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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I dropped my mom off at work today and on the way home noticed white smoke from the engine compartment. When I opened the hood there was coolant all over the place. It seemed like it originated from the water pump. I took it to a discount auto shop and paid them $20 to find the leak. They quickly showed me how coolant was pouring out of the engine right next to the water pump area. They said they thought it was a blown head gasket, but they don't do that kind of work.

I'm really upset, I just put new brakes and rotors, new spark plugs, new EGR valve, new fuel and air filters, new s-belt and tensioner, had the oil pan gasket replaced... a lot of time and money. If they say it will be like $600+ to fix it I just won't have the money and will have to start looking for a new car.

This really sucks.
 

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Year and type of engine would help here I think.

Leaking from where near the water pump?
When they showed you where it was leaking was it pouring out at that moment?

There is a weep hole on the underside of the water pump that if it fails will evacuate coolant, sometimes violently, and the belts will throw it all over the place in the engine compartment.

Just asking because didn't want them to show you a wet spot and convince you it was coming from there if it's not.
 

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the duratec and the vulcan engines generally don't leak externally from the heads unless there is an extreme failure or a freeze plug fails.

which engine is it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Sorry about that, I thought my car info was shown! It is a 1999 Ford Taurus Sedan, V6 3.0L Vulcan Engine,85k miles, AX4S trans.

The car has had a small coolant leak but nothing terrible, and a misfire/rough idle when starting. Last week I put in new spark plugs and a new s-belt, the plugs seemed to take care of most of the running problems but I don't know if it contributed to this extreme coolant leak.

When they showed me, coolant was pouring out of the engine. If you were looking down at the engine from the front of the car the leak was below where it says "3.0 V6," on the left hand side, sort of behind the power steering fluid cap by the left most front spark plug.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
UPDATE

My mechanic just called and said it is either the timing case cover or the head gasket. He wants $100 to determine which it is, and would not give me an estimate on how much either of these repairs would cost.

I don't know if I want to give him the $100 bucks if, either way, the repairs will be too expensive. And this car has been a major nuisance for the last year, we have put over $1600 into repairs this year.

Does anyone know how much (roughly) a timing case cover replacement would cost? Or to fix the head gasket?
 

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i would put my money on the water pump or timing cover.
i have my cover off right now because coolant was moving down the block and steaming off the exhaust
 

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I've found a dealer TSB issued for the range of 1996-1999 3.0 engines regarding the coolant system and seems it's fairly prone to failure unless you have a chemical flush and conditioning performed by the dealership to help mitigate the problem. In fact it's the top thing that shows up on google when searching for "1999 3.0 vulcan engine".

3.0L VULCAN ENGINE ONLY - VARIOUS COOLANT RELATED SYMPTOMS - CONTAMINATED OR DISCOLORED COOLANT
TECHNICAL SERVICE BULLETIN

Some vehicles may exhibit cooling system conditions such as:
Contaminated/corroded coolant
Leaking/Cracked/Discolored Coolant Overflow bottles
Vibration or thumping from engine
Leaking heater core
Coolant overflow
High temperature gauge readings
Fluctuating temperature gauge
Stuck Thermostat
Heater hose leaks
Leaking head gasket
Lack of heat

Coolant level that falls below the cold fill range due to un-serviced leaks, improper fill after service and lack of coolant level maintenance that may lead to cooling system overheat damage.
NOTE:IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT THE COOLANT CAN BE SAFELY FILLED TO THE TOP OF THE CLEAR PORTION OF THE BOTTLE (WHEN THE ENGINE IS COLD) TO PROVIDE EXTRA RESERVE COOLANT.
It also calls for replacement of the water pump and some hoses.

Someone may correct me on this but that year of engine doesn't have an overhead cam. So it would be remove intake and all applicable hoses and vacuum lines on that side. Remove all mounts attached to and remove valve housing, replace head gasket for that side and reinstall parts.

Much easier said than done of course, that $100 may be well spent, not what you want to hear. Maybe someone else has a better solution.
 

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hi, if you're replacing head gasket, best to replace both of them, will not take much longer to do the rear side since you can see easy with the intake off as well as the
front head removed. will need new head bolts (torque to yield) as well as a torx bit for
the intake manifold bolts.

I replaced both (cyl 1 had coolant leak into cylinder) last year.
just replaced water pump again after 1.5 years (carquest lifetime).
lower weep hole was gushing coolant. caught it early.


regards,
james
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
UPDATE 2

Mechanic just got back to me. He says that it is a rusted out freeze out plug. That makes me feel a little bit better, since at least I don't think other engine components could have been damaged by the coolant. It may be a curse on the new s-belt that I just put in last week, since everything got doused in coolant and I hear that kills belts pretty fast.

the duratec and the vulcan engines generally don't leak externally from the heads unless there is an extreme failure or a freeze plug fails.
You got it mate!

UPDATE 3

Here's a couple pics of the broken freeze plug. Cost $400 to replace, which I think is steep but I didn't have a lot of choice in the matter since I needed the car asap. Now the brand new serpentine belt I just put on last week is squealing again, maybe from exposure to coolant or maybe something that happened when the mechanic took off the belt and some components to get to the freeze plug.



 

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The LH side (side next to the radiator) was leaking @ the freeze plug or was it the RH side?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The LH side (side next to the radiator) was leaking @ the freeze plug or was it the RH side?
Looking at the engine, standing in front of the car, the leak was on the left hand side (near the s-belt, alternator, water pump etc, and below/behind the power steering pump).
 

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Looking at the engine, standing in front of the car, the leak was on the left hand side (near the s-belt, alternator, water pump etc, and below/behind the power steering pump).
In that case, the price does seem steep, but as long as that fixes it.
 
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