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Let's talk cooling

James McGill

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I live in a climate where temperatures are going to easily reach 122°F (50°C) and drive two V6 Fords, a 2011 Edge SEL and a 2004 Ranger (With "Edge" trim!!).

The advice I'd like to hear is a list of things to check in an aggressive cooling system preventative maint.

I had a couple of overheating scares last year. Original fan failed, Motorcraft replacement fan failed a week later, Taiwan fan works.
Radiator housing exploded. Replaced with Motorcraft radiator.

Now when I drive I monitor with OBD2. On 95-100° days it drives at 195° and gets above 215° idling. I don't have any baseline data but I assume that's high. It does cool effectively when underway, so I'm not really worried much about coolant flow.

What keeps me awake at night is the notorious H2O pump in my 3.5L. One of the things I want to consider is to pre-emptively renew the timing chain and VCT, and I would appreciate advice and details on that, and opinions on whether it's a good idea. It's a $2000+ job, but it's a $7000+ catastrophic failure.

In any case it hasn't really let me down yet, but I'm in Phoenix and Summer is Coming.

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Paint your car white, park in the shade, see if a thermostat is available. Took my 15 Sport from 203 to 183 engine temp.


That's going from a 190 tstat yo a 160 but...it did require a tune modification.


I think I got nothing. New car?

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Read a report where someone parked two identical vehicles in Georgia sun, one white, one black. After allowing them to bake, measured the interior temperature and the black was 139°, the white 113°.

Radiator failure "may have been" from not flushing old coolant before changing. Did (or prev owner if there was one) you every mix or change coolant types?


If it were me, I don't believe I'd mess with a lower thermostat, car was designed to run at oem temperature. But I would change the coolant every couple of years as a precaution, make certain the I had s 50/50 mix and run synthetic oil.

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Here in Texas we don't get to 122F (least not here in Dallas) but we do get multiple 100+ days regularly and easily 95+ straight for weeks/months during the summer.

I do a simple drain and fill every 30k miles. With the known issues of the water pump design and the higher temps, I don't want to even THINK about having a water pump failure. I do not do a full 'flush' just a drain and fill which I think is sufficient at the interval I run. Also, there are months straight where all my windows never come down and the A/C runs continuously. I try to check that every summer and keep it topped off with a lubricating refrigerant. I also run Mobil-1 full synth and change that every 5k miles. I'm not going to mess with a different thermostat from OEM. I keep my rear windows cracked about 1/2" when parked and regularly use an aluminized windshield sun shade to reflect back as much solar heat as is possible. Unfortunately parking inside at work is not an option for me but I do what I can.

That's about it. Do what you can and hope for the best, or change jobs to a different state with different climate with enclosed parking. :)

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How many miles on your Edge?


A regular coolant flush routine is a good preventive/preemptive approach. If you can swing the WP/TC/VCT job, go for it, and set yourself a known baseline.


I am a bit iffy on the coolant additives that claim to reduce water tension and enhance cooling, but should work great IF you flush the coolant every year at least. Redline Water Wetter, Royal Purple Purple Ice, Amsoil Coolant Boost are among the top additives for this purpose.


A colder thermostat is a great idea ... when paired with a tune to adjust the fan operating temperature settings, like 037 mentioned. Usually, the tuner will also set the fans to operate longer when they DO come on, and that helps enhance fan longevity, as opposed to frequent cycling on/off. And with AZ heat, you want fan longevity :) It will work better than just a coolant additive, for sure.

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