2003 80K miles Town Car Coolant leak

Makarios

Member
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6
San Diego
Hello everyone,

I searched and couldn't find anything close to what I see happening with my car, so my apologies if I duplicate threads.

Background: I bought my car 3 years ago, changed the brake pads, spark plugs, the oil and the transmission fluid; then I took the car on a 3k mile trip to Kansas City from San Diego Ca; the car runs great and almost everything works, I love it. I got helped with the procedures to do the work by a great guy here, his name is Town (I think his real name is Mark but I can't remember). I hope he is reading this.

Sunday after church I noticed some fluid under the car but I thought it was water condensation from the AC, so I drove it home. When I got home I noticed a puddle of liquid on my driveway, which I never noticed when I left to church. I got out of the car and touched the liquid to see what it was, it smelled like antifreeze and it was yellow. So I opened the hood to check the coolant level and there was a sound like a steam pipe, and the degas bottle was completely empty.

I couldn't discern where the steam sound was coming from but it sounded like it was coming from the top pf the mototr, the temp gauge was sitting in the middle of the range, but there was no coolant in the bottle. I shut the motor off and opened the bottle with a rag to put more coolant in it, there was no pressure in the degas bottle at all; the upper radiator hose also felt like it had no back pressure, so I thought it was just a broken hose.

This morning I finally had time to take a look at the car again, I put some water in it and ran the motor; there were no apparent leaks at the front of the engine and around the radiator, all the hoses looked ok to me; so I looked under the car and I could see liquid coming down from the back of the engine, around the transmission housing. I got under the car to check it out but I couldn't see where the water was coming from. Looking at the engine I know there are no cooling lines back there, so the only place I could think of to be the problem is the intake manifold. Maybe?

After the long winded intro, I was wondering if any of you guys have any idea of where this leak could be located, I checked the freeze plugs on one side of the motor and they look good so I assume the other side is fine; this car used to belong to an old couple and it never saw hard use, I think the hardest it has been used was during my trip almost three years ago.

Anyway, at the beginning I thought it was the upper radiator hose, so I ordered one and a thermostat and some coolant, but after today I think this might be more complicated; without having an idea where to begin I'm kind of stuck. I guess I could start taking things apart and see if I can find anything broken, but it looks daunting to me and I'm kind of broke to take it to a mechanic. I would hate to lose my car because of this.

As always, I appreciate your attention and any help or thoughts you might have.

Have a great day.
Alex.
 

LTC1997

Member
107
7
18
Start by passing a paper towel over the entire area around where the heater core hose is fitted onto the rear of the intake manifold, any leaking coolant will appear visible on the paper towel.

Then look around all of the spark plug wells for any sign of coolant there.

Mine leaked from the manifold onto the top of the engine block, hard to see but I located the source by rolling up a shop towel, wrapping that with paper towel and sliding it under the intake manifold, which quickly located a source of coolant leaking from the cracked intake manifold.
 

Makarios

Member
33
0
6
San Diego
Thank you for the suggestions guys, I really appreciate them.
I was able to take a closer look this morning, and found coolant on top of the motor and under the intake manifold, I am almost sure that the manifold is cracked somewhere, but of course it is not visible.

I also found some procedures posted by Town regarding the disassembly and replacement, it is a big job but it seems easy enough to do it on the driveway. I also found a video on you tube but it is for a Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis, which I guess is the same motor, 4.6 V8. I'm going to have to save up for the part, which leads me to another question: should I be looking at Motorcraft parts? Any recommendations?

Anyway, thanks again, and I'll let you know what I do.
Alex.

Start by passing a paper towel over the entire area around where the heater core hose is fitted onto the rear of the intake manifold, any leaking coolant will appear visible on the paper towel.

Then look around all of the spark plug wells for any sign of coolant there.

Mine leaked from the manifold onto the top of the engine block, hard to see but I located the source by rolling up a shop towel, wrapping that with paper towel and sliding it under the intake manifold, which quickly located a source of coolant leaking from the cracked intake manifold.
You might be able to rent a coolant leak pressure tester from a local auto parts store to help you find the leak.
 

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