A major issue in the summer, this guide will help you from overheating in this exceptionally hot weather!
Is your Escort getting hot under the collar or able to keep its cool in traffic? It would seem quite allot of people are having potential over heating problems with there Escorts. The cooling system is one of the most neglected areas of the car. We know its there, and the temperature gauge works so it must be ok right!!! ?
Q: Why do I need to use Anti-freeze in the summer ?
A: In winter it's called Anti-freeze, whilst in summer it's called coolant.
It's the same thing. In the right mix with water it lowers the temperature of freezing and raises the temperature of boiling. It also serves as a lubricant to the water pump and is a corrosion preventative.
Q: What is the best mix of water to Anti-freeze / Coolant ?
A: 50% water 50% coolant will be fine from tropical to arctic climate.
Q: How long does coolant last ?
A: Coolant should be drained and replenished every 2 - 4 years remembering to dispose of coolant waste correctly.
Inspect your whole cooling system thoroughly. Check perished and rubbing hoses, excessively corroded jubilee clips and any sign of leaks. Have your system pressure tested by a competent person including the radiator cap.
Changing your radiator cap for a higher pressure type will raise the boiling temperature of the coolant even further and are available from specialist shops (burtons etc).
When draining your coolant, back flush your heater, radiator and engine block using a garden hose in the opposite direction to normal flow. This will flush out any silty deposits and debris.
Changing the thermostat for an after market lower opening temperature type will help in the summer months especially if the original cooling fan is still employed. When fitting a new thermostat a 2mm to 3mm whole drilled just inside the outer lip will help to prevent air locks when re-filling with coolant.
Viscouse fans must be checked when hot to ensure they lock up. Changing to an electric fan can be a very worthwhile investment.
Ensure the fan belt is in good working condition and tight enough to positively drive the water pump.
Inspect the radiator for serviceability, if the front is blocked by dead flies and mud it will not work. Examine the de-fusers between the cores.
(ziggy zaggy bits). If more than 10% are damaged or missing, its time for a new one. These diffusers slow the passing through air down allowing heat to exchange from the radiator to the passing air. A quick and easy way to check for internal blockages is to warm the engine up and spray water from a household spray bottle evenly over whole surface of the radiator, with the engine off. The water should evaporate at an even rate. Wherever water stays present it indicates a cold spot and points to a possible blockage. Its worth mentioning that stale fuel, vacuum leaks, incorrect ignition timing and out of tune carburettors can all also be major contributing factors to any over heating problems. Here are some roadside tips to help if problems arise. Turn the heater to hot, fan on full and open the windows. The heater matrix is a small radiator and will remove some heat from the cooling system, opening the windows will help to create a natural airflow. If you're on the move reduce speed, drive in the highest gear possible without allowing your engine to labour. If symptoms persist pull over at the safest opportunity i.e. services, shut engine off and allow to cool naturally.
When stuck in traffic if an alternate route cant be selected to get you rolling again don't be afraid to pull over and switch off. Allow the engine to cool naturally. An over heated engine will not get you home.
Never check, and add straight away coolant or water to a hot or boiling cooling system, as serious injury could result, and permanent engine damage may occur.
Always release the radiator cap slowly, even if you know the system is stone cold.
Finally coolant / Anti-freeze is available in different colours, the common ones being :
ORANGE, BLUE and RED.
UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES MUST DIFFERENT COLOUR COOLANTS EVER BE MIXED.
Chris Yates (01271) 817316