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Old 02-24-2009, 05:22 AM   #1
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Very stiff upper radiator hose - cooling problem

Hey guys, we have a strange cooling problem on our recent 82 Capri build. In summary, when we drive the car and bring it back to the house, the upper radiator is SUPER stiff, the stiffest I've ever felt. In fact it's so stiff it pulls itself away from the radiator slightly. I had to put a new radiator in the car today because the first two stock radiators developed pinhole leaks in them... I figured it was because I had left them sitting outside for a year exposed to the california elements and they were corroded/ blocked inside I used a new 16lb radiator cap with both stock radiators, but for cheap insurance I installed another brand new 16lb cap in case the first one was bad. It definitely seems the cooling system is over pressurized.

1. The car does not overheat really ... sometimes it may creep up on the gauge which might be due to our hidden problem, but even after beating on it HARD it does not boil over or go past halfway up the stock gauge

2. no steam comes out of the tailpipes, so the head gasket is not severely blown even if it is

3. We are using a Stant 180 degree thermostat (new), that I did not test in a pot before installing it, but I am quite certain I installed it correctly.

4. The intake manifold that we are using is a used Weiand Stealth that was port matched before we got it ... I *might* have noticed a miniature hairline crack somewhere somehow in one of the ports (can't remember if it was water or intake port) but I blocked out any voice in my head telling me I should get a new one given that I had paid good money for it...

5. radiator is brand new, can't be bad

6. water pump was used from the junkyard but looked basically new (Bosch replacement from Pep Boys), and spun freely and does not weep ... and it came from a Serpentine belt car so I know it's not reverse rotation.

Quick background:

99 GT40-P motor, 62k out of a Mercury Mountaineer, we did not pull the heads off the motor, simply put a used Weiand intake on it...
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Old 02-24-2009, 06:05 AM   #2
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If the pressure is high, there are only four things that it can be, a bad head gasket, which it doesn't sound like it is, a bad radiator cap, the filler neck on the radiator is formed wrong or bent, and a plugged overflow hose.

I'd guess a bad cap or bent radiator filler
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Old 02-24-2009, 08:42 AM   #3
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My vote/GUESS= head gasket...It obviously isn't the thermostat since it gets the hose tight=opens/flows and isn't the pump or assoc hardware for the same reason..So that only leaves the head gasket or poss the intake cracked..If it was losing H20(or maybe it is U didn't say) U should know that...Sooooo I'm back to headgasket!!!!
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Old 02-24-2009, 09:22 AM   #4
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Are you losing coolant? What temperature range is the car operating in? What are the ambient temps?

"radiator is brand new, can't be bad" Not saying this is the problem - but just because something is new doesn't mean it can't be bad.

Is there, by chance, a spring in the upper hose?
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Old 02-24-2009, 09:41 AM   #5
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" and spun freely and does not weep ... and it came from a Serpentine belt car so I know it's not reverse rotation."

im sure it needs to be reverse rotation.
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Old 02-24-2009, 09:51 AM   #6
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That's what I was thinking, maybe it's got the wrong pump on it. Serpentine setup = "reverse rotation", compared to pumps in an older V-belt setup, which were "standard rotation" by comparison.
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Old 02-24-2009, 05:25 PM   #7
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I hope the reason for a "stiff" hose isn't the fact that it might have a spring installed in it?...

Are all the hoses showing the same symptoms?
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Old 02-24-2009, 05:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
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That's what I was thinking, maybe it's got the wrong pump on it. Serpentine setup = "reverse rotation", compared to pumps in an older V-belt setup, which were "standard rotation" by comparison.
Just went and picked up a coolant system pressure tester, will do that today at lunch.

The water pump was removed from a 1984 Mustang GT ... I compared it to a brand new pump for a 93 GT at the parts store and the impeller vanes spun the same way... And, not only that, all serpentine water pumps from 1982 to 1993 were reverse rotation from what I have read.....
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Old 02-24-2009, 05:54 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LT1HAHA View Post
I hope the reason for a "stiff" hose isn't the fact that it might have a spring installed in it?...

Are all the hoses showing the same symptoms?
There's no spring in this hose... it's an upper hose not a lower, when the car sits for a while, the hose is totally soft, so it's not the spring.

Quote:
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If the pressure is high, there are only four things that it can be, a bad head gasket, which it doesn't sound like it is, a bad radiator cap, the filler neck on the radiator is formed wrong or bent, and a plugged overflow hose.

I'd guess a bad cap or bent radiator filler
Same characteristics with three radiators ... two stock 2-cores, and one brand new 93 GT aluminum two core replacement from Kragen. It is not a bent radiator filler. Two brand new caps have been tested, it is not the cap.

Quote:
Are you losing coolant? What temperature range is the car operating in? What are the ambient temps?

"radiator is brand new, can't be bad" Not saying this is the problem - but just because something is new doesn't mean it can't be bad.

Is there, by chance, a spring in the upper hose?
Not losing any coolant... I don't have an IR gauge nor an autometer gauge, just a well functioning stock gauge, which shows just below halfway on the gauge while stopped in traffic, 1/3 of the gauge on the freeway, and just past halfway on the gauge after beating on it. I know this is a crude answer, but in summary, the motor is not losing coolant... and there are no leaks or puddles or drips coming from anywhere.

I would be $100 (the price of a new radiator) that it's not the radiator...
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Old 02-24-2009, 06:12 PM   #10
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pull the stat and see if the pressure drops, if not it could be an air pocket, then you can jack the front of the car up and run the car with the cap off
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Old 02-24-2009, 07:22 PM   #11
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So -- what actually is the problem if it's maintaining appropriate temps (albeit stock gauge - who knows!) and not losing coolant? That the upper hose is too hard? There will come a time in your life when that, my friend, will be welcomed.
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Old 02-24-2009, 09:35 PM   #12
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Quote:
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Same characteristics with three radiators ... two stock 2-cores, and one brand new 93 GT aluminum two core replacement from Kragen. It is not a bent radiator filler. Two brand new caps have been tested, it is not the cap.
Sorry, I read the post as the first two being replaced because they started leaking from the sitting outside. Still, the only way to end up with too much pressure is either by combustion entering the system faster than the coolant can move past the cap or by the cap not letting pressure out of the system. A water pump can't build any significant pressure without lowering the pressure enough to boil the coolant on the other side. I don't see where the pressure would build from a cracked intake manifold either.

Does the level in your reservoir change as it warms up? Also, is coolant moving into it when the pressure is that high? Finally, is it really over pressurized? The pressure in the hose is typically only at the cap pressure limit for the short period of time that the engine is at the most recent peak temperature. As soon as the temperature drops any amount, the pressure drops significantly since the coolant isn't compressible. If there is air in the system, it will reach the limit of the cap and then stay at that point because the compressible air will just expand to take up the space of the contracting coolant. The same thing will happen if the hoses are so old that the webbing sandwiched in the rubber breaks down, allowing the hose to expand with the pressure of the system.

Last edited by baskin; 02-24-2009 at 09:43 PM.
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Old 02-24-2009, 10:31 PM   #13
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Coupester,I had the same thing happen with my motor i have now and had several head gaskets replaced!!Your hose pulling off the upper neck or lower waterpump neck is was I chased for months!!I blew the hoses off while running the car and almost wrecked! If you start it and it pressurizes in a few minutes(VERY HARD HOSE),thats a problem.I could back mind out the garage and in a few seconds of running that radiator hose was very hard!The machine shop finally found a bad spot in my cylinder head which they milled out and replaced the gaskets for the 3rd time fixed the problem.Your getting combustion in the coolant system which is NOT a blown head gasket but a leak from combustion to coolant!!Check cylinder and block prepareness and the head gasket your using!Good luck!
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Old 02-24-2009, 10:53 PM   #14
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Coupester,I had the same thing happen with my motor i have now and had several head gaskets replaced!!Your hose pulling off the upper neck or lower waterpump neck is was I chased for months!!I blew the hoses off while running the car and almost wrecked! If you start it and it pressurizes in a few minutes(VERY HARD HOSE),thats a problem.I could back mind out the garage and in a few seconds of running that radiator hose was very hard!The machine shop finally found a bad spot in my cylinder head which they milled out and replaced the gaskets for the 3rd time fixed the problem.Your getting combustion in the coolant system which is NOT a blown head gasket but a leak from combustion to coolant!!Check cylinder and block prepareness and the head gasket your using!Good luck!
LOL a bad motor would be a PITA ... without a doubt. This is a $650 motor from LKQ and it'd be a darn shame if we had to tear it apart to have the heads checked, etc. I am going to swap the intake and thermostat tonight and see what's up... I'll report back tomorrow.
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Old 02-24-2009, 11:41 PM   #15
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The hose should be stiff with pressure when it's at opp-temp. Till you measure the pressure you don't know what you got.
Hint the pinholes prevent pressure from building up but because the engine doesn't overheat with the below oem stat. The cap limits the maxium pressure.
Most people don't know the hose is stiff while hot and won't feel it while hot.
Good job you a pressurized cooling system.
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Old 02-25-2009, 01:39 AM   #16
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OK guys... small update.

I swapped out the upper radiator hose for a spare FMS blue silicone hose, that I had laying around, and new hose clamps...

I then did a pressure test using a new MotoRad pressure tester... it reached ~12psi, then it did the same thing... starts leaking out of the connector between the upper radiator hose and the radiator. This time just like before when the motor was running ... upper radiator hose ROCK hard. And Mr. Yount, lol I chuckled at your comment on hose rigidity being a blessing, but in regards to the Capri I'd rather it not be lol.

Could be the thermostat maybe?

I plan to:

1. check/ replace thermostat
2. rip the heads and intake off... not looking forward to that whole mess
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Old 02-25-2009, 01:52 AM   #17
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Before you take the heads off, you should at least smell the coolant when it's running to see if it smells of exhaust, or do a combustion gas test in the coolant.
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Old 02-25-2009, 04:29 AM   #18
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MFE, I've seen/ heard of those exhaust gas testers for coolant ... anyone know what the cost of them are or if they rent them at Autozone like the coolant pressure tester?
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Old 02-25-2009, 07:23 AM   #19
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"And Mr. Means, lol I chuckled at your comment on hose rigidity being a blessing,"

Don't think Mr. Means has posted in this thread...
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Old 02-25-2009, 08:37 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coupester View Post
Hey guys, we have a strange cooling problem on our recent 82 Capri build. In summary, when we drive the car and bring it back to the house, the upper radiator is SUPER stiff, the stiffest I've ever felt. In fact it's so stiff it pulls itself away from the radiator slightly.
Three things come to mind:

1. Leaking head gasket causing the cooling system to pressurize with combustion gases.
2. Blocked pipe going from radiator to overflow reservoir, especially if the coolant level in the reservoir doesn't rise when the engine warms up. A large amount of sediment at the bottom of the reservoir can also cause this so you might wanna pull out the reservoir and flush it.
3. Bad radiator cap or wrong type, not allowing the pressure to release.

Two things I can rule out as the problem:

1. Water pump. If it wasn't working properly the upper hose wouldn't go hard.
2. Thermostat. Same reason.
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Old 02-25-2009, 10:14 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Yount View Post
"And Mr. Means, lol I chuckled at your comment on hose rigidity being a blessing,"

Don't think Mr. Means has posted in this thread...
Yount..... Means..... I can see the similarities, can't you?
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Old 02-25-2009, 10:49 AM   #22
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LOL guys, duly noted on the clerical error, my apologies!

I am going to source a coolant exhaust gas tester today and report back with my findings.
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Old 02-28-2009, 12:20 AM   #23
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how are you making out with this?
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Old 02-28-2009, 08:14 AM   #24
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Fully burgled 82 capri! My first thoughts from looking at it were the head gaskets.. He has eliminated EVERYTHING else.
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Old 02-28-2009, 10:11 AM   #25
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so it turned out to be the head gaskets?
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Old 02-28-2009, 02:36 PM   #26
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Just a note, there are different serp belt setups. Fox serp belt uses reverse rotation water pumps but stuff like a Grand Marquis uses a standard rotation serp belt pump. Be sure of what you have and what you need. Trying to spin a pump the wrong way will probably result in no or poor coolant flow. This makes for hot spots, overheating, and water boiling out of the overflow bottle.
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Old 02-28-2009, 04:52 PM   #27
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Quote:
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LOL guys, duly noted on the clerical error, my apologies!

I am going to source a coolant exhaust gas tester today and report back with my findings.


NAPA is where I got mine from.. I have the part number if you need it. I think it was like $50 and it had to be ordered.
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Old 02-28-2009, 05:58 PM   #28
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Guys, we pulled the intake to inspect things, etc. While I had the thermostat housing off to transfer it over to the new intake, I tested the old thermostat in a pot in the kitchen... it didn't open until past 212 degrees (boiling). So I was thinking... hmmm... this obviously isn't right. I tested the new one and sure enough at 180, it started opening... Truth be told, I'm not even sure if they are supposed to "pop" open or if they are supposed to open gradually. Anyhow, I put it all back together using the old intake, as it's already port matched, with annoyingly expensive Fel Pro 1250's and started the motor ... initially it seemed to have fixed the problem ... the hose didn't get stiff right away. But then choclately froth stuff was evident in the radiator, and with the cap on the radiator, water was still pressurizing out of the upper radiator hose and the motor was overheating. Btw - I've tried two different upper hoses, one of them a silicone hose, so it's not the upper hose. So... at this point it's gotta be the head gasket(s). When I pull the heads, the gaskets might be fine, but either way I'm going to take them down to the local machine shop and have them checked for cracks, warpage, etc. I'll report back with my findings this coming week...
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Old 02-28-2009, 06:11 PM   #29
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good luck and let us know how you make out.
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Old 02-28-2009, 07:04 PM   #30
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You're going to take the heads off before you've tested the system for exhaust gases in the coolant?
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Old 03-10-2009, 04:18 PM   #31
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Hey guys, ended up yanking the heads last Thursday and taking them to the machine shop on Friday. The gaskets had no visible signs of your typical S-trim 13psi stock shortblock blown HG, but nonetheless there was quite a bit of rusty coolant water immersed in the gaskets and on the decks of the heads/ block.

I have two possible theories.

1. I had a very minor blown headgasket that wasn't necessarily evident to the naked eye ... if I did it was from when I had power valve issues with the carburetor which was dumping a lot of gas into the oil. Gas in the oil likely lead to detonation which hurt the head gasket...

2. Several of the head bolts that extend down into the water passages had quite a bit of rust on the shafts and on the threads. Perhaps because this is a junkyard motor that may have sat for several years, the sealant on the head bolts deteriorated and allowed coolant to leak out onto the deck?

Either way, ~$250 worth of head surfacing, 8548PT2's, ARP head bolts, silicone, 1250's, etc etc and several hours of my time and she's back on the road and runs a lot better! Definitely crisper, likely due to the combustion chambers sealing 100%. The temp gauge still creaps up at idle, but I'm gonna put a decent water pump and Mr Gasket thermostat on it this week and see how that helps...
__________________
82 Mercury Capri
N/A AFR 165, FTI cam: 12.00 @ 112
C4/ 150 shot build in progress
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