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Old 09-07-2011, 11:20 PM
DadzDodge DadzDodge is offline
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We had a similar situation in that my father-in-law gave my teenage son his '96 Ram that had only been driven 1,000 miles in the last 15 months. Everything seemed OK for the first couple of days, but then coolant started disappearing from the radiator. There was no moisture evident from the weep hole at first, but then a pretty steady drip started, and the water pump made an irregular rattle with the engine running. My favorite clue was that we could shake the radiator fan because of the failed water pump to which it was attached.

We did a couple of flushes before changing the water pump and each time, the coolant came out rusty. It turns out the lower radiator hose was reinforced with wire, and that wire had turned to nothing more than a coil of rust. You may find your problem is nothing more than a rusty radiator hose insert and a failed water pump. Who knows,you may have no heat only because the impeller in your water pump is rusted away -- the Ford Taurus Vulcan 3.0 engine is known to do this if the coolant is ignored, especially if allowed to get too low and the impeller is exposed to air. I've heard guys say the impeller blades were completely gone. So, I would say +1 to the previous comments suggesting you focus on the cooling system problem before moving on to a possible head gasket problem. HOPEFULLY you won't have as big a problem as you might think.
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