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Old 12-01-2007, 01:35 PM   #1
drum
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Default Air bubble in my coolant system?

I've got a 94 Ford Ranger 4.0 V6.

Recently after I changed the oil I popped the radiator cap to check the fluid level and topped it off. Now I don't know if it was a coincidence, but afterward anytime I drive the temp gauge goes nuts. You can tell when the thermostat initially opens, but shortly thereafter the gauge goes all the way up to hot and then immediately back down to cold.
Its pretty consistent. Could I have an air bubble in the system or is my thermostat toast?
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Old 12-01-2007, 04:09 PM   #2
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Default Air bubble in my coolant system?

Well.. If it was an air bubble i'd think that as it got circulated round the system, it would get to the resevoir and stay there. I'm not sure what it could be, maybe you have a blockage somewhere?

When you say the temperature returns back to cold do you mean normal temperature or cold as in off the gauge? If it was the thermostat i couldn't see the coolant getting cold after shooting up high, since the fluid was warm anough to open the thermostat anyway.

Try thoroughly draining the system and see if that fixes it.
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Old 12-01-2007, 04:49 PM   #3
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Default Air bubble in my coolant system?

The gauge just goes from low to high with a 'normal' stretch in the middle. When it immediately cools off after being high on the gauge, it returns to the position it would usually be at when operating correctly.
I should mention that when it first started doing this I wasn't getting any heat when I would turn the heater on, but the last few times i've driven i've had heat
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Old 12-01-2007, 05:02 PM   #4
woodie1
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Default Air bubble in my coolant system?

Not sure I fully understand your problem but a sticking thermostat could cause the wild temperature swings.
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Old 12-01-2007, 05:48 PM   #5
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Default Air bubble in my coolant system?

I had a very similar problem that persisted for a while after I had flushed my system. Someone told me to park the car on an incline (with front end up) and run the engine a bit (suggesting the air bubble problem). I also replaced the thermostat at the same time. Problem went away. I don't know which of the two solutions achieved carvana.
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Old 12-01-2007, 08:55 PM   #6
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Default Air bubble in my coolant system?

My old car did that. Found the connection to the temp sensor was loose. Tightened it down and it behaved normally again. It happened randomly too.
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Old 12-02-2007, 07:19 AM   #7
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Default Air bubble in my coolant system?

Is that the radiator cap that says Do Not Remove, and that you should add coolant to the reservoir only?

Just kidding.

You could always run the car for a little while with the cap off when it's cold. That should allow an air bubble to escape when the thermostat opens. The only way an air bubble could get in, I believe, is if you have a leak somewhere.

The fact that you had no heat worries me. Makes me think "head gasket". One thing that can make your temp gauge go to full hot is a steam bubble from a leaky head gasket.

The last time I had a screwy temperature gauge on a Ford, it was the sensor. I had eliminated the possibility of the car actually overheating, since it showed no signs of it at all, other than the intermittent hot indication on the gauge, so I was left with the sensor or the gauge. I pulled the wire off the sensor and grounded it, and the gauge went to full hot, which meant the gauge was okay to me. So I changed the sensor and the problem was solved.

Overall, it does sound like a sticking thermostat, though.


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Old 12-03-2007, 12:19 PM   #8
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Default Air bubble in my coolant system?

Thanks for the suggestions. I already have another thermostat, just need to put it in. If that doesn't help i'll try the sensor. Hopefully the head isn't cracked
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Old 12-03-2007, 01:12 PM   #9
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Default Air bubble in my coolant system?

Like a poster above said, take the radiator cap off and run it up to norm operating temp. Watch for bubbles coming out of the fluid. Switch your heater on so any air is flushed out of your heater core. If your fluid drops during this, be sure to top it back off.
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Old 12-05-2007, 03:23 PM   #10
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Default Air bubble in my coolant system?

its air in the system. i changed the thermostat in my grand prix and got air in there. i have a bleeder valve on the thermostat neck. i got the car up to operating temp and then cracked the bleeder and let it trickle out. initially it spit until the air got out then trickled. took several drives around the block and bleeding to get it all out before the temp gauge finally stopped fluctuating. check for a bleeder on yours.
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Old 12-05-2007, 03:35 PM   #11
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Default Air bubble in my coolant system?

He didn't do anything to get any air in there, though.
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