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Wits End - Coolant Leak

il66pony

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2007 Mountaineer 4.6 V8, rear heating and AC, 103k miles. A couple of weeks ago, I noticed coolant dripping from a bolt on the bottom of the passenger side frame rail. It was dripping (not much) about 18 inches back of the rear edge of the front fender. I looked but could find no obvious leak so I came here and posted about it. Seems like the culprit would be the "Y" hose assembly that runs to the right side of the exhaust manifold and down for the rear heater. So I got the part yesterday, took off the air intake assembly, wheel, and a rubber flap in the wheel well. Everything was dry as a bone with no sign of any kind of leak. And of course antifreeze does not evaporate. So, traced the heat and AC lines all the way back to where they enter the cabin in the rear. Everything dry as a bone. Side of engine, rear of engine, bell housing, tranny not a single trace of coolant. BTW, when I first noticed this the overflow tank was empty when cold. I did put some in to get a little in the tank.

So, while driving it in the last couple of weeks, coming home and parking it, it has leaked several times but not every time. It has been pretty hot here so only the AC has been on. Have not driven it at night during all of this so no chance the heater kicked on. Today is cooler so I may take it out tonight and run bot front and rear heat and see what happens.

Has anyone ever had an elusive leak like this? Any ideas for me?

Again, thanks in advance.

Dave
 


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Bazz270

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Take a photo of your leak.it is hard to say without exact leak location.

It is pretty easy to say what kind of liquid you mess with..just put your finger and check its color (clear or yellow/red).

And, as i said before.
In dorman replacement hose you will always got a leak from the firewall area...

Thats the problem with aftermarket parts..you cant be 100% sure
 




il66pony

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Take a photo of your leak.it is hard to say without exact leak location.

It is pretty easy to say what kind of liquid you mess with..just put your finger and check its color (clear or yellow/red).

And, as i said before.
In dorman replacement hose you will always got a leak from the firewall area...

Thats the problem with aftermarket parts..you cant be 100% sure

So here is the picture of the area of the frame that gets wet and the bolt it drops off of. Just a little residue now as it has not dripped for three days or so. You can see the exhaust crossover and the trans cross member so that you know where it is. I did not put the Dorman part on as the current original one is fine and dry. What drips on the floor is dark brown. This is the original "gold" coolant. I suspect it picks up dirt/rust from the frame. And yes, it tastes sweet. Also, the firewall is dry. Interior of firewall is dry as is the carpet. Have never smelled coolant in the cabin.

Thanks.
IMG_2230_LI.jpg
 




Bazz270

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Well

Looks to me like rear heater inlet/outlet hoses or clamps leaking and coolant dripping from the engine bay somehow to the rear via external metal coolant piping surface or a frame

Are sure about front heater core condition?
 




il66pony

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Well

Looks to me like rear heater inlet/outlet hoses or clamps leaking and coolant dripping from the engine bay somehow to the rear via external metal coolant piping surface or a frame

Are sure about front heater core condition?
I followed the two heater hoses/pipes and AC hoses/pipes from the front to the rear and up to the cabin. Ran my finger along every inch of the lines. Dry as can be. Can't really determine the front heater core without taking half the car apart LOL. Here is an idea. What if I do have a slight leak in the heater core? Could it be some coolant sits in the bottom of the heater core? And then it gets flushed out on a humid day when the evaporator for the AC produces a lot of condensation? What do you think? If something like this was the case, I still think I would get the unmistakable smell of coolant in the car.

Thanks for your continuing help!
 




Bazz270

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You right

Heater core and evaporator case is the same one plastic part seating just behind your central console .in case of coolant leak,condensate will wash the coolant out thru the same hole (thanks to ford engineers it never leaks into cars interior and you wont feel or smell hazard coolant vapor).usually leaked coolant from the heater core goes out to the frame in transmission bell housing area.

Heater core change not really hard thing to do
4 dashboard bolts,central console,cluster and steering column out.
 




il66pony

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You right

Heater core and evaporator case is the same one plastic part seating just behind your central console .in case of coolant leak,condensate will wash the coolant out thru the same hole (thanks to ford engineers it never leaks into cars interior and you wont feel or smell coolant ).

Heater core change not really hard thing to do
4 dashboard bolts,central console,cluster and steering column out.
Here is a thread that supports this theory.

 




Bazz270

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Anyways

If you decide to change your heater core,use only ford spare part.
No need for a/c system drain.

You will need to get an assistance to take the whole dashboard aside.make sure not to damage steering wheel and seat leather covers and mark all the dashboard harnesses.
258872.jpg

258873.jpg


258874.jpg

It is a chance to cut all the crap aftermarket wires out ))
 




il66pony

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This is way more than I want to tackle. I am sure it would be a $2,000 job if not more. Is there a way to bypass the front heater core? If I do that, will the rear auxiliary heat still work?
 




Bazz270

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sure

you can bypass it by disconnecting inlet and outlet heater hoses from the engine bay and reconnecting this hoses to each other via any metal fitting and worm clamps.

rear heater will work for the rear rows only(the front and the rear heater cores are probably the same age so...).
be aware of no front windshield defrost will be available in case of front heater core bypass.

good for summer time only :).
u can use A/C for window defrost but it will take forever if you have snow or ice outside
 




MakinJeepsWeep!

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On my 06 i had a leak that seemed to be in the same spot and mine ended up being the valve that controls the water flow had cracked on the back side that i couldnt see until i took it apart and it would only leak after engine had got good and hot. After seeing all these post i hope i have a long lasting heater core! I had to do it in my Mazda but it doesnt have half the stuff the Merc does.
 




il66pony

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sure

you can bypass it by disconnecting inlet and outlet heater hoses from the engine bay and reconnecting this hoses to each other via any metal fitting and worm clamps.

rear heater will work for the rear rows only(the front and the rear heater cores are probably the same age so...).
be aware of no front windshield defrost will be available in case of front heater core bypass.

good for summer time only :).
u can use A/C for window defrost but it will take forever if you have snow or ice outside
I am an old retired guy so I don't go out in the snow much at all. Can always take my wife's Murano if I have to. Which hoses are the inlet and outlet?
 




MakinJeepsWeep!

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Trace them back to the water pump and route those two into a loop. Thats what i did on mine but i have the 4.0 v6
 




il66pony

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On my 06 i had a leak that seemed to be in the same spot and mine ended up being the valve that controls the water flow had cracked on the back side that i couldnt see until i took it apart and it would only leak after engine had got good and hot. After seeing all these post i hope i have a long lasting heater core! I had to do it in my Mazda but it doesnt have half the stuff the Merc does.
It is going to get down to 58 overnight so I am going to take it out early in the morning and get it up to temp and run the heater just to verify that valve is not leaking.

Guess I will get a new car. The only ones I will consider is a Kia Teluride or Hyundai Palisade. Problem is they want $3-5k over MSRP. I really don't want an Explorer. Not with that tiny 4 cylinder engine and a Sport model is not worth the money to me. Also, all the electronics in all new cars scare the heck out of me. One little hardware or software glitch can stop you dead in your tracks.
 




MakinJeepsWeep!

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I have to be honest i have never trusted any vehicle i have owned more than my 96 X 5.0 with awd. I can get in it in any weather and feel confident i am going to get were im going weather its in the middle of a hurricane or a summer day, I even went and took food/water to people this winter in the snow with it got a couple trucks out of ditches as well. Its not the best looking thing around but its a darn trusty old tank.
 




MakinJeepsWeep!

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Oh and i know a lady i do work for with a telluride and she likes it.
 




Bazz270

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I am an old retired guy so I don't go out in the snow much at all. Can always take my wife's Murano if I have to. Which hoses are the inlet and outlet?

The only two short coolant (strange shaped) hoses that goes from the engine bay to the firewall.just behind passenger side fuel rail.
 




94Eddie

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It is going to get down to 58 overnight so I am going to take it out early in the morning and get it up to temp and run the heater just to verify that valve is not leaking.

Guess I will get a new car. The only ones I will consider is a Kia Teluride or Hyundai Palisade. Problem is they want $3-5k over MSRP. I really don't want an Explorer. Not with that tiny 4 cylinder engine and a Sport model is not worth the money to me. Also, all the electronics in all new cars scare the heck out of me. One little hardware or software glitch can stop you dead in your tracks.
If I were buying something new these days it would be a Toyota/Lexus or Honda/Acura. They seem to be the only automakers left that have the least amount of planned obsolescence designed into their vehicles.
 




il66pony

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The only two short coolant (strange shaped) hoses that goes from the engine bay to the firewall.just behind passenger side fuel rail.
So I took it out this morning and ran the heater for 10-15 minutes. Now, an hour later it has lost 3-4 ounces. Dripping more from the center of car off the transmission cross member and exhaust cross over pipe. So, that confirms the theory. I wonder if a radiator shop rather than a Ford dealer could replace the core. I think that a radiator shop might tell their clients that they have to take the car to a dealer as all cars now are different and a pain in the butt.

I did find a video on youtube that would be helpful if I tried it myself. I also wonder if getting hold of a shop manual would be helpful. Do you know of a good manual and if you do, could you give me a link. I am retired so I could allocate a week or so to do it and we would share my wife's car. I did find the heater core hoses at the firewall. I guess I could bypass the front core and just use the back seat heat.
 


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Bazz270

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Any authorized mechanic will do this job.

No any special tools needed.
It should take about 5 hours of workshop time plus coolant refill

About workshop manual.ive purchased OEM one (digital copy) in ebay...
 




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