Please tell me this isn't a cracked head gasket | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

  • Register Today It's free!

Please tell me this isn't a cracked head gasket


Well-Known Member
December 3, 2010
Reaction score
City, State
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Year, Model & Trim Level
1994 Ranger reg cab 4.0
When I bought the explorer I noticed this clay colored spray all over the passenger side engine compartment. I shrugged it off and didn't think about it.

Well I cleaned it off and I open my hood today and its back and I notice one of what I think is a radiator hose is cracked and spraying stuff out. Then I check my rad fluid and its the same clay color almost like rust. Please tell me this just needs new radiator hoses, radiator flush, and new fluid.

I think this is the hose going into the heater core correct?
Red circle indicates where crack is:

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!

Thats the heater control bypass valve. Easy to change.

If possible, buy a ford/motorcraft one as most of the off brand ones don't last near as long.


You are probably right in thinking its rust. When you change the valve change out the fluid in the radiator and maybe grab a garden hose and flush some water through the heater core and everything else.

I've never seen a blown head gasket to that...The advice you got to flush out your cooling system needs to be done...Pronto !

I've never seen a blown head gasket to that...The advice you got to flush out your cooling system needs to be done...Pronto !

X2 With great emphases placed on the flushing sooner then later as that is some very rusty water!

Yeah its running in the A/L in the NORMAL on the temp gauge.

Doing everything tomorrow with the ultimate radiator flush

Oh and I was reading in some thread that someone had strawberry milkshake colored fluid and said it was a blown head gasket or a cracked block maybe leaking oil into it.

Could someone tell me why I have a U Joint type thing in there for my hoses? Should I take them out and seperate them?

A blown head gasket will be milky that is true, but not typically like the rust in your picture.

That thing you’re talking about is a diverter valve. Its job is to keep hot water from reaching the heater core at times so the AC works better the 93 and older ones did not have it. I believe you could do away with it but not sure how you would have to rerun the vacuum line for it. I know on my 93 the vacuum line is in side pass side kick panel and it’s what changes the vent from inside air to fresh air. Not sure if the 94 is the same but easy to check out.

If you use a/c, keep the heater control bypass valve. Adding that valve is a mod those of us with < 1994 do. As mentioned it keeps the hot water out of the heater box when your running a/c which makes the a/c cooler.

If you need to bypass it for now you can do that. Just plug the vacuum line so it doesn't become a vacuum leak.

btw.. When your flushing the system, make sure your flushing the heater core too.


Thanks I got it done today, I went and bought a new valve for 20 bucks and put it in.

My truck runs wayyyy cooler now that I did the radiator flush like 8 times and flushed the heater core.

Other then rusty water was it chunky?

I have to ask any one here if I added that valve to my 93 were should I tap the vacuum from? Should it come off the line in the pass kick panel for the fresh air by using a t fitting?

Thanks Mark for some reason I could not find it .