I just slapped a new radiator into my 5.4 1998 ford van.

I followed the step by steps.

Once the new one was in there I was to understand that you just refill the reservoir, then turn on the van and wait for it to warm up... watchin the engine temp and just fillin the reservoir as the level falls every now and then... until she reaches some kinda equilibrium state.

Anyhow... I goes about doin that. I was even extra careful and connected my odb-ii scanner on my phone and was watchin the cylinder head temp and the coolant temp as she was warmin up.

But then she started actin in a way that was unexpected:

1) while the coolant temp reading on my phone was reaching a level higher than what normally opens the thermostat (210... and normally is equals out around 192... and usually only goes bout as high as 199 before she circulates)... the temp guage in the dash was still showin (semi) cold!

[ also... the cylinder head temp reached about 440F during this process and I only remember it going about up to 390 during previous driving tests)

2) when she was reachin this temp, the coolant in the reservois started to rise real slow. (I had the cap off during this entire process... is that wrong?)

3) I turned on the heat in the cabin and it was blowin cold... i expected hot.

4) this make a bubba nervous so I done turned off the engine but after I turned to key off, all a sudden the reservoir starts pumpin out coolant/water like maybe a quart all over the ground.

apparently I've made some essential mistake someplace. I sure hope I remembered to remove those paper towels I was plugging the hoses with.

I really hope there werent some stupid plugs in the readiator I was spose ta remove first. I'll be real mad about that.

But I'm pretty sure I did remove the paper towels, though... I aint that dumb.

What should I do now? I'm nervous that somethin's clogged or wrong someplace imma blow my engine if I try this process again. Why is the coolant temp showing hot on my odb-ii and cold on the dash? Why is the cabin blowin cold when set to hot? Why would the coolant blow out of the reservoir when I turned the engine off?

  • I haven't owned a Ford for years, but they used to be notorious for getting airlocks in the cooling system when you refilled it. AFAIK modern Ford car engines have a bleed plug (on the engine block, not on the radiator) that you remove before refilling. You should also have set the heater to "full on" before you started filling, otherwise the heater block will be full of trapped air. – alephzero Jun 15 '20 at 20:49
  • Also the temp gage would read cold if there is air in the system. If there is no coolant at the sensor there is no temperature reading. – Jupiter Jun 15 '20 at 23:20
  • Hey I just wanted to say that I appreciate y'all. – Bubba Jul 21 '20 at 0:07

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