Cooling System

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Cooling System

The cooling system's function is to maintain an efficient engine operating temperature during all engine speeds and operating conditions. The cooling system is designed to remove approximately one-third of the heat produced by the burning of the air-fuel mixture. When the engine is cold, the system cools slowly or not at all. This allows the engine to warm quickly.
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Cooling Cycle

Coolant is drawn from the radiator outlet and into the water pump inlet by the water pump. Some coolant will then be pumped from the water pump, to the heater core, then back to the water pump. This provides the passenger compartment with heat and defrost.

Coolant is also pumped through the water pump outlet and into the engine block. In the engine block, the coolant circulates through the water jackets surrounding the cylinders where it absorbs heat.

The coolant is then forced through the cylinder head gasket openings and into the cylinder heads. In the cylinder heads, the coolant flows through the water jackets surrounding the combustion chambers and valve seats, where it absorbs additional heat.

From the cylinder heads, the coolant is then forced to the thermostat. The flow of coolant will either be stopped at the thermostat until the engine is warmed or it will flow through the thermostat and into the radiator where it is cooled and the coolant cycle is completed.

Operation of the cooling system requires proper functioning of all cooling system components. The cooling system consists of the following components:
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The engine coolant is a solution made up of a 50-50 mixture of Antifreeze and clean drinkable water. The coolant solution carries excess heat away from the engine to the radiator, where the heat is dissipated to the atmosphere.

The radiator is a heat exchanger. The radiator removes heat from the coolant passing through it. The fins on the core absorb heat from the coolant passing through the tubes. As air passes between the fins, it absorbs heat and cools the coolant.

Pressure Cap
The pressure cap is a cap that seals and pressurizes the cooling system. It contains a blow off or pressure valve and a vacuum or atmospheric valve. The pressure valve is held against its seat by a spring of predetermined strength, which protects the radiator by relieving pressure if it exceeds 15 psi. The vacuum valve is held against its seat by a spring, which permits opening of the valve to relieve vacuum created in the cooling system as it cools off. The vacuum, if not relieved, might cause the radiator to collapse.

Coolant Recovery System
The coolant recovery system consists of a plastic coolant recovery reservoir and overflow tube. The recovery reservoir is also called a recovery tank or expansion tank. It is partially filled with coolant and is connected to the radiator fill neck with the overflow tube. Coolant can flow back and forth between the radiator and the reservoir.

In effect, a cooling system with a coolant recovery reservoir is a closed system. When the pressure in the cooling system gets too high, it will open the pressure valve in the pressure cap. This allows the coolant, which has expanded due to being heated, is allowed to flow through the overflow tube and into the recovery reservoir. As the engine cools down, the temperature of the coolant drops and a vacuum is created in the cooling system. This vacuum opens the vacuum valve in the pressure cap, allowing some of the coolant in the reservoir to be siphoned back into the radiator. Under normal operating conditions, no coolant is lost. Although the coolant level in the recovery reservoir goes up and down, the radiator and cooling system are kept full. An advantage to using a coolant recovery reservoir is that it eliminates almost all air bubbles from the cooling system. Coolant without bubbles absorbs heat much better than coolant with bubbles.

Water Pump
The water pump is a centrifugal vane impeller type pump. The pump consists of a housing with coolant inlet and outlet passages and an impeller. The impeller is a flat plate mounted on the pump shaft with a series of flat or curved blades or vanes. When the impeller rotates, the coolant between the vanes is thrown outward by centrifugal force.

The purpose of the water pump is to circulate coolant throughout the cooling system. The water pump is driven by the crankshaft via the drive belt.

The thermostat is a coolant flow control component. It's purpose is to regulate the operating temperature of the engine.

When the coolant temperature is below 91°C (195°F), the thermostat valve remains closed. This prevents circulation of the coolant to the radiator and allows the engine to warm up quickly. After the coolant temperature reaches 91°C (195°F), the thermostat valve will open. The coolant is then allowed to circulate through the thermostat to the radiator where the engine heat is dissipated to the atmosphere.

Following are all part of the engine cooling system:

Coolant Hose
Coolant Reservoir
Engine - Coolant Temperature Sensor/Switch
Fan Blade
Fan Shroud
Heater Core
Heater Hose
Radiator Cap
Radiator Cooling Fan
Radiator Cooling Fan Control Module
Radiator Cooling Fan Motor
Radiator Cooling Fan Motor Relay
Radiator Hose
Temperature Sensor (Gauge)
Thermostat Bypass Hose
Water Pump

If you are losing coolant and the car is overheating, let the engine cool off, when there is no more pressure in the system, remove the radiator cap and make sure the radiator is full of coolant. A lot of people just add water to the coolant recovery tank, that will not help. If there is a leak, than the system with not suck the fluid in the tank into the radiator.

Do not waste your money on Antifreeze if you know that you are losing coolant. Temporarily adding water will be fine.

If the car is overheating, chances are air conditioning system will be blowing warm air too.

Never remove the radiator cap on a hot engine. It will explode and cause chemical burns.

Do not keep driving an overheating car. The damage caused to the engine can be very extensive and expensive to repair.