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2001 ford taurus SES v6 (duratec, not the fancy 24v one) 138k miles or so

I think i posted about this problem a few years back but parked it because i lacked money or time to fix it then. Now I have to either move it by the end of september or junk the car. (i'm moving out of my current house by maybe around then)

At the time I last ran the vehicle, within a few minutes of starting up there would be steam pouring out from under the hood probably from coolant dropping onto the exhaust manifold i'm guessing.

I was told by a shop a water pump was like $1100 and I just didn't have that. Someone had posted some complicated process involving pulling an intake manifold I think to DIY which sounded beyond me at that time.

A friend with more experience than me offered to change out my water pump if I bought one and provided it, I did, he swapped it (though there was no pulling of the intake manifold or other deep in things) and when we restarted it the steam poured out identically to before. I shut the vehicle off in depression and there it's sat for a few years because I didn't know what else to do. I just parked it and didn't think more about it. It slow leaked coolant under the vehicle until it ran out of coolant entirely at some point.


I've got a few choices at this point:
  • junk it and give up on it because I have other working vehicles, though i'll admit the interior is way nicer on this and lower miles than what else i'm driving. (and no small problems, it was only this leak that was the problem - but since the fuel mileage isn't really any better, which I drive at this moment is not the end of the world to me, even worse would be if i dropped $1100 and that wasnt the end of the repairs, like if there's any chance there was head damage from low coolant or something before I figured out what was happening)
  • try to do something to drive it 250 miles to where a friend of mine can fix it for an affordable price. I'm wondering if I just go 55mph and keep topping off coolant as I drive, and if the clouds of steam arent so bad it blocks me from driving maybe i'll get there. Maybe. Is there something I could temporarily patch whatever is leaking to at least not create clouds of hard to see through steam??
  • try to properly fix the vehicle myself which I may or may not be up to, but i've nothing to lose if it's otherwise getting junked I mean.

I don't have $1100 right now to fix it 'right' by someone else's standard. One other possibility is I try to limp it over to my college after paying for a fall parking pass and if I have enough money after the house is sold I might be able to fix it then - but i'd like to assess if $1100 will fix it all the way or if there's a risk of other problems I just dont want it to be a sinkhole.

Open to suggestions and next steps to see why my water pump replacement done by a friend was either done wrong or not the real source of the problem. This will be a bit of a slow process because i'm primarily focused on getting my house ready for sale which is top priority and starting fall college. This should become more interactive by later august when some other things are out of the way, right now i'm just picking brains for insight and ideas.
 

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2000 Taurus SES 12v
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2001 ford taurus SES v6 (duratec, not the fancy 24v one) 138k miles or so
If the picture to the left is any indication, it is indeed a 12v Vulcan engine (it is the fancy Duratec that is 24v).
At the time I last ran the vehicle, within a few minutes of starting up there would be steam pouring out from under the hood probably from coolant dropping onto the exhaust manifold i'm guessing.
Have a careful look where the steam is coming from. It could also be from a leaking heater hose assembly that is bolted onto the firewall. Looks like this:
Automotive exterior Bumper Bag Font Auto part
 

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Sadly before I can give you any answers on a repair job I would need to know specifically where it’s leaking from.

I can tell you where to check and what the most common places are.

If leaking from passenger side-
1.Water pump was installed but gasket not put on properly.
2. Timing chain cover gasket (sets behind water pump, runs from front passenger side behind ac compressor to the back cylinder head.)
This is known to be a issue with these engines as the exhaust manifold cooks the gasket causing coolant to literally pour out under the car behind the engine. (make it 250 miles, no. Did 50 miles with it tho and barely made it.)
3. Heater core hoses, coolant overflow tank hoses could be leaking,
4. Also known that these coolant tanks leak on top on a weak spot (fixed with a harder top in 2005 and on series). 2002 and below are known to crack and pour out through the bottom of the tank.

Driverside-
Thermostat leak, thermostat hose leak.

These would be your top places to check. My bet is your leaking at the timing chain cover gasket in back. Not a hard job, but need a puller for the crank pulley, is a half day job if not rushed. I wouldn’t drive it unless I had 0 choice and even than nothing over 50 miles and refill every 10 to 20 depending on leak size.

Go to parts store and get some coolant dye and a UV flash light. Drop it in, hit it with the light at night to see where the leak is coming from.

Go from there. Btw it’s a easy job.
 

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Agree with all the above. I wouldn't even consider driving it 250 miles... will take a month of Sundays. Even a tiny leak looses a lot of fluid per minute under pressure. If you're seeing steam, it doesn't take long for overheating.
 

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Not hard to replace the water pump, they have two weep holes, one is easy to see the other is just below it and you have to use a mirror or turn your head sideways to see it on the bottom of the pump shaft housing.
The newer pumps sold today just have one weep hole.
 
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