What to do with overheating Ford Explorer?


Asked by Aug 05, 2015 at 02:42 PM about the 2003 Ford Explorer XLT V6

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I have a 2003 Explorer 4.0L that has recently been overheating. The problem is strange because it suddenly  happened, I even don't look to the temperature gave when I heard a strange noise while driving, I thought it's an AC fan noise. After about 10 miles I stopped to check, I found that it's boiling and some mud and a little  oil is comes out of the water tank with the vapor and water. I Kept the engine working try to throw water on the radiator until the temp.gauge comes down, I slowly opened the water tank cap, added water to the tank, until every thing is calmed down. I checked the oil _ at the engine oil gauge and the oil cap to be sure that the water didn't go in the engine ... every thing was fine the oil is clear. I drove this truck 50 miles on the interstate with the AC on max  with no issue. I checked the water level in the tank after I came back and it had dropped about 1/4" from where it was. Can I make a long trip with no issue.  could it be possible that leaving the car for about 48 hours without use may make the t.stat stuck, and this is the cause of the overheat? Do you think the next step should be a radiator flush and fill? Any other suggestions?

4 Answers


I would try a radiator flush and if that don't work I would try a brand new radiator


the oil will disappear after flushing you think?


Replace the thermostat, then flush the radiator, I have a 93' explorer was doing same thing, if still an issue you might have a bad water pump


I have the exact model explorer as you. Just some information for your consideration. Coolant in the engine prevents it from overheating, not just freezing in the winter. Never add plain water to the plastic tank on the passenger side of the vehicle. Completely drain the radiator, flush, and refill with 50/50 mixture. It's advisable to replace the radiator hoses on a twelve year old vehicle if not previously done. Replace the thermostat. Be careful because the housing holding the thermostat is plastic. If you crack it the replacement is 90 bucks and a metal one is about 130 bucks. I replaced mine with the metal variety. When you fill the radiator and start the vehicle it is going to take a while for the thermostat to open and allow coolant into the engine block, be patient. When it opens the level in the plastic bottle will drop, keep adding up to the "full when hot" mark is reached. Drive for about five minutes and check again. Check for leaks around the plastic thermostat housing. If there is one, check the gasket around the cover, if it continues to leak slightly the housing will have to be replaced.

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