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All,

We have religiously taken our 2006 Taurus SEL to the Ford dealer's service dept for all maintenance and repairs beyond my capabilities. Recently, after an oil change they noticed a valve cover gasket and oil pan gasket leak, which we had them fix.

Shortly after the repair, the heater was blowing cold so I checked the coolant level and it was really low. I replaced the missing coolant and monitored. It became really low again after about 5 days.

Shortly after the repair, the heater was blowing cold air so I checked the coolant level and it was really low (1 gallon). I replaced the missing coolant and monitored every 3-5 days. The coolant level became really low again, about 1 gallon after about 5 days.

I am not seeing any coolant on the garage floor, nor do I hear any hissing in the engine compartment so I am a bit at a loss as to any further diagnostics I can do myself so I am taking it back to my service dept.

I know this could be a coincidence but it's hard not to think that one of the gasket jobs was done incorrectly, since my car has never been low on coolant since these 2 gasket repairs. I suspect a bad gasket job, although I am not quite sure how a bad valve cover and/or oil pan gasket job would affect the coolant level.

I suspect a bad gasket job, although I am not quite sure how a bad valve cover and/or oil pan gasket job would affect the coolant level.

Before I bring it in, I need some ammo/advice for dealing with them, here.

1. The car never leaked coolant until after the valve cover gasket and oil pan gaskets were replaced.

2. The service dept. never mentioned coolant low at any of the engine oil changes.

I am bringing back the car to the service dept tomorrow.

Thanks for any advice
 

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If there are no signs of a leak in a separate area then it seems fairly apparent they are on the hook to at least take a look. If you have regularly done business with them there may not be all that much push back.
 

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Replacing the pan or valve cover gaskets can not directly lead to coolant leaks / loss.

How does the engine run? Any missing on cold startup? Excessive white smoke out the exhaust that smells like burned sugar? Has the engine ever been overheated?

Your post title says "head gasket repair", while the text of your post refers to the valve cover gaskets being replaced?????? Which is it? Head gasket or VC gasket?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Sorry, I was unable to change the title of the thread, just the content. I was mistaken when I said head cover gasket replacement it was the VC gasket that was replaced. It does run rough now, on startup but not all the time. I have not noticed any smoke or sweet coolant smell coming out of the exhaust
 

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Okay now that we have that squared away (lol)

It is worth having them check to see if they may have disturbed your timing cover enough to have created a leak that is only present when it runs and lands squarely on the exhaust
 

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If you have the Vulcan engine, I'd suspect a timing cover coolant leak onto the exhaust system. Run your heater or vent (not in recirculate modes) and see if you eventually get steam/coolant smell at idle. A gallon low is a lot, you have an active leak.
 

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The valve cover gasket job wouldn't affect the timing cover gasket. The timing cover can and will just go on it's own if left long enough. I knew mine was leaking for the last 6 months, and eventually just let go enough I had coolant on the ground one day. I was trying to put the repair off until this summer because at the time I noticed the leak I was getting ready to move into my new home and then winter came before I got my tools out of storage.
 

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If they goofed the valve cover gasket it can leak oil onto the top of the spark plugs, hard starts and misses. (mines done it) May not be your problem though.

Not sure about the coolant. Thats weird. Unless they loosened something else up while working and didnt re tighten?

I do know I got a fuel system cleaning done at firestone last week, SOMEHOW without removing the valve cover (I dont think they removed it, wasnt needed) my less than a month old valve cover gasket is poking out on one of the corner like it was torn out and left. Now it leaks along the entire front.
 

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On my 5.0 Explorer, the front of the oil pan bolts to the bottom of the timing cover. Assuming the Vulcan is similar, it's at least possible that the timing cover was disturbed when the oil pan gasket was replaced. Good luck.
 

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The two bolts that fasten the oil pan to the bottom of the timing cover wouldn't be any cause of the leak. Removing those two bolts wouldn't disturb anything, unless they started unbolting more then they had to.
Agreed - unless they did this, or maybe beat on the oil pan to break it loose. I bring it up because it seems like one of the few places where the described work (valve cover gaskets and oil pan gasket) might intersect indirectly with with the cooling system. I am not that familiar with the Vulcan engine - is there anyplace on the top where removing the valve covers to change the gaskets might impact the cooling system (hoses, gaskets, cooling passages, thermostat housing, etc)?

I know on my 5.0L V8, there are two places at the top of the timing cover where the TC walls, and hence the associated TC gasket, are very narrow. This is a common place for TC leaks to start on that engine; and the small drips initially tend to get blown onto the exhaust manifold by the fan and never hit the ground. It's not until the leak progresses that you finally see/smell any evidence of it - and in my case it took a couple of more years of just occasionally adding coolant before the leak got bad enough to do anything about it. Good luck.
 
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bobflood
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