OVER­HEAT­ING 7.3L

Diesel Power - - Top Tech Questions - Lester Holtz via email

QUES­TION: I have an ’00 Ford F-250 I use to haul a small back­hoe to job sites. The trail­ered load is about 10,500 pounds. The truck never misses a beat and runs great, but the 4R100 au­to­matic trans­mis­sion’s and 7.3L en­gine’s tem­per­a­tures creep way up in stop-and-go traf­fic and on long grades. I am think­ing the fan clutch may be bad, caus­ing both is­sues de­scribed. I have an elec­tric fan run­ning con­tin­u­ously on the out­side of the trans­mis­sion cooler. Your thoughts?

AN­SWER: One of the com­mon up­grades ’99-to-’03 Ford Su­per Duty own­ers make is re­plac­ing the stock trans­mis­sion cooler with one from an ’03-to-’07, which has a very ro­bust cool­ing de­sign. It’s a sim­ple swap that usu­ally re­sults in tem­per­a­ture drops of 20 to 25 de­grees across the board. The orig­i­nal trans­mis­sion cooler on the ’99-to-’03 7.3L trucks is a puny nine-row piece com­pared to the 31row ver­sion used on the later-model rigs. You should also check a few other items: The torque con­verter could be go­ing out, caus­ing ex­ces­sive heat buildup, and/or the fan clutch and wa­ter pump need to be re­placed. But first, when­ever there’s an over­heat­ing is­sue with those older en­gines, it’s a good idea to thor­oughly flush the cool­ing sys­tem and re­place the ther­mo­stat, then check off the other com­po­nents that are in­te­gral to the cool­ing sys­tem as a whole, if a prob­lem is still there.

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