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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here's some pics - haven't had time to pull the coolant reservoir out to see if that's the culprit, but did notice coolant dripping out from under that hose. I'm not sure which one is leaking at this point.

I did a search, but didn't find the answer. Is the coolant reservoir repairable? I know it can be patched, but that is temporary? I assume if it's the hose I'll have to go to the stealership? The only replacement reservoirs I could find online are Dormans - do these hold up?

Thanks! Here's the pics!




 

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The dorman expansion tanks usually break within a week of install. You're better off buying one from the dealer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yeah, it does look like the AC on second thought. I'll have to patch and then bend over for the dealer then...
 

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A/C lines tend to get condensation on them, especially if you're running the defroster :)

just be sure it isn't the tank, it really sucks when they let go in the middle of the night.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yeah at first I thought about the condenser dripping, but I smelled the coolant, but having been running defrost. Pretty sure it's the tank at this point. I'm going to let it cool and pull it in the morning. Probably try to JB Weld it for now until I can get an OEM replacement...
 

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Yeah at first I thought about the condenser dripping, but I smelled the coolant, but having been running defrost. Pretty sure it's the tank at this point. I'm going to let it cool and pull it in the morning. Probably try to JB Weld it for now until I can get an OEM replacement...
be sure to clean the inside of t he tank. Then use sandpaper or such to rough up the plastic around the cracks before you JB weld them. Otherwise, it wont hold long.
 

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I would use an epoxy that's a little more flowable than JB Weld.
 

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I would use an epoxy that's a little more flow-able than JB Weld.
My ultimate question on all this is why they are failing in the first place. Is it that the plastic cannot take 200 degree + temps and deteriorates? Is it because the plastic deforms at 16lb pressure? Is it just ****** plastic? It seems to me even dorman with the return rate it had, should just make there aftermarket tank 1.5 times thicker material or such so it might hold up better. Or use fiber impregnated plastic on the lower part.
 

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Cake monster
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My ultimate question on all this is why they are failing in the first place. Is it that the plastic cannot take 200 degree + temps and deteriorates? Is it because the plastic deforms at 16lb pressure? Is it just ****** plastic? It seems to me even dorman with the return rate it had, should just make there aftermarket tank 1.5 times thicker material or such so it might hold up better. Or use fiber impregnated plastic on the lower part.
I'm thinking the pressure combined with the expansion and retraction from getting warm and cold all the time probably brittles the plastic and allows it to crack. I don't think they used good enough plastic, but that's my opinion. I'm looking into installing a steel or aluminum one instead next time I get one of these cars. I wonder if applying a layer of epoxy or fibreglass across the bottom before it cracks would help it from happening in the first place.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well I think I'm just going to bite the bullet and buy a Dorman crap one from Autozone. They list it as part # 603-203

It has a lifetime warranty, so even if it does bust I can swap it out for free (still a PITA though).

 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well, like everything with this damn car, nothing is a simple fix. Here's the old tank:


I did the Clinton flush last year, but the rust is pretty damn bad.

I guess that means the water pump is (will be soon) gone? I read that sometimes the lower radiator return hose needs to be replaced as well? The car runs fine and the temp gauge never rises above mid-range. I can smell coolant in the cab once in awhile, but I suppose that's from the reservoir tank overflowing still...
 

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Cake monster
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Well, like everything with this damn car, nothing is a simple fix. Here's the old tank:


I did the Clinton flush last year, but the rust is pretty damn bad.

I guess that means the water pump is (will be soon) gone? I read that sometimes the lower radiator return hose needs to be replaced as well? The car runs fine and the temp gauge never rises above mid-range. I can smell coolant in the cab once in awhile, but I suppose that's from the reservoir tank overflowing still...
I'm guessing it's somewhat corroded. If you aren't having overheating issues and the pump isn't leaking, then it's probably fine. The part is like $50 to $30 at any part store though, not expensive to replace and it will go someday. The job is pretty simple on a Vulcan, just a small amount of space when you start. I would also be prepared for replacing the serpentine components, the belt will likely need to be replaced along with the idler and possibly the tensioner pulley or entire assembly.

As for the smell, it could be the coolant recover tank or the plumping slowly leaking behind the engine, hopefully it's just the steel pipes dripping a little and not the heater core itself. How is the heat anyway?
 

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I just had to replace my coolant tank, and here are the issues I ran into:

First, there's a screw underneath the tank that looks like it rubs against the tank. This MIGHT have been the problem with mine, but I sincerely doubt it, because...

Second, a seeping head gasket was letting combustion gases get into my coolant. It eventually got bad enough that it cracked the tank and, after replacement, blew most of my coolant out the reservoir cap. There's a simple dye test that can tell you whether you have combustion gases in your coolant. A coolant system pressure test, on the other hand, may not find this problem. My car passed a coolant system pressure test on two separate occasions while figuring this stuff out; it turns out that the gasket leak only occurred when driving the car for at least ten minutes. My mechanic and I weren't able to put the pieces together until I popped the hood immediately after a very short drive and caught coolant squirting out the reservoir cap.

Attempting to buy or build a metal tank is asking for trouble. The Motorcraft plastic tank is good for a decade or more as long as it isn't overpressurized or punctured. If overpressure is your problem, a metal tank will either turn into a small bomb or cause a far worse failure to occur elsewhere in the system.

The "hose" shown in the OP's picture is indeed part of the A/C system, and has nothing to do with any coolant problems.

The massive corrosion in your coolant system could be cause by failure to change the coolant regularly, or by said exhaust gases getting in and quickly depleting protectants in the coolant. A basic flush (per the Topic Finder) is probably in order, at the very least.

Oh, and the next time you smell coolant, pop the hood and check the weep hole on top of the water pump, just above the pulley. Coolant leaking from the the weep hole when the system is filled correctly indicates a dead pump. If the weep hole looks dry, search for leaks elsewhere.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Actually, I just noticed this morning that the heat IS intermittent. I looked at the water pump and didn't see anything coming out, but can definitely see the reservoir tank overflowing.

I need to do the clinton flush again. Hopefully that will fix it. I saw the temp. drop after warming up initially, so I know the thermostat kicked open fine. Hearing weird noises coming from the heater core area now - definitely seems clogged as hell...
 

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Well I think I'm just going to bite the bullet and buy a Dorman crap one from Autozone. They list it as part # 603-203

It has a lifetime warranty, so even if it does bust I can swap it out for free (still a PITA though).

You'll be replacing it again in less than 6 months if you're lucky, less than 1 month if you're not.
 

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Cake monster
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Attempting to buy or build a metal tank is asking for trouble. The Motorcraft plastic tank is good for a decade or more as long as it isn't overpressurized or punctured. If overpressure is your problem, a metal tank will either turn into a small bomb or cause a far worse failure to occur elsewhere in the system.
I don't think replacing it with a steel tank would be an issue. There will still be a pressure cap on it to blow off if it became over pressurized. I'm looking at doing away with most of how the cooling system is put together in these cars, it's a mess and I'm buying one soon, so I will be gutting it and making it work the way I want.

Sorry to hear about the bad head gasket, that's not a cheap repair. Was the car ever overheated or anything?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
You'll be replacing it again in less than 6 months if you're lucky, less than 1 month if you're not.
Now that I've done it, it's a 10 minute job at most. Nevertheless, annoying.

I'm just holding on to this car until I pay off my mortgage, then I think I'm going to save up and buy a 2010+ fusion. We'll see how that goes...
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Just flushed the hell out of the system. Fired up the car and let it warm up. Before it was even mid-temp range the reservoir started filling up and boiling out. I still don't see any issues with the water pump.

I guess it's probably the head gasket? Dammit. That sounds like a huge job...
 
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