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Coolant leak from water pump bolt

Shifty Hooligan

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I have coolant leaking from the lower drivers side water pump bolt on a 98 4.0 sohc. I am curious if this means the timing cover is leaking or is it just the water pump itself? I can see a gasket there but also am wondering if that bolt goes through the timing cover into the block or just in the timing cover.
There is no water in the oil, dipstick is free of the dreaded milky bubbly residue. The motor has 200k on it and it is obviously the original water pump. If its just the water pump gasket will pull it and replace the water pump anyways. Just curious how far I need to go. No need to dig deeper if I dont have to.

Thanks
 
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koda2000

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IIRC none of the W/P bolts go into the water jacket on the 4.0L SOHC engine (unlike on the V8). The 4.0L SOHC engine has a very common thermostat housing leak problem, which may be the source of your leak.

When I changed the W/P on my '97 SOHC all the bolts were short and came out easily, so I'm pretty sure all the W/P bolt holes are blind holes.

Your leak may be the t-stat housing, the W/P gasket, or the W/P seal. Water leaks can be hard to find once gravity takes over.
 
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Shifty Hooligan

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Definitely not the thermostat housing as I changed that a month ago. Also changed the bypass and upper hoses. So if the WP holes are blind then will try pulling the bolt and squishing some rtv into bolt hole first and check for leaks. I have some pipe dope also if that would be better.
Hoping to milk this out until better weather comes around. Rainy season in Seattle is here.
Thanks Turdle and koda2000, you both have given me a great place to start. As far as the leak goes, I can see it coming out the bolt hole. No moisture is visible above it.
 
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Shifty Hooligan

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After looking at parts available on O'Reilly's website it seems that I may actually be looking at a stud that goes all the way through the timing cover into the block. I am hoping that I am wrong but will be changing out the water pump this coming weekend and Gasket and hoping that takes care of any leaking issues that I have. Even so there is no indication of water in the oil on the dipstick. Will update after this coming weekend.
 
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koda2000

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If you don't really feel like messing around with taking stuff apart, I've had excellent results using a product called K-Seal on minor (and even not so minor) coolant leaks. It will not hurt or clog anything and remains active in the coolant system to seal future leaks. I used it on my 2000 Mountaineer 5.0L V8 about 3 years ago to stop a pretty good timing cover gasket leak and it's never leaked a singe drop since. I'm not much for fix-in-a-bottle repairs, but this stuff really works. Put it directly into the radiator, let the engine idle for 15-20 mins and no more leak.

https://www.oreillyauto.com/detail/...-leak-repair/st5501/4402946?manufacturer=true

I put a bottle of this stuff in each of my vehicles after a coolant service just for emergencies. It's not cheap, but I find it worth every penny.
 
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I’d use caution when considering stop leak products. I had a shop use some on my truck to stop a timing chain cover leak, without telling me first. I went to check my radiator one day and it was only halfway full. Turns out the stop leak had accumulated in the reservoir tank and had formed a giant brick in there that also clogged the reservoir to radiator line, so the coolant in the tank never made it into the radiator as air escaped the system. They flushed and replaced the coolant for free and replaced my thermostat while they were at it, so I let it go. If you want to stop a leak I suggest doing the actual work. Just my opinion.
 
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koda2000

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I’d use caution when considering stop leak products. I had a shop use some on my truck to stop a timing chain cover leak, without telling me first. I went to check my radiator one day and it was only halfway full. Turns out the stop leak had accumulated in the reservoir tank and had formed a giant brick in there that also clogged the reservoir to radiator line, so the coolant in the tank never made it into the radiator as air escaped the system. They flushed and replaced the coolant for free and replaced my thermostat while they were at it, so I let it go. If you want to stop a leak I suggest doing the actual work. Just my opinion.

You don't need to be concerned about that with K-Seal. It doesn't work that way. I always put it directly into the radiator rather than into the overflow tank (though it says you can add the it to the overflow tank). K-Seal is not gooey or sticky. I resembles chocolate milk with crumbs in it. I assume it's the small crumbs that seal the leak. It will not solidify in the cooling system.
 
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239

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You don't need to be concerned about that with K-Seal. It doesn't work that way. I always put it directly into the radiator rather than into the overflow tank (though it says you can add the it to the overflow tank). K-Seal is not gooey or sticky. I resembles chocolate milk with crumbs in it. I assume it's the small crumbs that seal the leak. It will not solidify in the cooling system.

Interesting. That’s a lot better than the “dries when it comes into contact with air” concept that most stop leak products are based on. Still, I’m paranoid when it comes to adding anything to the coolant, especially when I think about the thin transmission coolant lines becoming clogged. But I’m glad to hear k seal works for you.
 
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koda2000

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Interesting. That’s a lot better than the “dries when it comes into contact with air” concept that most stop leak products are based on. Still, I’m paranoid when it comes to adding anything to the coolant, especially when I think about the thin transmission coolant lines becoming clogged. But I’m glad to hear k seal works for you.

Transmission lines??? Coolant does not flow through the transmission lines. If it does you've bigger problems than a simple coolant leak.
 
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239

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Transmission lines??? Coolant does not flow through the transmission lines. If it does you've bigger problems than a simple coolant leak.

Is it just the atf fluid? I always thought it was fluid from the radiator that went through channels in the transmission, separate from the tranny fluid. You learn something new everyday :)
 
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Shifty Hooligan

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So per koda2000's advice, I went ahead and used k seal. It stopped the leak within a few minutes and seems to be holding. I have yet to make a longer drive but think I will go for a nice drive this morning. I think it needs to circulate a bit more and get it distributed throughout the cooling system but for now has removed the need to pull the water pump.
Thanks for all the help and advice, will update if any problems arise.
 
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koda2000

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So per koda2000's advice, I went ahead and used k seal. It stopped the leak within a few minutes and seems to be holding. I have yet to make a longer drive but think I will go for a nice drive this morning. I think it needs to circulate a bit more and get it distributed throughout the cooling system but for now has removed the need to pull the water pump.
Thanks for all the help and advice, will update if any problems arise.

You should be fine now. Also, as the K-Seal remains active in your coolant it will continue to reseal any leak in the future. I give K-Seal a 5 star rating for the type of leak you were having.
 
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koda2000

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Is it just the atf fluid? I always thought it was fluid from the radiator that went through channels in the transmission, separate from the tranny fluid. You learn something new everyday :)

Yes just ATF fluid. There's a small separate tank inside the radiator that the hot ATF fluid flows through to help cool it. It never comes in contact with the coolant unless the tank springs a leak.
 
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koda2000

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Shifty Hooligan

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koda2000,
Kseal is still holding up and have done numerous drives 20 miles or less. No coolant loss or any sign of clogging issues. I am sold on that product and will wait until spring to change water pump, timing cover, gears and chain.
Thanks for the link and the insight to go that route I was not looking forward to pulling the radiator and fan pulley to get to that WP.
 
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koda2000

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koda2000,
Kseal is still holding up and have done numerous drives 20 miles or less. No coolant loss or any sign of clogging issues. I am sold on that product and will wait until spring to change water pump, timing cover, gears and chain.
Thanks for the link and the insight to go that route I was not looking forward to pulling the radiator and fan pulley to get to that WP.

Glad to hear it's still working for you. I was quite sure it would. As I said, I used it about 3 years/30,000 miles ago on a dipping leak and it's never leaked again. Like you I thought I would wait until spring to replace my leaking gasket, but as it's never leaked again, I figure why bother. Too much work for too little reward... If you ever drain and replace the coolant I recommend adding another bottle of K-Seal.

FYI - For you or anyone else reading this, absolutely nothing works on leaking radiator tank seals. The only viable option there is to replace the radiator.
 
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bryansr

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After flushing the system when I put a new radiator in my '98 SOHC last November it appears my water pump might be leaking, so I may have to give this K-seal a try. There's a lot of condensation from the exhaust, I hope it's not a head gasket leaking coolant...
 
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koda2000

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K-Seal may not stop your leak if it's from the w/p's seal, because the shaft typically starts wobbling around and chews up the seal, but if it is the w/p, changing the w/p on a SOHC is pretty easy to do, unlike the 5.0L V8. I changed the w/p on my '97 SOHC and was surprised how easy it was. Drain the rad into a clean pail so that you can reuse the coolant (as you recently changed it and added K-Seal) remove the belt, fan and fan shroud, hoses and it's just a handful of small easily removed bolts.

If you do end up changing the w/p, the good news is that if you reuse the coolant, because the K-Seal remains active in it, when you reinstall the drained coolant it will you'll still have the leak protection should you get another leak.
 
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