Q: 2011 f150 ecoboost 3.5 overheating while towing 6500 lbs trailer up parleys, what could the issue be? Instantly cools when off gas

asked by on July 24, 2017

While pulling a 6500 lbs trailer up parley's canyon the engine temp gauge starts to rise very fast after 1/2 way up. When i let off the gas the temp starts to fall fairly fast. I have to slow to about 30 MPH to keep it form going into the red. I have had a coolant flush done as well as a new radiator cap as the old was not holding pressure. This did not fix the issue. Could it be a water pump going out or a faulty temp sensor? As fast as the gauge rises and falls with the gas pedal i find it weird. I'v never seen an engine cool that fast. Is replacing the temp sensor something that you can do? The truck is all stock. I'v been told that the turbos get really hot when boosting for extended periods. Could the inter cooler for the turbos be bad? 6500 lbs is way under the load limit of this truck. I have heard of other ecoboost f150's pull simular set ups up parleys and not even see the gauge move. Thanks for any info you can give.

My car has 106500 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hi there. You are correct in assuming that many turbo-powered F-150’s have issues with intercoolers wearing out - especially when they are put under significant loads and hill climbing as you’ve described. To be honest, most automotive manufacturers never assume that smaller, light-truck owners will actually use their vehicles for towing with the smaller, turbocharged editions. This is often the reason why they tend to run very hot while climbing - but cool down rather quickly when not under load. It is possible that the water pump is beginning to fail, or the thermostat is not opening when it should. It’s also common for the radiator fan or radiator temperature sensor to have problems as well. It might be a good idea to have a professional mechanic complete a car is running hotter than normal inspection to inspect those components and determine if this is a mechanical issue with the cooling system or a turbo intercooler problem.

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