Ford Aerostar White Coolant Residue

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A few days ago I was doing a regular check of fluids and left the radiator cap off. After driving a couple of miles I smelled it, pulled over and replaced the cap. Back home after it cooled I went to check the level and saw this residue...
Photo color may not be true -- actual color is a little darker than milk cream.
http://img542.imageshack.us/img542/6559/rhi8.jpg
Any idea what that could be? Radiator was flushed out and pressure checked about 3 months ago and had the same thing. Radiator shop said he had no idea what it was.
Tastes like a metallic salt to me.
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On Wednesday, July 24, 2013 5:38:49 PM UTC-7, Guv Bob wrote:

It looks like Aluminum Oxide to me.
Look at this reference: http://www.ve-labs.net/electrolysis-101
or http://www.diagnosticnews.com/tech/cooling-system-contamination-repeat-component-failure-requires-heroic-efforts/
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That's a great article about cooling systems. The cooling system has been starting to overheat for the past few months when it's a idling for more than a couple of minutes. Also a regular squeak. Mechanic thinks the squeak is a pulley but now I'm wondering if it might the water pump causes all the problems.
For overheating troubles, the fan and clutch are fine, coolant is fine, radiator is clear and no leaks in the system. Change the thermostat recently and it helped but still temp is increasing more than it should. Temp sensors are OK also.
Will bite the bullet and drag the old water pump out. Not looking forward that.
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Guv Bob wrote:

I fail to understand why you are worried about colors and noises on a vehicle that is constantly overheating.
Have you had a block test done?
GW
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wrote:

As I stated - if the pH of the coolant is too high the radiator will scale and it will NOT cool properly. If the pH is too low (acidic) the radiator will corrode and leak.
If it overheats at idle but not on the road the primary suspect is the fan clutch. Next suspect is a restricted rad (which would usually also heat under heavy load) - (either air restriction or restricted coolant flow)
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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Hi, Very simple. Test the rad. with so called pressure test. Put in a dye to detect exhaust gas-fume- for possible blown head gasket. When OP said rad is clean, you mean it is chemically flushed to be really clean?
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minutes.

Thanks, you mentioned this before. Fan clutch works fine. Radiator is not restricted.
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On Mon, 29 Jul 2013 09:24:41 -0700, "Guv Bob"

What makes you say the fan clutch works fine? I've been thru this with a 90 ford mustang and the difference between the old one (that wasn't working fine) and the new (that solved the runs hot at idle problem) was almost imperceptible by feeling anything by hand or looking at anything.
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minutes.

on a

will

the

the

also

coolant

is not restricted.

The fan spins freely when cold. Then after the engine's hot and I turn it off, there's a pretty good resistance to spinning.
Also, I can put a white mark on one of the fan blades, the fire the engine up to idle speed and then turn it off, and count the revolutions until it stops. Doing the same thing when hot, it stops quicker.
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On Wed, 7 Aug 2013 16:06:52 -0700, "Guv Bob"

Yours could be fine, like I said the difference between Fine and not fine can be pretty small. If it's not overheating at speed and is at idle there isn't a whole lot of things that would cause that but a problem with the fan. And the fan is usually the easiest thing to replace when you have reached the point where you can't pin down anything and are ready to start throwing parts at it. OTOH, at least theoretically, there could be some kind of ignition timing problem that's got the engine idling with the wrong spark advance and making up for it by adjusting the idle speed to compensate. I would tend to think that ought to throw a code though.
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minutes.

noises on a

radiator will

(acidic) the

is the

usually also

coolant

Radiator is not restricted.

turn it off, there's a pretty good resistance to spinning.

engine up to idle speed and then turn it off, and count the revolutions until it stops. Doing the same thing when hot, it stops quicker.

Well, you're probably right in my case, AC. Today it spins the same whether hot or cold. I've been told that these after-market fan clutches are prone to fail early. I changed it once and was a lot easier than a water pump.
I assume the idea behind having a clutch is that it lets the engine warm up quickly and then starts to cool when hot. What do you think about bolting the clutch in place so that the fan always spins the same?
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On Fri, 9 Aug 2013 21:58:01 -0700, "Guv Bob"

My Dad did that years ago. Not a good idea. The front bearing of his water pump greeted him one day soon after he bolted thru clutch in place. The deal with the clutch is that it never spins more then about 2500 rpm even if the engine is going faster. Plus it's balanced. Bolt in together and you probably will throw the balance off and you surely will wind up revving it up past it's design speed.
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the

of minutes.

noises on a

radiator will

(acidic) the

suspect is the

usually also

restricted coolant

Radiator is not restricted.

this

(that

idle

turn it off, there's a pretty good resistance to spinning.

the engine up to idle speed and then turn it off, and count the revolutions until it stops. Doing the same thing when hot, it stops quicker.

not

at

least

making

to

whether hot or cold. I've been told that these after-market fan clutches are prone to fail early. I changed it once and was a lot easier than a water pump.

warm up quickly and then starts to cool when hot. What do you think about bolting the clutch in place so that the fan always spins the same?

OK, thanks for the good advice. The last fan clutch is less than a few months old. Can you recommend any particular brand?
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On Sat, 10 Aug 2013 00:34:42 -0700, "Guv Bob"

Actually they will run up pretty close to full speed when hot and running steady speed. I'd switch to an electric fan if I was having fan clutch problems.
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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Hi, Is the rad. chem. flushed by rad dunking in the chem. bath? Is inside the rad. REALLY clean?
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the

of minutes.

noises on a

radiator will

(acidic) the

suspect is the

usually also

restricted coolant

Radiator is not restricted.

this

(that

idle

or

I turn it off, there's a pretty good resistance to spinning.

the engine up to idle speed and then turn it off, and count the revolutions until it stops. Doing the same thing when hot, it stops quicker.

not

is at

a

to

least

problem

making

tend to

same whether hot or cold. I've been told that these after-market fan clutches are prone to fail early. I changed it once and was a lot easier than a water pump.

engine warm up quickly and then starts to cool when hot. What do you think about bolting the clutch in place so that the fan always spins the same?

his

balance

speed.

a few months old. Can you recommend any particular brand?

No idea. I had the radiator shop do their usual annual flush and pressure check.
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On Fri, 9 Aug 2013 21:58:01 -0700, "Guv Bob"

Well, it will use mor gas, and it will be louder - other than that, no problem - as long as you can do it without throwing the fan off balance. Other option is remove the engine driven fan and install a thermostatically controlled electric fan kit with an air conditioning bypass that runs the fan any time the A/C is on.
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the

of minutes.

noises on a

radiator will

(acidic) the

suspect is the

usually also

restricted coolant

Radiator is not restricted.

this

(that

idle

turn it off, there's a pretty good resistance to spinning.

the engine up to idle speed and then turn it off, and count the revolutions until it stops. Doing the same thing when hot, it stops quicker.

not

at

least

making

to

whether hot or cold. I've been told that these after-market fan clutches are prone to fail early. I changed it once and was a lot easier than a water pump.

warm up quickly and then starts to cool when hot. What do you think about bolting the clutch in place so that the fan always spins the same?

Sounds good, but the car has run fine until now, so I'll first just try repair & replacing stuff.
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Guv Bob wrote:

Hi, Driving w/o cap the coolant splashed out cooking the drops. Just Wash the engine bay clean and refill the rad. Or flush the system and refill. I had that problem once on my old Path finder. Shop had a rad. work and forgot to tighten the upper rad. hose doing the same thing.
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A few days ago I was doing a regular check of fluids and left the radiator cap off. After driving a couple of miles I smelled it, pulled over and replaced the cap. Back home after it cooled I went to check the level and saw this residue...
Photo color may not be true -- actual color is a little darker than milk cream.
http://img542.imageshack.us/img542/6559/rhi8.jpg
Any idea what that could be? Radiator was flushed out and pressure checked about 3 months ago and had the same thing. Radiator shop said he had no idea what it was.
Tastes like a metallic salt to me.
Probably road dirt stuck to the coolant and then dried off.
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