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Discussion Starter #1
Hello All;

The other night I left to pick my son up at work about 10 minutes from the house.
I got there and waited in the parking lot for about 30 minutes.
From the time I left the house until he got in the car was 40 minutes, and hardly any heat at all.
The temp gauge was on about 1/8 to 1/4, not on 1/2 way like it supposed to be.
And what was coming out, was fogging up the windows, was like humidity instead of warmth.

The next morning I checked the water reservoir, and it was near about empty, so I added water. (I replaced the radiator 10-26-2016 I filled it up with pure coolant and water.)
That day we drove 30 minutes from the house, and the temp gauge went to the 1/2 way mark.
The next day I took my son to work, and then picked him up that evening.
I cranked the car about 5 minutes before I left the house and then drove 10 minutes to his work. The temp gauge got up to about 1/4 when I arrived at his work. He had to work over, so I waited there for about 45 minutes.
During that time, the car finally got up to 1/2 mark, and the car heated up right nicely. To get the car to show 1/2 on the temp gauge was about 45 minutes. The last 15 minutes that I waited for my son, the car stayed like it supposed too.

Would this be the Thermostat that is causing this issue?
Or, would it be something else?

I replaced the thermostat July 2015. So, it would not surprise me if it is the cause. Them Carquest parts are starting not to last as long as they used too.)
 

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Chart for my '03 wagon DOHC at ~12f air but colder coolant overnight. Things that might make it slow other than thermostat is the airdam. This car always runs about 184-185 in cold weather. I expect pervious owner had colder stat put in as Pepboys record shows new stat and coolant tank. but when I got it, the cap was leaking slowly letting coolant out. New MC cap and no more loss. I only use MC stat. I have good heat and car runs fine so I will not mess with changing my stat to 195. 2 of my 4 Ford base cars had cap fails. All mine got the new revised design MC caps. Leaking cap is a bad thing.

-chart-
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hey chartmaker;

New cap from Ford, bought that right before I bought the new Radiator.
Sealed good, no issues with losing water from the fill bottle.
You stated: MC stat
MC = Motorcraft

I remember back before we had the radiator issue, the car would run really good heat and temp during the winter time.
But now, not so much.
 

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MC thermostats start to open at 197 degrees while aftermarket ones are open at 195. I just changed out a one year old MC thermostat that wasn't functioning properly and acting like yours. I would monitor your coolant level to determine why you lose a lot.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks Automender12345
I will use my gauge tomorrow to make sure that I have not lost needed coolant.
I am not sure where the coolant went to.
I usually check it every few weeks, and the last time I checked it, was three weeks ago, and the level was about 3/4.
So, it lost 3/4 in 3 weeks somewhere.
 

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You had radiator work done and the weather has now gone colder. Only when the weather turned colder did you begin to lose coolant.

In which case, the shop may not have used hose clamps that expand and contract correctly with temperature.

Or the connections the shop made were not done right or they inadvertently damaged adjacent hoses / connections eg the 3 way tee.

Note that it is possible that they disconnected the hoses near the thermostat itself because that is an easier location to get to.

Btw, it's generally warm here but one day my Taurus was parked outside and it was in the 30's all day and a little windy. I kept on getting stopped at traffic lights so was idling a lot and could not get much heat into the cabin.

Later, I did a thorough flush mostly to make sure I could get my coolant to water ratio to 50:50 due to some questionable work by a mechanic. Heat output went up after that because water carries more heat than coolant. So if your heat improves now that you've added water, it could also be that your shop filled with something other than 50:50.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
@rjacket
I did the radiator work myself.
Did not mess with no hoses near or around the Thermostat.
All other hoses used the same clamps that came with the car, nothing was changed out except the radiator, and the clamps that came with the radiator.

Have not seen any way leakage since I put the water in the fill tank the other day. Still at the fill line that I set it at.
So, nothing has changed since that day.

Now, it was 25 here this evening. (Picked up my son from work)
I ran the car for about 5 minutes before I left.
10 minutes to get there.
10 minutes before he came out.
Total run time 25 minutes.
The temp gauge got to 1/4 setting (1/2 is normal)
Got back to the house, total run time, 35 minutes, and the heat was nice and hot, temp gauge at a little over 1/4.

So. My question is this, so everyone that has cold weather.
Run a test, and see how long it takes to get the temp gauge up to 1/2.
Just curious.
If I am not the only one having this issue, then I will be OK (I think) with that.
But, if other's are getting up to the 1/2 mark in less time, then I will look at swapping out the thermostat.
 

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@carrzkiss

Thanks for the clarifications.

Hopefully others with colder weather will chime in.

With a properly operating thermostat, you should get cabin heat pretty quickly. At startup and for a while after, the coolant in the block won't circulate, it will absorb the engine heat, and flow to the heater core if you select it to do so.

The weather here right now is often in the mid 30s to low 40s when I drive. My Taurus starts in a garage that is in the 50's. I do short trips, from a cold start for between 5 to 10 minutes. I can start blowing air into the cabin in the first minute. If I push the car, then I get a lot of heat in the car very early because the thermostat hasn't opened. If I drive gently, with hot air blowing, then at 10 minutes the needle is approaching the mid point. A 15 minute trip will definitely have warmed up the coolant and get to a point where cabin heat has to be turned down.

The only time I had poor performance was when the temps were in the low 30's and the vehicle had sat outside in that temperature and it was windy. My trip kept on being interrupted by long lasting traffic lights and the coolant temperature struggled to rise while I idled and I didn't seem to be able to get enough heat into the cabin. A while later, I flushed the system to make sure I had a 50:50 mix and the heat output improved significantly. I never changed the thermostat (still original) which seems to still perform properly now.

My suspicion is that your thermostat is faulty in that it is opening too soon or cannot close completely. Since you can get up to full temperature and good cabin heat, it isn't fully open and it is able to operate within a certain range.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
To get the temp gauge up to 1/2, will take about 30 minutes of drive time, and about 30+ minutes of idle time.
(Idle time, sitting in the parking lot waiting for my son to get off work the other night, 30 minutes into waiting, and it was on 1/2 or midway, normal).
Our temp at night right now is: 22
Tomorrow will be around: 47.
I have to drive over in town tomorrow after dropping my son off at work.
So, will see how long it takes to heat up during that trip tomorrow.
I will try to remember to mark my time, from starting the car, to normal temp gauge, to see how long it takes while driving.

See you all before the Dallas Cowboys game tomorrow night....
 

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Foggy windows + mysterious coolant leak screams heater core leak to me. Why it's not constant, I don't know though. Did you smell coolant while it was fogging up the window? Did it leave an oily residue?
 

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My belief is if you did not use a Motorcraft thermostat you are losing a little heat there. If your thermostat is not functioning properly then you are losing a lot there. Unless your engine is more efficient than everyone's engine then the only way your engine isn't heating up is that it is being cooled down or you are at a lower engine load. Three ways that can happen is from extreme cold air getting in your engine compartment. Coolant leakage through the thermostat to the radiator when it is not supposed to. The third is the engine cooling through the heater core supplying heat to the cabin. Don't forget the heater core is a small radiator and it doesn't have a thermostat controlling the water going to it.
 

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My belief is if you did not use a Motorcraft thermostat you are losing a little heat there. If your thermostat is not functioning properly then you are losing a lot there. Unless your engine is more efficient than everyone's engine then the only way your engine isn't heating up is that it is being cooled down or you are at a lower engine load. Three ways that can happen is from extreme cold air getting in your engine compartment. Coolant leakage through the thermostat to the radiator when it is not supposed to. The third is the engine cooling through the heater core supplying heat to the cabin. Don't forget the heater core is a small radiator and it doesn't have a thermostat controlling the water going to it.
Agree, but not to forget. Check to see the fans are not running, and that the air dam is intact and not missing. As my '03 bought used had no air dam. But, at 184F I get good heat, not going to mess with a new stat. So Pepboys, for pervious owner:
Air dam gone
Fender liner gone
Battery cover gone
Alt splash shield gone
Mega fuses cover gone.
Air filter cover broken.
Missing bolts all over.

Glad I have a Pick a Part close.

-chart-
 

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Discussion Starter #13
@RayInStl
Yes, to the smell of coolant.
No, to the oily residue.

Today I drove my son to work, and it is 43 out.
The car ran for 5 minutes before we left, and by the time we got to his work (15 minutes total run time), it was near about on 1/2 for the temp gauge.
So, with it not being so bloody cold out, it did not take that long to heat up.

I will continue to monitor it.
And yea, that heater core leak theory, I have dealt with in the past. With water coming in on the passenger floor board.
But there are no signs of it happening now, inside or out.
And the windows are not fogging up anymore either.
That only happened that one night, and that was my son's first night back at his job, after coming home from trade school.
And that was last Saturday evening.
 

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With weather in the 20s and the car parked outside the gauge will reach the normal half way mark in less then 10 mins of driving about 5 min driving leaving the neighborhood and an then a few more minutes on the highway.
 

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^ Air dam/splash shield is the black plastic piece under the front of the car.
In the pic, the upper of those things. It fastens under the radiator with ~dozen screws. Keeps the air out of the engine bay except what comes through the radiators and managed by the fans.

-chart-
 

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@chartmaker.
Yep, I know that piece very well.
It is not under the car, I HOPE that it is in the storage building.
$2 at the Pick A Part JY. Fun thing to remove if the weather is not good.:D
And by the way, it holds the bumper cover on, and the fender bottoms. I cut a hole in mine for the coolant drain.
-chart-
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I removed mine while I was working on the Radiator.
Just do not remember where I stored it at.
Will have to go out and check on it after a while and see if it is indeed in the storage building.

I drove my son to work, and then back home, and it never got to 1/2 on the temp gauge.
It only got up to about 1/4 of the way.
 
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carrzkiss
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