Coolant and brake leak

Dgwestfall

Registered User
I seem to have a small coolant leak. It appears it’s leaking at the thermostat housing, but I also have a small drip (maybe less than a 1/4 cup or so over an 8 hour period while I’m at work) under the car. I haven’t looked yet, and I plan to clean everything really well to identify the leak, but what are the prone problems?

Also, I have to keep adding brake fluid. I need to check the lines and all connections at the wheels, but at there any other known problems with this system that has the accumulator?

Thanks!
 

KMT

Registered User
Getting the thermostat housing to reliably seal is a known issue. Any work done lately? Solutions include careful cleaning and lightly sanding the mating surface on the housing, or, replacing the housing if it is too far gone, warped/rusted etc.

If you take it out, I'd effort a replacement on the small heater hose on the top.

Otherwise, suspects are similar with other decades old cars...water pump and hoses. Has the car been overheated?

If you can get your hands on a cooling system pressure test kit w/adapter for the radiator neck, it can make the job of finding leaks much easier.

About the brake system, yes, there are known issues, again, mainly due to age. When inspecting for leaks be sure to eyeball the small pressure switch low on the firewall, down below the master cylinder, and check inside the car at the firewall for leaks in the area of the push-rod attached to the pedal. Check the area where the accumulator screws in the pump body. From under the car, try to inspect the pump motor housing to see it it is wet.

If no obvious leaks at the wheels, master cylinder, I'd suspect the pressure switch to be a likely culprit.

Good luck.
 

DOUG H

SCCoA Member
I've had 2 leak coolant at timing cover to block . I suspect previous owners neglected to change coolant or used the wrong product(s)
aluminum cover had to be replaced in both. A lot of labour!! Not even sure if they are available through Ford anymore. Hope thats not your issue, but a area to inspect..
 

Dgwestfall

Registered User
I've had 2 leak coolant at timing cover to block . I suspect previous owners neglected to change coolant or used the wrong product(s)
aluminum cover had to be replaced in both. A lot of labour!! Not even sure if they are available through Ford anymore. Hope thats not your issue, but a area to inspect..
Yes, my hope is the same as yours!
 

Dgwestfall

Registered User
I've had 2 leak coolant at timing cover to block . I suspect previous owners neglected to change coolant or used the wrong product(s)
aluminum cover had to be replaced in both. A lot of labour!! Not even sure if they are available through Ford anymore. Hope thats not your issue, but a area to inspect..
Ok thank you. These are a pain on any car. I have a garage and the ability to fix it if this is the problem, it time is at a premium right now.
 

Dgwestfall

Registered User
Getting the thermostat housing to reliably seal is a known issue. Any work done lately? Solutions include careful cleaning and lightly sanding the mating surface on the housing, or, replacing the housing if it is too far gone, warped/rusted etc.

If you take it out, I'd effort a replacement on the small heater hose on the top.

Otherwise, suspects are similar with other decades old cars...water pump and hoses. Has the car been overheated?

If you can get your hands on a cooling system pressure test kit w/adapter for the radiator neck, it can make the job of finding leaks much easier.

About the brake system, yes, there are known issues, again, mainly due to age. When inspecting for leaks be sure to eyeball the small pressure switch low on the firewall, down below the master cylinder, and check inside the car at the firewall for leaks in the area of the push-rod attached to the pedal. Check the area where the accumulator screws in the pump body. From under the car, try to inspect the pump motor housing to see it it is wet.

If no obvious leaks at the wheels, master cylinder, I'd suspect the pressure switch to be a likely culprit.

Good luc
Getting the thermostat housing to reliably seal is a known issue. Any work done lately? Solutions include careful cleaning and lightly sanding the mating surface on the housing, or, replacing the housing if it is too far gone, warped/rusted etc.

If you take it out, I'd effort a replacement on the small heater hose on the top.

Otherwise, suspects are similar with other decades old cars...water pump and hoses. Has the car been overheated?

If you can get your hands on a cooling system pressure test kit w/adapter for the radiator neck, it can make the job of finding leaks much easier.

About the brake system, yes, there are known issues, again, mainly due to age. When inspecting for leaks be sure to eyeball the small pressure switch low on the firewall, down below the master cylinder, and check inside the car at the firewall for leaks in the area of the push-rod attached to the pedal. Check the area where the accumulator screws in the pump body. From under the car, try to inspect the pump motor housing to see it it is wet.

If no obvious leaks at the wheels, master cylinder, I'd suspect the pressure switch to be a likely culprit.

Good luck.
Getting the thermostat housing to reliably seal is a known issue. Any work done lately? Solutions include careful cleaning and lightly sanding the mating surface on the housing, or, replacing the housing if it is too far gone, warped/rusted etc.

If you take it out, I'd effort a replacement on the small heater hose on the top.

Otherwise, suspects are similar with other decades old cars...water pump and hoses. Has the car been overheated?

If you can get your hands on a cooling system pressure test kit w/adapter for the radiator neck, it can make the job of finding leaks much easier.

About the brake system, yes, there are known issues, again, mainly due to age. When inspecting for leaks be sure to eyeball the small pressure switch low on the firewall, down below the master cylinder, and check inside the car at the firewall for leaks in the area of the push-rod attached to the pedal. Check the area where the accumulator screws in the pump body. From under the car, try to inspect the pump motor housing to see it it is wet.

If no obvious leaks at the wheels, master cylinder, I'd suspect the pressure switch to be a likely culprit.

Good luck.
For the brakes, I briefly check the backs of the wheels and brake lines I could see to no avail. I need to put the car up on jack stands and perform a general check of everything anyway. I’ll check the pressure switch. I already looked at the accumulator to pump connection and it’s dry.
 

Dgwestfall

Registered User
Looks like the brake pressure switch is wet. I’m not convinced this is the only leak but we will see. The accumulator is dry at the pump, so that’s good.
 

KMT

Registered User
Looks like the brake pressure switch is wet

Use some brake clean to wash it off, then check it again after a few miles to confirm. Might be something above is bathing it, but these switches tend to leak out the connector end when old.

Hard for find replacements, I might have decent spares. Some owners plug them off and abandon that part of the ARC system, but I've been lucky to find good used ones. Not sure if new are available these days.
 

Dgwestfall

Registered User
Use some brake clean to wash it off, then check it again after a few miles to confirm. Might be something above is bathing it, but these switches tend to leak out the connector end when old.

Hard for find replacements, I might have decent spares. Some owners plug them off and abandon that part of the ARC system, but I've been lucky to find good used ones. Not sure if new are available these days.
Yea I know. I was hoping is the actual part that screws into the unit but I don’t know. I need to look at it from under the car. I may hit you up to buy a spare if that’s what it is.
 

Norm-L

SCCoA Member
I've had issues with coolant leaks from both the timing cover-to-engine, water pump-to-timing cover, and at the thermostat housing.
I think part of the problem with the timing cover-to-engine is the fact that the mating surface to the outside of the water passages is extremely narrow. It's not much of a buffer for leaks.
The biggest problem for all three comes from the gasket manufacturers. I've been a fan of Felpro for 35 years, and I still am, but I will never use another one of their blue gaskets for coolant. They are not the only bad coolant gaskets. Other manufacturers' gaskets suck, too. They make them out of a fibrous material not much different than paper! Sadly, "paper gasket" is a far too appropriate name for them. Take a blue gasket and submerge it it water for a day and see what happens. They are supposed to be able to be submerged in coolant without suffering any ill effects. Instead, they actually absorb the coolant. Yeah, I'm not kidding. You can seal both sides of that gasket perfectly and in a few weeks you'll start seeing a leak. The gasket starts to wick coolant out of the system, creating a very slow leak. I had this happen to my thermostat housing and, when I disassembled it, I assumed I was going to have to pry it apart. It almost fell off on its own as soon as I removed the bolts. The gasket was perfectly sealed to the housing and to the intake, but the gasket itself was like wet tissue paper. It was completely saturated.
Then, after resealng my timing cover (and water pump, ofc) because the cover was leaking at that narrow portion, I started getting another leak. This time, it was the water pump. Again, when I removed the pump, the Felpro gasket was saturated and had begun to disintergrate. Keep in mind, that gasket was less than three years old...less than two years old when it started leaking!!
Now, I'm worried I'll have to reseal the cover...again. It's not leaking yet, but it's a Felpro blue gasket. I don't hold much hope for longevity on that one. Yes, that job IS a lot of work.
Here's my (apparently) controversial advice. Don't use gaskets on those items. If you're concerned about losing the thickness, you shouln't be. If you follow my advice, you will have the appropriate thickness between the parts. This leads me to the most important part of this advice. When using the silicone sealant, be patient! Take the time needed to do it right. It is sooo worth it. Put only enough silicone on the surfaces that, when they are put together, there will be an intact layer of silicone remaining to be thick enough to act as a gasket. DO NOT tighten the bolts right away!!! That is key! Only lightly snug the bolts enough to see that the silicone is forming an uninterrupted layer between the parts. Let the silicone cure, over night if possible. Then, come back and torque...not over torque...the bolts. If you tighten the bolts right away when you assemble the parts, the silicone squeezes out and what's left is not a viable gasket. Torquing after the silicone has cured creates the needed pressure against what is now a custom fitted silicone gasket that matches both surfaces perfectly. The silicone will last far longer than any gasket.
Using this method, I have NEVER had a leak develop.
Think about it...if you're using silicone to seal each side of the gasket to the mating parts, why do you need to use a gasket?? The gasket becomes the weakness.
Btw, I work at a custom shop and we've had numerous gasket issues like this on many different cars we've serviced. They're not making the gaskets the way they used to.
I hope this helps you.
 

KMT

Registered User
why do you need to use a gasket??

A gasket works in concert w/sealant, at least in this example, I think. If both parts/surfaces are new, a sealant alone _might_ do the job.

I only use Felpro housing gaskets and with proper prep and patience, combined w/blue silicone, I've had no issues for years now. I also pull a vacuum on the cooling system before putting it into service.

You make good points in any case, and as always, go w/what works for you.

Ken
 

Norm-L

SCCoA Member
A gasket works in concert w/sealant, at least in this example, I think. If both parts/surfaces are new, a sealant alone _might_ do the job.

I only use Felpro housing gaskets and with proper prep and patience, combined w/blue silicone, I've had no issues for years now. I also pull a vacuum on the cooling system before putting it into service.

You make good points in any case, and as always, go w/what works for you.

Ken
The problem is that the silicone doesn't seal the edges of the gasket. That's where it wicks. Also, the silicone is even more important if the surtaces aren't new. The silicone does a far better job with imperfect surfaces than gaskets could ever do. But again, I just don't understand why they would make a water gasket that isn't waterproof. How much sense does that make?
I agree, do what works for you. That's all any of us can do. :)
 
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KMT

Registered User
Over-reliance on silicone is where the weekend warrior risks trouble, I think. Nothing like freeranging globs of goo in cooling, intake or oil passages to ruin an otherwise solid repair. I'm just happy the industry provides all of us w/better products than what we had in the past.
 

Norm-L

SCCoA Member
Improperly used silicone is the problem. Most people tighten the bolts right away and squeeze it all out. That's where weekend warriors go wrong. Qualified mechanics don't make that mistake. I agree about the globs of goo, but those happen when the silicone gets squeezed out. If the proper amount is used and attention is paid to making sure the bolts are only snugged enough, at first, to ensure a consistant layer, there are no stray globs. I never even need to wipe off any excess on the outside. And btw, if silicone is used with the gasket, there is still an unavoidable reliance on the silicone. Not arguing...just stating my case. :)
I forgot to agree on something else. I love the vacuum. I use a vacuum refiller to fill my system. It's a great way to check for leaks without making a mess. Then, it fills the system quickly and completely, without a drawn out process to avoid air pockets. Next time, though, if I find there's a vacuum leak in the cooling system before filling it, I'm going to blow smoke in the system. I never thought to do that until an old mechanic had me do that to find what turned out to be a massive intake leak on a customer car. It's got to work for cooling systems too.
 

KMT

Registered User
Interesting you mention smoke testing. I finally broke down and got a kit to chase vacuum/boost leaks on my 192k mile bi-turbo Audi (uncovered a dozen so far, and counting)...using it to locate cooling leaks is a good idea, thanks.
 

64th-35th

Registered User
Interesting you mention smoke testing. I finally broke down and got a kit to chase vacuum/boost leaks on my 192k mile bi-turbo Audi (uncovered a dozen so far, and counting)...using it to locate cooling leaks is a good idea, thanks.
Just got my timing cover / H2o pump gasket set today (Felpro) it's black with orange rubberized (silicone) line of some sort around the water passages and oil pass thru's and some narrow part lines . But not all around the complete timing cover
 

KMT

Registered User
Sounds like their new PermaDryPlus line...

PermaDryPlus gaskets utilize various types of innovative technologies, depending on the application and type of seal required. Key benefits that apply to all are:
• One-piece, molded-rubber construction provides superior blow-out resistance
• Time-saving rigid carrier system provides instant fit without adhesives
• Lasts up to five times longer than cork-rubber
• Precision sealing beads reinforce critical areas
• Superior heat resistance assures longer life
• Torque limiters prevent overtightening
• Added features such as Hole-Locks®, Snap-Ups®, and locating tabs help make installation easier

Molded (LEM) Timing Cover Gaskets
Exclusive Fel-Pro PermaDryPlus Liquid
Elastomer Molded (LEM) Timing Cover Gaskets offer a versatile, high performance sealing solution. The LEM process involves coating a metallic gasket core with a thin layer of silicone elastomer. The gasket is then bolstered in critical areas with silicone beading, allowing it to cope with the necessary clamping loads and provide superb sealing. It is easier to install (because of itsrigid carrier design) than typical paper gaskets, with high durability and zero leakage.
 

Norm-L

SCCoA Member
Update: Today, one of my mechanics showed me the Felpro thermostat gasket he installed 2 weeks ago in a customer car. He just had to reseal it because it started leaking. The silicone was intact and the gasket looked like wet tissue paper...again. It only took 2 weeks to fail.
 

Dgwestfall

Registered User
Well, I finally had a chance to jack the car up and take a look. I still can’t figure out where it’s coming from exactly. I did notice where the upper radiator hose is connected to the pipe is wet, so it needs to be replaced. I don’t think this where all of the leak is because well, I just can’t get that lucky. And it’s going to be hard to clean everything to figure it out. I am almost ready to just tear it down to the timing cover and re-seal everything. But, I have the car for sale and I really just don’t have the time. So not sure what I’ll do. I’ll at least replace the upper (and lower) radiator hoses and clean it up as best I can and see what happens.
 
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