Coolant on serpentine belt


kerk
10-11-2009, 10:58 AM
2001 Windstar -
I have a coolant leak somewhere and it is getting on the serpentine belt and spraying everything. It is spraying droplets not streams of coolant. Makes me think it is a steady drip from somewhere, but I can't find it. Where are the most likely places for the leak? I've tried to follow the hose out of the overflow, but everything is wet already. Thanks!!!

Freakzilla69
10-11-2009, 12:11 PM
If your engine is anything like mine (3.8L), there's a coolant pipe coming off the lower intake manifold which turns back towards the firewall. It then connects to a hose and goes to the water pump. That hose is directly over the belt, that would be my prime suspect.

Ed_Strong
10-12-2009, 10:26 AM
If you have a pin hole leak you'll have to let the engine reach operating temperature, then pop the hood (being carefull not to get burned or stained by coolant) and then look for signs of steam or smell and fluid running around the belt. Sometimes when you shut off the engine at operating temp the leak will make a hissing or whisle sound like a tea kettle!

wiswind
10-12-2009, 07:14 PM
Ed makes a good point......when you turn off the engine when it is warm......the temperature increases due to the fact that the coolant is not circulating......which should increase the pressure in the system.......possibly giving you the chance to see the leak in action.

kerk
10-12-2009, 07:43 PM
I've looked at it cold, hot and inbetween but I just can't seem to find the spot. Once the fluid starts to flow, the belt becomes wet and starts to spray droplets all over the engine on that side so it gets real wet. I guess it's just a spot that I can't see even with the mirror I'm using. The pipe that I am most suspecting is the one that comes out of the water pump. Because it goes back out of sight, I'm thinking that somewhere back there it must have a leak. I can see some corrosion where it branches off, so maybe right behind that spot? Anyone know how tough it is to get that pipe off and out of there? It seems awfully tight back there.

bdahl385
10-12-2009, 09:48 PM
I've looked at it cold, hot and inbetween but I just can't seem to find the spot. Once the fluid starts to flow, the belt becomes wet and starts to spray droplets all over the engine on that side so it gets real wet. I guess it's just a spot that I can't see even with the mirror I'm using. The pipe that I am most suspecting is the one that comes out of the water pump. Because it goes back out of sight, I'm thinking that somewhere back there it must have a leak. I can see some corrosion where it branches off, so maybe right behind that spot? Anyone know how tough it is to get that pipe off and out of there? It seems awfully tight back there.

If you really want to nail down that leak location, do what the pro's do... Auto supply stores sell dyes made for oil, coolant, freon, etc. You add the dye and run for a period of time depending on the severity of the leak. You then shine a UV light (black light) into the engine compartment in the dark and believe me, you will pinpoint that leak source very easily.

northern piper
10-13-2009, 07:37 AM
you could also get a pressure tester and pump up the rad to ~15lbs. That may just cause the fluid to escape from the leaky spot. I've found leaks in coolant this way.

catvents
10-13-2009, 09:00 AM
I've looked at it cold, hot and inbetween but I just can't seem to find the spot. Once the fluid starts to flow, the belt becomes wet and starts to spray droplets all over the engine on that side so it gets real wet. I guess it's just a spot that I can't see even with the mirror I'm using. The pipe that I am most suspecting is the one that comes out of the water pump. Because it goes back out of sight, I'm thinking that somewhere back there it must have a leak. I can see some corrosion where it branches off, so maybe right behind that spot? Anyone know how tough it is to get that pipe off and out of there? It seems awfully tight back there.
You can really suspect to be this pipe that is leaking; I have changed mine about a year ago ( 2001 model too) that was leaking because of the corrosion. Best way to replace it is to remove the cowl vent panel to have more acces to the 2 hoses connected to this pipe. But, and this is the most important, you will have to use great care to remove the tube who enter in the water pump. The tube will probably be rusted, and you will have to soak it with PB Blaster and be patient for not breaking or cracked the water pump which is aluminium. ( this problem have happened to one of us here and he will probably recongnise him if he reads this post)
The tube is held on the water pump with one small bolt and with another one, where the tube become a "Y". Price at Ford dealership is between 35 and 40 dollars if I can remember, and I am not sure you can find it aftermarket ( Autozone, Advance etc).

kerk
10-14-2009, 07:03 PM
So how long did it take you to replace the pipe? I have plenty of PB to soak on it for a day. I think I'm just going to go for it. Wait, how do I get the pipe at Ford, I mean what do I ask for so that they will know what I am asking for?

catvents
10-15-2009, 01:26 AM
So how long did it take you to replace the pipe? I have plenty of PB to soak on it for a day. I think I'm just going to go for it. Wait, how do I get the pipe at Ford, I mean what do I ask for so that they will know what I am asking for? It took about 1 1/2 hr to do the job, including removal of the cowl vent panel and some difficulties to unstick the tube from the top of the water pump. The name of the part in the Ford catalog is: Tube assembly heater water outlet, and the part number is: XF2Z-18663-AA. ( this number is for a Windstar without rear auxillary heater)You can also order it from some Ford dealership online; while I am in Canada, I usually order from Varsity Ford, which is located to Ann Arbor MI. Here is the link, so you will be able to see the exact price. http://www.varsityfordparts.com/catalog.htm

Brandynr
10-19-2009, 12:50 AM
I just recently had a coolant leak in my 2000 Windstar, in the same general area that you're talking about. At first, I thought it was the water bypass tube - the metal tube that runs under the intake plenum - but it turned out to be the hose that runs from that tube to the reservoir. Basically, the hose got hard, the clamp could no longer hold the seal, and it broke it's seal... At first, it was a very definite spray; after I moved it a little, it became more of a mist.

It's something to look at. I got the part for 8 bucks; plus 4 bucks for a couple of new hose clamps, it's inexpensive and easy to replace, if you are in doubt. But for me, after I had moved it a little and it became a spray, once the engine warmed up a bit it would seal up again. You had to watch it from the time you started the engine with a flashlight or shop light to see the leak.

kerk
10-25-2009, 10:11 AM
I replaced the tube. Thanks for all the help on that. With the cowl off, it was fairly easy. BUT the problem has not stopped! The tube had a bad spot and was leaking, but I guess there is another leak! augh! I am suspecting the water pump. Is this a common failure?

Freakzilla69
10-25-2009, 01:32 PM
My water pump is ten years old.

wiswind
10-25-2009, 01:39 PM
Replacing the water pump (at least on the older windstars) requires you to raise the motor a couple of inches......disconnect a motor mount.....and raise it up.....so that the pulley can clear the unibody frame member that is next to the pulley.

kerk
10-25-2009, 03:42 PM
Ugh! raising the engine does not sound like fun. I hate to start this one not knowing that it is the answer. But, the coolant is definitely being sprayed by the moving water pump pulley. I just can't see how it is getting on that pulley!

Ed_Strong
10-25-2009, 07:34 PM
Well on most engine water pumps, there's a pin hole (or vacuum hole) right under the pump shaft for the shaft bearing. When the bearing goes, the pin hole leaks to let you know there's trouble.

I had this happen to me on a GM engine and I'm pretty sure Ford is the same. A quick way to check would be to loosen the serpentine belt and spin the water pump pulley by hand to see if there's anything grabbing or if it's running freely. Another thing to do is to rock the pulley or pump shaft up and down or side to side to check for signs of excesive play.

Also if the pulley can be removed easily while in the engine (I've not been tackled by this yet), you could inspect the hole upclose for signs of coolant.

kerk
10-26-2009, 07:08 PM
It looks like the weep hole is on the top of the pump? It is dry if I am looking at the right thing. Could I be looking at the wrong place? Anyone know if the water pumps for Windstars have the weep hole on top?

kerk
12-12-2009, 07:33 PM
After adding coolent every day now for several weeks, I finally took the van in to Pep Boys for a pressure test since I couldn't find the source of the leak. They said it's not the head gasket or the water pump, but that the "block failed". They said they did not have a repair and that the engine needs to be replaced. Does this sound right? It just doesn't quite seem right to me. Since the coolent is coming out on the belt, shouldn't they have been able to tell me right where the leak was? All they said was that the "block failed"??? What do you think?

kerk
12-22-2009, 04:04 PM
I couldn't live live with the Pep Boys results, so I took it to Ford and they diagnosed the water pump and lower manifold intake gasket leaking, and a cracked oil pan. So I had them fix it all for $1100. I've had it back for a week now and all seems good. I'm still holding my breath, though.

Add your comment to this topic!