My 1991 Ram50 has developed some cooling issues, or perhaps it has, I'll explain.
I've been on a little bit of an effort to bring the truck up to date on some long overdue attention. My Brother-in-Law, who owned the truck the first 91K of it's life did oil changes, and that's about it. He did have a family friend change the timing belt, but I'll get back to that in a bit. I've owned it for about 4K miles now, and am starting to work my way through the truck.
Over the past few weeks, I have done, or have had done, these things:
- Replaced instrument cluster with one that has the volt, oil pressure, and tach. (the Sport gauges) (I did this)
- Had the A/C checked and charged. Had been inoperative for over 4 years. Works now, only cost $150 for the service visit. I paid someone to do this.
- I replaced the upper and lower radiator hoses, the thermostat, and the fan clutch. I also drained and flushed the coolant, and refilled with fresh 50/50 mix. The old coolant was pure rust color, and was way overdue to be changed.
- I was going to replace the radiator, but when I removed it and flushed it with high pressure water, it flowed clear within 20 seconds or so, and when drained, it weighed almost exactly the same as the replacement radiator I had purchased. From this I surmised it was relatively free of sediment, and I re-used it, and returned the new radiator to the FLAPS for a refund.
- I replaced the fan clutch with a new one. No indication the old one was failing, just trying to do some preventative maintenance.
I still need to do the timing belt and water pump. The timing belt was installed one tooth off by the previous mechanic, so the timing is slightly off, even with the distributor cranked all the way over. I know that means my engine is working harder than it should have to, but it has been that way for a while, and never seemed to drive temps up before
So, now it starts off fine, temperature rises as it should, both radiator hoses get hot, and it seems like all is good. Until I get it out on the road going 65 or so, and the needle starts to rise. So far I haven't let it hit the red, always stopping and letting it cool down, but I feel like it would hit the red if I kept going.
So today I'm driving it, and the gauge starts to climb. I've got the A/C on, because it's freaking summer in GA, and I decide to try something. I turn off the A/C. Windows down. Temp gauge starts to fall. It was lamost to the red, and it falls back to about 3/4. Still not back to the middle, which used to be it's normal place.
Is the A/C putting that much strain on my engine, or is it something else I've changed?
It's a brand new fan clutch, but maybe it's bad?
I know thermostats are notorious for being bad out of the box, could that be it?
Tomorrow I'm going to drive it with no A/C for the whole trip, and see what the temp gauge does. I know I'll be sweating. Literally!!