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Old 11-20-2012, 07:38 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Still consuming coolant, still approximately the same amount.

Did a little more inspection this past weekend.

Closer look at accessible hoses, clamps etc. Still can find no leaks or evidence there. Check hoses and steel tubes on firewall for heater core. Checked hoses going to and from there to the engine, waterpump and thermostat on top, other side of engine - nothing seems to be leaking there.

Unbolted fill bottle and lifted up and inspected under it. No leaks seen or noticed there.

Tried with little inspection mirror (like dentist's mini mirror on a long thin handle) to look behind alternator and water pump area (front cover area). Tried to illuminate well, good lighting in there, with a flashlight and a trouble light - but very difficult to see much of anything in there. Nothing noticed really leaking.

Looked under car, and up and towards the block thru the passenger side front wheel well. Managed to go in thru wheel well, with arm, with a 1/4" drive small ratchet and deep socket / short extension and check tightness of clamp on 2" rubber hose going from block to radiator. But looked tight enough anyway, and not leaking.

I am guessing that this leak is a slow seeping leak from the front engine cover gasket, and seeping slowly down onto exhaust tubes and cat convertor in that area. The steel sheilds and heat covers over the cat convertor and exhaust tubes in this area make it hard to see any leaks or wet there - plus it is probably evaporating / turned immediately to steam - so slowly that you don't normally notice or smell the steam from the evaporating liquid.

When it is cold, a little steam seen once, coming from front of car, sort of like out the front radiator, on that side.

I tried to look in and check for a rad leak - but noticed nothing.

After hot highway run, parked, and opened hood, and monitored. Level in bottle drops as engine cools - i.e. as coolant cools, contracts, pulls in missing fluid to replace that which seeped or leaked.

From 1/4" down at park ... to 1/2" down as engine cools - one hour later.

Then listened carefully and looked with flashlight as engine cools.

Hard to say for sure ... but every 2 minutes or so, as engine is cooling, I hear a very faint "drip ... sssss" possibly as mini drip falls and hits hot exhaust part and is quickly vaporized. It is so silent. Not sure.

Continuing to monitor. Would LIKE to be able to try tightness of all front engine cover bolts - but cannot get to them at all.

If gets worse - I am considering asking mechanic if possible to:

1. Go in with one of those mini inspection cameras / on long flex end / and try and look.

or.

2. Ask if possible to pull off necessary accessories there - Alternator, AC pump etc. to get to the front cover bolts and check tightness.

3. Do nothing, but just try find leak for me - tell me if/where it is leaking.
And then we will discuss.

4. Over pressure the system and test that way. Pump it up to say 25, 30 PSI and leave it that way for several hours and see what gets wet.


Tough one to figure out ... I may just continue adding, and monitoring, and do nothing, and it will eventually get worse and show me itself where it is leaking that way.
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Old 11-20-2012, 08:53 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Well no matter what you do it will cost money. If it keeps leaking, well you keep putting in more antifreeze, which that stuff isn't cheap.

I leak out what seems to be about an inch of coolant every 6 months or so, I guess that is normal?

It's annoying with these small leaks that drip on the exhaust. I've heard people replacing all of their coolant lines because of them.

Good luck! I would personally just wait for it to get bigger, but I'm cheap.
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:49 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Wait a minute now ... I remember reading somewhere, that One (or maybe more than one) of the bolts that goes thru the engine front cover, into the engine block, is not a dead end hole. Goes into a water jacket / where coolant runs.

And that you are supposed to put some sort of special thread sealer on the threads of that bolt (those bolts, if more than one) as you assemble.

Could it be leaking that way?

Maybe when Front Cover Gasket was done, a few years ago, missed that step ?

I suppose that is a possibility - if true.

In the end - you've gotta find the actual leak - to solve the issue.

So guessing and trial and error are not good methods.

But it's good to know and hear the possibilities - and know and hear the experiences of others - with your particular vehicle.

( Yes, thanks, waiting for now - but a pesky problem. Thinking of also doing a de-grease and engine wash around that area, and under car on that side, frame area, underpanels, so the leak will show more easily, if leaks )

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Old 11-20-2012, 11:43 AM   #14 (permalink)
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If something is dripping and going hiss, something is hitting the exhaust.

What's hitting the exhaust is coolant.

And there are only two places I can think of where that would happen...
1) Timing cover gasket
2) heater core/bypass hose assembly on the back of the motor.
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:26 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Look at the topmost rearmost point of the timing cover gasket, under the intake plenum. You'll need a flashlight. The cover gaskets usually fail in that corner.
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Old 11-21-2012, 05:31 AM   #16 (permalink)
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OK. Thank you for the hints and tips. Will check those things / those places next. Very hard to see in there, but will try.

Yesterday, I noticed what looked like micro-cracks on the top of the plastic fill bottle, on the top, near where the plastic bottle has curves and angles and corners.

It looks like that plastic fill bottle has a double layer plastic, outer and inner, and the outer layer looks stress cracked - inner layer looks good cause still holding pressure (it seems).

So I took a spray bottle, added warm water and some dishwashing soap. To make a mild soapy mixture.

Right after stopping, while car was still warm, and cooling system still under pressure, I sprayed carefully all around the plastic fill bottle, and anywhere else I thought might leak - hoses, clamps, everywhere I could.

No BUBBLES / BUBBLING anywhere I could tell.

Looking for air or vapour leaks while system still under [some] pressure.

This is a method used to find leaks on inner tubes (ex pin-hole leaks, or valve stem leaking - like on bike inner tubes).

This method might help others find other types of leaks.


I am guessing this thing is leaking when under MAX running pressure and hot, and running. And probably not leaking much at all afterwards.

So I figure will have to pressure up the system good to test and look then.


PLASTIC FILL BOTTLE -

That plastic fill bottle ... I would like to replace it with something SOLID and aftermarket if available. Not plastic.

Or CUSTOM MAKE my own ... SO WELL / with such good materials ... that it will NEVER EVER fail or leak again - no chance - or NEVER EVER be a concern to me again.

ex. some metal / or tank ...that will not rust or corrode so easily, and be fairly strong. Metal tank, and SOLDER in the correct inlets and outlets as needed. Copper fittings / tubes etc. ?

I wonder if anyone makes something aftermarket - really good like that.

When that bottle fails - as it eventually will - it's a pain, and too expensive.

That silly plastic tank - I figure ... has gotta go. Once and for all.

(sorry Ford ... if I remember correctly, over 200 bucks new at the Dealership here, last time it failed, part only! Only to fail again later, or be a risk, or concern again, like now, starting to CRACK again.)

Anyway ... I'll think about that one - how I might get or construct something much better there. Any IDEAS ?

( Issue: Has to be able to accept the pressure cap - or something that will perform exactly the same function.)
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Old 11-21-2012, 07:44 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Some quick initial searching on the internet has found some aftermarket replacement plastic coolant reservoir bottles in the $30-50 dollar range that will replace the original exactly (looks like). Still plastic - same type of design.

Also showing quite a few manufactured Stainless Steel "universal" type replacement tanks in the $60-90 dollar range. Not sure if or how they might fit and work and mount yet - because they look like standard cylindrical tanks of a few different sizes with a couple outlets.

In any case, wanted to mention, yes ... there's a fair bit of "OTHER" stuff out there to look at and consider - for a replacement coolant reservoir.

Will be looking some more ... searching some more.

" That Plastic Coolant Reservoir tank - has really gotta go "
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:00 AM   #18 (permalink)
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The aftermarket stuff is not known to last as long as the Motorcraft one. Tank from Ford in the US is 50 bucks or something. If your rad cap is old, probably time for a replacement from Ford as well.
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:06 AM   #19 (permalink)
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I got a Dorman replacement recovery tank, it is working fine, cap holding pressure and everything. Only time will tell if it has any problems. Like $36.
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:52 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Short term they are fine (good if you are scrapping the car, looking to sell, etc).

Plenty of people have posted on here about the bad quality from the aftermarket tanks as of late. They just don't seem to have the longevity of the Ford ones. It took Ford awhile until the tanks were good (mid 2000s). The all clear plastic jugs from Ford are the updated/good ones.
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