Broken Belt and Leaking Coolant | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

  • Register Today It's free!

Broken Belt and Leaking Coolant

JanChristian

Well-Known Member
Joined
February 21, 2011
Messages
114
Reaction score
0
Year, Model & Trim Level
2011 Limited
The accessory drive belt broke and now there’s some coolant leaking. It was driven like this for an estimated 5-10 miles. Any ideas as to where the coolant is coming from? I don’t see an obvious source. Hopefully not the water pump... Any help is appreciated. Thanks!
 

Attachments

  • 45A1A27E-A834-4F5E-B5A5-567E02F21A8C.jpeg
    45A1A27E-A834-4F5E-B5A5-567E02F21A8C.jpeg
    191.8 KB · Views: 159
  • EEE251F8-E8B9-4EEB-806C-964686B7545A.jpeg
    EEE251F8-E8B9-4EEB-806C-964686B7545A.jpeg
    171.4 KB · Views: 176
  • 192812D0-66E8-4625-9212-6E98B53EFDC4.jpeg
    192812D0-66E8-4625-9212-6E98B53EFDC4.jpeg
    130.1 KB · Views: 159



Join the Elite Explorers for $20 each year.
Elite Explorer members see no advertisements, no banner ads, no double underlined links,.
Add an avatar, upload photo attachments, and more!
.





Did you happen to notice if the temperature gauge rose into the 'upper zone'? That would have indicated an overheating condition was happening.
I don't know if that would explain the coolant everywhere. Have you checked the coolant level to see how much it has dropped? It could be the water pump itself that is leaking but I don't see that causing the amount of fluid that seems to be all over. In any case, I suggest checking the oil on the dipstick to see if it look like it may be contaminated. There are several threads on water pump issues. Water pump replacement - who can do?
A leaking water pump, which is inside the engine, could ruin the engine. Water pump failure leads to dead engine
The most important thing right now is to try and locate the source.

Peter
 






Did you happen to notice if the temperature gauge rose into the 'upper zone'? That would have indicated an overheating condition was happening.
I don't know if that would explain the coolant everywhere. Have you checked the coolant level to see how much it has dropped? It could be the water pump itself that is leaking but I don't see that causing the amount of fluid that seems to be all over. In any case, I suggest checking the oil on the dipstick to see if it look like it may be contaminated. There are several threads on water pump issues. Water pump replacement - who can do?
A leaking water pump, which is inside the engine, could ruin the engine. Water pump failure leads to dead engine
The most important thing right now is to try and locate the source.

Peter
Unfortunately, my wife was driving and she wasn’t watching the temp gauge. At least it didn’t overheat to the point of smoking. the coolant level in the reservoir bottle doesn’t seem to have dropped

the oil looks good, so there doesn’t appear to be any mixing.

so far I just see one slightly damaged line, but it’s The A/C compressor-to-condenser discharge line so that’s not the source











 

Attachments

  • 1F33581E-C67F-4D18-945D-13D1FB250F49.jpeg
    1F33581E-C67F-4D18-945D-13D1FB250F49.jpeg
    158.1 KB · Views: 199






So I degreased and cleaned the engine, let it dry and replaced the belt. I started it and let it idle for a bit and everything remained dry. Then I ran some errands and everything is still fine. The temp is in the normal range, oil looks normal, and coolant level is good. I'm stumped :dunno:
 






So I degreased and cleaned the engine, let it dry and replaced the belt. I started it and let it idle for a bit and everything remained dry. Then I ran some errands and everything is still fine. The temp is in the normal range, oil looks normal, and coolant level is good. I'm stumped :dunno:

My only thought is that while your wife was driving the engine temperature increased to the point that the coolant found the weakest link in the system, perhaps a worn gasket or where a hose connects, and under higher than normal pressure leaked a bit. Now that your engine is back in the normal range it may not leak. With that said, this is purely a guess, and only over time will you be able to determine if this guess is correct or not.
 






could that be oil from the AC system/compressor? Does your AC work properly?
 






That sure looks like standard Prestone coolant to me.... but, anyway, what's concerning to me is that you have some sort of liquid dripping off of the very same spot that I first discovered my own Orange coolant leaving a sticky trail (on my 2018 3.5L V6), just underneath the AC compressor... a common sign that coolant could be seeping out of the water pump's weep hole. (I was also seeing a very slow drop in the degas bottle, over time...).

When I took it to the dealership, they diagnosed that my water pump seal was slowly failing, causing fluid loss out of the weep hole, but fortunately, it had not yet started introducing coolant into the oiling system... which will cause a rapid engine failure. They tore apart the engine and replaced the water pump, while also totally replacing both the engine oil and the coolant... just to eliminate any concerns about cross-contamination.

Anyway, that was my experience; keep an eye on your situation, as the results could possibly mean real trouble.
 






Sorry I forgot to update this thread. I was way wrong about my assumption! It wasn't coolant, it was just the A/C. I'd never serviced an A/C system before and I didn't know refrigerant oil has a UV dye that makes it appear like engine coolant. When the belt broke, it nicked the A/C compressor-to-condenser discharge line (what the green arrow is pointing to in an above post) and allowed the refrigerant to escape. I got a new line from the dealer (part # BB5Z-19972-C) for $60, and two 20oz. A/C Pro recharge bottles. An hour or so later, I had ice cold A/C again!

A note about recharging your A/C: For the gauge to give a proper reading, the A/C compressor has to be running. My system was completely empty so the low-pressure lockout switch prevented the compressor clutch from engaging and turning it on. Recharge kits say in this scenario, take it to a pro. Unfortunately, it was a sunday and we were taking a 600 mile trip the following day so I couldn't do that. The system has a refrigerant capacity greater than the two recharge bottles I got so I knew it was safe and I couldn't overcharge it. I just kept filling it up and eventually there was enough pressure that the compressor could engage. Then I could get a proper reading on the gauge. *This is not advice, do not try at home, I'm not liable for damage*
 






One thing you might want to do after your trip is have the system evacuated, pulled down (vacuum) to eliminate moisture and then recharge.
If you didn't pull a vacuum on the system, there's moisture in the system that could cause internal corrosion and lead to early failure.

Also, I think it's also recommended you change the drier pack (or whatever it's called) whenever the system is exposed to ambient air.
 






Wow, I didn't know that refrigerant could look like your standard Prestone, so I'm glad you not only figured-out what the real issue was, but also that you posted the follow-up here, as once again I learned something I didn't know before! I do agree, however, that it might now make sense to have your system properly evacuated and then recharged again, as I do know that part of that process is to not only remove any moisture that might have entered the system, but that it also (if done properly) replaces the system's oil, which is a necessary part of keeping the seals in your lines soft and in good shape. And, yes, I've read many times where the "dryer" should also be replaced if there is any moisture detected in the system as it is evacuated during either a recharge or a repair.

I once had a '96 Ford Taurus where it had lost all of its charge (and yes, the compressor is designed to not run when that happens)... but they had to replace all of the seals in the lines, as well as the compressor and the refrigerant, because the seals had dried out and the system would not hold a charge, but the compressor got damaged well before the low charge finally shut it all down. Once they did all that (including introducing the required amount of special oil into the system), I never again had any problem with it for the following years that I owned the vehicle.
 






Back
Top