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2000 5.4L F250 Overheating Problem

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by KS_Grasscutter, Aug 1, 2014.

  1. KS_Grasscutter

    KS_Grasscutter LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,335

    I have been fighting my F250 all spring/summer. I've been through two mechanics and a list of repairs including:
    -radiator cap (2+)
    -thermostat (at least 3... just to be sure)
    -fan clutch
    -water pump
    -radiator checked at radiator shop
    -head gasket (ouch)

    We finally got the truck back from the shop yesterday after getting the head gasket replaced and the heads completely rebuilt. I was relieved to finally have the problems behind us. Today we had our 40 miles away route to give it a true test. On the way there myself and coworker both thought it looked like the temp gauge was creepin up, and sure enough on the way home it boiled all the coolant out of the radiator cap. Luckily our mechanic had another of our trucks that he just finished in, so we towed the mowing setup and the F250 home with that.

    The truck never overheats in town, and never on the highway unless pulling the trailer. However sometimes only 2 or 3 miles of highway driving while pulling the trailer causes it to overheat, other times we can go 10 miles before it acts up. In the case today we drove around in town all morning, then 40 miles to wichita, then probably 15 miles mowing in Wichita. We made it 5 to 10 miles from our last stop before it overheated again.

    I am at the end of my rope with this truck. I don't know what to do. The truck is probably only worth $6,000 or so in running condition, and I've put at least $4500 in it so far to fix this issue. I am hoping the mechanic will cost share the head gasket repair since they misdiagnosed it.

    Just on a hunch I am going to replace the coolant reservoir with one that's OEM. I put a new reservoir on last summer due to the old one leaking, and my theory is that the radiator caps aren't fitting correctly on the aftermarket tank and causing too much or too little pressure.

    What's next?
  2. dieselss

    dieselss LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,066

    Ck the front of the condenser for build-up. Ever back flush the cooling system?
    Posted via Mobile Device
  3. heritage

    heritage LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,358

    In a similar situation I replaced the fan with a flexalite. Problem was solved. Good Luck.

  4. herler

    herler LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,139

    There's your problem, mine does the same thing, let me explain this to you:

    The REAL reason why tractor trailer drivers go up steep slopes creeping at 35 mph...
    Isn't because their rigs don't have the power, it's because of overheating.
    Your truck (and mine) are suffering from the same problem, here is how it works:

    Older trucks no longer have the compression they need and sometimes even newer trucks, we get into these highway speeds of 65-70 miles per hour and it takes a TON of power to keep things going, especially with overdrive transmissions and what have you.
    It is very simple, on a hot day, the harder your truck has to work, the more heat the engine generates.

    At some point in the equation the entire cooling system is no longer sufficient to draw away all the heat and your truck slowly and gradually (but also surely) overheats.
    The bigger problem (other than the obvious) is the heat transfers to the transmission but that's another story.

    To my understanding this conundrum has no real permanent fix other than a light foot on the throttle. That or maybe buying a $40,000 truck and hoping it has a large enough cooling system, then running back to the warranty department and complain when it does not?

    The solutions I have found:
    1. Ease up on the throttle, you may have to keep your speed below 60, some trucks can't hack but 50-55 (oh believe me, I know!)
    2. Install a cooler thermostat (on mine I use the coolest, which is 160 or 165 degrees), while this won't fix the problem it does at least give you more time before the temperature crosses the 200 line.
    3. Ease up on the throttle, get in the slow lane and suck along.
    4. Try flushing the cooling system, it may or may not fix anything but it's relatively cheap and it likely won't hurt.
    5. Install an oil cooler, this may or may not fix it either and it's a couple hundred or more.
    6. Ease up on the throttle.
    7. Turn off the A/C, open windows.

    Welps, that's all I got, I might give a high power fan a shot...
    Maybe, I know few of us want to slow down in our busy lives but the light throttle has been my go-to solution, mostly because it's cheap.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2014
  5. whiffyspark

    whiffyspark LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,506

    I can tell you most likely exactly what you're problem is. And it should have been something any mechanic looked at

    Edit: I missed you replaced clutch. Make sure it's good though. With the truck off if it spins easy that's your problem
    Posted via Mobile Device
  6. whiffyspark

    whiffyspark LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,506

    And make sure the damn thermostat isn't upside down lol
    Posted via Mobile Device
  7. KS_Grasscutter

    KS_Grasscutter LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,335

    Replaced the reservoir and cap and had significant improvement. Will look into the flexalite fan tomorrow! It boggles my mind that I spent so much on this thing and am having to throw parts at it myself.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  8. jkilov

    jkilov LawnSite Bronze Member
    from MS
    Messages: 1,415

    Your problem is likely due to cooling system contamination and the coolant itself.

    Mine started acting the same way and it took four coolant flushes to get better and it's never fully recovered.

    When trucks get old their cooling system accumulates years worth of gunk. Oil from blown head gaskets, mixing different coolants or using stop-leak just makes the matter worse. The most problematic area is the radiator which gets coated from the inside, you said you had it checked but what did they check?

    Right now I would not spend any high money on it but attempt the following:
    - purchase a set of radiator flush solutions and loads of distilled water
    - drain the coolant and flush with tap water
    - fill the system with pure distilled water and add a bottle of cleaning solution
    - drive around for a week
    - repeat the flush cycle as many times as you can
    - drain system and add 25% long life antifreeze / 75% distilled water
    - change this coolant every 1-2 years and hope for the best, never mix coolant types!

    For some reason people think using 50:50 is universal but if for southerners or high-mileage folks like us going to leaner mixtures can make all the difference. Antifreeze only has half the cooling capacity of water and the more you add the less capable your cooling system becomes. I doubt it gets worse than 10F in Kansas so 25% should be OK year round.

    Mind you, antifreeze also contains anti-corrosion additives so the less you add the sooner you have to change it.
  9. whiffyspark

    whiffyspark LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,506

    You'd be better off paying for a flush than doing it yourself. That's why it took you 4 times to see an improvement
    Posted via Mobile Device
  10. yardsmowed

    yardsmowed LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 266

    You need a mechanic that troubleshoots, NOT replaces parts until he hits it!

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