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Widget1984

Pinto troubles

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Widget1984

Hi all,

 

Got my membership sorted so hopefully some kind people can offer some advice. 

 

I have a 1990 narrow that runs a 2L pinto. When I got the car it was in quite a state, it's a bit better now, but very much still a project! It didn't run at all. Now it runs after an electrical fault was sorted, new battery, timing sorted etc.

 

It passed it's MOT and I then taxed it. All fine. It was then after some longer drives (only a few miles) that another gremlin reared it's head. On the first trip of a few miles, it overheated horribly and vented a load of coolant on to the road. We let it cool off and then a day or so later took it out again and it over heated once more. 

 

So then I took the following steps.

 

- Checked the thermostat and replaced the 92c for an 88c (checked the thermostat worked in pan before fitting)

- Used two stage rad flush and filled with new coolant.

 

Put it all back together and still overheating.

 

So I then

 

- Swapped out the thermostat for an 82c (drilled a 3mm hole in the thermostat too)

- Took of the water pump for inspection which seems ok, is there anything specific to look for?

 

The current set up has a radiator with a pressure cap and no expansion tank. Whilst the radiator allows water through, would it be worth replacing it with a Polo unit and adding an expansion tank to the set up. At the moment the current system vents to the road via an outlet on the radiator filler neck. 

 

Or shall I put it back together as is with the 82c thermostat and see where that gets me. I also did a compression test and got 160ish on all four cylinders. The engine as far as i know is standard apart from it has R1 carbs fitted. 

 

 

Any ideas or advice would be great.

 

Thanks

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Welly Jen

Hi and Welcome.

It would be worth checking that the cylinder head gasket is OK. Can you smell exhaust gas in the coolant when you take the cap off? There are indicators you can get that are more sensitive. Assuming that it isn't this that is overpressurising and overheating the system, then we can look at the cooling system itself. Fingers crossed!

 

When I first got my car it had a similar set up. Old Ford radiator with a pressure cap venting to the road. However mine had an expansion tank too. This was usually OK, but driving at 70 on motorways on warm days (they do happen :) ) could lead to steadily rising temperatures. It now has a Polo radiator and no more cooling problems. Over-cooling more than anything.

 

There is a good chance the radiator in your car is 24 years old and of a very old design. . It may not even have been new when your car was built as Westfield supplied new radiators with no pressure cap even back then. Probably pretty clarted up inside with gunk that even a flush won't shift. A more modern radiator like a Polo one is much more efficient. Cheap as chips too. If you do fit one, then an expansion tank should be fitted as well. Adding some ducting, or even just blocking the gaps between the rad and the nose cone will help make sure all the air goes through the radiator core, rather than round the outside.

 

My car has an 82C thermostat fitted. Pinto's are an old engine and don't like to run as hot as more modern ones. What sort of fan do you have? A decent electric fan with a suitable thermal switch is also important. The switch on mine comes on at 92C. With this set up, even in a traffic jam on a hot day, it will cycle between around 85 to 95C for as long as you like, no problems.

 

It takes a while to sort out all these nigging little problems with a car that hasn't been well looked after. Once it is done you can look forward to fun reliable driving.

 

Hope this helps,  Jen

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BudSlater

Welcome, I'm another PInto owner that's had some times finding why it would overheat.... My thoughts, hope they help..

 

How hard were you driving when it overheated?

Are you 100% sure you put the thermostat in the right way round else the thermostat will be reacting to the rad water temp rather than the block

Have you managed a flush of the system and is the radiator in good condition? I picked up a new rad for around 25-30 quid new on ebay

Do you have a duct around the rad to force air through, rather than around, it?

 

Pintos are notorious for air locks, it took many many goes to get mine bled properly. Now I understand why the coolant that was first in it when I bought it was dirty, its a pain in the rear to bleed!

 

I'd recommend adding an expansion tank for sure

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Welly Jen

Good point by Bud there on air looks. With the radiator cap on the radiator and no expansion tank it could well be that the cap isn't the highest part of the system. If any steam does form in the top radiator hose it could block the flow and the car overheats. An expansion tank plumbed in to the water pump, and perhaps the heater return, plus a bleed from the radiator top hose back to the top of the tank will help reduce this risk. See this recent thread on air locks in Pinto's and getting them out.

 

Jen

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Prawnabie

have you got a flow of coolant with the engine running - could be a duff waterpump?

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Widget1984

Ok so when we did the rad flush you run the flush through with just a towel over the rad cap. We could see the coolant being moved along by the pump, although it may have been a bit erratic but that might just be me. I have had the pump off and it seems ok. But as previously mentioned i'm not 100% on what I am looking for. 

 

Would the best way forward be to get it back together as is, run it for a few minutes and then once it's cooled down use a block tester to see if there's exhaust gases apparent in the coolant?

 

Depending on the result I can then move on to upgrade the radiator and add an expansion tank as they seem to be worth while additions. I could source  a new water pump just to rule that out as I think they are only around £30. Although I don't want to spend money unnecessarily. 

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Lyonspride

Firstly, the chances are you'll have air in the system, in fact its a foregone conclusion if it's been boiling over. Squeeze radiator hoses when its warming up, to help shift the bubbles.

 

You've clearly been reading the forums, I think it was me that suggested the 3mm thermostat hole somewhere :p

It sounds to me like coolant is having trouble flowing OR your not fully sealed, any pressure leak will cause the coolant to boil over.

 

A an expansion tank with a nice new pressure cap, would be a worthwhile purchase.

The problem with your setup is you really should have an expansion tank higher than the top of the engine.

Having no expansion also means there's nowhere for any air to escape...........

 

 

Right now I would bypass the heater (if you have one) and see if anything improves, the heater matrix could well be blocked up with old coolant, it separates into a white lime scale like substance!

 

I spent hours trying flush it all out after 8 years in storage. Even now my coolant has got white scum appearing on the surface, needs another flush now that the heat/etc has shifted more of the gunk.

 

This ^^ does of course also mean it coats the water ways in the same gunk and prevents efficient heat transfer.

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Widget1984

Yep I have done as much reading as I can! 

 

The car currently does not have a heater. Would I need an expansion tank with a pressure cap on seeing as there is already one on the rad. I'm sure I read somewhere that having two pressure caps on one system is not a good idea. Which leads me to the next question if I were to swap to a Polo rad, which doesn't have a cap would I need a pressure cap on the expansion tank or not? If so what kind of tank and where can I get one from?

 

At the moment i think if I have it all apart I may as well swap out the radiator, add an expansion/header tank etc and rebuild the cooling system from scratch. 

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Lyonspride

You want the pressure cap on an expansion tank, else it'll release coolant instead of air.

So you'd replace the current one with a sealed cap.

You also need an overflow hose connection point, 8mm. The Polo rad has one (or mine does), but the highest point of the engine is the best. I've connect a T piece between the rad, the thermostat housing and the expansion tank.

 

I'm not going to tell you to change your rad, because unless it leaks or is blocked, then it won't help.

Doing such a big operation could give you more problems than you started with.

It's definitely worth while doing at some point because of the weight saving (you'll have to adjust the ride height too).

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Widget1984

Ok, any recommendation on a suitable expansion tank? Is there a preferred one? Not really sure on what options there are, presumably it needs to be a suitable pressure rating as well?

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Lyonspride

The one most of us have is the Fiesta XR2 type, but they're as rare as hens teeth. Someone might be a long soon, who knows an alternative (i'd be interested too).

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Widget1984

Ok great. Thanks for the help and advice, it's much appreciated. 

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Welly Jen

Header tanks. There are various flash looking aluminium ones for a price. The link is just some examples. There are plenty more out there. Westfield do a brand new plastic one with a bracket for the scuttle, which would be the easiest to fit. This replaces the old Fiasco XR2 one that is very hard to find. Alternatively, pretty much any header tank in a scrap yard with a pressure relief cap, single bottom outlet and a connection at the top for a vent pipe that will fit on the scuttle would do. This would need a bit of searching though. If you decide to keep the old radiator for a bit it is possible to get a cap for it with no pressure relief valve. This would get round the potential issue of having two pressure caps in the system and guessing which one will lift first.

 

If you do add a header tank, then you will also need to fit a vent pipe from the top radiator hose, or nearby to the top of the tank. This will probably need to be T'd in to the 32mm inside diameter top hose. Something like this is a simple way to T in to an existing hose. Alternatively, there are aluminium adaptors you can splice in to the top hose.

 

When working on the cooling system cost adds up. The biggest single expense is replacing all the hoses and jubilee clips. More expensive than any other single part, like a new radiator, or water pump.

 

Jen

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Widget1984

Thanks Jen, i'll probably go for the Westfield header, it's a bit pricey compared to the scrap yard but at least it'll fit on easily. I've seen loads of posts on ways to plumb a Pinto. It was my understanding that the top inlet of the header tank went to the outlet at the top of the radiator, for example the outlet that sits in the filler neck of my current rad, and that you fit a bleed valve in the top hose from the thermostat to the rad in order to let any trapped air out. Is that not the case?

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Widget1984

Forgot to ask, the cap on the Westfield header is presumably a pressurised one not just screw on?

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