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VIEW SOLUTIONS TO COMMON PROBLEMS
Belts and Hoses
Coolant Recovery Tank
Low Coolant Switch
Radiator Fan Motor
Select a part to view solution for common problems associated with the item.
Operation: Engine coolant is a 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and water. Besides protecting against freezing, antifreeze also has lubricant and anticorrosive additives that help to prolong the life of the cooling system components. Advice: Any muddiness or brown coloration is an indication of dirt or rust in the system. As antifreeze ages the lubricants and anticorrosive properties wear out, leaving the system susceptible to corrosion. Modern antifreezes have varying life span expectancies. If you are unsure how long your antifreeze is good for, a general rule of thumb is to flush the system and refill with fresh coolant every two years. Some manufacturers recommend a specific type of antifreeze, such as GM's Dex-cool. Check the repair guides for the vehicle that you are working on. Recommendations: Repair guides Antifreeze
Operation: The thermostat maintains engine operating temperature and regulates the flow of coolant in the engine by opening and closing at predetermined temperatures. Advice: Over time the temperature extremes will effect the integrity of the regulated spring pressure. Whenever the cooling system is opened, such as in a radiator job, it's a good idea to replace the thermostat. For more information select the "Job Info" tab under thermostat lookup. Recommendations: Thermostat Thermostat gasket Gasket sealant Antifreeze
Operation: The fan clutch helps to reduce engine strain by allowing the cooling fan to spin freely during cool periods when the need for the fan is less. As under-hood temperatures rise the fan clutch tightens it's grip and drives the cooling fan. Some fan clutches work centrifugally. Instead of tightening with temperature increase, they tighten as the rpm of the engine increases. Advice: Check for play in the bearings where the shaft enters the fan clutch. A wobbly fan clutch can ruin the bearings on the new water pump in a very short period of time. Thermostatic fan clutches should have a noticeable difference in the amount of effort needed to turn the fan blades between cold and hot conditions. For more information select the "Job Info" tab under fan clutch lookup. Recommendations: Fan clutch
Advice: Most radiator jobs require the removal of some belts and hoses. While you have them off is an excellent time to evaluate the condition of the belts and hoses and replace as needed. For more information select the "Job Info" tab under belt or hose lookup. Recommendations: Belts Hoses
Operation: The radiator cap is designed to maintain cooling system pressure up to the specification stamped on the top of the cap. For every pound of pressure applied to the coolant, the boiling point is raised about 3.25 degrees F. or 1.8 degrees C. Advice: Check the cap for any signs of corrosion. Check to ensure the physical integrity of the rubber seals. Use a pressure tester to ensure that the pressure relief valve opens at the specified pressure. Recommendations: Radiator cap pressure tester
Operation: Some overflow tanks are incorporated into a sealed and pressurized system. Advice: On these systems, the overflow tank is pressurized when the engine is hot. These systems often will not have a cap on the radiator. Follow the directions on the cap of the overflow tank, serious burns can result from opening the system carelessly.
Operation: Engine coolant expands as it heats up and contracts as it cools down. The radiator cap is designed to allow the hot coolant to expand and build up to a predetermined pressure, then bleed off any pressure beyond that point. This pressure bleed expels a certain amount of engine coolant. The expelled coolant is carried via a tube connected to the neck of the radiator, to the radiator overflow tank. After the engine has been shut down the contraction of the cooling engine coolant creates a vacuum that draws coolant out of the radiator overflow tank back into the engine maintaining a full cooling system with very little maintenance involved. On older vehicles without coolant recovery tanks, the expelled coolant was dumped to the ground. Engine coolant had to be checked and added frequently. Advice: The operation of the coolant recovery system is dependant upon a working radiator cap and a cooling system that is free of leaks. If there is a leak anywhere in the cooling system, it won't be able to create the vacuum necessary to draw coolant out of the coolant recovery tank. You can pressurize the system to check for leaks as well as test the radiator cap with a cooling system pressure tester. Recommendations: Cooling system pressure tester
Operation: The low coolant warning switch is often found built into the radiator overflow tank. It uses a float that closes the contacts on an electrical switch when allowed to drop below a predetermined coolant level. Advice: Use care when disconnecting the wiring harness connector. Over time the under hood temperature extremes can cause the plastic connectors to become brittle and easy to break. A broken connector can lose it's ability to seal out the damaging moisture and dirt. Replace any broken connectors before corrosion sets in.
Operation: The radiator fan motor is responsible for driving the radiator fan whenever necessary. Advice: There could be several reasons for the radiator fan not to be coming on. Before replacing the fan motor try hotwiring it to see if the motor will run. Disconnect the two wire connector at the fan motor and run two jumper wires from the battery. If you get the polarity backwards the fan will still run, just backwards but it will answer the question of whether or not the motor is bad. If the motor runs on the hotwire setup, it's good and the problem lies somewhere else.