Overheating problem on a '98 Taurus


Hello, I have a '98 Ford Taurus that I bought about 2 weeks ago. I needed something just to get me back and forth to work and it was dirt cheap, but now I think I know why. The guy I bought it from said that it has no heat in the winter. He had it flushed out and said after that it would blow heat, but eventually got cold again. He told me his mechanic said it needed a new radiator. It overheated on me one day when I had the AC on, so I turned off the AC and it was fine. I changed the overflow bottle, bought a new one and it seemed fine, but now, anytime I turn on the AC and drive for a while, it starts getting hot. When I changed the overflow, the coolant that was in it was the color of mud. I know this is because of rust, but from where? I noticed I was low on coolant also, but can’t detect any leaks. I have also noticed a smell of anti freeze at times.

What kind of test can I run on this car to figure out what the problem is? Or does anyone have any ideas?

Thanks for any answers or advice.


Sorry, I also wanted to add that as long as I am driving the car it does fine, but when I come to a stop and idle, the temp gauge starts slowly going up. When I take off, it comes back down. Thanks again.


Sounds like a plugged or partially blocked radiator.


Most likely cause of the overheating is the impeller on the water pump is mostly rusted away (not getting enough water flow), so you should do the following

  1. flush out the cooling system, heater core, engine block, radiator all seperatly.

  2. Check to make sure radiator fins are not cloged between the A/C condenser.

  3. Replace water pump ( back flush the engine block with the pump removed) Remove pump before starting #1

  4. replace TStat with a 180F

  5. there should be a bypass hose that bypasses the heater core make sure its not removed.

  6. If your lucky the antifreeze smell was from the pressure cap on the resevore tank releasing pressure, and you were getting the smell thru the intake vents. If your not lucky you will need a new heater core.

Good luck on this one