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Discussion Starter #1
I need help with my focus! 2000 ZX3 Zetec. Today I was sitting in traffic on the way to work, and I looked at my thermostat and noticed it rising. This has never happend before so I got sort of freaked out.

I was sitting in a traffic jam when it started to rise, so I popped my hood and dorve the last bit with it cracked open but still latched. When driving, this seemed to decrease the temperature on the thermostat. I made it to work which was only a couple blocks away without it overheating, but it was pretty close to the red mark.

I pulled in the parking lot and quickly turned off the car. I popped the hood and the whole engine bay was very hot. I left the hood open a crack so it can cool off tonight while I am working. I am hoping someone can give an explanation on what happend.

I have a volant intake, and the coolant level on the overflow tank was at a minimum. My next oil change isn't for the next 1000km, and the oil is a nice color. I think this whole think might be heat bog/soak issues, but it has never happend before, and it is not very hot today, almost cool.

Please help!
 

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Could it be that the thermostat stuck closed??? If so, it would be the first time I've heard it happen on a Focus. The nice thing is that changing a thermostat, if done carefully and correctly, can be a 10 minute job.

Focus Hacks: Replacing the thermostat and/or thermostat housing.

Edit: But I'd like to see what everybody else thinks before you start ripping into it.
 

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"Just a Katie"
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My 2000 zx3- z-tec does this too. I have a new resivoir, new water pump, new thermostat, thermostat houseing and hoses and it still does it every now and again- I think it has something to do with a fan NOT kickin on, not sure though.

If im idling too long, the gauge will run to red, but as soon as I start driving, it cools back down to normal- did yours do that too?
 

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if it's in traffic it is most likely the fan not switching on. next time this happens turn the vents to full hot and turn the AC on, this should activate the second fan, see if your temps drop then.
 

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My 2000 zx3- z-tec does this too. I have a new resivoir, new water pump, new thermostat, thermostat houseing and hoses and it still does it every now and again- I think it has something to do with a fan NOT kickin on, not sure though.

If im idling too long, the gauge will run to red, but as soon as I start driving, it cools back down to normal- did yours do that too?
Good point. Does the car cool down if you drive at normal speeds?

Also, check to see if the fans are running at idle when its getting hot. There's a high speed fan and a low speed fan. One kicks on at a certain ECT (engine coolant temp) and the other kicks on at a higher ECT. If you're overheating, I'd imagine both should be on.

The good thing is that if the car does actually get to the point of overheating, it will go into "limp home" mode and turn two cylinders off essentially turning them into pumps pulling cool(ambient) air through the engine. But it should run and get you to where you're going with little to no damage to the engine.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Ok. All of the suggestions sound good. What if I don't have AC though? And yes, the temps drop when I drive normal speed.

if it's in traffic it is most likely the fan not switching on. next time this happens turn the vents to full hot and turn the AC on, this should activate the second fan, see if your temps drop then.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Awesome. I love all you guys I'll pick that up on teh way home tonight and put it in. I assume it is probably a pretty easy job. Anyone have a link to a how to?
 

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If it's not the fan...

Did you check your fluid in the radiator??? I realize you said the overflow tank had fluid but that isn't the best judge.

I had a similiar issue with my Dakota. Sitting at a light and my temp guage was climbing fast, as soon as I started driving, it dropped down to normal.

The fluid was low and wasn't cooling off enough. It showed that I had fluid in the overflow tank, but the radiator was hella low.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
ok, maybe I will check that too. Where can i tell if the radiator has enough fluid? Where should the fluid be up to?
 

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Pull the cap off the radiator (however DO NOT do it after running the car because it will boil over and you can injure yourself) and check to see if the fluid is filled to the top. There really is no dip stick or anything to check.

If it's low, add it right to the radiator. When my Dak was low and acting the same way, I dumped 1gal of fluid in the radiator and it solved the issue.

Now, if you're losing fluid then there's a reason. I ended up having a leak at the thermostat gasket.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I went out to check the radiator fluid. I could not find the cap for the top of the radiator in my engine bay. There is the plastic tank on the left filled with radiator fluid, but I was under the impression that that was the overflow tank. Its level currently sits at min. Is this where I should be checking, or is the cap hidden somewhere else? Thanks again.
 

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http://www.focaljet.com/ubbthreads/showf...#Post2416509216

...this happened to me about a year ago. My fans were not working all the time, my car would overheat in stopped traffic or driving slowly. And I was leaking coolant. I'll just paste from one of my responses in that thread:

Ok, got the car back today. My fans weren't working because the cooling fan resistor was shot.

What I thought was a related problem was how I was going through so much coolant, but that turned out to be separate, that was the infamous coolant leak, which I just learned about once my mechanic told me, I never knew the Focus had this problem so much.

Anyways, to fix my fans, they replaced:

Heater motor resistor block- 3M5Z18591BA ($7.92), and
Radiator fan resistor- F5RZ8L603AC ($37.12).

And they also replaced the thermostat housing assembly for the coolant leak, but that's already been covered a billion times.
...something, I forget what it was though, I think the thermostat housing, was a new part they used, Ford changed the design on it.

Edit: sounds like you have both problems too. Mine seemed to both start at the same time but my mechanic said they were unrelated. In any event it wasn't a horribly expensive fix so I just had my family mechanic do it for me.

But yeah if you take a few days to fix it just keep a bottle of coolant handy. And try not to sit in traffic
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks for the advice on the problems. I will keep an eye on it to see what happens next. But can someone answer my question of where do I check the level of the radiator fluid?
 
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