ICE FROZEN ENGINE! My Mountaineer's engine busted!

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ICE FROZEN ENGINE! My Mountaineer's engine busted!

Postby markvii_chick » Mon Oct 06, 2014 10:43 pm

Hopefully my ignorance (I take full blame) will prevent another car from this PREVENTABLE mishaps. Story time!

I should have posted this when the ice storm hit earlier this year, but this is a reminder for all as winter is right around the corner, to check your coolant concentration. Living in the south, my fiance and I ASSUMED that we would NEVER get hit with an ice storm/snow/whatever. Never say never. That and the fact down south, we normally NEVER get ANY ice storms much less snow.

Overnight the ice storm hit. After months of checking/topping off the coolant with water had diluted in the SUV's coolant, and thus it froze damn near solid when temperatures dropped. My 1998 Mercury Mountaineer upper hose was frozen SOLID, its radiator was full of slush. My fiance mainly drove the Mounty at the time, so I felt he could manage it. But I take full blame as I should have done all the maintenance.

He went outside, cranked the Mounty, and stopped. He casually mentioned to me that its hoses were frozen solid. I have NEVER experienced a ice frozen anything regarding a car's engine. As you can guessed, he and I ran the car, shut it off, ran the car, shut it off, thawing out the engine. It worked. But now it overheats after 15-20mins of running! After researching online, THEREAFTER, what we did was a HUGE NO-NO!!!!

The Mark VII was taking its winter break, but fired right up (I already did a coolant flush in it recently, so everythings in it is perfectly fine) and it was used to tackle the two day long freeze over and power outtage (ie getting candles, blankets, food, so on).

Next day after a night full of the scary sounds of FALLING frozen trees, I went outside to check the damage. I took a picture of the poor Mounty (shown below) as it was nearly covered in frozen/fallen bamboo trees. I cleared some of the mess before taking this picture. The other cars faired very well overnight.

After many months of moving the Big Cherry (what we call the Mounty) around the yard, tracing this overheating issue (replaced radiator, water pump, clutch fan, a few thermostats, hoses, radiator cap, coolant flush, burped and re-burped the coolant), Big Cherry still overheats within 15-20mins of running. Though with all the new coolant bits, the other day it took about 32mins. It will gradually rise to the red after said time, and ofcourse I would shut the car down for the day(s). The upper rad hose would become swollen to the point of possible explosion and coolant reservoir tank overfilling. Yep, replaced rad-cap, repeatedly. Themostat, you betcha. Tested before putting it in? Yes. NO visible leaks ANYWHERE.

Still refusing what the issue is LIKELY to be, my brother pressure tested it with a rent-a-tool from Advance Auto ($199+tax) last week. Still no results. It held pressure(?!!!). But then again I wonder if he used it properly, as he had it under pressure for a few minutes. Used my block tester (basically its a tube you partially fill with blue liquid). Came up with nothing, liquid was still blue. Freeze plugs are all fine. Oil looks perfectly fine.

Reflecting on a different Nissan I had similar symptoms, and I DO NOT recommend doing this, my brother took off the rad cap and it erupted like a geiser. Overflow tank bubbling like crazy. Yep either a cracked head or headgasket. Something to that nature.

Moral of this saga/essay/story? Don't let the upcoming winter season kill your engine. Or in my case, check your spouse's car lol. Make SURE your coolant is to correct concentration to withstand freezing. Unless you live in the desert somewhere or in Florida, you lucky people you lol.

Are we scrapping Big Cherry? After giving my brother my Dodge Ram 1500 truck, witnessing his new car-killing girlfriend destroy it slowly before finally scrapping it, that was the last straw. Unless the vehicle has some MAJOR body damage or its a life or death situation, I made a promise to myself to NEVER EVER scrap another car. So its been decided, this coming income tax season Big Cherry is getting either a low mileage or remanufactured engine 8-)

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Re: ICE FROZEN ENGINE! My Mountaineer's engine busted!

Postby WHITEOXLSC » Tue Oct 07, 2014 3:40 pm

My guess is that is has a crack in the head(s). When the system builds pressure like that, the thermostat cannot open to allow coolant to circulate, thus causing the overheating. If it has reasonably low miles, it might be better to slap on a set of new (rebuilt) heads rather than a whole engine.... 8-)
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Re: ICE FROZEN ENGINE! My Mountaineer's engine busted!

Postby CDW6212R » Tue Oct 07, 2014 4:50 pm

I'm sorry to hear about the red Merc story. They are very tough to kill, but frozen coolant can do it. It probably got really hot in certain pockets in the heads etc, a gasket likely has a tiny breech in one or two places.

Replacing the engine would be the easiest fix, mainly because the engine bay is super tight to be swapping heads. The good side is that a 302 is very common and reasonable to find, and rebuild. I'd go slow and start with a spare, and rebuild that as you have time.

I'm going to build a spare 302 to swap into my 99 Explorer V6 model. I want to do it this Winter and maybe use it first to fit into my Ranchero to mock up drive shaft length, trans mounting, front dress parts, and custom AC lines etc. I intend to use an SCT flasher device to tune the PCM for the engine, so I can alter it as I want to. That means I'll bump the compression to about 9.7:1 or so, for premium and more power. Balanced and built right with a custom cam, and tuned, it should make 250rwhp versus the stock 190-200.
Don
1991 Red Special Edition, my 2nd SE, dead paint, DWS 255/45/17's on 95 Cobra wheels, and soon; DVD/Navi/backup camera, OBDII and the 347, before custom paint.
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Re: ICE FROZEN ENGINE! My Mountaineer's engine busted!

Postby markvii_chick » Tue Oct 07, 2014 9:25 pm

After searching online and around town, yes, there are LOTS or 302 engines thank goodness! Tax season isn't coming quick enough!

My fiance (not I, I tend to become overtly attached to my cars so sue me lol) entertained the idea of getting another yet different SUV.

We rode around town to see what's on the market around here. Basically we saw were 2000'ish Chevy here, Chevy there, Jeeps and Chevy here and another Chevy something over there. Nothing against Chevy's, but wow there are LOTS of them for sale! Saw a few V6 Explorers (BLEH!) and not one of them had a 302 except for one- a green 1999 Mountaineer with a BASHED up body but working engine/tranny for cheap. My brother says to get this green one, strip it down of everything I want and ever need, and scrap its body. This same used car lot is where I bought majority of my cars from, the first being the Mark VII. I am highly skeptical on the condition of the motor in the green Mountaineer. Hadn't test drove or ran it yet, but will this weekend just for kicks and giggles.

Much as I would LOVE to rebuild the engine myself, I had not the slightest clue on how or where to start. The biggest job I ever undertook myself (with a little help) was a tranny swap. I lack the garage, experience, patience and time unfortunately. So January, its going to the shop for a few weeks. Mean time I am on the look out for a decent engine. Unfortunate too, the engine it had was damn good. Ran the car this morning. It sounds so GOOD!!!! Anyways-

And it appears when my laptop went crazy I accidentally made a double post and cannot delete!
Admin, if possible, please delete the other post. Sorry! :oops:
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Re: ICE FROZEN ENGINE! My Mountaineer's engine busted!

Postby markvii_chick » Tue Oct 07, 2014 9:39 pm

WHITEOXLSC wrote:My guess is that is has a crack in the head(s). When the system builds pressure like that, the thermostat cannot open to allow coolant to circulate, thus causing the overheating. If it has reasonably low miles, it might be better to slap on a set of new (rebuilt) heads rather than a whole engine.... 8-)


Low miles? I wish, the engine had well over 200,000+ miles and clocking, lots of highway driving picking up engines and car parts from junk yards upstate or family trips AND around town. I suppose for a 302 that's nothing, since I've seen some V8 Explorers well into the 500,000's.

But what repair shops (the GOOD ones) around here is charging for such a job (and the fact I don't know how to swap heads, seen it done, but intimidated to try it myself) AND taking the heads to a shop for machining, I felt a engine swap was a better idea.
Who am I kidding? I just want LOTS of more years out of the thing lol 8-)
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Re: ICE FROZEN ENGINE! My Mountaineer's engine busted!

Postby CDW6212R » Wed Oct 08, 2014 8:42 pm

What shape is the rest of the truck in? How is the rubber around the doors and windows, the interior plastic parts, dash, seats, how much rust is in the body(look at the bottom edge of the hatch inside, the doors bottom, the radiator support, the seams underneath it)?

If the whole truck is solid and doesn't need lots of the obsolete parts, you can fix the drivetrain indefinitely).

The engine swap for these Explorer is a big PITA, I've never done one but I'd suggest getting help with that.

What you need is any roller block 302 short block, the 302 HO 87-95 Mustangs and the same 302 HO Mark VII's will swap directly with yours. You have to use your oil pan and pickup, the oil filter block adapter, and the timing cover. So the bare shortblock(which does not include those parts I just mentioned), you can handle easily by buying one used or new, reman'd, or a stroker unit for $2500 etc.

Your Mountaineer is a 98-01 right, then you have to use the same type heads, the GT40P heads. Those are on 97/5-2001 Explorers only, or new from Ford. They are a dime a dozen on eBay and Pull A Part places will have them often too.

So I'd hunt around for a local source of Ford enthusiasts, and find someone who can steer you to the right deal, whether they build it for you, or suggest how to get it done. I'd expect that a patient search there can find some good people who can help to put something together for you, and point to a good place to swap the engine.

You should install a new water pump, I'd add a torque converter also, since those have clutches inside and at that mileage could use it(plus it's zero cost to install with the engine out).
Don
1991 Red Special Edition, my 2nd SE, dead paint, DWS 255/45/17's on 95 Cobra wheels, and soon; DVD/Navi/backup camera, OBDII and the 347, before custom paint.
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Re: ICE FROZEN ENGINE! My Mountaineer's engine busted!

Postby markvii_chick » Wed Oct 08, 2014 9:24 pm

CDW6212R wrote:What shape is the rest of the truck in? How is the rubber around the doors and windows, the interior plastic parts, dash, seats, how much rust is in the body(look at the bottom edge of the hatch inside, the doors bottom, the radiator support, the seams underneath it)?

If the whole truck is solid and doesn't need lots of the obsolete parts, you can fix the drivetrain indefinitely).

The engine swap for these Explorer is a big PITA, I've never done one but I'd suggest getting help with that.

What you need is any roller block 302 short block, the 302 HO 87-95 Mustangs and the same 302 HO Mark VII's will swap directly with yours. You have to use your oil pan and pickup, the oil filter block adapter, and the timing cover. So the bare shortblock(which does not include those parts I just mentioned), you can handle easily by buying one used or new, reman'd, or a stroker unit for $2500 etc.

Your Mountaineer is a 98-01 right, then you have to use the same type heads, the GT40P heads. Those are on 97/5-2001 Explorers only, or new from Ford. They are a dime a dozen on eBay and Pull A Part places will have them often too.

So I'd hunt around for a local source of Ford enthusiasts, and find someone who can steer you to the right deal, whether they build it for you, or suggest how to get it done. I'd expect that a patient search there can find some good people who can help to put something together for you, and point to a good place to swap the engine.

You should install a new water pump, I'd add a torque converter also, since those have clutches inside and at that mileage could use it(plus it's zero cost to install with the engine out).


Its a '98 :-)
The body has ZERO rust, the body is solid all the way around. Compared to my long gone Lincoln Mark viii, whose under carriage was rusted to hell, it appears the mountaineer has never been up north or encountered road salt. Underneath is spotless aside from typical road dirt.

Whoever had it took great care of it. Everything works as it shoild. Mechanically and cosmetically. Sure it needs a fresh coat of paint but that's it...

I would imagine a engine swap is a TOTAL PITA, there's no room under there!!! That and the fact with all the wires, sensors and things strewn all over the place, I'd rather send it to a shop than to tackle such a job on my own. Its DEFINITELY going to a shop. Next week I am riding around town this week to get a good estimate on the repair bill on both a engine swap or a head gasket job. I know the heads need machining and all for sure.

Far as local ford enthusiasts, only local car club anything we have aside from the classic car club, is those 'Crown Vic Boyz', who drive Ford Crown Victoria's with 26+ inch rims. There was a mustang club, but it has long since died off.

Its about four months or less before tax season. It won't be until then before the Mounty will physically go to the shop, so I am VERY patient and have lots of time to search before coming to a final decision :-)
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Re: ICE FROZEN ENGINE! My Mountaineer's engine busted!

Postby CDW6212R » Wed Oct 08, 2014 10:06 pm

There you go, patience will help a bunch. I'd make time to browse the Corral forum for possible engine for sale, or at least examples of what is around the country. I wouldn't pay more than a few hundred for any whole 302(roller only) engine if the mileage was over say 125k. Under that would be very rare now, and how much do you want to buy a 13-28 year old used engine to bolt in as is?

With connections with the right Ford people, you should be able to get the heads for a total cost of under $500, that's a more than cheap rebuild cost, maybe as low as $250 total. The engine should be the harder part, that is to get one finished(buy and have rebuilt in some way etc).

I have a friend with a spare Mark VII engine, but he's not on a plan of building it to resell. I'm planning(hoping) to swap my 347 into my Lincoln, and over the Winter build a 302 for my 99 Explorer(it's a V6 and I want it to have the V8/AWD). I'm planning to make that a higher compression engine(9.7:1 to 10:1), which will require PCM tuning(I have the SCT device already).

Work out some kind of budget for both the engine itself total, and the labor to have it swapped. Do the reading online to hopefully get a feel for what it will cost for the engine. You might be able to use your old engine to rebuild, but that makes you pay to have it removed before it can be checked and work begin etc. Check at the Pull A Part places, see what the engine would cost there. That's about what you could expect to sell yours for if you just swap it out later.
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Re: ICE FROZEN ENGINE! My Mountaineer's engine busted!

Postby oldschool1 » Fri Oct 10, 2014 12:23 am

markvii_chick wrote:Hopefully my ignorance (I take full blame) will prevent another car from this PREVENTABLE mishaps. Story time!
...

Great story.
Ice storm in Georgia. Yeah. Coolant wouldn't be on the top of my list either if i lived in, say, Atlanta.
Thanks for sharing the knowledge.

As for the over heating, there is no transference of heat going on. You can build pressure due to heat even if the water is just sitting there. From reading what you've typed, you are experiencing no water flow.
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Re: ICE FROZEN ENGINE! My Mountaineer's engine busted!

Postby markvii_chick » Fri Oct 10, 2014 12:27 pm

oldschool1 wrote:
markvii_chick wrote:Hopefully my ignorance (I take full blame) will prevent another car from this PREVENTABLE mishaps. Story time!
...

Great story.
Ice storm in Georgia. Yeah. Coolant wouldn't be on the top of my list either if i lived in, say, Atlanta.
Thanks for sharing the knowledge.

As for the over heating, there is no transference of heat going on. You can build pressure due to heat even if the water is just sitting there. From reading what you've typed, you are experiencing no water flow.


You know my brother mentioned the exact same thing, because the Mounty doesn't steam AT ALL compared to a car that I did own that had a bad head gasket (previous owner neglect). It overheats, bubbling resevoir, and had steam exiting from the exhaust. It was an old Nissan 240sx we got for dirt cheap, obviously lol.

However with this Mountaineer, the oil/coolant is NOT mixing. There is NO steam. There is NO misfire.
And the radiator and thermostat are new (Autozone parts...but sometimes they sell junk).
Even tested the thermostat before I installed it.

One possible culprit is the impeller on the water pump broke off from the ice?
The water pump was installed earlier in 2012, so its not old per say.

My long gone Mark VIII once had similar symptoms (bubbling in resevoir, nothing mixing, no steam) and it ended up being the heater bypass hose had sprung a leak.

This weekend I am going to play with the Mounty (ie test some things) and report back. I know with the block tester it came back good, the fluid was still blue. Hmm....
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Re: ICE FROZEN ENGINE! My Mountaineer's engine busted!

Postby CDW6212R » Sat Oct 11, 2014 10:30 am

Okay, so the engine still may not be hurt.

Check the coolant for evidence of combustion gases in it. Seeing bubbling in the radiator is the simplest way, but not the only way.

Does it overheat with the radiator cap left off from the start? If it does than that's not from leaking of head gaskets, unless it was massive which would make large amounts of bubbling from the radiator.

With it hot, shut it off and move the fan blades by hand. They should be a bit stiff to move, and not spin freely. The clutch fan is supposed to let the fan spin freely when the coolant is cool, but not when it heats up.

Hopefully the issue is not internal and you can fix it easily and keep driving it until you have time to rebuild things.
Don
1991 Red Special Edition, my 2nd SE, dead paint, DWS 255/45/17's on 95 Cobra wheels, and soon; DVD/Navi/backup camera, OBDII and the 347, before custom paint.
98 Mountaineer with Continental DWS 255/55/18's, big sway bars, custom brakes. Soon to be A4WD with XP8 bumpers and wing.

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Re: ICE FROZEN ENGINE! My Mountaineer's engine busted!

Postby markvii_chick » Sat Oct 11, 2014 4:03 pm

The clutch fan is three weeks old, bought new ☺
Rad cap, thermostat, and radiator is all less than a few months old.

It runs fine without overheating with the rad cap off for a good while.
During that, the coolant sucks into the radiator and begins to spew back out a little.

Its hard to tell if there is any circulation on the radiator, the water looks stagnant.
Also the heat isn't hot as it used to be, no where near. Its lukewarm.

Is there a way to tell if the water pump is functioning while still on the engine?
Weep hole is dry BTW...

My old cheap bought Nissan would shoot up like a gieser 5mins of running, so I was using its symptoms for comparison... Only similarities is boil over in the reservoir, that's it. The Nissan steamed like a train out the back. The SUV doesn't at all.

ONLY thing that hadn't been changed after the ice storm, was the water pump.
Largely because everyone locally suggested not to since it was sorta new. Either way the SUV hadn't been driven since then except for around the block.

****Another thing is it will sit fine idling, never to creep half way up the coolant gauge for well over half an hour. But once the engine is under load (driving) the temp gauge would gradually, not quickly, climb to red slowly. Clutch fan engages, you can hear it, but the temp gauge needle still gradually climbs to red.

Comparing it to other cars I've owned with known cooling issues over the years, you could rev the engine and the clutch or electric fan AND the water pump would cool the engine down. Even the Nissan with a known bad head gasket...

For whatever reason the suv , when the temp gauge rises, nothing mechanical cools it back down. I'd just shut it down before it gets to the red line. You can hear the clutch fan engage. It still gets hot.

I'm pulling out the thermostat in a few hours and see what it does...
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Re: ICE FROZEN ENGINE! My Mountaineer's engine busted!

Postby CDW6212R » Sat Oct 11, 2014 4:21 pm

That does not sound like leaking of the heads or gaskets there. I'd still want to know how the fan resistance changes when cold versus hot. See how easy it is to move it before starting the engine, and then notice how much it stiffens up when the temps get over normal.

A thermostat is a fragile part, and there are lots of examples of a new one being bad, even two in a row. I'd buy a Fail-Safe(by Motorad) unit at a 180* rating, and see how that does. BTW, with those if they do ever overheat(so don't let it get too hot on purpose), they will be locked open and not allow heating during Winter.

After those you have two next best choices. Find a shop that has proper test equipment to sense exhaust gases in the coolant, or pull the whole front dress out and change the water pump. I don't know how many WP brands there are for the 302 Explorer, but some may not be as good as OEM.
Don
1991 Red Special Edition, my 2nd SE, dead paint, DWS 255/45/17's on 95 Cobra wheels, and soon; DVD/Navi/backup camera, OBDII and the 347, before custom paint.
98 Mountaineer with Continental DWS 255/55/18's, big sway bars, custom brakes. Soon to be A4WD with XP8 bumpers and wing.

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Re: ICE FROZEN ENGINE! My Mountaineer's engine busted!

Postby markvii_chick » Sat Oct 11, 2014 7:46 pm

That was my next guess, the water pump or rather the impeller broke and can't keep up with high engine rpms.
But that's the last resort before ultimately sending it to a proper shop for pressure testing. I am not too keen on doing the water pump again, I caught H*LL doing the last one. Lol there's hardly no room! I might pay someone this time and watch.

Anyways, I'll check the clutch fan for sure tomorrow. I've had, unfortunately, bought many a bad 'new' parts from the local parts stores. The thermostat, I lost count how many I swapped out, rad caps included, before lucking up on a good unit. Alternators too. I usually test the thermostat before installing.

I've heard of the fail safe thermostats before. If all tests right, I may install one to be safe.

I'm crossing my fingers its just a broken water pump.
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Re: ICE FROZEN ENGINE! My Mountaineer's engine busted!

Postby CDW6212R » Sat Oct 11, 2014 9:36 pm

The high heat it surely saw when the coolant froze can do weird things. The WP may have had enough blockage of the impeller to cause it to break off but not affect the shaft or the seals. I just read of a new WP failure a few days ago, in a Mark VII of one of our members here, posted on the other Lincoln forum. That was a Stewart brand that is supposed to be high end, but within 50 miles the impeller came off, and the engine overheated quickly. That was poor quality, but a frozen coolant can create all kinds of havoc.

Keep at it, keep checking the fluids and making sure the oil and coolant stay normal. It doesn't act like a broken block or heads/gasket etc.
Don
1991 Red Special Edition, my 2nd SE, dead paint, DWS 255/45/17's on 95 Cobra wheels, and soon; DVD/Navi/backup camera, OBDII and the 347, before custom paint.
98 Mountaineer with Continental DWS 255/55/18's, big sway bars, custom brakes. Soon to be A4WD with XP8 bumpers and wing.

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Re: ICE FROZEN ENGINE! My Mountaineer's engine busted!

Postby oldschool1 » Mon Oct 13, 2014 7:43 pm

markvii_chick wrote:...
Is there a way to tell if the water pump is functioning while still on the engine?
...

Yup.

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Non contact surface temperature thermometers similar to the one shown above can be had for under $30.00 If you have not used one of these before, read read read the included instructions specifically concerning distances and materials measured.

I had fifteen minutes to kill so I ran my 1990 for about ten minutes. The exterior temperatures of the upper and lower hoses were the same at the start. After only ten minutes of operation, the UPPER hose was 9 degrees warmer than the LOWER hose. This indicates a transference of heat AND a movement of fluid.
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Re: ICE FROZEN ENGINE! My Mountaineer's engine busted!

Postby CDW6212R » Mon Oct 13, 2014 8:20 pm

That would help a lot, and it's a handy tool to have for most of us car nuts.


BTW, I read on another forum that a person looking for a problem bought a test kit from a parts store, to check for exhaust gases in the coolant. He wrote that it begins as a blue fluid, and with the coolant added it will change to green if there is some exhaust evidence in it. He was suspecting a blown head gasket, as he is running 16psi of boost in his 4.0 Explorer. I'd try one of those kits to see if that will point to the leakage from the exhaust into the coolant.
Don
1991 Red Special Edition, my 2nd SE, dead paint, DWS 255/45/17's on 95 Cobra wheels, and soon; DVD/Navi/backup camera, OBDII and the 347, before custom paint.
98 Mountaineer with Continental DWS 255/55/18's, big sway bars, custom brakes. Soon to be A4WD with XP8 bumpers and wing.

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Re: ICE FROZEN ENGINE! My Mountaineer's engine busted!

Postby markvii_chick » Tue Oct 14, 2014 9:48 am

I've used the block tester already (blue fluid in a tube) and it stayed blue. I used and originally bought it to troubleshoot the long gone Nissan, which said fluid did turn yellow...unlike the Mounty, which stayed blue the entire time.

And the tempered checking tool, I feel silly as I've seen that tool for sale at so many places and not once considered to pick one up! I will now to add to my ever growing tool collection :oops:
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1989 Lincoln Mark VII Bill Blass with a few things added 8-)
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markvii_chick
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Re: ICE FROZEN ENGINE! My Mountaineer's engine busted!

Postby oldschool1 » Fri Oct 17, 2014 4:06 am

Cool. You'll use it only about four times a year (down South) but aftrer using it, you'll wonder how you EVER got by without it.
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