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540itouring

Low Coolant Warning Project questions

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What did you use to attach the sensor to the bottle? (some sort of adhesive by the looks of it?) 

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I used JB WELD as it can stand up to 287 deg. I used a thin film between the bottle as to not alter the sensing of the water and a thicker ring around and is rock solid and has now been fitted for some time now. 

 

what do you think of the warning system ?

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Thanks, and yeah it's good! I think I would've tapped in to the 'bonnet open' circuit as it'd more likely get a prompt reaction from my wife if she was driving rather than just casually mentionong that 'the brakes needs servicing or something' if/when she got home! 

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yes I am sure you could to that but you would have to have low resistance switching to make sure as I expect that the alarm uses that switch. The way I have done it it just switches a resistor in parallel to trip the warning so the low brake fluid will also still work as normal.

 

I have all electronic mods completed now so need to find some time to clean the car up now .  I have leart a bit more from playing with Forscan and now makes more sense to me.

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can you post up the electronic side of it with resistor value so if any one want to do the same, they can be prepared to the extent of whats required?

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Nice job !

 

I am currently busy developing a low coolant warning system for my focus MK3. I will use a contactless fluid level sensor which is connected to an Arduino microprocessor with CANbus shield. This way I will (hopefully) be able to send the correct CANbus messages to the instrument cluster to activate the appropriate warning lights.

I did some CANbus sniffing on the car and obtained most of the CANbus data I need. Using this CANbus data I am able to send some CANbus messages to a spare instrument cluster while testing on the table. Using these CANbus messages I can switch on the instrument cluster and switch most of the warning lights and messages on and off.

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i googled and the us there appears to be a issue that requires a ford retroffited coolant level sensor on certain 1.6 ecoboost. i wonder what that kit will look like.

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2 hours ago, iantt said:

i googled and the us there appears to be a issue that requires a ford retroffited coolant level sensor on certain 1.6 ecoboost. i wonder what that kit will look like.

I also read several articles about this subject recently. From what I read the issue is still under investigation and Ford has not released a final solution yet.  It is a safety recall because of fire risk. Loosing coolant results in an overheated engine which caused the cilinder head to crack. The cracked cilinder head can cause engine oil leaking onto the hot exhaust which can result in fire. 

 

The recall applies to the following vehicles equipped with the 1.6 GTDI (ECOboost) engine:

2014 Escape – Louisville Assembly Plant, Feb. 12, 2013 to Sept. 2, 2014

2014-15 Fiesta ST – Cuautitlan Assembly Plant, Jan. 22, 2013 to May 27, 2014

2013-14 Fusion – Hermosillo Assembly Plant, Feb. 15, 2012 to June 6, 2014

2013-15 Transit Connect – Valencia Assembly Plant, June 13, 2013 to Dec. 14, 2014

 

The official recall information can be found on the following link:

https://static.nhtsa.gov/odi/rcl/2017/RCMN-17V209-3326.pdf

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It could make for a quite a neat solution. I suppose we'd be missing the PCM update that presumably will be required to interface with it but one of the piggyback ideas discussed here ought to suffice.

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On 10/09/2017 at 3:49 PM, iantt said:

i googled and the us there appears to be a issue that requires a ford retroffited coolant level sensor on certain 1.6 ecoboost. i wonder what that kit will look like.

Have you heard anymore about this?

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On 9/10/2017 at 9:49 AM, iantt said:

 i wonder what that kit will look like.

a bucket and a bit of pipe linked to an egg timer as a warning buzzer.

ford price £130.

 

:-D

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I've been doing a bit of experimenting myself with seeing if there any alternative warning messages that could be triggered. In particular, I figured that if an overheat situation can be simulated then that ought to trigger a very alarming overheat warning on the centre console screen that even my wife would be sufficiently coerced into doing something about (immediately, not just casually mentioning it over dinner that evening!).

So, I measured the response curve of the engine coolant temperature sensor and calculated what resistance would result in overheated temperatures being detected. Such a resistance could then be created by shunting in another resistor in parallel with the ECT sensor when the coolant bottle is detected as empty. A 1K ohm parallel resistance with the 2.8K ohm ECT value (at 90c) is equivalent to a simulated 115c (125c at 110c real) but having tried this it resulted in nothing more than the coolant gauge going to max and a rather subtle overheat warning symbol (the classic 'thermometer in the sea' type) on the instrument panel and nothing on the in-dash screen. Using Forscan I could see that my calculated temperature was spot on, and also that the appropriate DTCs were being triggered. So I then tried 680 ohms to represent more towards 150c and still nothing more. The anti-climax lowered my enthusiasm and so I didn't try for any higher.

On a more positive note the fake overheat scenario does result in the cooling fan being set to max and thus in the case of coolant loss you would at least have that bonus whilst you tried to pull over but I can't imagine it saving the day, and the visual warning isn't anywhere near as in-your-face (like the low brake fluid message) to warrant this approach in my view.

All in all a rather disappointing result. I am wondering if perhaps there isn't anything more warning wise for overheat temperatures, at least on those engines like mine that pre-date the introduction of a cylinder head temperature sensor which quite possibly does result in something more substantial. It could well be that I didn't go high enough with my fake temperatures but I would expect (hope) that 150c ought to be high enough! Also, whilst the engine was running I wasn't actually driving so perhaps the response might've been different if I had been moving along but I doubt it.

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Yes I wend down that road first with my testing but the red temp light was very poor warning system and no sound warnings. I also fount that the temp warning had a big delay when adding and removing resistors which was not the best of warnings. The low brake fluid warning I found was easy to connect up and gave the best warning for what options were available with the standard parts of the car fitted from new.

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I must admit I was rather surprised by the subtlety of it. I thought I'd seen a 'Engine overheating - pull over now' warning on a photo of the centre dash info screen but I'm wondering if I'd been thinking about it so much I've just imagined it!!

Reading back through the thread I see that you mention a ~10s delay before the low brake fluid warning appears. Does it not concern you that this might be too long a window to be unaware what's happened? I honestly don't know how long we've actually got before coolant loss results in catastrophe but I can't help but feel that every second might count. With this in mind I think I'm going to wire mine in parallel with the bonnet switch as that alert is instantaneous (and still passes the wife test in terms of being suitably alarming to warrant stopping[1]!).

[1] I hope my wife never reads these posts - I'm hardly painting her in a good light! ;-)

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36 minutes ago, MJNewton said:

Reading back through the thread I see that you mention a ~10s delay before the low brake fluid warning appears. Does it not concern you that this might be too long a window to be unaware what's happened? 

I am sure the built in 10 second delay will not be a problem  as 1 (this will prevent false alarms due to car going up a steep hill) & 2 ( the sensor is monitoring the expansion tank level which is high up so the alarm will trip 10 seconds after about 25 / 30mm  coolant level drop so the engine will still have water when alarm sounds ). The 10 seconds delay may be less as only estimated this as I was testing on my own. I also connected the sensor to a constant +12 volt supply as the sensor only takes about 2mA draw 

 

Does the bonnet switch warn instantly ?     I have only seen the bonnet display with the bonnet open so not tested that but I like the brake warning I have used as it gives dash brake light , front monitor display + warning sounds . That is three warnings at the same time so if that does not work  I will be very surprised  !

 

 

 

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It's a good point about the possible benefits of a damped trigger to avoid false alarms. I had assumed though that the expansion tank is heavily baffled to stop the coolant moving around and risking air being sucked in. You've probably done more testing than I though? 

Regards power there is a switched hot-at-on feed available from the upstream side of the reverse switch. It sits on a 7.5A fuse with nothing else attached (apart from the downstream reverse light of course). 

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1 hour ago, MJNewton said:

Regards power there is a switched hot-at-on feed available from the upstream side of the reverse switch. It sits on a 7.5A fuse with nothing else attached (apart from the downstream reverse light of course). 

I run a cable from the engine bay fuse box across the loom at the rear of engine bay via a 1 amp fuse in a spare fuse location. I run the extra power cables when I converted the alarm system to a ST Cat 1 alarm. The fuse only feeds the sensor and the relay and is also easy  to check all is well as with the bonnet up as you can see a dim glow from the led on the sensor.

I tested my system and tilted the coolant tank while lifted off its mountings and is easy to do.

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