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Old 04-12-2009, 09:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Iwishthiswasamanual - '98 Ford Escort ZX2
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Radiator Temperatures

I've got some concerns over my radiator water temps. I've got a full grill block and under tray between bumper and radiator. With this slightly warmer weather it has been getting to 220F. I'm assuming this means that the fan is going to be running almost the entire time. Occasionally, I'll turn the defog vent on to dump the heat down to 175.

What should this be running like for best FE and well , safety?

Zach

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Old 04-12-2009, 10:31 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Not sure if your car has the 8 valve SPI like my car or the 16 valve zetec, I believe it's the latter. My car has a fan activation temp of 220* and normal operating temperature is about 193*. When I tried to cover the entire lower grill opening in warm weather leaving only the small upper opening coolant temp would frequently climb up to 220* and driving on the highway would be 5-10* higher than normal. I could cover the entire lower opening in the winter without these issues, but it just seems to need more airflow in warm weather. As to where the best FE would be, I doubt there is a huge difference between 190* and 220*.

As far as safety goes, as long as it is not getting above fan activation temperature it is very unlikely that you would damage anything. But since you car is an automatic you also have to consider trans fluid temperature. Remember your radiator doubles as a tranny cooler. Does your Scangauge have X gauge capability? I know on my Escort I was able to program in a trans temp gauge. The first warm day when I had the car on the highway with the full lower block still on the trans temp climbed to 215*, much higher than the usual 170-180* that I would see on the highway. That is definitely not good for the transmission. I cut an opening in my lower grill block and the temps returned to normal.
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Old 04-12-2009, 10:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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16 valve zetec indeed.

Hm. I should note that I've had transmission problems starting in the middle of winter. Fluid was black. It still slips a little, not nearly as bad though. I def need to get some more cooling going on.

I'm hoping to score some new grill block material soon and drop under tray for air dam.
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Old 04-12-2009, 11:35 PM   #4 (permalink)
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mhmitszach -

Personally I don't like 220 degrees F. That is when my car's electric fan comes on. My normal temp is 190 degrees F. I prefer 200 degrees F or below.

I would gradually open up the bottom center of the grill block. I defer to Formula413 regarding the auto-tranny.

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Old 04-13-2009, 09:07 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I'd be a little nervous about 220f. I like to see 190-200f on my vehicles. Just my .02
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Old 04-13-2009, 12:52 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I agree, 220 seems way high. I wouldn't want to see more than 210. That's especially true if you ever go to places where there are hills: if you're maintaining 220 driving in flat Indiana, you're likely to overheat on a hill climb.
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Old 04-14-2009, 03:28 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cfg83 View Post
mhmitszach -

Personally I don't like 220 degrees F. That is when my car's electric fan comes on. My normal temp is 190 degrees F. I prefer 200 degrees F or below.

I would gradually open up the bottom center of the grill block. I defer to Formula413 regarding the auto-tranny.

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To the OP: If your tranny fluid is black, you may need to grant yourself your wish for a manual transmission sooner rather than later.
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Old 04-14-2009, 08:14 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Formula413 View Post
Resident slushbox guru; talk about a dubious honor.

To the OP: If your tranny fluid is black, you may need to grant yourself your wish for a manual transmission sooner rather than later.
I've gotten the fluid flushed and the shop put in some anti slippage something...

This car isn't worth swapping to a manual. Only paid 1600 for the car. Manual swap would be at least 300-500 in parts.

I'd be better of buying a manual and swapping my tires and whatever might be better to it.


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Old 04-14-2009, 12:05 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Whenever I have a serious hill climb(Erwin-Asheville I-26) and my temps are warm(summer driving somewhere like returning from South Carolina, TN its always ok) I turn the heat on and vent it up across my windshield and then crack my rear window. It doesn't seriously hurt my aero and it vents temperatures pretty drastically while making me only slightly less comfortable.
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Old 04-14-2009, 01:00 PM   #10 (permalink)
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The Zetec is a strong motor and can handle a sustained 220, the stock thermostat is 195. Problem is, it is getting closer to the point of trully overheating, 250 is what I would consider overheating and ready to cause some engine damage. So your margin of error is less. To me, it's a risk assesment. "Do I want to risk the possibility of overheating for the X mpg gain?" Determine how much gain you have from the the mods that cause the high temps, then wiegh out wether you are willing to take the risk.
I'd be willing to take the risk for a couple mpg improvement, just be ready defrost One indicator, for the Zetec, that you are too hot will be pinging. It will ping before engine damage occurs, that will let you know something is not right.
BTW, a manual swap with a Festiva fifth gear will proably pay itself off in mpg savings in about a year

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