Cooling/Heating System


#1

I have an 83 ford Thunderbird v-8. This car has been ridden hard and put away wet. It has between 200K and 300K on it(i don’t know how many times the odometer has been rolled over) and has been through better than half the states at one time or another. I put a four core radiator and air shocks on the car about fifteen years ago so I could pull my 16ft boat without overheating in Scottsdale AZ. Cosmetic problems include; I have mounted the radio in the console and left the wires hanging out from the dash so that my radio quits getting stolen, the passenger door only opens from the inside and the driver door only open from the outside, the head liner is non existant, not to mention the dents, scrapes, dings, and rattles that go along with it. HERE IS THE PROBLEM; The radiator is loosing water somewhere that I can’t find. The strange thing is it won’t run dry, it only looses about three inches then stops. the heater works when you fill the radiator but as the water dissapers it quits working. I have looked for water inside where I believe the heater core to be but have found nothing. I do get a residue on the windshield from defrost vents weather the fan is on or not and the windows definately will not defrost and tend to fog over. When it is really hot outside the overheat light flickers on and off at an idle but stays off while the engine is reved up. What do you think?


#2

Windshield fogging on the inside usually signifies a leaking heater core.

However, there MAY be one of the two heater hose connections leaking.

Perhaps because of a loose clamp or hardening of the old hose at the end and the clamp will not secure it tight enough.

BTW, I got a chuckle out of your idea of theft-proofing the radio.


#3

it sounds like a small leak in the heater core.

the window film is letting you know where the water is going . it sounds like the water level drops enough to get below the leak, and still have enough to keep the engine cool (sort of.)

do you smell the antifreeze while you are driving? since the car is in pristine condition i hesitate to make this suggestion, but…

find the heater hoses which go through the fire wall to the heater core. figure out the size. get a 'hose barb" connector. cut the hoses, and join them with the hose barb connector and hose clamps.

fill up the radiator and drive it. see if the level drops. if it doesn’t then the problem IS with the heater core. if it still drops then the problem is the engine side.


#4

I’d agree with Cappy. If you find the heater core to be the issue, I believe JC whitney has a handy little valve that would allow you to bypass the core when not in use, minimizing your leakage. A cheap fix for your “classic” ride. The heater and light are just letting you know it’s time to top her off. Your temp sensor is located near the top of the engine and is not immersed in coolant when the level is low, causing the light to come on. Coolant is probably running out of the drain for the evaporator coil of your a/c system.


#5

Windshield fogging on the inside always indictes that there is nicotene residue on the inside of the car. Put the heater core out of your mind, it isn’t the problem. With this many miles on your car I would say that the head gaskets are worn out - not bad, but just worn out enough in a certain place(s) to put a small amount of water into the combustion chamber and it just burns off. In extreme cases it is not unusual to get a crack in some point of the water passages, but you will have milky oil. In some makes of Ford the cooling system is designed to block off water going into the heater core when the water level is low enough. If you have never had to replace the water pump, that is another idea. I have 225,000 miles on an Explorer and have never had to replace the water pump. Your '83 probably does have 300,000+ on it. If I had 300,000 miles on me, I would loose a little water also.


#6

Windshield fogging on the inside always indictes that there is nico.tene residue on the inside of the car. Norm, does that mean that non smokers will never have fogging on the inside of the glass? WRONG!!!

  1. it may be fogging on the inside of the windshield because of a heater core leak.
  2. it is normal for the fog/haze to appear on the inside of the windshield from the chemicals (formaldahyde) that were used in manufacturing the instrument breaking down. It happens in all cars.

#7

“Head gaskets are worn out” ?!?!?!?! What are you smoking Norm? I don’t think it contains nicotene. If a gasket doesn’t seal, it is bad.


#8

Make sure the radiator cap is holding the pressure its supposed to. A leaky cap can cause you to lose a lot of fluid. You can sometimes hear the radiator bubbling when you turn off the car. And, a new cap is pretty cheap.


#9
  1. it is normal for the fog/haze to appear on the inside of the windshield from the chemicals (formaldahyde) that were used in manufacturing the instrument breaking down. It happens in all cars.
    SHOULD READ INSTRUMENT PANEL