Tuesday, October 25, 2011

'97 Ford Contour overheating; no pressure in cooling system. Water pump gone bad?

I have a '97 Ford Contour GL (2.0L 4-Cyl) that's been having problems with overheating. I changed the thermostat, drained and backflushed both the radiator and heater core (no signs of any blockage) and after hooking everything back up, it actually overheats even faster than before. Reservoir is filled to the max and the system just won't burp/bleed. Pressure on the lower hose seems low as does pressure on the heater inlet/outlet hoses. There doesn't seem to be *any* pressure in the upper radiator hose, but it does get hot... from steam. I noticed this after pulling the hose off a good 20 minutes after it last overheated. The hose was bone dry. I tested the thermostat by boiling it in a pot of water and it opens and closes just fine. Engine seems to run strong and sound fine, but there is some grayish (with a tinge of brown) smoke that comes from the exhaust when I rev it up to about 3k RPMs. Maybe the beginnings of a leaking head gasket as well? Help! :)
'97 Ford Contour overheating; no pressure in cooling system. Water pump gone bad?
On the 2.0, I've had radiators flow but not enough to keep the engine from overheating.

Also to bleed the system, fill it up leave the radiator cap off , start the engine and run with the heater on max vent. It should burp fluid and air before it finally sucks it down hard one good time, then the top radiator hose should be hot and refill the jug and retighten the radiator cap and check to make sure the heater is putting out real hot.

Also one or two have had bad impellers on the water pump but usually that was a problem on 2.5 v-6s
'97 Ford Contour overheating; no pressure in cooling system. Water pump gone bad?
How hot? THose things had issues where the guage as long as it was in the normal range it was considered ok...

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I have seen LOTS of those cars with gauges indicating HOT. Another place those cars were notorious for coolant leaks, was from the engine block heater. You would need to have the car on a lift to see this, because it's under the intake manifold, on the FIREWALL side of the engine.

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Just a thought...I own a British Mondeo, basically a Contour, and had similar problems, in the end it turned out to be the plastic impeller in the water pump had broken. Apparently they are prone to getting hairline cracks in them and eventually fail. Hope you get it sorted!
it could be the water pump,or it could be a bad rad.cap,not holding enough pressure.do you got anti-freeze in your oil,if so then theres your answer,you blown a head gasket.also after you warm it up,turn it off and see if theres any cold spots on the rad.if there are any cold spots then the rad. is clogged up someplace.
mine overheats because the radiator fan doesn't come on - it only overheats when i am in traffic or not moving, when it does get to 220 or so I turn on the heat full blast and that cools it down to 150 degrees - i am going to run it like that with the heater keeping it cool until next spring when i wont need the heater and it will be better weather for car work
it must be the water pump
Well, you did a lot of good things, but there is something wrong with your pressure cap. It is what controls the pressure in your system, unless you have a leak some where. It could also be the reason for your overheating, because after it gets hot it will simply blow the water out of your cap. Cars are made to run at or near the boiling point. The radiator cap keeps the super heated water in the system. Cars need high temperature to help in burning the fuel completely. It is normal for you car to get a few degrees hotter than your thermostat setting. You just got to get a cap and check the neck of the radiator. You gotta hold that pressure.
You backflushed your radiator. That process takes all the sediment in your lower tank and pushes it lnto the coolant passages in the radiator. Thus you have increased the problem and it overheats faster, as you stated. Is your thermostst in correctly ? I have seen them installed upside down.

Try this---Remove the radiator cap, when cool, Fill the system, start engine and let idle till thermostst opens. You will see circulation in radiator if thermostst opens. Turn off engine and feel the radiator core for spots of lower temp. If you find %26quot;cool%26quot; spots you need your radiator cleaned at a radiator shop. No amount of flushing will fix it.

I would not venture a guess on your exhaust problem without seeing it.

NEVER repeat NEVER change any part until the problem is found.

Old mechanics proverb.
It could be the head gasket but did you change the radiator cap? The closed system cooling systems will over heat if there is any leakage what so ever! Check it close and try a new cap! You can check the water pump by opening the radiator cap while engine is cold and let it warm up with the cap off. When the thermostat opens you should see water flow. If you do and you see small bubbles then you have a head gasket or intake problem.
it could be you radiator or yes the pump. its a ford the rings could be going! they always do! check you oil for white or any evidence of antifreeze.
maybe a head gasket, when you buy those cheap thermostats at advance or autozone or somewhere its good to drop it in a bowl of boiling water to test it before you install them, ive bought several only to have to take them out and put a new one in

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