2955 Overheating; HELP!
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    2955 Overheating; HELP!

    I have a 2955 that overheated after being run for 10 minutes yesterday. I could see where there was coolant that had leaked so I let it cool down and removed the fill cap. Reservoir was about 3/4 of a gallon low, so I filled to the mark and started the tractor again with the heater blowing on high. Within 5 minutes at an idle the tractor was overheating again. No leaks anywhere other than coolant coming out of the overflow on the reservoir. I stopped in at the local JD dealer and visited with service. Their first comment was that it likely had a blown head gasket. I really haven't been experiencing any other symptoms of that so I investigated further. I drained the radiator and ran a flush through it. While doing the flush, (heater blowing on high) the temp gauge shows that it was heating up too high again, but I never had any hot air coming out of the heat vent. The top tube on the radiator was hot; bottom was not. It started running coolant out of the reservoir overflow again, but the coolant coming out was not even warm. Radiator fins are all clean on the outside.

    Does anyone have any suggestions on what might be the problem?? Should I try replacing the thermostats first? Any help is greatly appreciated. I just purchased the family ranch in the past year and really don't have the funds readily available to do the head gasket, if that's the issue.

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    Tomfive's Avatar
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    My experience comes from cars, but tractors are similar. Here's what I would do to start my diagnosis.

    1. You said the top radiator was hot but the bottom was cold, if you check the radiator surface with your hand, how was the temperature on the fins top to bottom. You may have a clogged radiator or stuck thermostat.
    2. I would take out the thermostat entirely and run the engine. Check the top and bottom radiator hoses and the surface of the radiator. If everything warms up, then thermostat was the issue. If the radiator doesn't warm top to bottom, you may have a clogged radiator.

    Coolant coming out of the overflow can be caused by a blown head gasket or from the coolant boiling around the cylinders. The way I used to check was to wait until the engine cooled off, remove the fan belt running the water pump, remove the radiator cap and fill the radiator to the top. Start the engine and watch the water at the radiator neck. If the water immediately overflows and continues to come out, you could be getting combustion gasses through a blown head gasket. You may have been getting steam out of the exhaust too. Coolant boiling would take at least a few minutes to start the overflow.

    My 2 cents, that's all I could come up with for now, good luck.

    After I posted I re-read the OP's post and another thing came to mind, I'll assume the water pump belt didn't break and there is circulation?
    And that you did run a flush through the radiator and the radiator is clear and not partially clogged?
    Last edited by Tomfive; 09-20-2017 at 01:01 PM. Reason: more thoughts
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    Tom

    2011 1026R/R4's -- H120 FEL/49" -- 260 BH/12" -- Bro-Tek Ripper -- Artillian Forks/42" -- 244 lbs JD Rear Wheel Weights -- KBOH Hooks and Clevis' --
    Block heater -- 180* T-stat -- Evans HP Waterless Coolant

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tomfive View Post
    My experience comes from cars, but tractors are similar. Here's what I would do to start my diagnosis.

    1. You said the top radiator was hot but the bottom was cold, if you check the radiator surface with your hand, how was the temperature on the fins top to bottom. You may have a clogged radiator or stuck thermostat.
    2. I would take out the thermostat entirely and run the engine. Check the top and bottom radiator hoses and the surface of the radiator. If everything warms up, then thermostat was the issue. If the radiator doesn't warm top to bottom, you may have a clogged radiator.

    Coolant coming out of the overflow can be caused by a blown head gasket or from the coolant boiling around the cylinders. The way I used to check was to wait until the engine cooled off, remove the fan belt running the water pump, remove the radiator cap and fill the radiator to the top. Start the engine and watch the water at the radiator neck. If the water immediately overflows and continues to come out, you could be getting combustion gasses through a blown head gasket. You may have been getting steam out of the exhaust too. Coolant boiling would take at least a few minutes to start the overflow.

    My 2 cents, that's all I could come up with for now, good luck.

    After I posted I re-read the OP's post and another thing came to mind, I'll assume the water pump belt didn't break and there is circulation?
    And that you did run a flush through the radiator and the radiator is clear and not partially clogged?
    Thank you so much for the tips! I haven't tried all of your suggested steps yet, but I did pull the thermostats out and run the tractor. After 10-15 minutes, the temp gauge was almost into the red. The top radiator hose was hot; bottom wasn't even warm. Still no hot air coming out of the heat vents in the cab. I shut it down and felt the radiator. Cool top to bottom; no heat at all. After the engine started getting hot, water was coming out of the overflow on the reservoir, but it wasn't hot at all.

    The belt to the water pump is intact. After I drained the radiator yesterday, I ran water through the reservoir and it came out the bottom of the radiator. However, the specs say the tractor should hold 4.5 gallons of coolant and my initial drain (with reservoir fill to max level) only yielded about 2.5 gallons. Maybe because some is still in the block?? I did crank the engine several times while draining to see if I got anymore.

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    I was taught when diagnosing/repairing vehicles/tractors/equip.to perform the easiest things 1st so I'd recommend replacing thermostats(RE48583 180°F). Does your tractor have viscous drive fan because parts lists VD as as an option? I've had the VD fan on my 4255 that I bought used in '93 locked solid since '94. I also suggest to check pressure of radiator at operating temp. or replace radiator cap. Is fan belt snug & back of fan belt even with of below sheave sides?
    Last edited by Tx Jim; 09-20-2017 at 02:40 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tx Jim View Post
    I was taught when diagnosing/repairing vehicles/tractors/equip.to perform the easiest things 1st so I'd recommend replacing thermostats(RE48583 180°F). Does your tractor have viscous drive fan because parts lists VD as as an option? I've had the VD fan on my 4255 that I bought used in '93 locked solid since '94. I also suggest to check pressure of radiator at operating temp. or replace radiator cap. Is fan belt snug & back of fan belt even with of below sheave sides?
    I'll go grab a couple thermostats and replace them and check the cap. Fan belt is snug. I did just unhook the top and bottom hoses on the radiator and flush with water. Water seemed to run through top to bottom with no problem. I'm not sure about the VD fan; although the fan is turning with no issue at all times.
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    Tomfive's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbwest View Post
    I'll go grab a couple thermostats and replace them and check the cap. Fan belt is snug. I did just unhook the top and bottom hoses on the radiator and flush with water. Water seemed to run through top to bottom with no problem. I'm not sure about the VD fan; although the fan is turning with no issue at all times.
    Though thermostats are relatively inexpensive, I don't think that is your problem. If you were running the engine without the thermostats, your radiator should have at least gotten warm. Thermostats generally allow the engine to come up and maintain running temps. With a clear radiator, no thermostat and clear block with circulation, your engine shouldn't be able to come up to operating temps, and not be able to "boil over" which is what you seem to be seeing.

    Your not getting any heat from the "heater" (I assume cab heat) could mean either no water circulation or a clogged heater core.

    When you were checking the radiator, did you also check side to side as well as top to bottom?

    You said the fan is turning, but is the water pump behind the fan ... or is it in a different location and is it turning? (I've seen them both ways on different engines).

    When you were doing these tests, was the radiator cap on or off?

    Are you able to see inside the radiator while the engine is idling and can you see water flowing inside? BE CAREFUL that you don't get coolant shooting up through the neck while you are looking in, best to use a mirror and maybe a flashlight to peer inside. I am trying to determine if you actually have circulation between radiator and engine.

    I have seen a partially clogged radiator cause the lower hose to collapse due to engine suction and stop coolant flow altogether. Water flow through a radiator from a garden hose is a whole lot less that
    what an engine can pump through a radiator, so your observation of "water seemed to run through top to bottom with no problem" may not be enough for your tractor.

    BTW, I wouldn't be surprised that the overflow coolant into the reservoir is not hot if you are not getting circulation ... if boiling inside the block, the steam is just displacing cold coolant at the top of the radiator into the reservoir.

    Coolant not circulating could cause all the symptoms you have listed, if no circulation, we'll have to establish why. If the coolant is circulating, we'll have to look at why your radiator is not getting hot and getting the engine heat out.

    Just more of my 2 cents, sorry for all the random thoughts as it is difficult to diagnose from afar. Good luck.
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    Tom

    2011 1026R/R4's -- H120 FEL/49" -- 260 BH/12" -- Bro-Tek Ripper -- Artillian Forks/42" -- 244 lbs JD Rear Wheel Weights -- KBOH Hooks and Clevis' --
    Block heater -- 180* T-stat -- Evans HP Waterless Coolant

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tomfive View Post
    Though thermostats are relatively inexpensive, I don't think that is your problem. If you were running the engine without the thermostats, your radiator should have at least gotten warm. Thermostats generally allow the engine to come up and maintain running temps. With a clear radiator, no thermostat and clear block with circulation, your engine shouldn't be able to come up to operating temps, and not be able to "boil over" which is what you seem to be seeing.

    Your not getting any heat from the "heater" (I assume cab heat) could mean either no water circulation or a clogged heater core.

    When you were checking the radiator, did you also check side to side as well as top to bottom?

    You said the fan is turning, but is the water pump behind the fan ... or is it in a different location and is it turning? (I've seen them both ways on different engines).

    When you were doing these tests, was the radiator cap on or off?

    Are you able to see inside the radiator while the engine is idling and can you see water flowing inside? BE CAREFUL that you don't get coolant shooting up through the neck while you are looking in, best to use a mirror and maybe a flashlight to peer inside. I am trying to determine if you actually have circulation between radiator and engine.

    I have seen a partially clogged radiator cause the lower hose to collapse due to engine suction and stop coolant flow altogether. Water flow through a radiator from a garden hose is a whole lot less that
    what an engine can pump through a radiator, so your observation of "water seemed to run through top to bottom with no problem" may not be enough for your tractor.

    BTW, I wouldn't be surprised that the overflow coolant into the reservoir is not hot if you are not getting circulation ... if boiling inside the block, the steam is just displacing cold coolant at the top of the radiator into the reservoir.

    Coolant not circulating could cause all the symptoms you have listed, if no circulation, we'll have to establish why. If the coolant is circulating, we'll have to look at why your radiator is not getting hot and getting the engine heat out.

    Just more of my 2 cents, sorry for all the random thoughts as it is difficult to diagnose from afar. Good luck.
    Thanks! I went ahead purchased the thermostats and a new gasket since the gasket tore when I pulled it apart; figured just as well replace them. I did check the radiator all over this time and it seems its the lower left side (where the outlet hose connects) that is cool while the rest if hot. May explain why the outlet hose never gets hardly warm at all?? The lower hose never looks like its collapsed or even sucked in at all.

    The water pump is behind the fan.

    I did the tests with the cap on. I cannot see down in the radiator as the reservoir sits directly on top and flows down.
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    VD fan can be turned easily when engine is cold but difficult to turn when engine is at operating temp(200°F)
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    OK, so now I'm getting stumped too.

    I may be grasping at straws, but this is what I'd do next. With the thermostats out, I'd remove the top hose and bottom hose and reverse flush the engine with using a garden hose. I just want to make sure that the engine passages are clear. Top hose is the outlet and lower hose is the inlet for the engine.

    I'd also do the same type of reverse flush with the radiator, through the engine hose connections, and not just through the drain. This would be to make sure the water path is clear. I've had radiators repaired and flow tested by professionals, I'm not sure how I would flow test a radiator at home other than with a garden hose, which really doesn't supply a lot of water. But if that's all I had, it's better than nothing.

    If that doesn't work, I'd look into the water pump. I may be going out on a limb here, but I have read somewhere (a long time ago) that a water pump can break where the impeller gets sheared off, or loses its vanes. The shaft still spins, the seal is still good, but it doesn't pump water. Note that I have NEVER seen this myself, and in my mind, I can't imagine how this could happen. But from all your symptoms, I still think that water is not flowing in your engine. To me it's all a matter of physics.

    Another thing you can try before opening up the water pump is to disconnect one of the cab heater hoses and start the engine. If the water pump is working, water will be streaming out of either the hose or the connection point. Be sure the heater valve is open, or disconnect before the heater valve on the pressure side. (If you don't know which side is the pressure side, disconnect both sides of the heater valve) The engine should circulate water through the heater core even if the radiator is blocked.

    Again, I'm starting to grasp at straws here, but good luck. If I get any more ideas, I post.

    2 cents.
    Last edited by Tomfive; 09-21-2017 at 11:01 AM. Reason: I'm spelling challenged late at night.
    Tom

    2011 1026R/R4's -- H120 FEL/49" -- 260 BH/12" -- Bro-Tek Ripper -- Artillian Forks/42" -- 244 lbs JD Rear Wheel Weights -- KBOH Hooks and Clevis' --
    Block heater -- 180* T-stat -- Evans HP Waterless Coolant

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    I have the next model up from yours (basically same tractor but UK spec)
    If you have flushed the coolant system, pulled the thermostats (leave them out at this point, they serve no purpose as it's getting hot anyway !) then before pulling the head, I would remove the water pump and check that it hasn't broken up - if it has, there won't be any movement of water around the block and so you could end up with hot water not being moved and cooled. Just because the fan turns, doesn't mean the impeller inside the pump is doing anything !
    Rebuild kits for the water pump are readily available and not expensive.

    If the pump is okay, then pull the head and fit a new gasket although if you've got to this point, I would strip the head, have it crack tested and skimmed before refitting (these heads have been known to crack and warp)
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