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Problem With 2003 Retrobird Of Jim Reed...

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  • Problem With 2003 Retrobird Of Jim Reed...

    Jim Reed ~ 352tb430 has a problem with a couple of his Tbirds and let me know what he has been going through with them.. Here is what he had to say about his Retrobird, and if anyone can give him any assistance, it will be greatly appreciated... For those of you who know Jim Reed, this is certainly not his first rodeo with a Tbird, but this one is giving him fits... He also has a problem with his '59 430 Squarebird that I will post in that Forum...

    "It's 2020 still (2021 can't come soon enough). After all these months, you would think I'd not even try to fix anything on any of my cars (if it wasn't for bad luck, I'd ....). My 2003 "Black Lemon" (affectionate name as it usually has one or more DTC) with 203k miles was running fine in October, and I even said as much to my fellow T-bird club members. I was going to knock on wood when I said that, but none was handy. An hour later, I was headed up the 2 lane highway about a mile north of Paola and all of a sudden, the HOT indicator came on and the temp gauge was at the top of the scale! 2020 again. Scary thought at first was maybe a blown head gasket. Steam pouring out, coolant spewing all over the top of the engine and leaking onto the ground. Cutting to the chase, my best guess (and Leonard's) was a cracked/leaking thermostat housing (it was super hard to tell exactly where the leak was). Got a new Gates housing form Rock Auto which came with a new thermostat built in (nice). Shop manual instructions looked like a piece of cake (it lied ). Much more of a pita than it should have been. Good guess though as the original thermostat had broken and was pressed against the manifold closing the coolant passage. Overheat city . Finally got it tucked back together, carefully followed the book to fill up the new coolant and bleed the air out. Knowing it was 2020, I drove it in town a few times to test the fix. No leaks on top of the engine, so I thought it was fixed (2020 maybe would end well?). Still was getting a faint coolant odor, but since I couldn't see any leaking, I thought maybe that was old coolant that collected somewhere from the repair (?). Got the nerve to head up the highway again, and *&^%$# 2020! Overheating and leaking coolant again!!! Popped the hood, and my repair was fine (no leaks), so now it's something else. Coolant was running down to the ground bigly behind the engine in multiple spots. I heard gurgling noises (boiling?) coming from somewhere on/under the right side of the engine. I ran it again 2 days ago and drove it a couple of miles to warm it up to provoke the leaking (doesn't leak while sitting cold). Crawled under it and I could not spot with my led flashlight where the leak(s) was coming from (multiple drip points). ??? I suspect it might be the heater core (yikes, a scary thought), though it is not leaking inside the car so I don't know. I'm dazed/confused at this point. Changing the heater core (IF that's what it is) looks like a total nightmare per the shop manual, and something I would not want to tackle myself. My former go-to professional mechanic in Paola retired 2 years ago, and I have no idea where to go now. Anyone else have this similar problem? Anyone ever had a heater core replaced? Any suggestion(s)/help is appreciated. TY"

    Here is a picture of his 2003 "Black Lemon" as he calls her... I know that I would like to consider her for a future Squarebirds.org Calendar, "Lemon" or not! She like really nice in Black! Jim said the best way to contact him is via email. Here is his email addy: v1e9t7t3e"at"aim.com. You know what to replace the "at" with....

    Last edited by YellowRose; December 25th, 2020, 06:47 PM.

    Ray Clark - Squarebirds Administrator
    The Terminator..... VTCI #11178
    Contact me via Private Message for my email address, or Call (Cell) 210-875-1411

    https://www.squarebirds.org/picture_gallery/TechnicalResourceLibrary/trl.htm

  • #2
    Heater core leaks are easy to troubleshoot. Simply block the heater hoses going to the core. Go to the box store and buy 1/2" plastic pipe, enough to cut two short nipples with two caps that fit inside 5/8" rubber hose. (In a pinch, I have flattened 1/2" copper pipe ends and soldered them shut.) You'll need two heater hose clamps too. Your engine will run just fine with blocked heater hoses and this will eliminate the heater core in your troubleshooting scheme. - Dave
    My latest project:
    CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

    "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
    --Lee Iacocca

    From: Royal Oak, Michigan

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    • #3
      I have received the following information regarding fixing this problem and where that hose can be found on the Retrobird. This information has been passed on to Jim. Here is what was said and also the picture that was provided...

      "Attached is a picture of the pre-formed water hose that failed on my 2004. It is located under the intake manifold with only a factory spring clamp. One would never know a hose would be under there but when failed it got hot immediately and water leaked out over the back side of engine next to firewall. Your issue sound like the exact same symptoms. Hope this info help you and others. Neil"

      Ray Clark - Squarebirds Administrator
      The Terminator..... VTCI #11178
      Contact me via Private Message for my email address, or Call (Cell) 210-875-1411

      https://www.squarebirds.org/picture_gallery/TechnicalResourceLibrary/trl.htm

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