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1998 Explorer, Coolant Leak and Sudden Loss of Heat

scowly206397

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St Paul, MN
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1998 Ford Explorer
1998 5.0, Eddie Bauer, AWD Explorer. I already have the dreaded blend door actuator issue....temporarily fixed by cutting through housing and manually opening/closing door for heat/ac. Passenger side of radiator has a small leak somewhere.....shut off vehicle and a few drops will come out. Upper/lower hoses to radiator are not leaking so assume it's a pinhole in radiator. Anyways, after driving home today, I noticed some smoke/something burning on the passenger side, near the heater core hoses. Same time I noticed this, I lost heat while driving. Tried opening/closing blend door, made a slight difference in temperature, but not much. I Popped hood, and above the hoses going into the heater core, there's coolant splashed on the underside of the hood, as well as over that general area, and it's burning off on the side of the engine/hot parts. No other coolant on the engine, near the valve covers, or drivers side, or around radiator...I don't think the fan splashed it to that specific area where I'm seeing coolant. It seems to be confined to that area near the hoses going into heater core, or prior to going into the core. I did not smell any coolant while driving....only when stopped at a light/stop sign. Is it possible the core is plugged? Possible hose break/come loose to get that sudden change in temperature and splashing of coolant all over? I also noticed the temp. gauge inside the truck went up very slightly after I lost heat but then went back down to normal operating temp within a couple minutes.

Any advice/info would be greatly appreciated. I'm not too familiar with troubleshooting coolant issues....

Thanks everybody.
 




koda2000

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my guess is that the coolant level in your engine and radiator got so low that the water level was too low to feed the water pump. don't be fooled by the level of the coolant in the overflow tank. when you have a hose, or radiator, leak the system is no longer sealed and the radiator will not pull coolant from the overflow. instead, it will just suck air. as the water temp sender is at the top of the engine, it was also out of the coolant flow and no longer working properly (or at all). hopefully you didn't do any engine damage. one of my 5.0's blew a bypass hose recently. made quite a mess.
 




scowly206397

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1998 Ford Explorer
Koda, thanks for the reply. I have a question for you. When the bypass hose blew, whereabouts was the coolant that came from the hose located? Where is the bypass hose? I'm assuming it's not one of the heater core hoses?

I was in such a hurry to jump on here and post my question that I completely missed simple troubleshooting things...such as adding coolant to the system since there was none left. lol. After doing this, I regained heat, so figure the loss of it was due to low coolant level. I was concerned it was the actual heater core but doubt that's the problem and think it's a hose. I can tell the general area where the leak is but can't tell if it's a heater core hose that's leaking....or this strange valve looking thing that's near it. Maybe it's some type of a bypass valve? But I don't know if it's for heat or AC?
 




koda2000

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the bypass hose is the short "L" shaped hose that goes from the thermostat housing to the water pump. mine popped a hole on top right in the middle, then sprayed coolant everywhere. I located the hole by filling the radiator and then letting the engine idle. once it started to get hot the leak point was easy to find.

the valve-looking thing is your heater control valve. when you turn off your heater's temp it closes and stops hot water from entering the heater core. they can be a common leak point, but they usually drip more than spray coolant.
 




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