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Ford Sportka Overheating And Self Diagnosis , Please Help


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Car: Ford 1.6i sportKA (year 2005) , just passed MOT ok 2 weeks ago.

Symptom: Engine Temperature Warning Light on :wall:


<1>Self and early diagnosis:

1>I thought it could due to low coolant level.

I opened the coolant reservoir cap after car cooled down. The level did seem very low bcos I couldn't see much there. Then I topped up coolant bought from Halfords then start driving again, temperature warning light soon came on after about 10-15 min in city driving.

2>I thought it might be a coolant leaking.

Because the other day I did saw a little dripping under the car when I was parking the car but I didn't see any leaking while driving even if I paid particular attention while driving slowly.

And this has sorted of been confirmed by further checking: after car cool down, I checked the coolant level, it remains relatively unchanged(checked this every day in the morning for the past few days, same), almost full at coolant reservoir, so the overheating shouldn't be due to leaking based on my limited experience.


<2>Further observation:

Also I noticed, when the Temperature warning light came on, if I turned the cabin heating to full with fan to maximum, the warning light will be off after about 2 minutes.

For experiment, if I turn off the cabin heating, the warning light comes back on again soon, so this mean the heater core is fine. And I repeated this experiment a few times, always be able to get the temperature warning light on and off at will by controlling the cabin heating.


<3>Initial tentative conclusion:

So at the moment I suspect it could be the thermostat broken at the blocked status so the coolant cannot go to radiator for the bigger cycle.

Or could it be the seemingly common heater control valve(HCV), rumor it's the common ford overheating pitfall reason? Though personally I don't know how could a faulty HCV affecting the overall heating system and my cabin heating is fine.

But I guess it could also be the radiator cap not keeping a good pressure or broken water pump.



1>I was trying to compare the up and bottom radiator hose temperature see if I can determine if it's the thermostat broken but I couldn't see clearly the radiator as it's been covered by the a big piece of metal , so I couldnt' even see the radiator cap or the bottom hose, can any one tell me how to remove the metal piece so I can see radiator cap and top/bottom radiator hose clearly ?

2>Is there a easy way to test the radiator fan ? I have heard if I turn on the AC, it would turn on automatically regardless temperature ?

Many Thanks


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First of all, there won't be a radiator cap - the only means you have of filling the system is through the expansion bottle.

It could be a faulty thermostat or radiator by the sounds of it but then there is the question of why is the radiator not kicking in as the car knows it's overheating, hence the light.

The radiator fan will run with the a/c only when required. With the temps we are getting just now I would be suprised if the a/c compressor kicks in anyway.

Sounds to me that your matrix and hcv are all working correctly so I wouldn't worry about them.

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Stef123, thanks for the quick reply. Yes I have just tried this morning the rad fan wouldn't just kick in even if I turned AC on. Do you think if my my overheat next time the rad fan would start even if assuming the thermostat is blocked ?

And could you tell me how to move the metal piece above radiator so I can check the top/bottom hose ? When radiator is blocked shouldn't I be expecting a cold top radiator hose ?



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