Page updated on 04-26-2018

Murky Coolant

03-11-2007, 11:01 PM
I hope this hasn't been posted yet! I used the search in AF to find something but all I got was heater core stuff. Well I had a new engine put in a little more than a year ago. I also had a rebuilt trans 8 months ago. The tranny place told me that my tranny was burning my coolant and that is why my engine went first and then my trans. So you know my history....

Okay so the issue I am stating is my coolant is looking like a dark shade of grey. my heat coming out of my vents is not that warm, but on the highway it is burning hot. About 2 weeks ago I got it changed. Now the issue has come up again. Someone a work told me my radiator could be cracked. I just want to get this taken care of before I have some serious damage done. Can I use a tester to find out anything or look at something under my hood? Thanks

03-12-2007, 08:58 AM
Please year and engine.

03-12-2007, 08:59 AM
I will assume that this is a Taurus. Please year and engine.

03-12-2007, 11:49 AM
Sorry about that 1999 Ford Taurus SE Vin U 3.0. I took it in to the dealer since it's right across the street. The said my hoses were rusting outside and in. They said I should have it flushed instead of draining it. The heat core was blocked also. They also said I had air in there too. Is there anything else I can check for, besides keeping an eye on the color and heat from the vents. For 200 bucks it's not a bad deal I don't think. I just want everything to be fine. I hope this works and they didn't over look something.

03-12-2007, 12:11 PM
In 1997, Ford sent a recall titled "Brown Coolant". The 3.0 engines coolant was turning brown and sludgy around 25K miles. The recall ordered the dealers to totally drain the coolant, remove the freeze-plugs and chemically flush the entire cooling system. This was an expensive recall (being that the transmission had to be removed). Few dealers actually did the work while the majority simply flushed the engine out. Years later, we are all dealing with "Heater Hell" and "Heater Core" problems. To be rid of the problem, you can either keep managing the problem (or do what I did because I love the Taurus) or trade for a 2000 or up. That thick brown crap is tough to get rid of. The recall is as follows:

Recall 98B23

Cooling System By-Pass Kit Installation - Certain 1996 and 1997 Model Year Taurus and Sable Vehicles Equipped With 3.0L Vulcan Gasoline or Ethanol Engines
Engine cooling system flow imbalance and aeration may lead to a discoloration of the coolant. Vehicle owners may also describe additional cooling system concerns, including coolant overflow, coolant smell, lack of heat, coolant leaks or high temperature gauge readings.
This program replaces the previously announced Owner Notification Program 98B18. Vehicle owners who were notified that their vehicle was covered by 98B18 and did not return for service, will be re-notified under this program(were any of you notified?).

Before its over, your Taurus will make a pretty fair mechanic out of you.

Good Luck.

03-12-2007, 12:17 PM
Also, check the transmisssion fluid from the dipstick. Does it show signs of discoloration or possibly having coolant in it? Is it the correct level? If the transmission fluid cooling tank in the radiator is cracked, you would either have signs of coolant in the tranny fluid, or low tranny fluid.


03-12-2007, 12:44 PM
I gotta go to work right now but I'll check it when I get home thanks for all the effort. I'll tell you what I find

03-13-2007, 07:30 PM
Kinda late to this topic, but yeah, if the transmission caused the death of the engine it would have to be mixing with the coolant and the coolant would have to be mixing with the trans fluid.

I second the changing coolant. They seem to turn brown easily. We have done the coolant on the 01 twice now and each time, it's noticeably brown and I don't have any leaky head gaskits or transmission coolers to swap around with the coolant - it's just what Taurus do. It's a grounding problem from what I understand.

03-14-2007, 05:44 AM
'It's a grounding problem from what I understand.'
Guess we're better late than never. I have nothing else to contrubite and you good folks pretty well have it covered. I have a question; What is the stuff in the coolant causing to to become cloudy or mirky? Surely Fod had it analyzed to find out exactly what it is and could prevent it or cure the cause. Reviewing the TSB that calls for a big time flush removing freeze plugs and all, . . almost sounds like something was left inside the block at the factory and they want it flushed out. First time I ever saw this problem so not up to speed on the TSB.

What is the meaning of, "the tranny is burning the coolant?" If there was a leak in the radiator tranny cooler ATF fluid would get pushed in the coolant and very oily in the coolant reservoir because ATF is under a whole lot more pressure than the cooling system. ATF expands and contracts a lot, so maybe when it cooled off the crack would suck coolant into the cooler, but in that case the fluid would get milky or show signs of coolant/water contamination.

Add your comment to this topic!