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Discussion Starter #1
I bought this low mileage baby from the second owner. The originial owner had the intake replaced before he passed away. The second owner said that the temp. gauge always ran mid gauge to 3/4 gauge cycling with the fan. It never went above that or overheated even in over 100* weather with the AC on. He flushed the system and it has new coolant.

Now I don't know what is supposed to be normal on this gauge, but I was wondering if the temperature sensors are correct, as the intake was replaced, and the sensors and thermostat were likely sold to the orig owner in the swap.

In checking so far, the driver's side sensor is white, and the passenger side sensor is green, (I don't know yet which is for the gauge and which is for the computer). Also, what is the correct thermostat for this engine, and is this a problem that a cooler thermostat can solve? I hate to take the parts swap route, and would rather try to analyze at least the sensor issue before tearing into it.

I've done some searching, but there seems to be no consensus, on the sensors or the thermostat that I've been able to find so far. Anybody got any tricks to determine actual engine temterature other than the gauge, I'd hate to open up the system when it's that warm. I am cabable of taking resistance readings at the sensors if anybody has the correct reading vs. range. Where's an engineer when you need one? LOL.

Thanks for readiing,
Vince
 

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I live in CA myself, and my bird runs at 195 temp, that number is based on the aftermarket white gauges I put in last week from Scott's custom work, which has numbers printed on them. Basically it's the halfway point, and it doesn't seem to go past that with the fan running and normal driving.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi, thanks for the response. So 195 is half way, so when I'm up at 3/4 gauge, it must be running hot, or my gauge / sensor is wrong. Happen to know what color your sensors are by chance? Anyone?
 

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Using what the computer sees as the temp, in traffic sitting at 110 degrees my car runs around 200 degrees. If I am driving at that temp it maxes out at 230. I have not had a problem with overheating or bad drivability. It was running around 220 degrees the night I went to the drag strip and ran around 16 to 18 runs, they had me turn off my AC which also means my always on high speed cooling fan was off (I was leaving puddles of water, no big deal).

On my car, 230 is nearly 3/4 on the temp gauge, and I have the same one year only cluster you have. I don't put much into what the stock gauges show, good for a ball park figure, but I wouldn't think of trying to get within 20 degrees of what it is actually running. I use a XCAL II and I used a no touch infared thermometer to check the hot spots.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I take it the XCAL II is an after mkt gauge? So the '97 bird and cougar share the same gauge for the last year only? Hummmm. Lastly, have you changed the thermostat, or put a lower temp (180) version in to run it cooler, or do you feel that running it at 220 / 230 gets you the best performance? Personally I'm old school, and would like to see it @ 195 / 200 max. Do you know if Auto Zone or others rent that infared themometer?

Glad to hear from someone in Tucson Az, I'm in a little valley in Cali, and it always reaches 110 / 115 for days and days in the summer, thus my concern. But if you have replaced your thermostat I guess I should just stop "sweating it" :):tongue:
 

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I do have a 180 degree thermostat, and the XCAL II is what I used to put on a custom tune and also can be used as a data logger, and you can show certain information on the device, and I was worried about the temps, so that is one I show on the device.

I borrowed the thermometer, but I will be buying my own soon, it was very helpful, it showed the bottom 1/3 of my radiator was 100 degrees cooler than the rest, and clogged.

I wasn't happy to see it running at 220/230, but it runs fine, it runs cooler sitting than the thermostat due to the AC being on the high speed cooling fan always on (unless you hit a certain speed I seem to recall, I need to data log that too), but once i am moving consistantly then it goes up the gauge at either half way or higher.
 

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my 351W runs all day long at 190 no matter what the temp outside is. I've got the stock V6
radiator and a mark VIII fan. 210 to 230 is what my escort runs though, and it's low on the stock gauge, lol. I think modern cars run hotter for better fuel economy. I worked at a shop and most cars these days dont turn the fans on till around 220, so i'd say if your running 230 on a 110 degree day, your probably ok. I dont like those numbers either, but unless you change your fan, or get a bigger radiator, thats what its designed to run... (unfortunately)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Speaking of radiators, Hey Bangster, have you changed that cloged radiator as yet? I'd sure like to see how much you temp drops on the gauge. BTW, shouldn't the bottom of the Radiator be much cooler than the top if it's doing it's job??? Or is it different for a cross flow??
 

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Discussion Starter #10
BUMP!
Ok readers, I removed the thermostat, did the kitchen boiling water thing, with a baking thermostat, and the 192* thermostat opened @ 208-210* and closed again @ 195*, a little high for openers, but not too bad.

Running the car at speed yields mixed results, but once up to temp, the gauge reads 1/2 way at 60+mph, but climbs to 3/4 gauge around town. This on a 60* day! So what next? The previous owner said it always ran that way with never an overheating boil over. He flushed the system recently, and the coolant is very clear and green. Maybe that contributed to his decision to put it up for sale??

Anyway, is using a infrared themometer on the radiator a reliable way to tell if it's clogged? If it is, shouldn't the heater core be plugged up as well, or before the rad goes? Or should I just go for a new radiator? BTW, the cooling fan cycles between the previously mentioned 1/2 to 3/4 gauge reading, turning on at 3/4, and shutting off at 1/2, should I be looking at that system's settings or control sensors? And what do I look for, any experience in this area would be appreciated. And yes I've done searches with mixed results. Reminder, this car only has 41K on it!

Thanks in advance, and moderators, should this be posted in 4.6/5.4 engine section instead of nubie?
 

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BUMP!
Ok readers, I removed the thermostat, did the kitchen boiling water thing, with a baking thermostat, and the 192* thermostat opened @ 208-210* and closed again @ 195*, a little high for openers, but not too bad.

Running the car at speed yields mixed results, but once up to temp, the gauge reads 1/2 way at 60+mph, but climbs to 3/4 gauge around town. This on a 60* day! So what next? The previous owner said it always ran that way with never an overheating boil over. He flushed the system recently, and the coolant is very clear and green. Maybe that contributed to his decision to put it up for sale??

Anyway, is using a infrared themometer on the radiator a reliable way to tell if it's clogged? If it is, shouldn't the heater core be plugged up as well, or before the rad goes? Or should I just go for a new radiator? BTW, the cooling fan cycles between the previously mentioned 1/2 to 3/4 gauge reading, turning on at 3/4, and shutting off at 1/2, should I be looking at that system's settings or control sensors? And what do I look for, any experience in this area would be appreciated. And yes I've done searches with mixed results. Reminder, this car only has 41K on it!

Thanks in advance, and moderators, should this be posted in 4.6/5.4 engine section instead of nubie?
If the fan is coming on at the right time i'd look elsewhere. Id suggest a new radiator and/or water pump. A radiator is like 150 bucks, and the water pump is really easy thing to replace. When i first got my tbird. I replaced the water pump and found that all the blades on the impeller were worn down from corrosion. Its not that big of an investment. Id think that would have a much bigger effect than the heater core or the thermostat.
Good Luck!
 

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Sounds like you may have a fan issue. Make sure that both low speed and high speed fan are working. I had the same problem with my '96 recently with large gauge swings on the temp when the fan quit working on low. A new fan motor fixed the problem and now temp never goes past half which has always been correct on my car.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
2 Speed Cooling Fan???

Wow, I had no clue that the cooling fan had 2 speeds! That would explain why the fan can bring the gauge down to 1/2 way, and then it climbs back up till the remaining high speed (only) fan kicks back in.

Is the low speed suoposed to run all the time, or are there two plataus with different sensors? Anybody got a page of the wiring diagram for this circut, or know where the sensors that control the two speeds are? or is this all from the EEC?

Thanks for the tip, I just bought it, and have no books or reference material as yet.

I've read some of using the MKVIII fan assembly, any advantages??

Thanks again!
 

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The low-speed only runs when the A/C is on (and the vehicle speed is less than 48 mph) or when the coolant temperature exceeds 222* F.

The high-speed only runs when the coolant temperature exceeds 228* F or when the low-speed has been on for a while and the temperature hasn't dropped enough.

The PCM commands the fan to turn on based on input from the CTS (coolant temp sensor, located in the intake coolant crossover) and status of the A/C (on or off).

The Mark VIII fan assembly flows more CFM than the MN12 one, but I don't know all that is required to make it work.
 

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If all else fails, flush the coolant and change the thermometer. I have a 180 deg in mine and when its like 60 degrees outside, ill sit around 1/4. around town just a little under halfway. During the summer the highest it reached was a little under 3/4ths of the way, and that was going uphill with 110 degree weather, with my low on freon AC blowing on max.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Test Results

Well readers, when I got the fan motor connector off, I was able to take resistance readings of the trwo windings (low & high) and they both checked out fine. I then started the engine and allowed it to warm up to nearly 3/4 gague before the connector showed full voltage at the low speed terminals 222*?. I continued to let the temp rise slowly until I saw that voltage dissapear, and reappear on the high speed terminals 228*?, (@ approx 7/8 gauge, proving the correct operation of the cooling fan system. I reconnected the fan , re-started quickly and heard for the first time, the high speed fan operating briefly before it switched back down to low speed, and then finally to off mode, then continued to cycle between 1/2 & 3/4 gauge as it had been doing from the first day I bought it.

Now the big question: It's nice to know the cooling fan system is operating properly, but why on a 60* day should the temp be cycling between approximately 200* and 222*, even just driviing it in light traffic around town?

Should I be looking into the water pump and /or the radiator with this low mileage (40K miles)? I'm not paranoid, but I want to resolve this high operating temp issue soon. I'm more concerned with the Tranny going south (given their reputation under this constant high heat), than the engine failing.

Opinions?

Vince
 

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Well even though its 60 degrees outside the car would run at 200 plus degrees simply cause its really really hot inside that engine. Its supposed to run raound 200 degrees. Maybe the guage is not working the best.
 

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have you changed the sensor that runs the gauge (green)? The fan turning on and such makes me believe that the white sensor, the one for the ecc, is good. I think the sensor is only like 10 or 15 bucks, be safer to get it through ford though.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
The Gauge

I'm begining to believe that the gauge is telling me the truth. It's showing 3/4 when the fan kicks in on low speed, and that's 222* on a 60* day, light traffic, and I think that's way to warm. I'm more inclined to think something's limiting the normal cooling capacity of the system, so I'm leaning toward the water pump or radiator. Trouble is, I haven't got a way to prove either unless I can get a good read with an infrared themometer. That's my next aquisition.

This car is suposed to have only 41K on it and by all signs that looks right. So it's hard to believe that the radiator or water pump are that far gone already. I wished I had paid more attention to the temp gauge when I test drove it, but I must have glanced at the gauge during it's low cycle of half gauge. And was blinded by the passion of scoring a cherry sport bird. Oh well, live and learn, eventually:)
 

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PearlWhite'97Sport,

I believe you are worrying unnecessarily. Modern engines are set up to run in a relatively high, and narrow, temperature range, because this produces the best fuel economy and emissions. It does not sound like your car is overheating, but if it will make you more comfortable to see a lower gage reading, switch to a 180 degree thermostat. A further potential step would be to have the fan control temps lowered, but it would take a tune to do that.
 
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