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Engine Overheating Ford Ka 1.3 Duratec


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Hi again,

My ka has been overheating with intermittent loss of heater function.

At the weekend, I replaced the thermostat, housing and switch and my car ran perfectly. Heater ran, rad went warm, pipes warm, no overheating issue at all.

Drove it to work this AM and car overheated again?! All pipes are hot except bottom radiator hose.

Radiator is hot on the left side as you face it, where the upper hose enters the rad. This pipe is also hot. The rest of the radiator is now cold?

Car heater stopped working even though both pipes to it are hot.

Is this rad airlocked you think? I have seen many ideas on how to remove the air but also have read it is supposed to self bleed?

Can anyone help on how to remove the air from the rad please? Assuming thats the problem.



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You don't bleed it by opening the 'drain pipe'(?). You remove the expansion tank cap and run it up to temp from cold at idle speed. Once the thermostat has opened you can refit the cap.

Thermostats can stick. it does sound like an air lock or partly blocked rad ?

Is the expansion tank cap okay? Is there a seal inside it? A faulty cap could cause the problem too.

If everything checks out okay it may be the pump is partly damaged and just not circulating the coolant fast enough - impeller loose on shaft, or broken blades on the impeller.

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Hi Delboy,

Thanks for replying mate (again) I think without you there would be little help at all for new Ford owners like myself, its much appreciated.

I did not bleed the system by removing a hose (I did think of it though!) I was very briefly testing to see if there was pressure there from the water pump. I let it spurt out two or three times and switched off the engine, reconnected the pipe and topped up expansion tank. It did spurt but not with any great speed, not sure how much pressure the pump creates but at least I know it was creating 'some'.

I have tried to bleed the system the way you described, three or four times now. The first time, straight after I had replaced the thermostat, it worked great, hot interior heaters, rad hot, engine cool. Then I drove it to work and its been overheating ever since.

Now when I bleed it, air keeps bubbling up the expansion tank and wont stop, eventually the water gets hot as it 'expands' and starts pouring out of the cap before the radiator fan has even come on. I think the head gasket may have gone, though I have no white smoke from exhaust and no creamy discharge in the oil.

Have booked it in with a local garage for this Saturday to determine its fate but it doesn't look good, cant believe all this started with a simple sodding misfire!!

Yes cap is fine, no problem there, it could be the water pump partially failing, it is pumping but not sure how hard it is supposed to pump, it was like a strong trickle! It could still be airlocked, would really like to flush it through under pressure with a hose pipe but don't know how, I have read about putting it up where the lower radiator hose connects but that pipe is an absolute !Removed! to get to!

Final thing I am not 100% sure about is that there are two hoses from the thermostat housing to the interior heating. I have connected the left hose to the most forward of the two outlets on the thermostat housing and the right hose to the most rearward of the two outlets on the housing. I am 99% sure this is how they came off but its still a nagging doubt that would be great if anyone could put me right on?



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As its the old shape Ka you might find air collects at the heater control valve which is the highest point as it crosses the bulk head. Failing that you can remove the hose off the return side of the control valve and with a totally full expansion bottle start the car. After a few seconds and with the engine still running you can put the hose back on and that should be it. Its pretty messy though and make sure you don't run out of fluid in the expansion tank as it can damage the water pump if it runs dry. Maybe have someone handy to turn the car off just in case you struggle to get the hose on in time. Whatever you do please dispose of your anti-freeze responsibly - cats (and other animals) love the taste of it and it can kill them. Another way to try is take out the expansion bottle and place it higher and run engine again with the cap off

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi Delboy,

Unfortunately, it turned out to be the head gasket, which was much more obvious as it got worse.

I have sold the car for spares/repair on eBay, lesson learned!

Thanks for all your help


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