Engine spits coolant at the top of the grade. EGR cooler? - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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Old 07-20-2013, 10:57 PM
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Engine spits coolant at the top of the grade. EGR cooler?

I bought my truck with 150k and no records.
It does have lot of coolant stains in engine compartments, but not bubbles in the coolant, at least not that I could see.
Come to me with what looks like brand new EGR and coolant cap.
I flushed the system and put good coolant in it.
The truck drove fine empty even before flush, but just last week I took it for real test hauling my 5000lb camper (calculating supplies) up to high Sierra.
The truck drove fine on flat land with temperatures around 90F.
Than first freeway grade come and the wrench-shaped warning light come on. I don't have space to have my laptop hook up while I am driving, but pulled over and the warning reset after turning the ignition off and scanner found no codes.
So few miles farther longer grade come. I flew on it at 65mph, only close to the top got message to observe gauges. I took a look at them and all look normal at the moment, but a second later dummy engine temperature gauge starts to move up.
In next 5 seconds the needle moved from the center of the scale to the top of it. I pulled over, shut down the engine and open the hood. The coolant was NOT boiling, but some wetness show around the cap.
I restarted the engine, what was about a minute since pulling over and the temperature was back to normal. What da heck?
Opened the cap and about 1/2 gallons of coolant was missing.
So it wasn't whole engine overheating, but some kind of air lock, that disabled the cooling system. That happened one more time at high speed on freeway, but final climb on 7% , 15 miles long highway, where curves dictated 35mph went without incident.
I search the forum and the only comparable topic was about bad water pump. In my case after those 2 incidents I continued 250 miles trip with no problems, although still recorded few cups of coolant missing on final check at home.
Beside those 2 incidents the truck perform very nicely. Never run out of power, good handling and even strong side winds were not affecting it very much, when I remember driving motorhomes in windy delta was always white knuckles driving. Averaged almost 11 mpg, what is not bad for load and conditions, right?

Last edited by Kajtek1; 07-20-2013 at 11:05 PM.
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Old 07-21-2013, 12:05 AM
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That's amost exactly what happened to me. I had no inclination that anything was wrong because I didn't have a monitor at the time. I looked down at the cluster, saw I was running hot and pulled over and and literally, as soon as I pulled over and shut her down, waited a few minutes, temp was back to normal.. Popped the hood and coolant was everywhere (you said your's was just wet). Limped to the nearest service station and topped her off with coolant. Ruptured EGR cooler. I have never had an issue with my water pump...I never lost power, but was constantly filling her up with coolant. I would suspect EGR cooler or gaskets.

Last edited by kells17; 07-21-2013 at 12:24 AM.
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Old 07-21-2013, 07:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kajtek1 View Post
I bought my truck with 150k and no records.
It does have lot of coolant stains in engine compartments, but not bubbles in the coolant, at least not that I could see.
Come to me with what looks like brand new EGR and coolant cap.
I flushed the system and put good coolant in it.
The truck drove fine empty even before flush, but just last week I took it for real test hauling my 5000lb camper (calculating supplies) up to high Sierra.
The truck drove fine on flat land with temperatures around 90F.
Than first freeway grade come and the wrench-shaped warning light come on. I don't have space to have my laptop hook up while I am driving, but pulled over and the warning reset after turning the ignition off and scanner found no codes.
So few miles farther longer grade come. I flew on it at 65mph, only close to the top got message to observe gauges. I took a look at them and all look normal at the moment, but a second later dummy engine temperature gauge starts to move up.
In next 5 seconds the needle moved from the center of the scale to the top of it. I pulled over, shut down the engine and open the hood. The coolant was NOT boiling, but some wetness show around the cap.
I restarted the engine, what was about a minute since pulling over and the temperature was back to normal. What da heck?
Opened the cap and about 1/2 gallons of coolant was missing.
So it wasn't whole engine overheating, but some kind of air lock, that disabled the cooling system. That happened one more time at high speed on freeway, but final climb on 7% , 15 miles long highway, where curves dictated 35mph went without incident.
I search the forum and the only comparable topic was about bad water pump. In my case after those 2 incidents I continued 250 miles trip with no problems, although still recorded few cups of coolant missing on final check at home.
Beside those 2 incidents the truck perform very nicely. Never run out of power, good handling and even strong side winds were not affecting it very much, when I remember driving motorhomes in windy delta was always white knuckles driving. Averaged almost 11 mpg, what is not bad for load and conditions, right?
Sounds very similar to my issue. I determined yesterday that it's head gaskets. Turbo pressure is increasing cooling system pressure up to 22 PSI, causing the degas cap to vent. So, studs and new gaskets are in order for me.
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Old 07-21-2013, 07:19 AM
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Sounds like gaskets to me also check your pressures
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Old 07-21-2013, 01:35 PM
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Wouldn't bad gasket show all the time, instead of top of the hill?
Why there is no problem at lower speeds when I climb extreme grades?
I am still working on my monitoring software not showing EOT so will get back on it.
This way or the other, sounds like I need to make a stand for laptop that my dogs will not walk over
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Old 07-21-2013, 01:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kajtek1 View Post
Wouldn't bad gasket show all the time, instead of top of the hill?
Why there is no problem at lower speeds when I climb extreme grades?
I am still working on my monitoring software not showing EOT so will get back on it.
This way or the other, sounds like I need to make a stand for laptop that my dogs will not walk over
With the OEM headbolts the heads on these motors can lift under high load and boost - and do it more easilly when the motor and fluids are nice and hot (like during a climb). In my case there is no problem until boost gets over 18 PSI, then the coolant pressure starts increasing along with boost. Then, when I back out of the throttle a bit, boost decreases, and behind it so does coolant pressure. Around town coolant pressure is 8 - 12 PSI in my case. In no case should there be a correlation between boost PSI and coolant PSI.
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Old 07-22-2013, 10:10 AM
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Hard to believe Ford would put engine that is lifting the heads in normal operation?
Thanks for replies.
I am going to hook up pressure gauge to my cooling system to start with and am working on getting more monitoring software.
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Old 07-22-2013, 06:24 PM
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UPDATE.
I did coolant pressure test and it come perfectly.
- the cap opens at 16+ psi
- the system hold 15 psi for over 1 hr
- no smoke on starting
- reved engine high and pressure was 0 till coolant reached 130f, than it raise to 5 psi and did not go any farther.
Seems my thermostat starts open about 150F as the engine temperature did not rise on reving and radiator hose got warm, so I ended the test.
Seems the "natural" head rising at high loads is the only logic explanation?
Or is it EGR opening wide at high loads and boiling the coolant over?
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Old 09-27-2013, 07:38 PM
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More observations - I've got ScanGauge now, so I can do more monitoring.
My oil cooler seems to be shot as I did see delta at 50+ degrees.
I guess the wrench-shaped light showing on my dashboard is indicating that, but the light triggers no code, so no firm confirmation.
But oil cooler beside, the coolant pressure seems to confirm what skanj0 tells >>> in extreme load the engine head has to lift and gasses enter the coolant.
Talking about my 15,000 lb, over 11 feet tall camper combo - the engine works close to extreme most of the time and speeding up 6000' elevations is not making it easier for sure.
Now having coolant pressure gauge and other gauges I could avoid a problem by backing my foot off the gas pedal when coolant pressure raise over 15psi.
Frankly I don't have to beat car traffic with my camper but.... it gives nice kicks.
The delta stays below 30F on highway traffic, so the issue is only on high speed freeway climbing.
I use the truck only few times a year for camping, so rebuilding the engine is not an option for now, especially when I know I can avoid problems by driving slower than 70 mph.
What makes me thinking is that I drove the truck for over 600 miles before taking it for service at the dealer and putting the camper on it.
The problem did not exist than, so could the semi-synthetic oil dealer put in had something to do with it?
I have good experience with Rotella T6 that I prize for fixing high pressure pump leak and hard starts on my 7.3l. Maybe dumping the stuff dealer put in and refiling with T6 is valid option?
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Old 10-12-2013, 05:54 PM
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Slow process on camper vehicle, but I went for oil cooler exchange.
Turns out PO bulletproofed EGR cooler, so that issue is ruled out..
I idle the engine high after the exchange and ECT and EOT go up together within 1 degree errors, so it looks really good. Can't wait till next camping trip (hopefully in 2 weeks) to see how it performs in the mountains.
I cut the oil cooler to see how it looks like. What you see on the picture, the bigger passages are for oil and the one in 1/32" size are for coolant. Not much takes to clog them. At #10 you will see the semi-solid stuff I scooped from bottom of the cooler.
What da heck is it? I did see lot of old and neglected cooling systems, but not to this degree. PO was utility company, so not likely they neglected the truck and bulletproof EGR cooler proves they did spend money on it. Would that be the only truck with the problem I would suspect diversion.
But what I read - lot of owners have the same issue, what makes me thinking that something in the engine makes chemical reaction with the coolant and this is byproduct.
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