real hurry. Wasn't giving the whole thing much thought.
     
  13. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

    Messages:
    19,157
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2003
    Either stuck Thermostat,or wrong Antifreeze Mix not enough water or too much.

    big rockpile