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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I found my mysterious coolant leak last night. It was not the expansion tank. The car was cold and when I took the cap off, I heard a glug-glug sound from the expansion tank. Then I heard the drip-drip as the coolant hit the metal drip pan beneath the car. It looks like it is coming from the junction of the block and the rear head. My thought is that it is a head gasket leak.

I have 5 Bars Leak tablets in the system and fresh antifreeze. For a couple of weeks the leak stopped. Now it's back.

Is there anything that you would recommend trying before I go through the chore of replacing the head gasket?

The engine had 140,000 miles on it with good, uniform compression among all cylinders. If I have the head off, should I consider a valve job?
 

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Verify where the leak is coming from with a coolant pressure tester.

If it is a head gasket and the leak is small I would re-torque the head bolts to verify they are tight.

If the compression is good I wouldn't waste the effort to for a valve job, just replace the head gasket and move on. This will save you time and money.

Monsoon
 

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Like rudedog said, make absolutely sure it is the HG, I have a hard time believing that a cooling passage leaks to the outside when the HG is still in place.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Monsoon,

How do you re-torque the head bolts? If I remember correctly, these bolts are tightened to a specific troque and then tightened a certain number of degrees. At least what I remember from the Ford manual. I haven't checked Haynes yet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
One more thing. When I found the leak last night, I could see and feel the coolant at the juncture of the engine block and the head. However, it could have been coming from somewhere else and just running by that juncture.
 

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Cake monster
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One more thing. When I found the leak last night, I could see and feel the coolant at the juncture of the engine block and the head. However, it could have been coming from somewhere else and just running by that juncture.
The timing cover likes to go out by that area, if it's near the timing cover that could be the cause. http://www.taurusclub.com/forum/82-maintenance-repair/145937-timing-chain-cover-gasket-improved.html

That thread shows the area in question. (post 9.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
JW657, that may well be the problem. Like I said, the leak seems to be right where the head and the block come together which is also where the timing cover likes to have the leaks. I'll try to check it in the daylight. I'd much rather pull a timing cover than a head.

Any more thoughts out there?
 

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Cake monster
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JW657, that may well be the problem. Like I said, the leak seems to be right where the head and the block come together which is also where the timing cover likes to have the leaks. I'll try to check it in the daylight. I'd much rather pull a timing cover than a head.

Any more thoughts out there?
That thread has a pretty good prospective of how you do the job, you need a special tool and such. If you're good at auto repair you should be able to do it. This seems to be a fairly common issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well guys, it was the engine front cover. After I pulled it off, I could see the area where the gasket failed. After cleaning off the old gasket, it looks like I maybe could have gotten by without replacing the engine front cover, but I already had purchased the cover and the old one might have been warped. I also replaced the water pump since the car had 148,000 miles on it. The only problem I had was re-installing the catalytic converters after replacing the oil pan gasket. That gasket on the rear converter was a bear trying to get everything aligned.

Everything is back together and there are no parts left over. And best of all, there are no leaks.

Thanks again for your help.
 
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