Radiator a simple repair?
Most of us do not think about the radiator in our car or truck until something goes wrong. I have been working on the 1991 Ford F1 50 truck for several years. And it seems like for that amount of time there is always been an issue with it overheating. So, I started out by buying new water hoses and clamps. Then I put in a new water pump in. Each time I would buy a piece and put it in I was hoping that the overheating problem would go away. But much to my dismay, there was still a problem with the overheating. I bought a new radiator in hopes that it would solve the problems. Finally, one day, after I opened the hood and took off the radiator cap, as I poured the water into the top of the radiator I could hear it pouring out just as quickly from the bottom of the engine. It doesn’t take a mechanic to realize at that point something is broken. So, like most shade tree mechanics, I actually have a shade tree next to my shop, I got down on my back underneath the engine to see where the water was coming from. Well unfortunately I couldn’t quite find out where the water was pouring out of. So, I would get a container full of water, poured into the radiator and quickly lay down and look under the engine for the leak. I noticed the water was coming from around the motor mount area of the truck. The motor mount does just what it sounds like it holds up the engine onto the frame of the truck. It took about 30 minutes for me to find a small flashlight and search around that area of the engine only to find out that the freeze plug was almost completely rotted away. So, I went back to my computer and watched every YouTube video on how to change the freeze plug on a 1991 Ford truck. I didn’t want to have to take the engine out of the truck and so what I ended up doing was taking the bolts out of the engine mounts and jacking the engine up just far enough to be able to see the freeze plug. It was amazing the freeze plug had almost completely disintegrated. The freeze plug is a metal piece that’s placed in the bottom of the engine block so that if the engine gets so cold and the water freezes it will blow out the freeze plug rather than destroy the engine block from the frozen water. So, I searched through my shop to try to find a tool that could reach into the small space between the engine block in the freeze plug. Eventually a long screwdriver and some pressure pop the metal piece out. After doing that I realized that I was probably not going to be able to replace that metal freeze plug with another new metal freeze plug. So off to the auto parts store I went and likely found out that there is a freeze plug that uses rubber that I’m able to put into the existing hole and then tighten it up so that closes the whole.
With some pride, I go back to the truck put in the rubber freeze plug and lowered the engine back down on the engine mounts. I put the mounts back up and then went to the front of the truck and poured some water into the radiator. Unfortunately, I heard the water hitting the ground again. After another inspection, I realized that the freeze plug on the other side of the engine under the engine mount also was bad. So, I repeated the process which included going back to the auto parts store. Now with much anticipation I poured water back into the radiator. There was no noise and the radiator seemed to fill up. Because I was doing so much pouring of a liquid into the radiator I was using water, not a coolant.
I started driving the truck and things seem to be going well until after driving some distance and parking the truck I could see evidence of some water coming from the front of the truck. I was totally frustrated. So, once again after several inspections I figured out that what I had not done was replace the old radiator cap. So off to the auto parts store I go again a buy some coolant and a new radiator And all seems to be well now.
I will mention that the brake light on my instrument panel, as well as the rear antilock brakes light was on. After several hours of inspecting the brake lines trying to look up under the dash to see if there was connection missing. I went back to the Internet for advice. Somewhere in a chat room I saw that someone had the same problem and the answer to the problem was to look at the brake fluid reservoir and make sure that it was full. If it is not full there was a float inside the reservoir that would make those brake lights stay on. Well when I looked the brake fluid was low and so I filled the reservoir with new brake fluids. Hooray, the problem with the lights went away. It was so simple yet without the knowledge I could not have completed the task. Finally, something that went easily.
In a review of the radiator, I had replaced; the radiator, radiator hose, radiator clamps, water pump, radiator And I bought some new coolant. You would’ve thought that this would’ve taken me a day or two, but basically it took me two years to figure this out. Granted, I do not use this truck on any kind of a regular basis. It is a project truck that I had replaced the metal bed with a wood stake bed. I still have the goal of painting the truck. But there was none of that until I was sure that the truck could run from one point to another. The radiator, who would’ve thought it would’ve been such an ordeal.
Radiator a simple repair?