94 Crown Vic overheating issue.....

just bought a 94 Crown Vic with 160K miles. Runs great ! Service Engine light comes on at startup, then goes off and stays off. Temp. gauge hovers between the "M" in NORM and the highest line. Heater
blows hot air. Coolant level is correct. What is the likely culprit? I am thinking fan clutch. Thanks for your help.
Land O'Lakes Fred
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At this point, you are unsure that the car is overheating..... running "hot", maybe, but we aren't even sure about that. If this car is OBD2 compliant (look for the plug under the dash), you can monitor ECT through a capable scan tool.... you can get an idea using an IR thermogun aimed at the T-stat housing....
In a car this old, with the history of the cooling system unknown, there is always the possibility that the rad core is slowly losing flow due to calcification or the water pump impeller *may* suffer from erosion.... or

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snipped-for-privacy@peoplepc.com wrote:

If the gauge drops when you are cruising above about 25mph or so then suspect the fan clutch. If it stays consistently high the thermostat and/or radiator are suspect. At that age and mileage I would say to start with a thorough cooling system flush and a new thermostat as it probably needs it just for proper maintenence. While you have the system drained replace the sender for the gauge, it's $10 and cheap insurance. Of course, check and replace any suspect hoses. If it still runs too warm then look toward the radiator. If it were my own car I would do the flush, stat, all hoses,sender, radiator, and OEM fan clutch. Then I would know the cooling system should be trouble free for a long time to come, but that's just me. YMMV. Those 90s CVs are proving to be a very dependable car for a few hundred K miles if properly maintained. Good used car choice Fred.
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simple and cheap!!! ask a used car dealer how he would do it...change thermostat ($8), then flush radiator with water hose (free), then replace water pump (pump = $20 at autozone, pay a mechanic after hours at his house, he does the same job for 1/8 the price!), if all else fails, its a seal in the headgasket...put it on autotrader.com and move on to the next car!
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dtice44 wrote:

Dude, he just bought the car, I'm assuming as a driver. It's got 160K miles on it with, I assume, no maintenence records. Give it some NORNAL maintenence and it will very likely be fine. It doesn't sound like wants to "just move it" like your local beater dealer scenario. Most folks don't want to play car roulette. God, I'd hate to see what you drive.
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wait a minute before you beat on me man...obviously he bought the car trying to save some money; 12 year old car with 160K on it! He's not looking to put brand new ANYTHING on it. Most likely he would used remanufactured parts and try to keep the cost down as little as possible. If you want to start with the most expensive part first and go cheaper, be my guest...I'm trying to save the kid some money. Well, you are probably the jerk mechanic telling this poor kid to give you $350 bucks for a stupid water pump! (and my car is great, I make a living helping people like him avoid people like you!)
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dtice44 wrote:

If he bought the car to be dependable transport to his job, where he makes money to support his family, he want's it to get him there every day dependably, right? If he does what I would do , as mentioned at the bottom of my post, he won't wind up stranded and miss a day of work because the engine melted down on the way to work. I didn't say he needed to do that, just catch up on maintenence. High mileage cars are cointoss. They take a certain amount of "make up" maintenence that the last owner didn't give them before the sale to make them a "good" car .Lack of history just adds to the bill. It's still much less than a monthly car payment but there's no free lunch. BTW, my current car is a 1984 Lincoln Mark VII with 138K miles. I drive it 110 miles per day, every day except Sunday. I maintain it like I suggested to the OP. As far as being the "jerk mechanic" charging $350 for a water pump, I was a dealership tech for ~20 years. When I need a WP or starter on the wifes V-6 Cougar, I'll give you $100 to do it if you think that's fair. I'll even buy the part. I sure as hell don't want to do it for that price. Hell, I'll even buy lunch. I'd still come out ahead.
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Thanks, Tom.
So far, I replaced both the sending unit and thermostats with new NAPA ones (the more expensive sending unit, the less expensive thermostat). It appears that the temperature on the gauge is running a little lower, but mostly in the upper "M" range. I am wondering if this was so-called normal for these cars, especially for 1994? There is a very small grille opening above the bumper. The fan appears to blow fine at idle with the A/C on and engine fully warmed up. Perhaps I will swap radiators with my 93 Crown Vic, which has the R-12 A/C currently low on charge (If I were to put R-134A fittings on it, could I just then add R-134 instead of completely evacuating the system?), so the A/C compressor only kicks on for a few seconds and barely gets cool. Yes, it's all about the true cost per mile! Land O'Lakes Fred
Tom Adkins wrote:

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The M is in the middle of the word "Normal." What does that tell you?
To me, that means it is running where it is supposed to, in other words "normally."
I think the gauge shows a temperature higher in the range (i.e.., higher on the word normal) than you are used to, but the engine temperature is fine.
Jeff

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perhaps you are not personally familiar with these particular gauges. They read N O R M, not N O R M A L. The N is near the C line, and the M is near the H line.
Has anyone had any experience with any know issues as to how these 94 CV's may either overheat and/or register with the A/C on, a hot day at highway speeds? Thanks.
Land O'Lakes Fred
Jeff wrote:

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I have a '95 with digital dash. Mine usually sits right in the middle. That said, don't believe everything you see on the regular dash gauges. Most of them are not designed to do much more than look cool. They often function as glorified idiot lights and nothing more. If you can drive normally when the gauge is on "ME" without poor performance or knocking on mild acceleration, there is probably nothing wrong. The only way to be sure is to install a mechanical gauge. Go to your local auto joint and spend $10 to $20. Just be sure how you install it. There are two temp sensors, one for you to see on the dash and one for the car computer.
The advise from Jim and Tom should be carefully considered. They know of what they speak. If you are seeing no symptoms except the reading on the dash, it is very likely normal for that particular car.
Hope this helps!
PoD

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umm, "ME" should be "M"
PoD
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Do not mix R12 with R134a.
I wouldn't do it.
Besides, a 93 car will probably use R134a. Older cars (like my '79 Celica GT) used R12.
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