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1995 E-150 overheating. Please help!

So I’ve been trying to solve my overheating problem for months now. One morning I walked out of my house and all of my coolant was on the street. I could not completely detect the source of the leak after running more coolant through it. I also checked the dip stick and coolant on the ground for any sign of oil/coolant mixing. I started by replacing the thermostat. I did a more thorough inspection and found a crack at the bottom of the radiator that I replaced less than two years ago. I replaced the radiator again and while I had the belt, intake and fan disassembled I switched out the water pump as well. The old water pump was gunked and the gasket was almost completely worn off. The van is still overheating and spitting out coolant at a much higher rate. I’m guessing because of the new water pump. A friend said it could be the intake manifold because of where the steam was coming off the motor. Please Help! I’m going Broke! haha

When the engine is cold, remove the radiator cap and fill the radiator if required.

Start the engine and while the engine is idling, watch the coolant in the radiator.

If bubbles start to appear in the coolant as the engine idles, that’s an indication of a blown head gasket.


+1 to tester’s post.
And there are inexpensive ways to confirm the diagnosis.
There are inexpensive test kits you can buy to test the coolant for evidence of hydrocarbons, a sure sign of a blown headgasket, and there’s also an affordable kit you can buy to perform a compression leakdown test. It’s a simple test wherein you hook each cylinder up through the sparkplug hole to a compressed air source, a valve, and a pressure gage. Air is pumped into the cylinder, the air source is closed off, and the pressure is monitored. If it loses too much too fast, it’s a sign of a blown headgasket. The instructions will be in the kit. If you do this with the radiator cap off and when you put pressure in the cylinder bubbles come up, that’ll be the air blowing through the headgasket and migrating up to the highest point in the system, the fill cap on the radiator.

Let us know how you make out. We do care.

Besides the above good ideas, if you can see it spitting out coolant when it overheats, get someone in the know, like an experienced shop mechanic, to see where it is spitting the coolant from. You’ve got to solve that problem first, b/c it means the cooling system isn’t holding pressure. An engine will almost always overheat if it isn’t holding pressure like it is designed to.

If the shop can’t see where it is spitting out the coolant, you’ll need a cooling system pressure test done probably. That should get to the bottom of it. If not, there’s a dye method, particularly useful if the coolant is sort of weeping or oozing out.

Thanks everyone I really appreciate it. This has been nothing but a head ache. If the issue is the head gasket ill probably just have to cut my loses. Ill let you guys know how I make out.


Not really Kevscartrouble…if all seems lost and you have no recourse to handle the repair in the “proper” mechanical manner… Treat the engine with “Blue Devil” it works like gang busters and wont clog up anything but the Cat if you have heavy coolant loss in the exhaust…but this is rare. Doesnt sound like you do in this case… but if all seems lost and you are about to give up… Blue Devil may get you out of the woods. It has its uses… But I prefer to repair these the correct way…if that isnt an easy option for you… The Devil welcomes all comers…lol


sorry this is a year later but the problem ended up being that the thermostat was installed backwards (facepalm) gotta love street mechanics. ive learned my lesson.

My father-in-law (who has been DIY’ing on his cars for longer than I’ve been alive) actually just did that by accident this past week when he was replacing the thermostat in his VW Golf. Mistakes happen no matter how experienced you are :slight_smile:


If it wasn’t for mistakes I wouldn’t learn anything. And working on anything outside, at the curb? It’s even easier to mess up. Welcome to the club.

I agree. But its different when your paying someone for a service.