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Topping off coolant

Thread in 'Fluids: Oil, ATF, Coolant, etc.' started by Greg Gibbs, May 23, 2018.

  1. Greg Gibbs

    Greg Gibbs Member

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    I have a 2002 4x2 Sport Trac with 153K miles. Recently, I decided to do some preventive maintenance and install a new fan clutch, water pump, radiator hoses, bypass hose, and heater hose. Obviously, this required draining the coolant from the radiator. When it was time to refill with coolant, I filled the radiator up with 50/50 mix, turned on the heater to full heat with the fan on low and then cranked the engine to let it warm up. The coolant level in the radiator dropped a little as air was pushed through the system, but then the coolant level began to rise until it was overflowing for a while. (This was unexpected and I don't know what would cause that to happen.) Once it stopped, I put the cap on. I also added a small amount to the reservoir, but it was near the fill line.

    The next day, I checked the coolant level in the radiator after driving it and letting it cool down. It was not full, so I added a little more coolant to the radiator. Same thing happened today. The level in the reservoir appears unchanged. The truck is not overheating and I don't have any obvious leaks. The heater works well, so there is no air lock. The thermostat housing was replaced about a year ago, so I don't think that is an issue either.

    Do I just have air in the system? If so, how do I get it out? Should I just keep adding coolant until it stays full?

    Any ideas why the coolant level rose and overflowed with the cap off?

    Why hasn't the coolant in the reservoir been pulled into the radiator?

    Thanks for any help you guys can offer!
     
  2. Todd Z

    Todd Z Well-Known Member 2nd Gen Owner V6 Engine V8 Engine

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    The level rose as the coolant expanded while it was getting hot...... BEST way is check the radiator when the truck is COLD first thing in the morning and keep the reservoir at its proper level. IF the radiator cap is working properly it will adjust as needed. Maybe you have a bad cap..... but what's happening sounds normal to me.
     
  3. Greg Gibbs

    Greg Gibbs Member

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    Thanks for the info, Todd. There's no evidence of any leak around the cap, so I'm assuming it's OK. That would be a cheap/easy thing to replace, though. I've checked the coolant level when cold and had to add about 1-2 cups (guesstimating) of coolant to the radiator 3 days in a row. Still no change in the reservoir level. It's making me a little nervous, but I'll keep checking and topping it off for now. Planning to crawl underneath it tonight/tomorrow to see if I can spot any evidence of a leak. Fingers crossed that I don't have to pull the fan and water pump again!
     
  4. EddieS'04

    EddieS'04 Well-Known Member 1st Gen Owner 2 Wheel Drive V6 Engine

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    If the rad isnt taking any coolant from the resvoir. You need a new cap.
     
    Greg Gibbs likes this.
  5. Greg Gibbs

    Greg Gibbs Member

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    You were right, Eddie. Radiator cap replaced and immediately noticed the reservoir level changed (increased slightly) after the first trip. Coolant level in the radiator has remained full since installing the new cap. Thanks!
     
    EddieS'04 and swshawaii like this.
  6. Todd Z

    Todd Z Well-Known Member 2nd Gen Owner V6 Engine V8 Engine

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    there ya go..... The cap has two seals and functions.
     

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