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Discussion Starter #1
I thought my small coolant leak was from the water pump but after some disassembly (gotta love the cramped 3.8 workspace) it appears that it is not the pump but leaking from the timing chain cover gasket.

Yay. Looking at the Chilton's this looks like a major PITA. You have to remove the power steering pump, a bracket on the a/c, the oil pan, the distributor, water pump pulley and the crankshaft damper/pulley. Does AutoZone have a tool for yanking the damper?

I'd love to take this to a mechanic but after just spending $400 for a new radiator & upper/lower hose install I can't afford $500-$600 to have them do this.

It's not a large leak (that was the radiator
), only about a quarter size drop on the ground in the morning but I don't want to let it go too long and cause bigger problems down the road.

Isn't there an oil seal under the timing cover as well? Should I go ahead and replace that at the same time?
 

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Im not familier with the 3.8 but the balancer comes off prety easy with a pully puller. While you at it though replace that timing chain you feel bad that you didnt. use 2 screwdrives to get the bottem pully off the timing chain.
 

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I was told I have a "very slow" leak there as well on my 3.8. That was... let's see... about two years ago. I keep an eye on the coolant, add a little every couple of months. Unless you are leaving a puddle, or want to drop a huge load of money on the repair, I wouldn't worry about it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
2 years, eh? So my vision of tooling down the road someday and seeing my temp gauge suddenly spiking in the red is just paranoia?

If it isn't much to worry about then I won't. Like I said, it leaves a spot maybe the size of a quarter or half dollar in the morning.

It DOES stink, though - if it leaks a bit when driving it drops down right onto the converter where it vaporizes and gets sucked into the vents if I have 'em on.

If there is the possibility it'll turn into a gusher sometime on the highway then I'll have to think about tackling the repair. If it'll last a couple months then I'll be able to pay somebody else to deal with it.
 

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I'm just saying what I've experienced, it hasn't gotten any worse. The usual problem on the 3.8 is the headgasket - when it goes, it GOES. You will instantly know what happened. I hadn't even thought about my timing cover leak since I was first told about it, until I read this post
 

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If the timing chain cover gasket leak is bad enough on the 3.8L, coolant can get into the crankcase.
If it were mine, I'd start thinking about fixing it.

Just my .02.
 

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True... but a leak on the outside is always better than a leak on the inside


I think...


I guess I'm not clear on how fluid leaking out of the engine can get into the crankcase?

And, that doesn't mean there's not a leak on the inside as well - but that should be obvious at your next oil change.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
There wasn't any indication of coolant in the oil when I changed it 2 weeks ago. I'll keep an eye on it...
 

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I had this problem with my car - the Ford dealer said this is VERY common with the 3.8L. (just like the %$#&!*# head gaskets!) They charged me $350 to do the work. I was going to do it, but it looked like a major PITA - and I've changed plugs 2X on this car!
 
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