Cooling System Repair in Austin TX
With the exception of a few air cooled engines, vehicle engines are coolant cooled.
The cooling system has the task of keeping the engine at a constant temperature. This is especially important on computer controlled vehicles. The temperature must be kept at a precise level or the computer will not properly mix the air and fuel.
The cooling system uses a specially designed coolant to lubricate and condition the system. The coolant also has a higher boiling point than coolant. Because of this, it is not a good idea to put straight coolant in a cooling system.
The cooling system consists of several parts:
- Radiator cap
- Radiator fan
- Coolant pump
- Various valves and sensors
Because vehicles operate above 212 degrees, it is necessary to keep the system under pressure so it won’t boil.
In order to hold the pressure, the system must be free from leaks. A leak in the system may not be large enough to let coolant escape, but pressure can be lost and cause overheating. Often a faulty radiator cap will allow pressure to escape.
Overheating an engine is one of the worst things to happen to an engine. Other than a loss of oil pressure, overheating causes the more serious damage than anything else.
The coolant circulates throughout the engine by way of hollow jackets surrounding the moving parts. The coolant cools the areas which could otherwise reach temperatures in excess of 1000 degrees. The hot coolant is pumped through the engine by the coolant pump. The coolant pump takes hot coolant from the engine into the radiator. The coolant is kept in the radiator long enough to cool before its returned to the engine. The radiator dissipates the heat into the air. This is accomplished two ways; either the air is forced through the coils of the radiator by the forward momentum of the vehicle or by a fan.
The fan may be a mechanical fan operated by a belt, or an electric fan. Electric fans use a sensor to detect the coolant temperature and adjusts the fan speed and duration accordingly. An electric fan is much more energy efficient because it does not use engine power to turn the fan using a belt.
The thermostats job is twofold. The thermostat controls the flow of coolant from the engine to the radiator. It is just as important to keep the coolant in the radiator long enough to cool the coolant, as it is to leave it in the engine long enough to heat it. Many people think the answer to an overheating problem is to remove the thermostat, thinking the coolant will cool down faster. Actually the opposite is true. The coolant is circulated so fast, it never has a chance to dissipate the heat, causing the coolant to build more and more heat. The proper thermostat must be in the engine to allow the system to operate properly.
The engine has scores of gaskets and seals which seal the parts of the engine. These gaskets and seals are subject to corrosion. It is vitally important that the coolant be flushed regularly to prevent this corrosion.