If the engine on your commercial truck is running warmer than it should or the coolant in the radiator seems low, you may be putting the engine at risk of damage by continuing to operate it. Understanding how to identify and deal with engine cooling problems may help you save the engine. Here are a few tips to help you spot these problems and fix them.
Dealing With Radiator Leaks
Any time you see coolant dripping from the radiator, it's important that you address it right away. If you're looking for a short-term quick fix, you can often add a sealant product to the radiator to seal leaks. These are usually available from many different auto parts retailers, and just need to be poured directly into the radiator.
If the radiator has been damaged extensively, though, it's in your best interest to replace the entire thing. You'll have to drain the remaining coolant from the system, disconnect the radiator hose and then detach the radiator from the mounting bracket. Once you secure the new radiator in the mounting brackets, you can reattach the hoses and fill the system with coolant again.
Addressing Freeze Plug Problems
A failed freeze plug seal can also lead to problems with the cooling system. If there's a visible leak around the freeze plug, you'll need to restore the seal. You can do this in a couple of different ways depending on what you prefer. For example, you can apply a sealant around the hole where the plug goes, then replace the plug. This will form a tight seal around it. You may also want to clean the surface of the hole with fine grit sandpaper, then fill the area with some epoxy. Just make sure the plug goes into the hole perfectly straight so that you get the best possible seal.
Testing The System Pressure
When you believe that there's a leak, you can confirm it by conducting a pressure test. Pressure tests are also beneficial after you've done repairs, because they ensure that you haven't missed any other problems along the way.
Let the engine run until it's reached the normal operating temperature. That's the temperature that the gauge usually rests at when you're driving. Once the engine reaches that temperature, turn the cabin gauges to run the air conditioning. Let it run for a few minutes to put some pressure on the cooling system. Then, turn off both the air conditioning and the engine. Raise the hood and look for any leaks. If there's a leak anywhere, there will be enough pressure in the system for you to see coolant leaking from it.
These tips will help you troubleshoot overheating issues with your truck's engine. For more information or help addressing these common problems, talk with a local engine repair shop such as Dean's Auto Repair Inc.