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Solved Coolant leak.

92'WhiteWolf

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Hey guys, so this morning I cranked my truck up to let it get the heat get good and warm. Let it idle for about 10 minutes before I got ready to head for work. I noticed when I walked out that there seemed to be just a little bit of coolant puddling up underneath the engine on the garage floor. Upon further inspection, I noticed that it was running down from behind what looked to be the lower idler pulley below the alternator and dripping off of the lower railing. Should I go ahead and buy a water pump job for the weekend or does it sound like something worse? Lower intake gasket maybe? Please give me some advice on this, as this truck means a lot to me and is my only mode of transportation. Thank you all in advance!
 


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92'WhiteWolf

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Well went ahead and went to Napa and purchased a brand new water pump this afternoon. I took everything apart today after work, down to draining the coolant and taking the old pump off. Kinda ran out of daylight lol. Will do everything else in the morning, but just by inspecting the old pump and where the lower intake meets up behind the alternator bracket, it doesn't look wet at all. Even the weep holes look dry. Gonna go ahead and slap the new one on and hope for the best!
 




BKennedy

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Could it have been one of the heater hoses leaking? They both connect to the block about where you are describing the leak.
 




92'WhiteWolf

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Could it have been one of the heater hoses leaking? They both connect to the block about where you are describing the leak.

To me it did not look like they had been leaking. The leak honestly looked like it was running down the top side of the water pump, then going down and dripping on the a/t cooler lines.
 








92'WhiteWolf

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Might be a rusted out freeze plug behind one of the front accessories with some pinholes in it. I cant remember if there is one behind the alternator area but I do know there is one on the driver side.

Ended up taking the alternator/belt tensioner bracket off just to take a closer look before diving into the water pump job. The freeze plug in the front of the passenger side head is perfectly fine, but the bad news is that it looks like the trail of coolant was coming from either the front of the cylinder head or the lower front corner of the intake manifold. I checked the water pump and it seems to spin freely and actually didn't have any play in the shaft. Not gonna install it just based off the fact that it looked like the leak was like I said, in the seam running down the passenger side I'm guessing onto the timing cover? I did go ahead and replace both main heater hoses leading back up to the heater core, but I'm fairly certain it's leaking from one of the two. It's not tax time yet, so I don't have the money to do a head job right now with it being my daily driver. I suppose I'll slap everything back together in the morning and throw a bottle of k-seal in when I go to refill the system. This is kind of a bummer because I was hoping it was only the water pump leaking...
 




BrooklynBay

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Connect a cooling system pressure tester. Don't change parts randomly just based on the fact that a part looks wet. A small pin hole in a hose could squirt coolant at a different location, then make that part appear to be leaking.
 




92'WhiteWolf

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Connect a cooling system pressure tester. Don't change parts randomly just based on the fact that a part looks wet. A small pin hole in a hose could squirt coolant at a different location, then make that part appear to be leaking.

Not gonna replace the pump. When I took the old heater hoses off, they appeared to be in decent shape. Other than the fact that the old, "tower style", death grip hose clamps had a hold on them, they looked to not be leaking. I'm 90% sure that the location of the leak is coming from the seam just to the right of the front head freeze plug. Gonna pre-mix the k-seal with conventional green/distilled water between two gallons and put it in and hope for the best.
 




RangerX

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I had a similar leak that I feared might be head related, but turned out to be intake manifold gasket.
I pulled the alternator to try to see the leak source, and then filled the rad with water, and saw an obvious pee stream coming from the leak. I'll see if I can find my thread from 2011.
 




RangerX

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92'WhiteWolf

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Ranger, the yellow circled bolt hole in the third picture down on your op. That bolt when I took it out actually had a gear dope smelling oil residue on it. I thought that was kind of strange, but went about my business lol. My leak I believe is actually coming out of that crease right below that bolt hole, which I would assume would be the head gasket leaking out.
 




RangerX

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Yeah, that bolt was oily for me, too.
Maybe it is your head gasket, but have you filled up your radiator with water to help find the actual leak? Gravity will let it leak out wherever until it water level gets below the leak spot.
 




92'WhiteWolf

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Yeah, that bolt was oily for me, too.
Maybe it is your head gasket, but have you filled up your radiator with water to help find the actual leak? Gravity will let it leak out wherever until it water level gets below the leak spot.

I actually drained the entire radiator and replaced the heater hoses, that was it. I made two, two gallon 50/50 mixtures with distilled water and equal amounts of k-seal. Shook both very well for about 5 minutes and then filled the radiator to just below the fill neck. Ran my burping process, which actually went a lot better this go round. I topped up the radiator, installed the cap and then did the same to the reservoir. Went for about a 10 minute drive and when I returned home I popped the hood and saw that the reservoir was empty. So I guess the cooling system is doing its job? Anyway, I topped up the reservoir again to about half an inch above the cold fill line. Guess I'll see how she does driving about 40 miles tomorrow.
 




RangerX

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I meant fill and check with with engine off and as disassembled as you had it, alternator pulled etc, so you have a clear view of the area that leaks. Check post 24 in my thread that I linked. You can see the stream of water in the red circle.
 








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You can also dust a clean dry area with talcum or baby powder to track where a leak is coming from.
 




92'WhiteWolf

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Thanks for all the info guys. Roadrunner, that was actually gonna be one of my last options, but I opted for the bottle of k-seal since when I tried to rent out the tester, it was already on loan. It seems to have worked great actually. Stopped the leak right up and the truck seems to be running at a more consistent temperature. Oh and by the way, I decided to ditch the wonky mechanical gauge and hook the factory dash sender back up. Boom! The temp doesn't get above the AL on NORMAL and that gives me better piece of mind that the truck isn't actually "overheating" lol.
 




BrooklynBay

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98FordLove

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This is the gap he is likely reffering to. It looks like this gap is normal when the harmonic balancer is on tight. For those with the same truck as me, do you have a gap where circled in this pic like this one does?

This is not my truck, I pulled this screenshot from a Youtube video of a guy pulling the balancer off and this is the state it was in fully on tight.

b305090fb0016325e6e09b44f408dc0e.jpg
 


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