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I am getting intermittant false low coolant lights. I want to check the low coolant sensor. Can someone please tell me where it lives? This is a 1999 Duratech.

Thanks.
 

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It's in the overflow tank. The place you put coolant.

unbolt the tank and it is the only thing with wires running to it.

These fail quite a bit. I just unplugged mine and the light went off. I didn't want to pay whatever the dealer was wanting for one.

Mike
B)
 

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I just bought a new coolant overflow bottle for my 'tec, and i think my cost on it was about $40 - bear i mind i work at the dealer, so i get a discount. Not sure what full retail is, but i think it's closer to the $70 mark. You can try a wrecker - according to ford, the sensor can't be replaced separately - you have to change the whole bottle. That's not to say this is the case, so if you run to a wrecker and are able to remove the sensor from the bottle, try swapping it in. There have been other times when the parts listing says you have to replace an entire component to get one stupid part attached to it, when that part just unbolts. Ford is screwed that way. You can always leave the sensor unplugged, which will keep the light off - just remember to check your coolant level every once in a while in case you spring a leak.
 

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I disconnected it for now. Will pick up a new overflow tank next time I go by the dealer. Thanks for the tips.
 

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the dealer will tell you it is not replaceable seperatly, because part of the sensor is inside the bottle. Usually it is the part outside that is bad, not the float inside. So either way you still have top replace the whole thing as ford does not sell the sensor seperate.

The retail cost is $80.00
 

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You have to replace the whole tank (the sensor is molded into the bottom). If you remove the tank and flush it out, sometimes that will break loose the crud on the sensor (it's a little float like you see in a toilet tank). It gets fouled up with rust and other nasties and falls to the bottom, making the sensor think the tank is empty. I bet if you remove the tank and fill it with a mild acid solution (vinegar or citric acid + water) for a couple of hours and rinse it out, that might do the trick.
 

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I realize I'm reviving a dead post, but I wanted to add my recent experience to this thread. I have had a "low coolant" light on my 2000 Taurus for several months. Yesterday, I removed the tank, removed the sensor wires and hoses, and washed the tank as thoroughly as possible in the kitchen sink. I used dish detergent, and a lot of water. After a couple of minutes of washing, rinsing, agitating, rinsing, agitating, rinsing, etc, I started hearing a rattling noise. The rattle was coming from the doughnut shaped float that surrounds the sensor. It appears that I finally removed enough 'gunk' to allow the float to move freely.

I reinstalled everything, and drove the car about ten miles. So far, the light is NOT coming on. I'll keep my fingers crossed that this solved the problem.

Thanks to all of you for your help. Reading these posts about your experiences with this probably saved me $100.

As a side note, when I looked inside the tank, it really did not appear to be very dirty inside. I could see a little residue, but I would not have considered the small amount of 'gunk' to be sufficient to cause a problem. Apparently I was wrong.
 

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im having the same problem. Ive got about 700 miles left on my ESP, so its going in to the dealers next week!

-DC
 

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Uh-oh.........looks like I talked too soon...........the light came on again...........well, back to the drawing board.

I know that some of the guys at contour.org have this problem, and some of them have solved the problem by filling the tank really, really full. I may give that a try. Otherwise, I'll probably just unplug the sensor.
 

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I had the same problem with mine in the high 80.xxx mile mark , well my water pump went out i decided to do the wash out of the tank , i used dawn dish soap and water , i had the float moving around and thought that everything was okay , re-installed and the light was right back on when i started the car. There was some advice on a different thread , to add straight coolant , i havent tried that yet and my levels are not that low. And i have also mentioned this to my mechanic and basically stated to me that , a new tank is the way to go.
 

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I will post this again. The float switch checks two things. Obviously the level of the coolant AND the specific gravity of the water/antifreeze mix. This issue drove me crazy because I am OBCD about things working the way they should. I picked up a couple of tanks from the u-pull-it and tried them and still had problems. I broke one apart to see what was going on. I took three cups. One plain water, one with the 50/50 mix, and one with straight antifreeze. I put the float in plain water and it sank like a rock. In the 50/50 mix it tried to float but sank and stood on end in the bottom of the cup. In the pure antifreeze it floated fine. I mixed up a stronger solution of antifreeze in my car and have never had a problem again. So to everybody with this issue, try this first. Remove some of the water from the coolant tank and replace it with straight antifreeze. Do not use the 50/50 mix types of antifreeze, they are so diluted you get more for your money buying the full strength and mixing your on. I am sure it will fix the problem for 90% of those with this issue. All the floats I looked at are made of some sort of plastic so they are not absorbing the fluid and getting waterlogged as some have suggested. Otherwise if you really don't care just unplug the switch and watch your temp guage.
 

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^ Good advice. But the switch should not trigger with 50/50 mix because that's the mix ratio it comes with from the factory. Filling the tank with 100% antifreeze is probably not enough to cause problems, but if you do not want your antifreeze concentration to be more than 70% because you loose heat-transfer properties which might cause overheating. See chart:

 

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The coolant in the bottle will eventually re-mix to whatever the % is in the rest of the system, as it cycles through the tank hoses during expansion and contraction.
 

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I did not mean to go 100% antifreeze. Thats what I meant by adding straight antifreeze to the tank. After a few drive cycles it will mix with the rest of your coolant to bring the concentration up to where the switch will float. That is why when some people do this, it works for a while and then the mix gets diluted in the engine and the light may come back on. It may take one or two times to get it balanced right. That is not to say that some replacement tanks, depending on how their float switch is designed, may float at different concentrations. That may be why some people may change their tank and the light goes out and they think their old tank was bad. If Ford would have just put a cork float with a magnet on it we would never have this problem. That is why Ford did away with the float switch in later years. Too many false lights.
 
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