View Full Version : Possible HG/Intake Problem - Long

01-23-2004, 02:14 AM
After reading many posts on the dreaded head gaskets, I need help trying to figure out what's going on with my '93 SC. I have 117K on the clock and according to the paperwork I have, the headgaskets were replaced at 92K.

In October I flushed the coolant system and added new coolant.
At that time I changed the engine mounts to solids and when done, gunked the engine and sprayed it down.

I've noticed that my radiator is leaking big time and also leaking at the thermostat housing. The coolant shows no signs of floating oil.

Changed the oil a few weeks ago and it came out clear, dirty, but
no milk.

When I run the car, I notice the temp is a little warmer than I'd like but not overheating.

Removing the oil filler cap is where I'm puzzled. Underneath is a combination of slight milky appearance and condensation of water on the oil cap. When I look down the tube into the running engine I dont' see a milky color to the oil. There is no milky gunk on the dip stick when I pull it.

I'm trying to figure out if the HG's are going or the intake gasket is gone. Haven't pulled the plugs to check them yet - too damned cold!!! Or could I have gotten water in the engine when I washed it down.

Sorry this is so long, but I'm trying to give as much info as possible for a good guess.


'93 SC

01-23-2004, 02:46 AM
That yellowish gunk underneith the oil fill cap isn't that unusuall if you don't drive the car a whole lot. And it seems to me that if your loosing as much collent as you say from the tstat houseing and the radiator that you would probably run a little cooler. I don't nessasarially think that you've blown a gasket.

01-23-2004, 05:27 AM
I'd try sealing up those leaks first.

01-23-2004, 07:26 AM
If your main assumption about having a gasket leak is based on finding condensation on the bottom of the oil cap, ignore it. I recently found this after finishing some work to my car, and I determined it was simply that.. condensation.

I will assume your car sits outside due to the fact you mentioned the temperature is an obstacle for checking your plugs. This greatly increases the likelyhood of your engine producing normal condensation inside the cylinder walls, and valve covers. Some of this finds its way to the oil cap. If you had coolant inside, the first place it would likely be is the dipstick. I imagine most people with cars sitting outside for any period of time have seen this.

About the leaks.. your radiator leak could be from a pressure problem. If you can, have this checked at a radiator shop. Sometimes these units develope leaks because of excess pressure, but then again I have heard of many problems associated w/ leaking plastic tank radiators for no reason other than age. I recently replaced mine with a unit from CSF, found at a local rad shop. The thermostat tends to be a common leak. This unit is mounted vertically on our cars inside its housing. Many times people will tighten the 2 housing bolts excessively to compensate for a small leak. What they did not realize is the problem lied in the bolts being to tight, warping the housing. Further tightening increases this warping, and makes it sit unevenly against the intake. I have this problem also, and after finding Copper RTV unsuccessful as a sealing agent, I am looking for a good used unit. These parts are an amazing 350 dollars from my dealer, assuming it can be found. Some have suggested the special RTV compound for thermostats and waterpumps which details of can be found at the Permatex website. A few have had good luck with this, it apparently has the most resistance to coolant of any RTV. Between these two items, I would say its possible they could cause your engine heat variance. Summer will tell.

Finally, we come to the headgaskets. Look for the other signs associated with this problem. While I am personally considering whether these units can develope a small exhaust leak into the cooling system w/o a noticeable difference, they usually go very noticeably. Some of the signs include those you have already looked for, and others: Oil by coolant contamination, vice versa, obviously rough idle, poor acceleration, low fuel economy, engine stalling frequently, coolant drip out exhaust end, white smoke out from exhaust pipes (very similar to regular steam from winter temps, especially on startup so dont be too alarmed when you see white), sweet smelling exhaust fumes, coolant loss (& coolant gain?), oil gain, smoke from engine bay, coolant dripping from oil pan plug when loosened slightly instead of oil (oil floats on water), pop heard during acceleration, & probably others.

As I said, I have had symptoms to yours but I do not consider the headgaskets to be at fault. Rather it is an accumulation of common activity and other unrelated symptoms resulting in a false judgement. Time will tell. If nothing else, I would think the engine would run very poorly with any type of leak; hopefully others can add to this. Having a compression check done on all cylinders (quoted @ $60.00 for me) will find any problem with certainty. I therefore agree with jre97, try sealing your leaks and see how the coolant does. I wouldn't doubt if it turns out fine, simply report any other running symptoms you may be having at this time.

Hope that helps..

01-23-2004, 03:54 PM
Thanks for the replys.

Yes, my SC sits outside all the time, unfortunately!! (The wife gets the garage spot). My SC is a daily driver all year round and the trips i make are short ones. Work is only 7 miles from home.

I wondered about the condensation issue cause I did not see this during warmer weather, only started with the cold. And here in NY it's been damned cold!!

I'm looking at replacement radiators now. As far as the thermostat housing - they are part of Ford's "better Idea" program. I know the gasket needs to be the OEM Ford one for the SC's or it won't seal properly. I wonder if we can use an OEM
gasket as a template for better gasket material?

Anyway, I'm counting the hours till warmer weather arrives - yeah, I know I have a while to go.

'93 SC