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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys, I'm new here. I've referenced this site for awhile now, and have gotten some pretty good advice just reading. But this time I'm having a hard time finding answers anywhere to the issue that has arose.

I have a 97 Ford Taurus GL Wagon.

I noticed brown water and rust in the reservoir two days ago. Heater stopped working (just replaced heater core in it last summer). Just flushed the system a multitude of times with water and the water got lighter and lighter, still no heat, but all the hoses are warm. I replaced the thermostat as well. Figured there was a sludge issue since I've replaced a plugged hose to the reservoir tank, so I got a Prestone Flush and put it in. Drove it as instructed and 45 minutes after the transmission starts acting up. The car is sluggish as it shifts down hard through the gears while stopping, and hard upward as well. Last check at startup it idles at 200 rpms and won't come down. Mild heat right now, although I think that is coming from the engine being so hot. It doesn't seem to be registering high temps on the dash, but it feels damn hot. Not sure what is ailing this car right now, should I just dump the flush and fill it with antifreeze/water and see if it straightens itself out?
 

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You may want to check your water pump before adding anti-freeze and distilled water. Maybe replace your thermostat while you're at it. The rusty brown stuff may be what used to be the inards of your water-pump.

200rpms - or 2,000 rpms?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
sorry yes, lol 2000 rpms, already replaced the thermostat and the water is flowing through nicely, the pump is working. Still no heat, it's not ice cold though, has a slight* warmth to it. Any thoughts on the blend door causing the lack of heat?

Took the flush out and it was chocolate brown, wow. Flushed it several times with water before adding the fluid/water. The rpms have gone down to 1500 at idle now, but while idling will jump up to 2000, then drop to like 800. What the heck?
 

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1. Until someone suggests differently, let's separate rusty coolant from idling.
2. If you want to maintain a '97 cost effectively, you need to invest $100 for a scanner. It will save you from throwing parts into a 14 year old car.
3. Since you suspect engine overheating, check engine temperature (coolant) with a scanner.
4. Was there a leak before coolant became rusty? Did you have to add coolant?
5. If you suspect blender door stuck in cooling, remove the radio and check the movement of blender door pivot as you change temperature setting knob.
 

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Rusty water is a serious issue that is not to be accepted as normal. Proper coolant mix and leak-free system will make sure all parts are immersed in the corrosion-preventing coolant. If there is a leak, air will get into cooling system through the leak and parts will be exposed to air. The leak doesn't have to be dripping of coolant.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Paker thanks so much for your attention to this. My system was running fine, no visible coolant leaks. I do a lot of highway driving and sometimes after getting back from long trips it would sound like the coolant was bubbling in the reservoir and the whole car would smell very hot. I've flushed it a couple times since I've owned it, and always keep a watchful eye on the reservoir coolant color. Three days ago, it was a little chilly, I went to turn on my heat and it blew cold air. After I let the engine cool, I opened the reservoir to find brown paste caking the sides and brown water filling it. There's no milky substance in the oil or on its cap. Some suggested the water pump fins but the water is circulating nicely. Right now it's full of fresh fluid/distilled water and the heat is only mildly luke warm, and more cool than anything. So it was just a bizarre coincidence the idling started getting wacky after this issue you're saying?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Mbarazeen, no oil. Some of the water itself splashed onto the frame of the car the first time I checked it, and the next day there was dried rust smudges where the water had been. It was definitely rust.
 

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Bubbling in the reservoir is a symptom of a weak/poorly sealing reservoir cap. Many posts about that subject on here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
danhasenauer, bubbling in the reservoir isn't my issue, I was just saying what it was doing right before I got rust in the reservoir. It seems to be acting fine right now, the fan turns on when it's supposed to to cool the engine, the temp gauge is working, the only thing I'm not getting is heat still. :(
 

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No Heat

danhasenauer, bubbling in the reservoir isn't my issue, I was just saying what it was doing right before I got rust in the reservoir. It seems to be acting fine right now, the fan turns on when it's supposed to to cool the engine, the temp gauge is working, the only thing I'm not getting is heat still. :(
There are threads here about the blend door motor.

Some say they fail in the cold position. Mine quit in that position, but it did not fail. The auto climate control lost it's mind, needed to be re-booted. But I read some posts on that. Seems from the volume of posts on blend door motors, it must be a weak link.

-chart-
 

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danhasenauer, bubbling in the reservoir isn't my issue, I was just saying what it was doing right before I got rust in the reservoir. It seems to be acting fine right now, the fan turns on when it's supposed to to cool the engine, the temp gauge is working, the only thing I'm not getting is heat still. :(
i think the rust formed due to bad coolant with no anti rust properties,now the problem can be from bad radiator that is having less circulation. also check the following

1) lose belt that drives the pump
2) deffective pump
3) Radiator fan is not at required speed / one or both or one failed.
4) if you have replaced the coolant make sure coolant level is ok
5) check weather the fan starts at right temperature, if not deffective coolant sensor, check for different speed of fan, it must run faster when coolant gets more hot
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Update

Thank you guys so much for all the support and ideas. Upon close inspection of my previous reservoir, I found a very small metal pipe inside of it, rusting away. It was stuck to the side in muck. My first impulse is if it was in there (how I have NO damn clue) it could have lead to the radiator fluid breaking down. The fan kicks on when it's supposed to.

After lots of flushes and filling the coolant tank back up it's at normal levels, it's green now, and yesterday out of nowhere my heat started working - right after I purchased the blend door, wouldn't you know. I'm going to hold onto it just in case because nothing broke loose in the fluid it's still green, so maybe the actuator is slowly going.

I am still having high rpm's, but that shouldn't have anything to do with the coolant system. Just an odd coincidence it started acting up at the same time I think. It idles at 1500, and the transmission is shifting harder because of the high rpms. Will have to look into that next, was thinking that maybe when I ran the flush the engine got too hot and scorched the transmission fluid too, so I think I'll flush it as well.
 

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What color is the transmission fluid, and does it smell like "burnt" oil? Check the color by wiping the stick on a white paper towel.
Don't have it "flushed" by a quick-change place!!!
 

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It idles at 1500, and the transmission is shifting harder because of the high rpms.
You need to get the idle problem straight ASAP, slamming into gear at high RPM will tear up the transmission.
 

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Yea the transmission pan on that model year was not placed in a very good spot, I know I have a 96 GL 3.0 V6. The catalytic converter is right under it and boils the trans fluid causing hard shifts and jumping. However before you condemn the trans fluid, check the PCV valve. Sometimes a defective PCV valve will cause a high idle. Checking the Idle Air Control Valve wouldn't be bad idea, but I don't think that's what is causing your idling problem.
 

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Hi guys, I'm new here. I've referenced this site for awhile now, and have gotten some pretty good advice just reading. But this time I'm having a hard time finding answers anywhere to the issue that has arose.

I have a 97 Ford Taurus GL Wagon.

I noticed brown water and rust in the reservoir two days ago. Heater stopped working (just replaced heater core in it last summer). Just flushed the system a multitude of times with water and the water got lighter and lighter, still no heat, but all the hoses are warm. I replaced the thermostat as well. Figured there was a sludge issue since I've replaced a plugged hose to the reservoir tank, so I got a Prestone Flush and put it in. Drove it as instructed and 45 minutes after the transmission starts acting up. The car is sluggish as it shifts down hard through the gears while stopping, and hard upward as well. Last check at startup it idles at 200 rpms and won't come down. Mild heat right now, although I think that is coming from the engine being so hot. It doesn't seem to be registering high temps on the dash, but it feels damn hot. Not sure what is ailing this car right now, should I just dump the flush and fill it with antifreeze/water and see if it straightens itself out?
Hello,
I am the technical manager at Prestone coolants. You seem to have several different issues, lets address the brown coolant. The color is rust corrosion from the corrosion inhibitor additives in your coolant being depleted. You also sound like the heater core is plugged. Remove the heater hoses and use a garden hose to flush the crap out. You keep stating your water pump is working fine, my experience with this vintage of Taurus 3.0's says the fins on the pump are worn down. Its easy to remove and inspect it and it doesnt cost very much. Check all of your ground cables and make sure they are clean and tight. These cars are notorious for having electrolysis based cooling system corrosion as well.
Fix your idling problem before it costs you a transmission, it sounds like a vacuum leak of some kind. I can email you any OE repair info you may need by sending me a request at [email protected]
 

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Coolant Maintenance

Hello,
I am the technical manager at Prestone coolants. You seem to have several different issues, lets address the brown coolant. The color is rust corrosion from the corrosion inhibitor additives in your coolant being depleted. You also sound like the heater core is plugged. Remove the heater hoses and use a garden hose to flush the crap out. You keep stating your water pump is working fine, my experience with this vintage of Taurus 3.0's says the fins on the pump are worn down. Its easy to remove and inspect it and it doesnt cost very much. Check all of your ground cables and make sure they are clean and tight. These cars are notorious for having electrolysis based cooling system corrosion as well.
Fix your idling problem before it costs you a transmission, it sounds like a vacuum leak of some kind. I can email you any OE repair info you may need by sending me a request at [email protected]
Good points. I am from the old days, and it used to be coolant was changed and considered to be regular maintenance, along with the PCV valve. Somehow people still change oil and filters, but miss the other key scheduled items.

Back when I was a kid, farm tractors with all iron engines worked fine with water. All iron engines had minimum rust and it did not cause much issue. However the problems began with aluminum and iron in the same cooling system. Electolysis is your enemy. Silent enemy. Coolant is your only tool.

And then they put a steel impeller in a aluminum housing and expect the steel to last. Right!

So by the time the coolant looks like mud, the damage is done. Pay me now, or pay me later X times.

So people can argue about their special oils and weights, and miss the coolant. Oh well, live and learn.

And for me, I have had 8 Taurus/Sables, 4 Lincoln Cont. and 3 of the LTD/Marquis and never replaced a radiator or heater core. Humm. Wonder why?

Happy maintenance.

-chart-
 

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Jay, welcome and thanks for your tips

Always good to have product subject matter experts around.

Somewhat off topic - what is the difference between the Prestone green anti-freeze and the red Toyota product that is only available at the dealers. I have a car that supposedly needs only the red stuff - does Prestone have an alternative?
 
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