2002 overheating AGAIN

Joined
Nov 27, 2020
Thunderbird Year
2002
1. Find the leak that is allowing air in the system with a shop that has a pressurized dye system.

2. Once repaired use the same pressurization system to properly "burp" system.

3. Done (until another component fails)
 
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RDH

Active Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2019
Thunderbird Year
2003
Took my 03 into my mechanic today to check to see why I'm overheating again. I told him to check the fan and the sensor for the fan and the thermostat. He told me that Ford was having trouble with the fans and said that he check it out and give me a call. I just hope it's not the heads again
 

biddle

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Staff member
Joined
Mar 9, 2003
into my mechanic today to. He told me that Ford was having trouble with the fans.
Yeah, like he's the North America Ford authority and works on so many of the 2003-2005 Thunderbirds. LOL Even the Ford dealer doesn't see enough of them to make such a statement.
 
Joined
Aug 8, 2019
Thunderbird Year
2002
I'm battling an overheating problem with a 2002 Thunderbird with just over 105,000 miles. What I find strange is the car overheats at highway speeds, 45 to 70 MPH, at ambient temperatures as low as 70°F after about 10 to 15 minutes of driving. At an idle with AC running the car doesn't overheat even at temperatures above 95°. The hydraulic cooling system was removed, due to a leaking pump and high pressure hose. It was replaced with a Flex a Lite 183 electric fan mounted inside the original fan shroud. The degassing bottle was replaced due to stress cracking along with a new thermostat, 183°F. The thermostat was replaced twice with a two different brand names (also tested in boiling water). This didn't solve the overheating problem. The original radiator was replaced with a new radiator, new water pump, and new hoses. Made no difference. The cooling system has been maintained, flushes every 40K. The air flow through the AC condenser, transmission, and power steering cooler is clean, no blockage and all the baffles are in place . The car was checked for a blown head gasket and the back pressure was 0 PSIG on both catalytic converters. The system pressurizes and doesn't lose water and the heater works very well. At an idle the temperature runs at 210 to 215°F. At a cruise it climbs to above 245°F. If I place the car in neutral and coast the temperature will drop relatively quickly. Running the engine with no load at 1500 to 2000 RPMs, with an external booster fan, the car will overheat in about 15 minutes, (Flex a Lite fan running full power). Temperature was measured using an external probe also indicated excessive temperatures. Radiator is dropping about 40 to 45°F from inlet to outlet. Any thoughts or advice would be very much appreciated.
 

biddle

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Joined
Mar 9, 2003
I'm battling an overheating problem with a 2002 Thunderbird with just over 105,000 miles. What I find strange is the car overheats at highway speeds, 45 to 70 MPH, at ambient temperatures as low as 70°F after about 10 to 15 minutes of driving. At an idle with AC running the car doesn't overheat even at temperatures above 95°. The hydraulic cooling system was removed, due to a leaking pump and high pressure hose. It was replaced with a Flex a Lite 183 electric fan mounted inside the original fan shroud. The degassing
A couple of suggestions.
1- The burping of these systems is very important and has a detailed procedure I've not seen in other cars. It has oftentimes been the culprit.

Post in thread '2002 2003 2004 2005 Ford Thunderbird Thermostat Housing Water Pumps' https://forums.fordthunderbirdforum...hermostat-housing-water-pumps.9778/post-73424

2- see this old post which references the AC on/off
Post in thread 'Cooling system' https://forums.fordthunderbirdforum.com/threads/cooling-system.3474/post-25514

3. Use the search page and spend some time reading old posts on this topic.
 
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Joined
Nov 27, 2020
Thunderbird Year
2002
The primary reason these engines overheat is loss of coolant. Being down even a small amount can cause it. When you lose coolant it is often replaced by trapped air so your degauze bottle shows full.

1. Fix Leak
2. CORRECTLY burp system of air
 

RDH

Active Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2019
Thunderbird Year
2003
When My Bird overheated i at only 45K, when in the limp home mode took to my mechanic they found the heads were bad and replaced the gasket and shaved the head. Work for about a year then the fan went out and that work for about a o month the thermo was replaced an now all is good Its a 3.9 Jaguar motor and transmission and that all you need to know English motors aren't the best, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed and hope to sell her next spring, after 5 years and lots of money in to her, give someone a a fix up Bird and a very fast one at that
 
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Joined
Aug 8, 2019
Thunderbird Year
2002
As for reading on general posts for uncommon overheating issues, have not had any other possible causes for the problem. I do know about the burping of the system, done it several time over the past 16 years of owning the car and keeping the coolant level between the hot and cold levels on the degas bottle. I normally do all of my own maintenance and most of the repairs on the cars I've owned over the years so I do have a pretty strong mechanical background. When I had it to my local mechanic for the blown head gasket test I asked a question about the cooling system design, (have not been able to find a cooling flow diagram for the car in the service manual or on line). I'm baffled by the location of the thermostat. When I told him the coolant across the thermostat while open was from the radiator into the engine he did believe it at first until he actually looked at the car. I do understand as the thermostat opens it closes off the internal port inside the thermostat water outlet directing the coolant flow from the engine into the top of the radiator. But while the thermostat is in transition what is actually happening to the flow.

T-Brid_Thermostat.jpg
Thermostat location

I did remove the hydralic pump and ended up using a 99" sepentine belt. There is less engagement on the water pump pull by about 10°. I was concerned about possible slippage. Check for that and it's not occuring. I think I've cover all the possible senarios and was wondering if I missed anything.
 

biddle

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Mar 9, 2003
Check for that and it's not occuring. I think I've cover all the possible senarios and was wondering if I missed anything.
Fact- A good mechanic could fix this. You're not likely going to get a resolution for this over the internet on forums. Other than that, as I said before Use the search page and spend some time reading old posts on this topic. I doubt there is anything new that can be added.
 
Joined
Aug 8, 2019
Thunderbird Year
2002
Fact- A good mechanic could fix this. You're not likely going to get a resolution for this over the internet on forums. Other than that, as I said before Use the search page and spend some time reading old posts on this topic. I doubt there is anything new that can be added.
I've researched this for over the last 3 years. I've researched on the Lincoln LS forum, online searches... that where I found out about restricted Cats causing overheating at a cruise, and had it to two mechanics that are as baffled as I am. Short of replacing new parts again not sure what else I can do short of trading the car in.
 
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Joined
Aug 24, 2020
Thunderbird Year
2005
I've researched this for over the last 3 years. I've researched on the Lincoln LS forum, online searches... that where I found out about restricted Cats causing overheating at a cruise, and had it to two mechanics that are as baffled as I am. Short of replacing new parts again not sure what else I can do short of trading the car in.
When I was facing a similar challenge I discovered that my new thermostat was bad. I fixed the original broken component and figured since I had everything disassembled that I would replace other wear items while there as you seem to be doing.

I reused the original thermostat and it "fixed" my problem and I have put about 3 thousand miles on it since then with no problems. This is not the first time that I have installed new parts on a car that were faulty so maybe look at the thermostat again.
 

doug7740

Active Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2014
Thunderbird Year
1955
I've researched this for over the last 3 years. I've researched on the Lincoln LS forum, online searches... that where I found out about restricted Cats causing overheating at a cruise, and had it to two mechanics that are as baffled as I am.

I have never heard of restricted catalytic converters causing the engine to overheat. If the converters were restricted that much, the backpressure in the exhaust would cause the engine to stall, or at least a lack of power not allowing you to reach cruising speeds.

Restricted converters will set catalytic efficiency codes. Did you check for any codes that would lead you thinking the converters are restricted?

doug7740
1955 Thunderbird Blue
 
Joined
Feb 9, 2019
Thunderbird Year
2002
I have never heard of restricted catalytic converters causing the engine to overheat. If the converters were restricted that much, the backpressure in the exhaust would cause the engine to stall, or at least a lack of power not allowing you to reach cruising speeds.

Restricted converters will set catalytic efficiency codes. Did you check for any codes that would lead you thinking the converters are restricted?

doug7740
1955 Thunderbird Blue
My experience is similar, "back in the day" some miscreants would stuff a raw potato in a car's tailpipe and the only symptom was that it wouldn't start. Combustion engines are big air pumps and if they can't execute some portion of the "suck, squeeze, bang and blow" 4 stroke cycle - they don't start.

I haven't read back through all the posts to see if you've done anything with the water pump, on some 60's cars I've seen the impeller on the back side corroded away or even come loose so there was no-to-minimal current flow.
 
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Joined
Aug 8, 2019
Thunderbird Year
2002
I have never heard of restricted catalytic converters causing the engine to overheat. If the converters were restricted that much, the backpressure in the exhaust would cause the engine to stall, or at least a lack of power not allowing you to reach cruising speeds.

Restricted converters will set catalytic efficiency codes. Did you check for any codes that would lead you thinking the converters are restricted?

doug7740
1955 Thunderbird Blue
As for setting codes, not necessary. when I did a search for mystery overheating problems several recommended checking the cats. Just 1 to 2 psig can cause overheating at cursing speeds. There should be no back pressure. I also check the EGR valve. If not opening it can cause overheating issues.

My experience is similar, "back in the day" some miscreants would stuff a raw potato in a car's tailpipe and the only symptom was that it wouldn't start. Combustion engines are big air pumps and if they can't execute some portion of the "suck, squeeze, bang and blow" 4 stroke cycle - they don't start.

I haven't read back through all the posts to see if you've done anything with the water pump, on some 60's cars I've seen the impeller on the back side corroded away or even come loose so there was no-to-minimal current flow.
Yes the water pump was replaced with a gates that has a metal impeller. Not a fan of metal plastic interfaces when it comes to thermal cycling. The original with the plastic impeller was in good condition. Was concerned that the metal shaft to plastic impeller may be slipping. The replacement made no difference.
 

doug7740

Active Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2014
Thunderbird Year
1955
As for setting codes, not necessary. when I did a search for mystery overheating problems several recommended checking the cats. Just 1 to 2 psig can cause overheating at cursing speeds. There should be no back pressure. I also check the EGR valve. If not opening it can cause overheating issues.


Yes the water pump was replaced with a gates that has a metal impeller. Not a fan of metal plastic interfaces when it comes to thermal cycling. The original with the plastic impeller was in good condition. Was concerned that the metal shaft to plastic impeller may be slipping. The replacement made no difference.
I could be mistaken, but if the converters were defective enough to cause the engine to overheat, I would be surprised if a fault code wasn’t set.

A defective catalytic converter can impede the natural flow of exhaust emissions exiting a car's engine, thereby increasing the amount of back pressure within the car's engine, which can lead to overheating. As the exhaust pressure builds up within a car's engine, the natural combustion that occurs is compromised. In an engine that is operating normally, combustion happens at precise times and in correct amounts. A faulty catalytic converter, which can disrupt the normal combustion properties of an engine, can force the engine to work harder in order to emit the burned exhaust gases out of the tailpipe. This raises the operating temperature of an engine, and if left untreated, can definitely cause a car's engine to overheat.

When I worked at the dealership we charged 1 hour labor to replace both converters, plus 1/2 hour converter diagnosis. 4W4Z5F250AA is the converter part number, but contact the dealer for most current part number and price information.

Since this is an expensive repair, I would check with whoever diagnosed the converters as a cause of the engine overheating and see if they will guarantee the diagnosis.

Let us know if replacing the converters corrected your overheating concern.

doug7740
1955 Thunderbird Blue
 
Joined
Feb 6, 2022
Thunderbird Year
2005
Had same prob with 2004. Solved it (I think).

Hopefully you've already changed the thermostat.

Put on glove (hot hoses).

With engine running (from cold) turn heater on high hot in DUAL" mode.

Remove the coolant reservoir cap and open bleeder valve with a flat head screwdriver. Bleeder is located right next to the reservoir. Mark the valve with some paint or marker so you know when you close it you are returning it to original position. Open it slowly. If coolant doesn't immediately drip out you are successfully bleeding air out if system. If coolant drips close immediately.

With that open and cap off, squeeze the hose going into radiator on the left (with gloved hand) Keep squeezing in and out. You are getting the air out. Watch the reservoir and the bleeder valve. Make sure always coolant in reservoir. If it goes down and you need to add it means you are getting air out.

Once coolant starts to drip out of bleeder valve close it.

Keep cap off res. and let car run for 10 minutes or so. Boost idle to 2000. Water should be moving around a bit in the res.

IMPORTANT!!! PUT AN ADDITIONAL O RING INSIDE THE RES CAP. Close cap. Turn off car. Let cool. Check under car for leaks. Check levels. Add coolant if needed when cool.

After complete cooling start engine. Check bleeder valve again. Repeat procedure if no coolant immediately leaks out.

I had to do this three times. Finally coolant level stable. No overheating. However, I bought a diagnostic tool. My bird runs at 215 degrees which is too hot as far as I am concerned. Examining the grill I noticed that only the top two rows of the grill are open to the radiator. I plan on changing that.
I'd agree with everything you said but why add an o-ring to the reservoir cap? I'd just replace it. They're cheap.

Another failed drive. Everything does exactly as it should sitting in the garage at idle and when I am revving it, heater open, etc. Then I drive down the street and the fan goes into jet mode and the heat spikes quickly. I turned around and it wat 250 and the dash light came on.

Now I am questioning if the new thermostat is working, as the upper radiator hose is under tremendous pressure and the radiator is cool. I pulled my laser temp gun and the cold radiator surprised me so after it cools down I will install the original thermostat. I had ordered a complete new housing and did not open it up to test since it is combined unit. I hope that is the culprit.
Who made your stat? Did you buy it along with the housing? After reading about all your problems I want to avoid that manufacturer.
 
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