Car over heating

I own an old 95 Ford Taurus and have been having problems with it over heating. We have replaced head gaskets, there was a small crack got that repaired. We also replaced the radiator cap. I just replaced the whole radiator. Has new radiator hose too. The needle reaches all the way to the top line right before reaching the red zone within like 5-10 minutes of driving. It will eventually go back down but maybe just to between the o and r the gauge is vertical. I don’t know what else it could be and can’t afford to get another car at the moment. When i get home the reservoir is full and radiator is hot. After maybe 15-20 minutes of having the car shut off the water is sucked back in to the radiator. Please any help would be appreciated.

Are you losing coolant, or is it just getting hot?

I notice you mention the reservoir is full-after it’s cooled off, make sure the radiator is full too.

Has anyone checked the water pump? The pump vanes can erode with age, reducing coolant circulation and causing overheating.

I’ve had this problem before. It’s believed to be an air pocket that is allowed to form just under the thermostat, causing a delay in the initial opening. Once it opens, the air pushes out and the temperature returns to normal and stays there. Most thermostats have a jiggle valve or check ball that is supposed to let air pass, but not coolant. I no longer trust them, and cut them off, leaving a small dribble hole. This lets the air pass easily and doesn’t let enough coolant through to prevent the thermostat from working right.

The radiator is full. Just seems to sit in the reservoir till it cools and then goes back in the radiator. Husband just drove it and he said he can hear boiling when we turn the car off. I have not checked the water pump, it was replaced about a year ago, is there a possibility the problem with the gaskets could have damaged the water pump also?

BustedKnuckles am gonna have them check the thermostat. We also replaced that about a month ago but worth a try in checking it out. I might just have to take it to the shop and have them try and figure it out after trying what you all have mentioned. Thank you.

Busted Knuckles Mentioned An Air Pocket Surrounding The Thermostat. Have Somebody Follow Manufacturer’s Proper Procedures (Varies By Make/Model) To Purge The Air From The Cooling System.

It Is Normal For Coolant To Expand Into Recovery Reservoir After Engine Shutdown At Operating Temperature And Pulled Back Into System While Cooling. Actually, It’s A Good Sign That Your Vehicle Is Doing That. It Speaks For The Integrity Of The Closed-Loop Cooling System, Leading Me To Believe BK’s Theory And That A Purge Is In Order.


Here’s what I’d do

  1. Even though new, take the radiator cap to a radiator shop and ask them to test it.
  2. Remove and test thermostat in a pan of water on the stove to see if it opens correctly and at the right temperature.
  3. When re-installing thermostat, ask someone qualified to double-check it is the correct version for the car, and that the install orientation is correct. There’s 4 possible orientations, and only one is correct. It has to be correct both in and out and up and down.
  4. Refill the cooling system with the proper coolant and mix and bleed exactly according to Ford’s shop manual procedure for this car.
  5. If 1-4 didn’t fix the problem, then I’d remove the water pump for a visual inspection. While the water pump was off, I’d probably also rent a bore hole camera gadget and snake it into the cooling system where possible to see if there was something blocking the flow.
  6. Still overheating? Take the car to a radiator shop and get some expert help. Those folks debug this kind of problem as part of their every day work chores.

Best of luck.

Use a chemical block test to see if you still have a head gasket problem. It is possible the heads were warped and are not sealing with new gaskets. This problem is common on this engine.

This car has multiple bleed lines going to the coolant expansion tank, one from the intake and one from the top of the radiator. It is not a car that requires a special bleed procedure like Chrysler products.

I think that you should worry that the attempt to fix the “small crack” was not successful, and that you are ending up with combustion gases in the coolant. Was the crack in the head?

A block test would tell you this. If you stop the car hot and look into the reservoir, is it bubbling in there?


Thank you for using the term block test . . . !

Clearly you have been around for awhile

I have used that term on this website, and some of the other guys say I’m using incorrect terminology. And some of them don’t know what a block test is.

I’m NOT saying the other guys are wrong, by the way

@db4690 Well the product clearly knows it’s own name!

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I have a 1998 Taurus wagon with the standard v6 engine and 184k miles. I agree with all of the comments so far, even those seemly contradictory ones about purging air from the cooling system. One writer says that it is necesssary and another says not. It is necessary, but it need not be a complicated procedure. Simply add water with the engine running. After it reaches operating temperature turn it off, wait until it cools, and then refill. It might be overfull, but excess coolant will spill out.

When I bought my Taurus used 12 years ago, it had a serious amount of sludge in the cooling system. This was gradually removed through repeated flushing. That might be the problem causing overheating here. But check carefully for leaks. I once had a small crack in the overflow
canister that was hard to spot. I recently had a leak in the heater core that only showed up when
the engine was hot and the heater was turned on. Fortunately, I was able to fix that with a high quality stop leak. That was the most serious problem I ever had with this great car.