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Thermostat Housing Coolant leak (picture)

King$nake

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1998 Eddie Bauer 5.0
Alright, trying to get all the odds and ends repaired on my 98 5.0 Explorer. The last couple of days I have been smelling coolant after driving it but I could never find anything leaking underneath. I finally popped the hood and noticed this little puddle directly underneath the thermostat housing. Im assuming that the thermostat gasket needs to be replaced, can you guys confirm from this picture?


thermostat.jpg
 
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jremington59

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It appears that could be the problem. It looks wet on the top also...... Put a new one on and see.
 
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blakshukvw

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Mine constantly leaves a puddle in the same place. I've replaced the thermostat gasket twice and it still poolsup there. I think the lower manifold is leaking on mine causing it to pool up there. Really pisses me off bt not enough to fix it.
 
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King$nake

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blakshukvw, are you constantly smelling antifreeze when you get out of your truck after driving it?
 
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SmoothJimmy

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Yep, replace the gasket (apply a light coat of permatex blue). Note also that the bolts holding the housing are low torque and can work themselves loose. I had the same problem recently and just that little bit of coolant smelled to high heaven.
 
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King$nake

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Well I just replaced the gasket, but didnt apply the permatex blue. I started up the truck and drove it around and then when I came back, there was a small puddle of coolant in the same exact spot. I rinsed it off and am done messing with it for the day. I did my brakes today to so Im burnt out on that truck lol. Im hoping the new puddle is just residual from before, Ill find out for sure when I drive it again tonight
 
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blakshukvw

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Yeah, I have a very faint coolant smell after driving. Mine has been seeping like this for about 20 months and hasn't gotten any worse.
 
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jremington59

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Yeah, I have a very faint coolant smell after driving. Mine has been seeping like this for about 20 months and hasn't gotten any worse.

Seems this is a problem with a lot of the 5.0,s. Mine does the same thing and has been for a couple years. I have to add about a half quart of coolant a month to the res. It seems a little worse in the winter.

I can't find it and from what I read it could possibly be the heater control valve but it hasn't been bad enough to actually start trying to figure it out.
 
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King$nake

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Hmm, interesting. Ya I just drove my Explorer around the block this morning and it is STILL leaking, after all that. Sucks. I also noticed my rear main was leaking yesterday. Thing has 150,000 miles...I had plans to lift it and 'restore' the explorer and drop like $3g into it, but now Im thinking Id be better off to drive it until it dies and get something else and invest into the next vehicle.

Question - I put new pads on my front brakes yesterday, and my brake pedal is just mushy. I drove it around the block several times and it feels like brake pressure is coming back but it is still a softer feeling pedal than before. Time to bleed the brakes or will it take time to build the pressure back?
 
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blakshukvw

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Replacing the pads should have no effect on pedal effort or firmness. You may introduced some air into the system when pushing back the pistons due to some old seals. I would try bleeding the brakes. Also, make sure your caliper bolts are tight. I see on here there are some problems with them coming loose from time to time.

I was wanting to do some suspension upgrades to my X like you but have seen so many problems with these trucks just in stock form on here that it's kinda disheartening. I don't need another big project, I already have one. I think I'll just keep the X together as long as I monetarilly can. I have a Sentra with 167xxx miles on it and it going stron so far so my fingers are crossed.
 
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King$nake

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Thanks for the advice man, I appreciate it. On one hand, part of me says that Explorers are so cheap to maintain, because they are easy to work on and parts are easy to come by. But on the other hand I dont want to be constantly maintain a vehicle with over 150k on the odo. It seems like there is always something, sucks. Might just buy a newer F150 supercrew 2WD and do a long travel deal out of it.
 
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blakshukvw

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Well unfortunately, if you have an AWD model such as I do, there not even that easy to work on. Transmission removal for the rear main is a bitch from what I hear. Everything is heavy. I just take it really easy on mine anymore.
 
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Jaxvegas13

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I’ve been having this same issue for about 5 months now with my 2001 5.0, small pool of coolant gathers below the housing, I’ve replaced the thermostat and old gasket with Motorcraft ones... still leaking, then replaced the housing and gasket again... still leaking. Has anyone found a soulution? It leaks small drops daily, hasn’t gotten worse, but I don’t like it the idea it’s dripping down and causing potential harm/issue to other parts.

A9288106-C278-4B37-9344-70C469C02031.jpeg
 
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974X4BLACKSPORT

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Common problem is the thermostat housing itself can get warped from age, and overtighetning the bolts, no matter how good gasket you hhave, if the housing is not perfectly flat and true, leaks can develop. I use my belt sander with 80 grit to true up thermostat housings as long as they are not to bad, and then finish up with a perfectly flat fine file.
 
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Jaxvegas13

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Common problem is the thermostat housing itself can get warped from age, and overtighetning the bolts, no matter how good gasket you hhave, if the housing is not perfectly flat and true, leaks can develop. I use my belt sander with 80 grit to true up thermostat housings as long as they are not to bad, and then finish up with a perfectly flat fine file.

New housing and the rest is in great condition... I cleaned/sanded it pretty well. I think you’re right about overtightening it. I’m giving up on it for a few days, I’ll torque it to specs (should have done that in the first place) and let you know how it works out. Thanks for the advice!
 
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koda2000

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You can put a bottle of K-Seal in the radiator. Speaking from personal experience, that stuff works really well on small leaks and doesn't hurt anything. Even if you still want to try replacing the t-stat housing it will probably buy you some time until you feel like messing with it again. My main concern would be that my dogs might get into the puddle under the truck.
 
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roscoe 0202

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years ago they made a cast iron thermostat housing replacement those won't fit the 5.0 or explorer might see if someone makes a housing that will worked a lot better also check bypass hose

roscoe
 
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gatzdon

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I know this sounds too simple, but did you inspect that hose real well? Would be really hard to see a crack on the underside that doesn't start leaking until it comes up to Temp.
 
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Mitchs07explorer

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I know this thread is way old from 2011 and then bumped last year but I also have this issue on my 97 5.0 AWD. It was perfectly fine until I took it to jiffy lube for a rad flush. I drove it around for a few days afterwards and then discovered they didn’t tighten that lower bypass hose enough and it was leaking a lot of coolant. I figured they pulled the housing to remove the thermostat for a proper flush but who knows what they did. Anyway I replaced the gasket on the housing and cleaned a fair bit of rust from the bypass tube. The pitting was deep enough it could be seeping around that, I can’t remember if i replaced that bypass hose too so I’ll take a closer look at that. When I get a chance I’ll pull the housing off again and replace the gasket again but use some RTV to really seal it. I also plan on cleaning and filling in the remaining rusted spots and filling it in with jb weld and smoothing out the bypass pipe. Hopefully that takes care of it, I figure even if the housing got overtightened the RTV should seal it off.
 
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tripog

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I know this thread is way old from 2011 and then bumped last year but I also have this issue on my 97 5.0 AWD. It was perfectly fine until I took it to jiffy lube for a rad flush. I drove it around for a few days afterwards and then discovered they didn’t tighten that lower bypass hose enough and it was leaking a lot of coolant. I figured they pulled the housing to remove the thermostat for a proper flush but who knows what they did. Anyway I replaced the gasket on the housing and cleaned a fair bit of rust from the bypass tube. The pitting was deep enough it could be seeping around that, I can’t remember if i replaced that bypass hose too so I’ll take a closer look at that. When I get a chance I’ll pull the housing off again and replace the gasket again but use some RTV to really seal it. I also plan on cleaning and filling in the remaining rusted spots and filling it in with jb weld and smoothing out the bypass pipe. Hopefully that takes care of it, I figure even if the housing got overtightened the RTV should seal it off.

JB weld works great for that type of repair, we sometimes use epoxy to fix subsafe water tight doors and if it works under that kind of pressure it will definitely hold up on an explorers cooling system.
 
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