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Chasing a coolant leak

MaioCampo

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Bummer. After a couple of days of driving I noticed this morning some fluid down in the fuel injector ports on the passenger side. I'm at work, so I haven't had a chance to investigate closely, but it looks like oil. Probably the valve cover leaking?

I don't have those triangular washers for the valve cover bolts. They haven't been there since I've owned the Explorer. I don't see where they are sold anywhere. Could their absence be the problem?
 
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jd4242

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Could be.I havent seen them for sale either.key is to not over tighten them and why I always use a slight film of rtv even if the gaskets have it.hopefully its something small, report back
 
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malohnes

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Yes, if you see oil, good chance the leak is from the covers. Even with rubber gaskets, you still need to be careful about over/under torquing. And yes again, those special washers are really important for good sealing. I made mine mine from aluminum stock from my hardware store since many had been lost through time. Should be an easy fix.
 
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MaioCampo

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Okay, pulled into the garage and got some light on the subject: it is coolant. So the middle fuel injector on the passenger side is sitting in coolant. Practically laid on the engine to get a better look under the fuel pressure regulator, yup... first fuel injector is sitting in coolant. Third fuel injector, close to the firewall, is bone dry.

I felt all around the upper radiator hose and it is bone dry. I see moisture around where the upper heater hose attaches to the LIM, and trailing back towards where the first fuel injector is sitting. I guess I didn't get the hose clamp tight enough.

And like an idiot I didn't turn that clamp around for easy access. I left the nut basically pointing straight behind the alternator. Heh. Hopefully I can get a small screwdriver down in there to loosen it up sufficiently to turn it around where I can get to it better and tighten it down good.

I've got everything cleaned up good and do not see any oil. I've reached all around the covers and LIM and hands came back clean. So still in good shape there, but I'll definitely look into finding some of those washers, or a suitable substitute.

Thanks guys!
 
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MaioCampo

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Pulled the alternator off, looked around (didn't see anything that jumped out), tightened clamps, and after a couple of days of driving still have a slight coolant leak. I can stick a q-tip down in there and soak it up, so it isn't much, but I still want to get the cause discovered and stopped.

The good news is the big leak, the reason for doing all this is gone. I'm approaching 300 miles and not a drop. I've reached around the valve covers, and the LIM, and no fluid of any kind. Pretty sweet.
 
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malohnes

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Awesome!
Isn't funny how sometimes a 1/4 turn more is the difference between a leak and no leak on a coolant hose. Go figure...
 
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jd4242

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Did you check the top heater hose also? Was the nipples real rusty or ruff? I had a lim that had real rusty nipples and I kept getting leaks there.when I pulled it to port and polish it I took a wire brush and sand paper to the nipples and cleaned them up real well, they were so bad it had like flakes of meatal stuck to the inside of the hoses.after that no leaks.if its real small it may seal itself up in time
 
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MaioCampo

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@ JD: The nipples? Not sure I follow. Heh. But yeah, I was leaning towards something in that area (upper heater hose/LIM connection) being amiss. I don't remember it being very crusty when I had everything open, but if tightening clamps doesn't work the next plan is to pull that hose off and get a closer look.

Today, no leaks. Temps were in the mid twenties, heater blasting... nothing. I'll continue to monitor.
 
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jd4242

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Haha where the hoses connect to the lim..those are nips!!;)
 
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malohnes

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Good point JD, I recall having to clean LIM coolant nip as it was crusty.

If you call that a nip, I wonder...
 
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shamal

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Thanks FR, that's exactly what just started on mine, can't find the source anywhere, drips behind front axle, water pump look fine. I appreciate your post !
 
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