1989 B-150 Heating Problems


Old 05-03-03, 09:23 AM
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Question 1989 B-150 Heating Problems

1989 Dodge 1/2 Ton passenger van. 318, auto, 201,000 miles.

Got it for free, with rusty water in the radiator. Drove it from Massachusetts to Arizona with no problems. For almost a year it gave us no problems. (Radiator was flushed before going cross country.) Now it's getting warm out, and the engine is red lining on the temp gauge. Swapped out the radiator, replaced a leaky water pump, and changed the thermostat out. Still no improvement. We also removed the fan blade and fan clutch, and put in a direct drive fan blade. I'm at a loss. Anybody got any experience with this kinda problem?

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Old 05-03-03, 11:15 AM
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Could be a blown head gasket or clogged cooling ports. Was the block flushed out? What is the condition of the coolant now?

Pitch the direct drive fan and go back to the OEM clutch fan. It is there for a reason, and will help fuel mileage.

Does the vehicle actually overheat? Your gauge could be bad or the sender wasted.
Old 05-03-03, 11:28 AM
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The engine runs smooth, and the oil looks decent.

Spark plugs are a little old, but pretty clean (normal wear).

We used Prestone brand Super Flush. We flushed it again recently, right before we swapped out the radiator. We just flushed the replacement radiator yesterday. The antifreeze as of this morning had some orange tint to it. (I'm guessing rust residue?) It wasn't an official flushing of the block, but the cleaner went through the whole cooling system, far as I know.

We switched the fan clutch out because we were thinking maybe the clutch was too weak to get the job done. So we put a direct drive on to see if that was the problem. Apparently it wasn't. That's no biggie to put back on.

Is flushing the block something that can be done with the motor still in the van?

No, the vehicle doesn't actually overheat, but the temp needle didn't used to go past about 1/3 of the gauge. Now it goes to one line away from overheating. It's a 160 degree thermostat, by the way. I forgot to mention that earlier. Is that too cold for it?
Old 05-03-03, 07:27 PM
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Keep flushing, you've got rust in there .

Again, might have a bad temperature gauge sending unit. Worth changing (only a couple of bucks at any parts store) after you get it all good and clean.
Old 05-03-03, 08:24 PM
darrell McCoy
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160 deg thermostat dont sound right to me. Check and see what it is supposed to have and use the right temp T/Stat. Re-install the OEM fan. Does radiator have a shroud. Makes a difference also.
Old 05-05-03, 05:18 AM
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Posts: 516
van should have a 195 degree thermostat and get a temp gauge that you know to be accurate. If there is rust in the cooling system the sender could be covered in rust which may lead to high readings, pull it and clean it barring a temp gauge switch. If none of this works bring it to a radiator shop and have the system back flushed.

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