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Discussion Starter #1
Hey folks.
1997 Ford Taurus GL Wagon; 3.0 Vulcan
This overheating has only happened 4 or 5 times over the course of ~6 months. First time it happened, I was driving back home from Home Depot in the rain when I noticed the temperature needle at about 3/4ths of the way to red line. I pulled over, near the exit to a mechanic I know well. Oil was a quart low, coolant level was slightly low, but nothing crazy. Waited for everything to cool down and drove home with the temps fine the whole way.
Fast forward maybe 5 months. I was almost home when I noticed the temps too high. Pulled over, waited for it to cool down, drove home (with temps all fine). Replaced thermostat and housing and put in fresh coolant. I thought that solved it (today I tested the old thermostat in a pot of boiling water and it opened up fine).
Fast forward to a week ago or so. Same thing happened. Thought it was the oil pump failing since the oil pressure light came on at stop lights (I then replaced the oil sending unit/sensor and it doesn't happen anymore). Bought a new oil pump and oil pan gasket and was about to take it to a shop to have them replace the pump when I thought "It could be the water pump failing." I knew water pumps usually just "give out" without much warning, but I couldn't think of anything else. 2 days ago I replaced the water pump (the old one actually felt/sounded crusty-ish). Today I filled her with coolant and let her idle for about 20 minutes to make sure the temps wouldn't climb. They were normal. Radiator seemed warm from every area of the radiator and both cooling fans turned on at one point, so I know they work. Went to go run errands. 15 minutes into the drive into town I noticed the temperature slightly higher than normal. It stayed this way for about a minute and then started to climb. I pulled over, let Charlotte cool down and then drove to the Advance Auto nearer to my house (about a 7 minute drive). Temps stayed normal the whole way there. Got a new thermostat and a coolant temp sensor and drove home. Temps were fine the whole way. The radiator seems warm on every area on it when

What in the world is going on? I did notice some scale coming out every time I drained the radiator, but usually only a 1/2 tsp or less. I did run some Prestone Radiator cleaner through a week or 2 ago. Seemed to do frack all. A little scale came out and the coolant seemed a decent color.

I really want this to end and am tempted to take it to a shop, but they would probably do the same things I did.
 

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Your car has 2 temp sensors. 1 for the gauge and 1 for the PCM. Next time the gauge goes way up, use a scan tool that shows PIDs and see what the PCM says the coolant temp is. If normal, replace the sender for the gauge and see what happens. Cheap and easy to replace with minimal coolant loss. .

A number of years ago, went out and started the old 95 Vulcan winter beater up to let the windows defrost. Got in the car 5 minutes later, and temp gauge was 7/8 of the way to the top after 5 minutes of running which made absolutely no sense, as the upper radiator hose was only somewhat warm to the touch. Replaced the temp gauge sender and gauge read normally again, and has functioned correctly for years. .
 

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Yesterday I replaced the coolant temperature sending unit (the resistance was 10x higher than it should have been) and reverse flushed the radiator...nothing came out. Then, I went to drain the water back the "normal" way via the petcock on the radiator and scale came out. I kept flushing and got out about 2 tablespoons of scale that was large enough to block the small radiator lines. I flushed a few more times until nothing came through. Drove Charlotte yesterday to do some errands in town and she did perfect. I'm hopeful that I wont need a new radiator.
 
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