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bryanc512

2002 Escape coolant issues...help?!

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My 2002 Escape will randomly overheat.  it over heated when my daughter was warming it up on a very cold day. I took it the next day, spent an hour running it at operating temp, and driving a few miles...  no problems.  She drove it 15+ miles each way to work for a week, no problems.  one day, she went about 3 miles and it over heated, so she stopped, it cooled down, she tried to bring it home.  it overheated again, lost power, she parked it, and it started 'draining' antifreeze.

we towed it home, I checked the antifreeze level was just a little low, so I filled it up, again, ran it to operating temp, let it keep running for 30 minutes or so, no problems.  cept the heater was only putting out about 90 in the cabin.

it cooled, I drained it, refilled it, ran it to operating temp, the overflow never sucked in any of the antifreeze like it usually does when flushing and refilling when the thermostat opens.

it cooled, i drained it again, took the thermostat out, put radiator flush in, filled it.  heater blew COLD, car got up to operating temp but wouldn't go any higher, but overflow started overflowing, spurting antifreeze everywhere.

once enough of it had spurted out, it was 'pulsing' short shots of antifreeze into the overflow tank.  I shut it off and started to research (which is where I am now)

I DID do a compression gas test, and the fluid stayed blue (no combustion gases in the antifreeze)

there's no oil residue in the antifreeze.  There's no 'milky' look to the oil....

the gauge never goes above normal for me....  also the radiator fans never come on....  (is it possible the temp gauge says normal and the engine is actually over heating?)

 

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OK, lot of pieces of info here so I'll throw individual observations back.

1. If air is in the cooling system the fans, thermostat, interior heater and temperature gauge will all not work properly.

2. A gas test in the cooling system (like with a test strip) won't be accurate if the system has overheated and has had new coolant installed. ONLY a pressurized cylinder leak down test will give you a guaranteed answer as to if the cylinder head gasket, block or head is leaking.

Every one of your symptoms can be the result of pressurized combustion gas entering the cooling system; it only has to be a small amount but it's enough to cause an overheating condition which can quickly compound. Again, only a pressurized cylinder leak down test will give you a guaranteed answer (not a pressurized cooling system test).

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ok, thank you for your reply.  Fortunately, there were no major problems :) 

To anyone that has this problem, or anything that sounds like it, here's what I did to fix it (the flushing may have been unnecessary, but, I did it anyway) I got some 3/4 tubing, garden hose connectors, 3/4 pipe barbs, and some hose clamps, removed one heater core hose (from the thermostat housing) stuck the pipe barb in it, stuck some tubing on the other side, clamping both sides of the barb, then a garden hose connector to the other end, then hooked a some tubing to the thermostat, clamping it, putting a garden hose end on it, then turned the hose on and flushed the system for a few minutes, then moved the hose from one tube to the other, and flushed it again for a few minutes, making sure the entire system was clear, then I dumped a few gallons of distilled water in the tube to flush out all the tap water, then drained it, put in a new (failsafe) thermostat, filled the system with antifreeze/distilled water, tested things out, and it worked perfectly!

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So possibly an intermittently sticking thermostat? Nice if that's all it was. I might suggest a new rad cap also since you mentioned it wasn't pulling coolant from the reservoir during cooldown. 

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Yeah, I'm hoping that's all it was, I mean, I haven't driven it for hours and hours, but before it only took less than 5 minutes of driving to overheat, and it isn't now.  I donno about newer Escapes, but mine doesn't have a radiator cap, just the cheap plastic cap on the overflow tank, and it was open with the fill funnel stuck in it 😄  

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Keep in mind that the reservoir cap is effectively the "radiator cap" and must be functioning and in place. If not, the system will not build pressure and it is the pressure that raises the boiling point of the coolant; without the coolant can boil over sooner and that can lead to overheating also. 

 

Anyway, hope all is cool now (pun intended) :lol:

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