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Coolant leaking from head gasket?

10-12-2009, 01:49 PM
I just spent the weekend re-installing my intake manifold and replaced the manifold gaskets with brand new, from the dealership, parts. I was hoping to fix a minute leak on the front driver side area. Worked all weekend and it's still there :(

It looks to me like it may actually be seeping out through the head gasket into the valley. I don't see much water above the gasket which makes me think that. This is really making me nervous as I don't have the knowledge, tools, or time to replace the head gasket myself or have the money to pay a shop to do it. If the head gasket is leaking into the valley, is there a good chance the gasket may blow soon?

By the way, the car has never overheated in its life. There is no coolant in the oil and don't smell it in the exhaust. The car has 98,500 miles.

10-12-2009, 03:20 PM
Go to Auto Zone or Advanced and get a loaner pressure tester. Get a good flashlight and an inspection mirror. Pump the pressure to around 12psi. use the flashlight and look closely. Intakes have been known to crack look at the crossover pipe closely. If unable to pinpoint the leak run the engine to operating pressure. Leave the pressure on the test gage if it pulsates you have a blown head gasket.
If unable to locate you can Google an oil analysis or go to a radiator shop for a check for combustion gas in the anti freeze.
Theirs always a chance you didn't clean the surfaces good enough.
An independent should be cheaper than the dealer. Buy Fel Pro gaskets from the parts store. If doing the intake again look for an aluminum intake.
Don't ruin the engine park it if you can't fix it. You can always buy a used aluminum intake.

10-12-2009, 03:29 PM
The coolant crossover is aluminum. I got the revised intake. I installed this one a few months ago and had a chance this weekend to replace the intake gaskets to see if that fixed it. Stills seems the leak is coming from the head gasket. And since this is my only car, I can't just park it.

10-12-2009, 05:40 PM
I would buy a years subscription to Cost appx. $29.95 per year. Get a head gasket set at a parts store. If you can do an intake I think you can do a head gasket.
Napa 700-1006 is a test kit for combustible gas in the anti-freeze does oil analysis which will state if you have anti freeze in the oil.
Otherwise change oil and filter appx.1000 miles. Anti freeze will wipe your bearings. Junk Yard or rebuilt engine.

10-12-2009, 07:17 PM
Hey Blue. Is this actually a leak or is it a "wet spot" in the valley? We have seen a lot of the "wet spots" occur on the Croewn Vics we have and there is not anything wrong. If it is actually wet, also look at the heater tube under the intake to be sure there is not a small leak there squirting fluid over to that area. Any way you can get a picture of it to us?

10-12-2009, 11:16 PM
I just changed the oil and already got it disposed of this morning, but next oil change or if I see it start to look funny, I will get it analyzed.

It's a crappy picture, but here what I can get:

The spot extends back from the visible area in the picture about another 2 inches. I also thought it was the coolant tube, but checked that out and nothing is coming out of there.

Now I would say that this is a leak and not just a wet spot. When I check the spot after the engine is running a bit, the area is definitely wet. The picture is what I saw after doing the re-installation of the intake this weekend and I scrubbed it down good so I won't confuse anything new with any old leaks. I just went around the block with new coolant in the system and this is what I found when inspecting it.

I anticipate that it will do the same thing it did before and start dripping down all the way to the bottom. I should also note that it was never bad enough to leave a puddle, just have what you described as a "moist" area down to the bottom, even after some spirited driving or a long highway drive.


10-13-2009, 07:20 AM
If it is a leak, then a head gasket is definately in the future for the vehicle. You can keep monitoring it to be sure it does not overheat or get low on coolant. You may be able to nurse a few more miles out of it to get where it is more affordable for you to repair.

10-13-2009, 01:11 PM
Well I think I lucked out. After meeting the family for breakfast and getting it home again, I took the alternator off to get a better look. I noticed that in the pictures, you can see the water is indeed coming from above the head gasket so I am thankful for that, but I am still confused as to where it's leaking from. The tstat and o-ring are new, the gaskets are new, and all tightened down in proper sequence and torque. Oh well, if I have to put coolant in it ever month, I can live with that.

Thanks for the help though, gents!

And incase you wanted to see, here's the pics:

10-16-2009, 02:53 PM
Here is a 2002 Crown Vic. Has around 83k on it. That is oil coming out of the gasket. So you are not alone.

10-17-2009, 08:27 PM
Could you check the link it won't work for me.

10-18-2009, 12:25 AM
Not working here, either.

10-18-2009, 02:27 AM
I can't get the link to load also.

10-18-2009, 02:33 PM
It won't work for me either. Having problems logging in to the site also. Will find it and correct it tho. Just need a little time. Can't get anything from the site. I can not get it to do anything other than let me see what I have there. Will try Tuesday when I get back to work. I will place it on another site. Maybe then it will work.

10-20-2009, 06:08 AM
Try this one.

10-20-2009, 06:42 AM
Ouch, that's a bad leak. Luckily mine isn't oil, and still haven't found the culprit. Someone suggested that the gasket between the plastic intake the the aluminum coolant crossover may be leaking. I'm going to for the third time take it off and check those gaskets and check once more for cracks of any sort. Since the water is above the head gasket it's gotta be from this area.

10-24-2009, 10:22 PM
I stand corrected from my last diagnosis. I saw it bubbling out of the head gasket today. It was tiny bubbles coming out while the system was hot, running, and unpressurized (cap off the degas bottle). I have no other car to drive and I don't have the money or time (or know-how) to do a head swap. Any quick fix suggestions I can try? Any chance of me being able to just tighten down the head bolts more? I don't want to ruin this good engine with coolant mixing in the oil.

10-25-2009, 05:36 AM
Make sure the surfaces are cleaned very good. Use a straight edge and check its flat also.

10-25-2009, 11:02 AM
You mean check the head and block mating surfaces? Unfortunately I can't get to them.

10-25-2009, 02:49 PM
I think you posted while I was posting. You can try going to the parts store and put in a tube of stop leak. It comes in a round tube and looks like powered aluminum. I don't recommend this but if it stops the leak until you can round up some cash its better than ruining the bearings.
Remember to flush the cooling system when you do the head gaskets.

12-18-2009, 07:04 PM
I never used the product but maybe somebody else has and can tell us how it works.

12-30-2009, 12:48 PM
Looks like a good product, but it seems the coolant level reached a point where the pressure isn't enough to force it through whatever hole there may be. The coolant has been sitting right about halfway between min and max cold fill points for a while now. I've got another 700 miles to go before my next oil change and will be sending it in for a UOA and will post the results. It doesn't look like there's any coolant/moisture in it so I may have lucked out.

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