Above normal coolant temperatures can be caused by many conditions. Use the following procedure to determine the cause of above normal coolant temperatures:
- Check the coolant level in the cooling system. If the coolant level is too low, air will get into the cooling system. Air in the cooling system will cause a reduction in coolant flow and bubbles in the coolant. Air bubbles will keep the coolant away from the engine parts, which will prevent the transfer of heat to the coolant. Low coolant level is caused by leaks or incorrectly filling the expansion tank.
- Check the mixture of the antifreeze. Refer to Operation and Maintenance Manual, "Cooling System Coolant Sample (Level 2) - Obtain".
- Check for air in the cooling system. Air can enter the cooling system in different ways. The most common causes of air in the cooling system are not filling the cooling system correctly and combustion gas leakage into the cooling system. Combustion gas can get into the system through inside cracks, a damaged cylinder head, or a damaged cylinder head gasket. Air in the cooling system causes a reduction in coolant flow and bubbles in the coolant. Air bubbles keep the coolant away from the engine parts, which prevents the transfer of heat to the coolant. Refer to Systems Operation, Testing and Adjusting, "Cooling System - Inspect".
- Check the sending unit. In some conditions, the temperature sensor in the engine sends signals to a sending unit. The sending unit converts these signals to an electrical impulse which is used by a mounted gauge. If the sending unit malfunctions, the gauge can show an incorrect reading. Also if the electric wire breaks or if the electric wire shorts out, the gauge can show an incorrect reading.
- Check the radiator for a restriction to coolant flow. Check the radiator for debris, dirt, or deposits on the inside of the core. Debris, dirt, or deposits will restrict the flow of coolant through the radiator. Refer to Operation and Maintenance Manual, "Radiator - Clean".
- Check the filler cap. A pressure drop in the cooling system can cause the boiling point to be lower. This can cause the cooling system to boil. Refer to Systems Operation, Testing and Adjusting, "Cooling System - Test".
- Check the cooling system hoses and clamps. Damaged hoses with leaks can normally be seen. Hoses that have no visual leaks can soften during operation. The soft areas of the hose can become kinked or crushed during operation. These areas of the hose can cause a restriction in the coolant flow. Hoses become soft and/or get cracks after a period of time. The inside of a hose can deteriorate, and the loose particles of the hose can cause a restriction of the coolant flow.
- Check for a restriction in the air inlet system. A restriction of the air that is coming into the engine can cause high cylinder temperatures. High cylinder temperatures require higher than normal temperatures in the cooling system.
- Check for a restriction in the exhaust system. A restriction of the air that is coming out of the engine can cause high cylinder temperatures.
- Make a visual inspection of the exhaust system.
- Check for damage to exhaust piping. Check for damage to the exhaust elbow. If no damage is found, check the exhaust system for a restriction.
- Check the water temperature regulator. A water temperature regulator that does not open, or a water temperature regulator that only opens part of the way can cause overheating. Refer to Testing and Adjusting, "Water Temperature Regulator - Test".
- Check the water pump. A water pump with a damaged impeller does not pump enough coolant for correct engine cooling. Remove the water pump. Refer to Disassembly and Assembly, "Water Pump - Remove". Inspect the water pump impeller for damage. Refer to Disassembly and Assembly, "Water Pump - Disassemble".
- Check the air flow through the engine compartment. Not enough air flow over the engine can affect the engine operating temperature.
- Consider high outside temperatures. When outside temperatures are too high for the rating of the cooling system, there is not enough of a temperature difference between the outside air and coolant temperatures. The maximum temperature of the ambient air that enters the engine should not exceed 50 °C (120 °F).
- When a load that is applied to the engine is too large, the engine rpm does not increase with an increase of fuel. This lower engine rpm causes a reduction in coolant flow through the system. This combination of less air and less coolant flow during high input of fuel will cause above normal heating.
- Timing of the engine which is incorrect may also cause overheating of the engine. Late timing creates more heat in the engine. Early timing creates less heat in the engine.
Note: If the timing of the engine is incorrect, the exhaust valves may be burned and damage to the exhaust manifold may occur.