Cracked, Leaking Coolant Reservoir Tank On '96 Gl - Taurus Car Club of America : Ford Taurus Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-22-2010, 03:29 PM Thread Starter
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I checked the Common Problems list, but didn't see this mentioned.

I'd been fighting a coolant loss problem for a couple of months, but nothing too major. I replaced the known-to-be-leaking radiator, that took care of most of it. But after repeatedly adding coolant and waiting for all the air to burp out, it was apparent that not all the leaks were fixed. Never did see anything left behind on the ground, to lead me to the source.

While the crack in the plastic tank was small, it only leaked under pressure. Finally it got big enough to leave the evidence behind for me to track it down. Called the dealership, told them I needed a new reservoir tank. The parts guy said that this was a common problem, they had 2 tanks in stock. Just under $50, my cost. Installed new tank, filled system. Problem solved!

This was on my '96 GL. But how many other years have had this problem? Is it just all of them that have the pressurized reservoir (Pressure cap on top of the reservoir tank)? And is it limited to the Taurus or does it affect other Fords too?

How many others have experienced this? Is this just common knowledge, and I'm finally stumbling across it? I was thinking of doing a write-up for the Common Problems threads, and can include a picture of the bottom of my old tank.

Suggestions?

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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-22-2010, 03:34 PM
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Very common problem, especially with the tanks with the black top. The 100% clear tanks are better, but still crack and leak. The Ford part will last longer than the cheap aftermarket tanks will.

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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-22-2010, 06:27 PM
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96-97 were the worst years. You did good on the price. I bought the NAPA Balkamp tank for $45, only because the local Ford dealer (Sheehy) wanted $110. They blow chunks. I wish I was closer to Richmond Ford.

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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-22-2010, 06:31 PM
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They never got any better than the '96-97 until the clear top tank was installed at the factory starting sometime in 2003.

A clear top tank will require a new crossover tube from the lower intake, across behind the upper intake, to the rear-facing connection on the top of the tank - the original Gen 3 hose won't reach. It's just 3/8" ID rubber hose you can get at any parts store.

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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-23-2010, 08:05 AM
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The tank on my '97 GL wagon (bought brand new) cracked sometime prior to 103k. Ford replacement (black top) has been in for almost 76k miles now. Paid $35 out the door, IIRC.

Does anybody know of a good way to clean these tanks? When I put the new tank in I could clearly see the green coolant draining into it from the top like a waterfall, but after a short time it got stained with that rusty look just like the original.

I've got a parts car in my possession right now ('98 sedan) to fix some front-end panels on my '97. The tank appears to be good on this car and I thought I'd keep it as a backup - but it's full of the rust stains (worse than mine, I think).

I've tried washing mine out with Prestone cleaner, even brake cleaner with rocks, but I've only had limited (if any success). There are odd baffles inside that make cleaning difficult. Maybe a special stiff brush would work (plus a different cleaner)??

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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-23-2010, 10:41 AM
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Well if it's rusty you need to keep the coolant cleaner. But Iron Out and hot water should get the rust out.

BTW you should keep the tank as full as possible. Pay no attention to the cold/hot line.

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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-05-2010, 04:26 PM
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I just found out my Coolant is leaking on recovery tank on my 2000 Taurus FFV 88000 miles. Found couple craks on the tank. Small leak. Called dealer and he said it is 65 +tax Auto Zone want 59.99 for their Dorman. I'll go with Ford part this time.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-05-2010, 04:47 PM
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QUOTE (SHOZ123 @ Jan 23 2010, 11:41 AM)
Quote:
Well if it's rusty you need to keep the coolant cleaner. But Iron Out and hot water should get the rust out.

BTW you should keep the tank as full as possible. Pay no attention to the cold/hot line.[/b]
I think I'd have to change the coolant about every other day to keep it "cleaner". I don't remember how long it took after the TSB flush I performed before the tank went from green back to orange, but it wasn't long. Maybe a couple of weeks? Then once the new tank was stained orange, the staining could not be removed.

Regarding the level in the tank, I think I've "overfilled" it from time to time - just because I KNOW the car is losing coolant (through the engine). Without a leak, however, isn't there a risk of overpressurization in the system with an overfilled degas bottle?

'97 Taurus GL Wagon 3.0L OHV
226.3 miles (03/12/16)
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-17-2010, 06:54 AM
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I have an '01 Taurus SE and the coolant tank cracked and was unusable after about 5 years, only 50,000 mi. I don't remember whether or not the original tank had a black top or not, but I'm pretty sure it was all clear. Both have the pressurized cap. I think the cold MI winters and fairly hot summers really make these plastic parts brittle over time. Not to mention Ford probably didn't choose the best polymer for a part that would be under constant temperature fluctuations.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-28-2010, 02:39 PM
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1999 vulcan. 3rd tank from Advanced Autoparts has cracked. less than 100K miles. Lifetime warranty on the tank but tired of messing with it and buying antifreeze. Time to upgrade.

regardless of hose configuration, or year, clear tops are better than black tops?

Ford parts have the black top or are clear? They also need to re-route the 3/8" hose?
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