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I have a 2004 MF GC2310 that I bought 6 yrs ago. When I bought it the hour meter said 429.9 hours and it still says 429.9 hours so I have no idea how many hours the machine actually has. It is far from worn out though as it was in too good of shape when I bough it to have many more hours on it then that . My problem is that it started overheating on me the first time I mowed this spring. Running at full idle with the belly mower for about 15-20 minutes causes the temp light to come on. If I immediately turn off the PTO and idle back down the light will go off in less then a minute, in less then 5 minutes the coolant temp (using an IR gun) is back down to 150 deg or so. I can run the tractor at full idle without turning on the PTO and it seems to run hot, a little over 200 deg., but it doesn't get hot enough to make the temp light come on.

So far I have replaced the following:

-Thermostat - original one was 170deg., I replaced it with one that my autoparts store had in stock that was the same size and shape but, was 180 deg. I tested the original one and it opened in a pot of boiling water so I reinstalled it after the aftermarket one didn't fix the issue.

- radiator cap-the old one didn't seem like it was sealing well so I replaced it.

-Radiator-The radiator seemed dirty so I ran several bottles of flush through it then ended up pulling it and having a shop rod out the radiator. They said it was pretty clean and had good flow.

-The only thing I haven't replaced is the water pump. The reason I saved it for last is because I can see flow in my radiator and when I pulled the pump it turns freely, impeller looks good and there is no play in the bearings, although there is a slight bearing noise when spinning it. I do have a new water pump that I am planning on putting on this weekend.

So if the water pump doesn't fix my issue I am assuming I have some internal engine issue that is beyond my mechanicing ability. Am I missing anything? What else could be causing my issue? Thanks in advance for any help.
 

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How hot does it get with the pto on?

Is it loosing coolant at all? Hoses get stiff once it's up to temp (as in, system gets pressurized)?

Maybe examine the radiator, and perhaps clean out the fins if necessary.
Check that the fan spins with the engine (can be a problem if it has a clutch on it, the clutch will fail and the fan will spin a little, but not enough to cool).
Could also be the temp sensor.
 

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Have you cleaned the screen in front of radiator? Assume so.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
How hot does it get with the pto on?

Is it loosing coolant at all? Hoses get stiff once it's up to temp (as in, system gets pressurized)?

Maybe examine the radiator, and perhaps clean out the fins if necessary.
Check that the fan spins with the engine (can be a problem if it has a clutch on it, the clutch will fail and the fan will spin a little, but not enough to cool).
Could also be the temp sensor.
It will boil over in a matter of minutes if I leave the PTO running when I see the light come on. It is not losing any noticeable amount of coolant, there is no sign of oil in the coolant and I didn't notice any sign of water in the oil when I changed it a few weeks ago (right after it started overheating). The oil on the dipstick also looks good and doesn't show any signs of coolant. I have hosed out the fins on the radiator and the radiator shop confirmed they are clean and it's in good shape.

There isn't a clutch on this fan and I have confirmed it spins at full speed, and blows a lot of air through the radiator. When you say the temp sensor, I assume you mean the sensor for the temp light. It's working as I have checked the temps with the IR gun.

I have squeezed the hoses when it's up to temp but, I am not sure how hard they should be. They are more firm then when it is cool but, I can still squeeze them a little bit.

One other thing is the IR gun shows a 30-40 degree drop across the radiator. The inlet hose is 30-40 degrees hotter then the lower outlet hose. I recently read it should only be 10-20 degrees different. Does too much of a temp drop point to a flow issue? Maybe the water pump isn't pumping enough water, which is why it's dropping temp so much across the radiator?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Have you cleaned the screen in front of radiator? Assume so.
Yeah, I have always been diligent about keeping the screen clean, which has actually been really easy on this tractor, it doesn't suck nearly as much junk in as my dad's Mahindra.
 

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It will boil over in a matter of minutes if I leave the PTO running when I see the light come on.

One other thing is the IR gun shows a 30-40 degree drop across the radiator. The inlet hose is 30-40 degrees hotter then the lower outlet hose. I recently read it should only be 10-20 degrees different. Does too much of a temp drop point to a flow issue? Maybe the water pump isn't pumping enough water, which is why it's dropping temp so much across the radiator?
When encountering an overheat issue, first determine what is loading the engine to generate excessive heat. If there is nothing obviously loading the engine, then look for cooling system problems.

Your PTO/mower is where you should be looking. First, disconnect the mower, then run the PTO at speed without the extra load. If the temperature rises excessively, the problem is with the PTO. If it doesn't, check the mower spindle bearings and blades.

Temperature drop across the rad between the inlet and outlet is determined by:

- Condition of the rad.
- Flow rate of the coolant.
- Temperature of the coolant.
- Condition of the fan.
- Rate of air flow.
- Ambient air temperature.

A high coolant temperature combined with a low ambient temperature and a hard working engine will produce a greater temperature drop across the rad with all else being equal. While a 40° temperature drop is not unrealistic, it may indicate either a lower than normal rate of coolant flow, a lower than normal rate of air flow, or a combination of the two.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks, one of the first things I checked was my mower deck but, I basically just made sure the blades were spinning freely. One thing I didn't think about was the PTO itself. Tomorrow evening I will run it with the PTO on and mower deck unhooked to see if it overheats. Ill report what I find. Thanks.
 

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You didn't happen to dress or change the mower blades before the first mowing, did you? Are they installed correctly? (Dumb question, I know, but we are all susceptible to making the occasional boo-boo. No offence meant.) :hide:
 

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This is almost always a clogged radiator problem, grass and crud gets in the fins, sometime the radiator doesn’t looked clogged on the surface, but it is deeper in the fins. easiest way to unclog it to squirt a strong stream of water through it all fins with a hose. If you can’t see through the fins it’s clogged.


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Did I read somewhere in here that there was minimal coolant leakage, I think I did. Where is it coming from... if it’s coming from the overflow hose, the probable cause is a blown head gasket. Water/ coolant won’t show up in the oil until the breach in the gasket get worse. That also applies to engine performance, poor performance will increase as the breach increases. Just a thought
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
You didn't happen to dress or change the mower blades before the first mowing, did you? Are they installed correctly? (Dumb question, I know, but we are all susceptible to making the occasional boo-boo. No offence meant.) :hide:
No offense taken. The mower blades were installed new at the beginning of last year. I didn't remove them this year and didn't have any problems last year with it.

Here is some additional information for you. I just started the tractor and let it run at high idle. It's 71 degrees outside here. I did not turn the PTO on at all, this was just the engine running. In 12 minutes the temp of the top radiator hose had climbed to about 170 deg., the bottom hose was around 130-135 deg. After 15 min the top hose had climbed to around 185 deg and the bottom hose was at 145-150 deg. The tractor basically held this temperature for the next 10 min. running at full idle.

Here is were it gets a little weird. I idled the tractor back and the temp of the top hose stayed around 185 for several minutes until I shut the tractor off. After I shut the tractor off I could hear gurgling/water boiling in the block. I checked the temp of the top hose again (with the tractor still off) and the temp was now 220 deg.

Do I have air in my system? Everytime I have changed the coolant, I have run it with the radiator cap off until it burped and several air bubbles came out. Is there a better way to get the air out?

Edit: So I let the tractor cool down for over 1 hour and decided to go back out and see if I could get some more air out of the coolant system. The IR gun said the radiator and hoses had cooled down to around 120 deg. I took the radiator cap off and stuck a funnel in the top of the tank. I started the tractor and idled it up to full idle. The water in the radiator immediately started rising out of the radiator and into my funnel, I got 3 or 4 pretty good air bubbles out of the system over about a 5 min time span. In this time the temp of the radiator climbed to about 140 deg. The water was getting to the point of overflowing my funnel so I idled the tractor back down for a minute or two and then shut it off. I could hear water boiling in the block and then it started erupting out of my funnel. I had my son grab a towel and I threw it over the top of the funnel but, the water continued to boil and erupt under the towel for a minute or two until it started slowly drawing back down the funnel and into the radiator. This only took 5-10 minutes after sitting for an hour. I'm lost :dunno:
 

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Did I read somewhere in here that there was minimal coolant leakage, I think I did. Where is it coming from... if it’s coming from the overflow hose, the probable cause is a blown head gasket. Water/ coolant won’t show up in the oil until the breach in the gasket get worse. That also applies to engine performance, poor performance will increase as the breach increases. Just a thought
I haven't noticed any coolant leakage other then the first time I didnt notice the light right away and the coolant boiled over out of the overflow hose. It was extremely hot at this point though.
 

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This is almost always a clogged radiator problem, grass and crud gets in the fins, sometime the radiator doesn’t looked clogged on the surface, but it is deeper in the fins. easiest way to unclog it to squirt a strong stream of water through it all fins with a hose. If you can’t see through the fins it’s clogged.


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That was one of the first things I checked. I have hosed the fins out with water and blew them out with air. When I had the radiator out you could see through it and I was able to shine a light through it pretty much everywhere. The radiator shop confirmed it's clean also.
 

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That was one of the first things I checked. I have hosed the fins out with water and blew them out with air. When I had the radiator out you could see through it and I was able to shine a light through it pretty much everywhere. The radiator shop confirmed it's clean also.

Darn, well you already did all the other stuff I would have done, seems like water pump is all that’s left. You did say the radiator was dirty, needed flushing, that can wear out the impeller on the pump, the impeller can be warn even if it doesn’t look like it. Since you have a new pump, I would put in. If that doesn’t fix it, maybe crud in the engine block not letting water cool the head. The would be a PITA to fix, pull head off, clean best you can.

Good lesson though, it is important to flush the radiator out as part of normal maintenance. I do mine regularly, was wondering if I was wasting my time, guess not.

I’m kinda bothered that my car manual says flush radiator at 10 years, or 100k miles, that’s weird. And it says to never change the transmission oil, that’s weirder.


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A real long shot here and likely not an issue, but one that I experienced on an auto engine some 15 years ago.

Old hoses get weak. Especially on the suction side of the water pump if you engine has such. Once warmed up, they can collapse, cutting off the flow to some degree, especially ones that are bent if you have any of those feeding the water pump.

I think it was an old Mustang, and the lower hose had a bend in it and an internal spring to prevent collapse. If you removed the spring or had an old hose without the supporting spring, it would collapse with warm up and restrict flow causing overheating.

Like I said a real long shot, but maybe check all your hoses for internal weak spots, and also for internal swelling. Age and heat can cause the internal rubber to swell.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
So I just got back in from mowing all two acres of my yard without my tractor getting hot. My problem is fixed!:woohoo1:

It turns out the problem was in fact restricted flow in the radiator. The radiator shop said it wasn't really that dirty and they only had issues getting the rod through a handful of tubes but, apparently it was restricted enough to cause the tractor to overheat when running the belly mower. Show how important it is to change the coolant every year like mentioned above.

Now for the really embarrassing part and the reason that I didn't realize that the clean radiator fixed the problem. When I picked up my radiator last weekend I rushed home and was in a hurry to get it installed before I had to leave to coach my son's little league game. I should have just waited until the next day but, I was really curious if my problem was fixed. Turns out that in my haste to get things put back together I cut out a new gasket, punched out the bolt holes but, I NEVER CUT OUT THE CENTER OF THE GASKET FOR THE WATER PORT! :hide:This explains why I could hear water boiling in my block when I shut it off, the water literally had nowhere to go!

I wasn't even going to mention that last part but, since you guys were nice enough to try to help out, thought I would give you a laugh for the day. Thanks again for all of the suggestions.
 

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We're not laughing, but glad you found the trouble. We all make mistakes, and sometimes we are able to correct them...and learn from them. :fing32:
 

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We're not laughing, but glad you found the trouble. We all make mistakes, and sometimes we are able to correct them...and learn from them. :fing32:


I was trying not to laugh, but am I am because that sounds like something I would do.


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Sooner or later, all of us that mess with mechanical gadgets have a brain fart.

No biggy, there'll be lots more opportunities to continue the tradition before we're done.

Experience is what is gained by surviving our mistakes.
 
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