Ways to get coolant in oil?? | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations

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Ways to get coolant in oil??

wesalexleft

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City, State
Memphis, TN
Year, Model & Trim Level
2003 Mountaineer V8 4.6L
4.6L Mounty with slow coolant loss. I put dye in the coolant and pressurized it to 15 LBS to find any leaks. I left it overnight and the pressure had dropped to 13 pounds by morning. I pumped it to 15 again and let it sit all through work. When I got home, it was down to 13 again and I'd lost about 1/2" total from the degas tank in 24 hours. I checked the oil and the level was higher. I drained the oil, and there is coolant there. I tried to do a combustion gas test in the coolant system, but the loaner tool was clogged to the point that I couldn't get it to work. I'm going to another store tomorrow to get another and try that again, but wondered what other ways coolant can get in oil other than head gasket. Is it possible the oil cooler on these can mix, or that it would have leaked from the intake?? A little history...it was losing coolant so I'd gone over it really well. Found a small leak from the intake on the drivers rear side, so I replaced the intake and gaskets. Im not saying I'm sure it's not leaking, but I thought I did a good job. There is no white smoke at normal driving, it runs well-no codes, and doesn't run hot. The coolant system isn't getting to high pressure either. Before replacing the intake, I'd done a combustion gas test and it was negative. Since doing that, I've started to doubt the fluid on the first test, so I'll be doing another. After the 24 hour coolant pressure test, I did get a very little white smoke that lasted about one minute at idle before going away.
 
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wesalexleft

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City, State
Memphis, TN
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2003 Mountaineer V8 4.6L
Update: As of this morning, the combustion gas test of the coolant shows no sign if combustion getting into the coolant. This is my second test with no signs using two different test fluids. I'm viewing this as a good sign that head gaskets aren't leaking and no crack in a head. So now my problem is how else can coolant get in the oil? I thought possibly the oil cooler at the filter. Also, I believe there are freeze plugs beneath the timing covers. Any other sources? Also, anyone have suggestions on how to test/check for any possibilities, or have any personal experience with this? I'm at wits end with this ongoing problem and I'm getting tired of looking and no results. There are no external leaks of coolant and its definitely getting in the oil. Any help or direction to go would be appreciated.
 
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wesalexleft

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2003 Mountaineer V8 4.6L
Yes, it does have it. I looked around it and there are no external leaks. I thought that oil/coolant coolant could be mixing there as well. Any way to check without complete disassembly? I haven't seen a diagram of the cooler to know exactly how it would occur.
 
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wesalexleft

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2003 Mountaineer V8 4.6L
Just bumping for the start of the week and looking for advice. I'm getting coolant in the oil, but no combustion gases in coolant system. I plan to pull plugs and take a look at the cylinders for signs of coolant there...very clean plugs or cylinders. While doing this, I'll do compression and leak down tests. I'm still hoping that there's a chance it could be coming from the oil cooler, or timing areas though and wanted to see if anyone else had had coolant leaking into the oil from these areas or any other places to look. It will be this weekend before I can do compression and leak down tests. What are the chances of head gasket without any fault codes, bad running, and no combustion in the coolant? it's a 4.6L V8 owned since new with 102K miles.

thanks!
 
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Sponzbob26

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2002 Ford Explorer XLT V8
Hi there! Have you managed to find the problem? Did you inspect the oil cooler at all? I believe I have similar problems and is interested to know where you end up at the end?

Regards
 
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wesalexleft

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2003 Mountaineer V8 4.6L
still no joy

I'm still having the problem. Watching the coolant level and topping off when necessary. I'm changing the oil very frequently in hopes of slowing damage to the engine while I explore options. I have not removed the oil cooler, or done any major teardown to find the problem. If it's block/head related, the truck just isn't worth the repair costs. If that's the problem, it will just be driven until it gives up. I just had an oil analysis and it too confirmed that coolant is entering the oil. I hate to do it, but I think I may resort to stop leak in an attempt to plug the coolant leak and hope that it's a freeze plug, etc. I've read from the forum that there are freeze plugs behind the timing cover that can leak and that coolant would drain into the pan. It's my son's college car, and while he's back over spring break, I may tear into the oil cooler, but when I looked at a diagram of the cooler, it's double gasketed betwen anywhere they might mix, and with oil pressure being higher, I should find oil in the coolant, which I'm not, so I don't think it's the oil cooler. My gut tells me it's block, head, or head gasket related and all of these are cost prohibitive to fix...costing more than the truck is worth. It really ticks me off because my 1997 Gen1 Mounty is still going strong after 17 years without these kinds of issues.
 
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Sponzbob26

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Hi!
Good to hear back from you!
I have stripped the engine and removed the heads (right or wrong) and (disappointing) did not find a leak sign between coolant ports and the oil port channels. I am going to take it to a friend next week for him to have a look at the heads and gasket, but it will be hard to convince. It is not to say that I might have missed some signs, but to my eye, I could not see anything suspicious.
I find it strange that quite a few people who posted threads about the same problem - I am not referring to those who have coolant loss outside the engine and neither found oil in the coolant reservoir - have no real definite answer.

I also checked my core plugs in the timing chain area, there is 1 big one, approx 1 inch in size (don’t quote me on this) and 1 small one (quite small) in each cylinder head. I cleaned it out and it looked pretty new and no signs of any defects. Below where the coil pump is, I am not sure if there is a core plug behind the oil pump assembly.

You refer to the oil cooler, is there one fitted to these engines? I am not 100% sure. Where is it fitted?

When I drained the oil out, the total litres comes to 10 litre which of course half of that is mixture of water and coolant. After opening the 2 valve covers, it was very clear that water is inside. IT just baffles me how it gets in there. I was told today by some mechanic that it is most likely a cracked head cylinder. I am not so sure but of course it is a possibility.

After removing the time chain and guides, I noticed some deep groove wear on the oil pump assembly at the LH cylinder head side. No crack.

I ran out of areas to look at or investigate. Where else can I look? Engine block is currently still in the car bay.
 
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wesalexleft

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City, State
Memphis, TN
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2003 Mountaineer V8 4.6L
I'd seen one post here where the owner had pressurized the engine on a stand to find the leak and discovered a crack in the block with a boroscope. Others here said that it was not common though. The oil cooler is at the fitting where the lower radiator hose connects to the engine at the oil filter. It circulates the coolant around the oil as it's being filtered. There are 4 "ports" that each have o rings. two are for oil coming and going, and two for coolant. For a leak there, two of the rings would have to fail, and from the look of it, it would still leak externally as well, so I kind of ruled it out.
 
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