Coolant not flowing and sensor issues?

whatsnexttogo

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Hey All! I appreciate the time anyone spends on reading this and offering suggestions. To start with I have been having some issues with my instrument cluster. I took it out and noticed the copper traces the connectors touch had been bent out of place in several spots. I bent them back and super glued them down as best as possible and since doing so my fuel gauge appears to be working again. However my voltage, oil pressure, and coolant pressure gauges don't appear to work and always sit as far to the left as possible. When I connect an OBD sensor I do get back coolant temp data that starts around 56F and goes up from there as the car runs but the actual temp gauge never moves so not sure if its sensor issues on these or a cluster problem.

So with the above info in mind I was driving on the highway when I noticed a ton of white smoke coming from my hood. I pulled off to the side let it cooldown and gave it a quick check. I saw that everything under the hood was covered in anti-freeze and the reservoir tank was completely empty(The cap was also popped off but I am not sure if that was me forgetting to put on last time I filled it or if it popped on its own). I also found that the upper radiator hose had been leaning on something hot and this had burned a sizeable hole in the house, which is where I assume all the coolant came from. I had my wife pick me up and we went and got a new upper radiator hose and a bunch of coolant as well as some distilled water to try and wash the coolant off the engine bay. I replaced the upper radiator hose, refilled the overflow tank with coolant, and dumped distilled water on everything to wash the antifreeze off before it dried. I then started the car back up and drove for another couple miles but while doing so noticed there was a very odd gulping kind of noise when accelerating only, I probably should have stopped but was only a mile from a shop so tried to keep going and get it off the highway. About 3-5 mins in I heard a loud bang and the hood flooded with white smoke that even started coming through the firewall into the car. I pulled off as quickly as I could but the power died completely while doing so and I coasted to a stop. The car would also not start after this. I waited 5-10 minutes before popping the hood to see what happened but I did not notice anything out of order. Rather than try anything else I just had the car towed at this point. It is worth noting the tow driver started the car up just fine and turned it around to get it hooked up to his truck as well as dropping it in the road and driving it into my driveway just fine. After getting it home I did a little diagnostics on it and OBD device shows coolant temps starting at 56ish and I let it run up to a 102F before I turned the car off after noticing a burning smell. I don't see any further coolant leaks but the heater never blows hot air and when gripping the upper coolant hose I never feel it get hot or coolant flowing into it. After shutting the car off at 102F coolant temp on the OBD the car will not start again, it hesitates like its low on battery and just stops. If I wait 30mins to an hour it will start up fine.

At this point I am thinking it may be some sort of blockage in the coolant system or the temp sensor housing is stuck closed(replaced this in the past 3 years though). The few shops I have called recommend a coolant flush but don't have the machinery to do so and recommended the ford dealer. Since I don't want to pay an arm and a leg to the dealer looking for opinions here before I just replace the coolant temp sensor again.

Sorry for the book!
 

07GtS197

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I’m not sure about the bang but it sounds like at least one issue is air in the cooling system. Get the front end up as high as you can and try to burp the cooling system.

Have you checked all your fuses? The instrument cluster issue sounds like a blown fuse.
 
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whatsnexttogo

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All the gauges are on the same fuse according to the wiring diagram in my Hanes manual so I am assuming if it was a fuse the tach, odometer, and fuel gauge wouldn't be working.
 
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whatsnexttogo

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How do you typically go about burping it? I have seen a bunch of diff recommendations I was thinking to try the one where you put reservoir to cold full and put a self sealing funnel in radiator and fill it up to a few inches into the funnel with coolant and then start it up and have someone rev it a bit while squeezing the upper radiator hose to until bubbles stop showing in the funnel.
 
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whatsnexttogo

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I will give the following a try and see if burbing it helps:
The coolant procedure varies a little from the Factory Ford manual which states for a 1996 3.8 V6:


Cooling System, Draining, Filling and Bleeding


3.8L Engine
WARNING: NEVER REMOVE THE PRESSURE RELIEF CAP/RADIATOR CAP UNDER ANY CONDITIONS WHILE THE ENGINE IS OPERATING. FAILURE TO FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS COULD RESULT IN DAMAGE TO THE COOLING SYSTEM OR ENGINE AND/OR PERSONAL INJURY. TO AVOID HAVING SCALDING HOT COOLANT OR STEAM BLOW OUT OF THE COOLANT SYSTEM, USE EXTREME CARE WHEN REMOVING THE PRESSURE RELIEF CAP FROM A HOT DEGAS BOTTLE OR THE RADIATOR. WAIT UNTIL THE ENGINE HAS COOLED, THEN WRAP A THICK CLOTH AROUND THE PRESSURE RELIEF CAP AND TURN IT SLOWLY ONE TURN THE RADIATOR CAP (COUNTERCLOCKWISE) SLOWLY TO THE FIRST PRESSURE STOP. STEP BACK WHILE THE PRESSURE IS RELEASED FROM THE COOLING SYSTEM. WHEN CERTAIN ALL THE PRESSURE RELIEF CAP/RADIATOR CAP (STILL WITH A CLOTH).

CAUTION: The coolant must be recovered in a suitable, clean container for reuse. If the coolant is contaminated it must be recycled or disposed or correctly.

NOTE: About 80% of coolant capacity can be recovered with the engine in the vehicle. Dirty, rusty or contaminated coolant should be drained and filled with new coolant.


  1. Release the pressure in the cooling system by slowly turning the pressure relief cap one half turn counterclockwise or the radiator cap counterclockwise to the first stop. When the pressure is released, remove the pressure relief cap/radiator cap.
  2. Place a suitable container below the radiator draincock (8115). If equipped disconnect the coolant return hose at the fluid cooler. Drain the engine coolant.
    1. Close the radiator draincock.
  3. Remove the cylinder drain plug, if equipped, to drain the coolant from the cylinder block.
    1. Install and tighten the drain plug.
  4. Place the heater temperature selector in the maximum heat position.
  5. Leave the pressure relief cap off and run the engine until it reaches normal operating temperature.
    CAUTION: On 3.8L engines, the vent plug must be removed before radiator fill or the engine may not fill completely.
    NOTE: Install the vent plug and tighten to 12Nm (9lb-ft) after filling the radiator and before starting the engine.
    NOTE: It is important to maintain engine coolant concentrate between 40 percent of -24°C (-11° and 60% or -52°C (-62°F).

    Fill the engine cooling system with 50/50 mixture of water and engine coolant E2FZ-19549-AA (in Oregon F5FZ-19549-CC. in Canada CXC-10) meeting Ford Specifications ESE-M97B44-A.
  6. Stop the engine and add the correct engine coolant mixture to degas bottle/coolant expansion tank until the coolant level is between the COOLANT FILL LEVEL marks.
  7. Turn the engine off and allow the cooling system to cool. Check the level in the degas bottle/coolant expansion tank, and add a 50/50 mix as needed.
  8. Select the maximum heater temperature and blower motor speed settings. Position the control to discharge air at A/C vents in instrument panel (04320).
  9. Start the engine and allow to idle. While engine is idling, feel for hot air at A/C vents.
  10. CAUTION: If the air discharge remains cool and the engine coolant temperature gauge does not move, the engine coolant level is low and must be filled. Stop the engine, allow the engine to cool and fill cooling system.
    Start the engine and allow to idle until normal operating temperature is reached. Hot air should discharge from A/C vents. The engine coolant temperature gauge should maintain a stabilized reading in the middle of the NORMAL range. The upper radiator hose (8260) should feel hot to the touch.
  11. Shut the engine off and allow the engine to cool.
  12. Check the engine for coolant leaks.
  13. Check the engine coolant level in the degas bottle/degas expansion tank and fill as necessary
 

07GtS197

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Actually there are a couple of fuses that feed the cluster. It’s likely they only feed parts of the cluster each.


As far as burping, that would be the best way. It can be a pain in the ass to get all the air out of the system if the car is level. Try it out and see if it works.
 

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