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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All
I'm new here, any pointers most welcome.
I have a 1988 E250 Extended Ford Econoline converted from the factory to a camper. It has regularly overheated and I have tried various things to fix that, most recently replacing the radiator which was clogged up with muck. Last week I got stuck in a bank holiday jam and properly cooked it to the point where the front grill started to melt/buckle. I have definitely blown the head gasket so at very least will need to take the heads off, the engine still runs, there are no obvious signs of damage from the outside but I fear that there will be proper damage internally, the rest of the van is sound and in good condition for its age. I would really like to get it working reliably so am thinking that rather than spend money replacing bits only to come back to the existing overheating problem I could stick a like for like reconditioned 351 engine in it, has anyone got any thoughts on this, suggestions on places to get a suitable engine, people who would be able to do the swapping (I'm in East Sussex), things to watch out for?

 

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Overheating will possibly cause the pistons to expand beyond their limits scoring the cylinder bore, but until you take the heads off you won't know.
If the bores are OK and the bottom end bearing aren't knocking you may get away with just a head gasket change.
The most common cause of overheating on these engines is the fan clutch. Easy to check, if you spin the fan does it stop before it's completed one revolution?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Arranged to take out the engine next week to see what's what. The fan does spin freely, clutch is gone. After reading up on a few forums I'm thinking of replacing it with an electric fan at the same time as getting the engine sorted. Any tips on Electric Fans?
 

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i'm sure real steel did a crate 351w at good money. just swap your bits over and away you go.
 

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Arranged to take out the engine next week to see what's what. The fan does spin freely, clutch is gone. After reading up on a few forums I'm thinking of replacing it with an electric fan at the same time as getting the engine sorted. Any tips on Electric Fans?
Yes, the bigger the better! I used a Mr Gasket one from Real Steel and apart from a little cock up be the painter, it's been working great for 12 years!
 

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Try for an adjustable controller to set the temperature that will turn it on, and if possible a manual override switch in case the controller quits.
 

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I would stick with the mechanical fan and original shroud, its all designed to work in far higher temperatures than we have here without issues. If the rads good, all the collant pipes are sound and the fan is working properly all will be well. Leccy fans just dump another 30amps on the alternator when they are running .

Bob
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi Bob

So the electric fan is not a magic fix, you're saying that drawing 30amps is going to cause problems for my stock alternator?

Will
 

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This is how I see it, electric fans need relay`s, stats, wiring and fitting. All is well but that adds four elements all of which can fail or be problematic = another cooked engine unless you drive with one eye on the gauge. I have seen leccy stats fail, poorly fitted fans chaffe through rads, wiring rub out and fans pack up. Vs the one plain and simple mechanical fan which is more than adequate and in a lot of cases much better. The camper is a heavy old lump and already has a cooling system fit for purpose so why mess with it?

Bob
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Whilst checking out my fan options I may have stumbled upon an important factor in my overheating, it looks like my engine is fitted with the wrong direction clutch fan, it spins counterclockwise but the pitch of the blades spinning that way blows air towards the rad... ridiculous I know & kind of annoying considering the consequences. I have ordered a new clutch and fan. Taking my engine out next week, I'll be in touch.
 

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Be careful. Many of those fans have a left hand thread. Can't remember how many times a customer only found this out after he had trashed the water pump.
 
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