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Anit-Freeze Disapearing

cobrasvt

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January 9, 2007
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City, State
Long Island
Year, Model & Trim Level
'99 Explorer Sport
I had my Radiator serviced about 3 months ago. I had them do a coolant flush. About a week later I noticed that the level was low, so i added more, figured it was just an air pocket from the flush. Kept an eye on it for a bit, no further problems, then about 2 weeks ago I noticed that all the coolant was gone in the container. No Visable leaks anywhere. Added more fluid and when I check it cold the level keeps getting lower and lower little by little. Any ideas?
 



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If you cannot see a leak, then it might get into cylinders (and spitted out as wapors) thru the heads gasket.
But it might leak very slowly somwhere on the block and evaporate... Check for holes in the hoses on the top of the block, loose hoses. Check the one under the radiator - that's the one that was disconnected (probably) for the flush.
 






If you don't see any coolant leaks and it is a slow loss of coolant I'd get a new radiator cap. It is the simplest and cheapest part that could cause that problem.
 






I just brought mine into the shop today. They ran a pressure test for the radiator and found the leak. Its the Intake Manifold that's leaking. So far he thinks its just the gaskets leaking on the lower manifold mainly due to his conversation with ford because they told him that the manifold is aluminum, but in his past hes found plastic ones. So when he gets to taking everything apart and sees if the lower manifold is plastic or aluminum he can have a better idea. But if it is aluminum, then just the gaskets need to be done on upper and lower. Here's my breakdown of charges for that scenario:
Parts $170 (gaskets upper and lower)
2 Gallons Coolant $ 31.98
Bi-pass Hose $9.00
3Hours Labor $255.00
TOTAL: $465.98 + Tax :mad:
 






So upon digging into it, im told it is not the gaskets but instead a crack thermostat housing. I was told that the whole kit would be $247 for the parts.
Now 3 questions,
What would be included in the kit?
Is the thermostat itself replaced during this job?
Why would the prices be so different?
Ford $307
pepboys $155
Napa $159
$247 for the kit my mechanic got
 






So upon digging into it, im told it is not the gaskets but instead a crack thermostat housing. I was told that the whole kit would be $247 for the parts.
Now 3 questions,
What would be included in the kit?
Is the thermostat itself replaced during this job?
Why would the prices be so different?
Ford $307
pepboys $155
Napa $159
$247 for the kit my mechanic got
I'd imagine the kit comes with the housing, the bolts, and the gasket. The Ford price is double the parts stores, but thats how dealership parts always are. Your mechanic likely gets a small discount from the dealership and thus his price is slightly cheaper than you getting it directly from ford. You don't have to replace the thermostat, but if you don't know when it was last replaced you might as well replace it since they are cheap.
 






So it all turned out to be a cracked thermostat housing. Yes, a new thermostat came with the new housing itself. Apparently from what I have been told, this is a common part that needs replacing and they keep manufacturing plastic ones. So they get to keep charging whatever they want bc there is no substitute.
Since he had it off and could not re-use the old, the shop put on a new upper intake gasket free of labor and parts, as well as free oil change.

R&R Thermostat Housing $247
R&R By-pass Hose $9
3 Hours labor $255
Antifreeze $31
Total: $542

Freebies:
R&R Upper Intake Gasket
Oil Change
 












Not good....Anti Freeze is disappearing from the reservoir. No puddles or visible leaks though. You can smell antifreeze though when the car is running from inside and out. What the hell is going on.
 






You can buy an ultraviolet dye and light kit at local auto parts stores. I'd wait till night time so the only light you'll be seeing is from the UV light and put some in. Then let the engine run and watch to see where the leaks show up. As a side note, do not stare at UV flash lights directly... If you find a leak take it back to the shop and tell them. Maybe they'll cut you a deal since they didn't get it the first time.
 






If you are smelling antifreeze in the vehical is that when the heat or air is on or does it matter? I had a small pin hole leak in my heater core and it would leak into the heater plenum and run out the air conditioning condensation port. I found this out when I was replacing the blend door that broke. It is really an indepth repair because it involves removing parts of the air conditioning, the center console,whole dash, steering column but by doing the work myself I saved about $900.00. I have a 97 EX but I would say it would be somewhat the same on the repair.
 






Find the A/C condensation drain - usually a little rubber tube sticking out from the firewall on the pasenger side. There should be nothing but clear water coming out, and even that only during the cooling season. If you can see green fluid dripping, you have a leaking heater core. If it's really bad, you will also see oily condensation on the inside of your windshield. As Ford 67 mentioned, it's a nasty, time-consuming repair, but not particularly difficult. If you live in a place where cabin heating is not essential, you can bypass the heater as a temporary fix.
 






wow....sounds similar to the issues i am having. I have to fill up the rad reservoir every 3-4 weeks. the res gets low and then the rad gets low. i can usually tell if the temp needle starts to move around. this is very evident cause i only drive 6 miles round trip to work and back. if the rad is low the needle starts to move. i guess ill start with a new rad cap and thermostat?
 






Did anyone find the cure for this? I just checked my fluids for first time in a while and res is empty and rad is low. Gonna get some more but would like to fix this quickly cause of budget and time constraints. Or could it just be consuption due to age my 95 has 234,5xx and I think its all on original engine?
 






Check the radiator cap for sure. After I flushed the radiator and changed the thermostat, I was also losing fluid out of the reservoir and I could smell coolant. Turned out the cap was leaking- the underside of the cap was wet.
 






To Castle95X: Ford manuals say that a slow gradual drop in coolant level is acceptable, because there is no perfect seal in this world. In reality, an engine in good condition does not 'consume' coolant at all. If the level is dropping quickly, you certainly have a leak somewhere. To what length you need to go to in order to repair it in an engine with a quarter million miles is up to you.
It the leak is internal and the coolant ends in the oil pan, it will destroy the crankshaft bearings.
External leaks are often hard to spot, because often the coolant gets in contact with somewhing hot and evaporates. The proper way to look for them is to pressurize a cold system. You can usually rent the tool for free from places like OReilly or Autozone.
 






Well, after cleaning the engine compartment, I topped off the coolant in the radiator and the res. I let the truck run for until it was at normal operating temp. and noticed a puddle of coolant form under the the front of the truck. I checked all of the hoses and the radiator. I found a leak on the passenger side of the radiator. Its towards the top of the rad. So, I guess I get to replace it with a new one. I think this radiator is still the original equipment anyways. Thanks for the ideas.
 






I found a leak on the passenger side of the radiator. Its towards the top of the rad.

Yeah I had the seal between the right side plastic tank and the aluminum core fail last winter. Seems this happens more during the winter during times of greater temperature expansion/contraction cycles. Make sure it's not the hose connection by disconnecting and re-seating the hose and then putting on a new clamp. Probably won't fix it, but it's worth checking before replacing the radiator.
 






Not good....Anti Freeze is disappearing from the reservoir. No puddles or visible leaks though. You can smell antifreeze though when the car is running from inside and out. What the hell is going on.

Sorry for the delay in posting.

So i brought it back and they ran the pressure test and noticed a leak from the thermostat housing, they replaced the o rings inside of it and that was it, or so I thought. A few days later I noticed the smell was back so i started keeping an eye on the level and sure enough it dropped. This time I could see a small amount of fluid coming out from the thermostat housing where the two sections halves meet at the seem from the factory. So I bring it back again for what I hope is the last time. I tell them what happened and i want a brand new housing assembly put on. They take care of it free of charge as it should be and so far everything is fine on that end. There really needs to be a metal/aluminum thermostat housing made, the OEM ones are crap.
 



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