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Discussion Starter #1
ongoing problem for a year or so. car sits and I can see a small stream of very visible coolant after it sits over night. Determined it's rear freezer plug. Bought the rubber expandable one. How easy of a job is it to punch the old one out, sand it down [ any tips?] then i place the new one in and wrench it to expand and fit, and hope thats the only plug that is leaking.

side plugs look good as front. And this isnt the one in the flyhouse [ which im told would require to take the trans out to change]

Coolant reservoir goes from "cold full line" to almost empty in about 2 days...
 

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Ive never really been a fan of those rubber things, they usually leak, but its not too difficult. especially on the smaller 3.8. if it was a 5.0 or 4.6... forget about it.... i usually just punch a chisel through the rust hole and pry it out of their. depending on where this plug is though it might be a challenge to get a hammer and chisel in their and be able to swing it. i would just start looking underneath, see if you have sufficient room to get at it with a small hammer and maybe a loooooong screwdriver if you have too...

heck if its bad enough sometimes it just falls out with no effort involved beyond stabbing at it with the chisel :tongue:

Ive seen them fall out on people while their driving because of that.... deluge of coolant on the hot exhaust = steam like you wouldn't believe... you would swear their was an old steam train on the side of the road up ahead.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
its at the back of the engine hard to describe. but when driving it smokes like crazy off the drivers side front. it's been an ongoing problem for like half a yea and is getting worse,

I add coolant now every 2-3 days. my radiator cap doesnt hold pressure [pressure tested it] but im afraid to put a new on one as it will just add more pressure and may blow the leak or ust make the leak worse..

where the plug is at i doubt id be able to hammer a metal plug in, thats why i chose the rubber expandable one. if it lasts a few years or even a year im happy. it only costs 4$ and some of my labor.


plugs on side and front of engine look good.
 

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blinky99 said:
ongoing problem for a year or so. car sits and I can see a small stream of very visible coolant after it sits over night. Determined it's rear freezer plug. Bought the rubber expandable one. How easy of a job is it to punch the old one out, sand it down [ any tips?] then i place the new one in and wrench it to expand and fit, and hope thats the only plug that is leaking.

side plugs look good as front. And this isnt the one in the flyhouse [ which im told would require to take the trans out to change]

Coolant reservoir goes from "cold full line" to almost empty in about 2 days...

Unfortunately if one of your freeze plugs are leaking on your 3.8L..

The Engine has probabably been severly overheated at some point..Probably due to a blown Head Gasket.. :(

I would do a pressure test on your cooling system after you replace that leaking freeze plug..

Cross your fingers!





Rayo..
 

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definitely.... they are picky about their coolant and air bubbles in the heads...

when i first got my 90 it had been driven with a blown head gasket for a month, the oil was so white and sloppy inside. the worms of white sludge we blew out of the push rods weren't a good sign :D my father and i weren't sure she would run for a week after we cleaned everything out and machined/reinstalled the heads.

but she kept going like a champ through my high school years of abuse and shes still running today. no knocks! call me lucky, i sure did.
 

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well if you oil is still good, then your still good. :) just get the leak fixed as soon as you can.

i was just adding my story on what 'will' happen if the coolant isn't kept full and the leak isn't fixed.

its super easy to warp a head on the 3.8, all it takes is one time when the radiator gets low enough to let air into the heads while your driving it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
so bit the bullet took it to a shop i trust, and had them put in the rubber/expandable seal. total 140$ pure labor.

get this the one the took out wasnt even rusted, said it was leaking around the freezer plug. my old plug they took out, looks pretty much new....

engine does not smoke as much so far, had one episode. will see how much freezer leaks...

other leaking part is gasket at front of engine something, but will cost 600$ to repair... need to take out water pump, etc etc lot of work.
 

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blinky99 said:
other leaking part is gasket at front of engine something, but will cost 600$ to repair... need to take out water pump, etc etc lot of work.
Head Gasket?

:(




Rayo..
 

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Discussion Starter #10
intake manifold gasket i think

car still smokes and is leaking coolant, guy said may have to go back to re-tighten the rubber seal freeze plug. already had to top it off twice.
 

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blinky99 said:
intake manifold gasket i think

car still smokes and is leaking coolant, guy said may have to go back to re-tighten the rubber seal freeze plug. already had to top it off twice.
It might be a good idea to start looking for an extra engine if you plan on keeping the Thunderbird.. :zdunno:




Rayo..
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
gonna check and see how low coolant level is tomorrow, i left a big piece of cardboard to see where its leaking/ how bad. then take it back to shop for them to tighten the expandable seal and hope that does it.

if i dont have to keep adding coolant ill be happy, til lit runs/dies.

est repair for said mainifold gasket 600$

EDIT - car doesnt smoke all the time like it did, and coolant isnt being lost as fast it seems. colder weather it smokes more, guessing the rubber seal contracts some and mroe fluid leaks...
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
ya still smoking, mostly when its colder out. i think the plug is contracting when cold < 35 degrees or so. and expanding around 40 outside temp. still leaking lot of fluid though sadly...

seems lieka common thing ?

http://troubleshootmyvehicle.com/fords/six-cylinder/379-coolant-leaking-from-intake-gaskets
but thats 96 + mines a 95...


**i know my radiator cap failed the pressure test, but i was hesitant to change it as i had the other leaks, of unkown origin. I have a new one in my car, would putting it on help or hurt?

`"The radiator cap should also be pressure tested, especially if the system has been overheating or losing coolant with no obvious external leaks. A weak cap that cannot hold pressure will allow the system to boil over. If the cap cannot hold its rated pressure, replace it. "
- but i have a external leak-

side note im adding coolant to the "reservoir" to the "cold fill line" when im checking and it looks low
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
ughg ok so i got my parts wrong, they have listed the "timing cover gasket"

saw this on a thread as well
"If you can smell it inside the car, then it is likely the heater core."

which i can smell coolant in my car windows up, heater on

i recall him saying they'd have to remove the water pump and another thing or two to replace this part, and over all 600+ to repair.
are there bolts on this part i could try and tighten?

weep hole? random yahoo article.

"If you are using a gallon of coolant a week, you have a water pump problem (possibly the weep hole on the bottom of the water pump has broken the seal, to let you know there is a problem"

another note the temp gauge flucuates, from normal to below normal/cold while driving, if thats useful or not. exhaust smoke also seems more white than normal while driving.

ive seen a "white build" up on what i think is the exhaust under the freezer plug, [ back of left head] was the rubber seal location listed on receipt of what they replacd.
 

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There was a recall years ago on the front timing cover, definitely could be your problem.

Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #16
There was a recall years ago on the front timing cover, definitely could be your problem.

Joe
saw that too,sadly i cant cash in on it...

timing cover is at front of engine though, constant steam is coming from drivers side rear of engine, [wear the plug was replaced]. but when i had cardboard under it there was coolant at front of engine as well..
 

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Discussion Starter #17
good news took car in new freeze plug seems fine/not leaking.

bad news head gasket is on same side.

estimate for both head gaskets [ guy recommended replacing both since they are taking one off already and it may leak down the line since may of over heated engine at some point since coolant leak began, and mine are aluminum]

both head gaskets $1,100

if head is needed + per $450 each side
+ 600 for timing cover gasket

said can save me maybe 150-200$ on labor if its all done at same time

total $2,000-2,100 + tax

also mentioned a sealnt since the leak isnt to bad by the head gasket " liquid silver" or something, but he didnt know much and what i've read they arent good..
 

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If you want to keep the car go buy some tools and a repair manual and get to work. Unless you have enough to pay to have it fixed which out values these cars in stock form 9/10 times.
 

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yikes! yeah, its not that hard to do that job yourself with the patience, organization of removed parts, and some tools, including a decent torque wrench. manuals are also VERY helpful, and will usually have the dis-assembly process layed out with pictures, diagrams, and most, if not all the torque specs needed depending on the quality of the manual.

i mean, you can get some tape, and start labeling vacuum lines and wire connectors before the disassembley. get some Ziploc bags and label them for what your taking off, keep the bolts, nuts, etc inside them. then start from the top down. disconnect the battery!

take off what you need to to get at the heads, alternator AC compressor, etc. then uplug everything up top. (labeling is recommended, especially if your not putting it all back together right away...) remove the intake manifold, and valve covers. then attack the heads and get them all out of the way.

once you get the intake, valve covers and heads all off, clean the block mating surface up real good with some scrapers and things, just don't get too aggressive with it and scratch the surface all up.

look for cracks on the block, heads, and cylinder bores(rotating the crank helps to spot cracks down low in the cyl's). check your heads for leaking valves by setting them face up and poor some fuel into each valve area, and let it sit. if the fuel leaks out your valves are not sealing in that cylinder.

then have the heads milled smooth at a shop(valve job done if needed), get some new head bolts and reinstall using the recommended torque spec/pattern. then work your way back up from their with all new gaskets. also a good time to replace any old dried out vacuum lines.
 

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yikes! yeah, its not that hard to do that job yourself with the patience, organization of removed parts, and some tools, including a decent torque wrench. manuals are also VERY helpful, and will usually have the dis-assembly process layed out with pictures, diagrams, and most, if not all the torque specs needed depending on the quality of the manual.

i mean, you can get some tape, and start labeling vacuum lines and wire connectors before the disassembley. get some Ziploc bags and label them for what your taking off, keep the bolts, nuts, etc inside them. then start from the top down. disconnect the battery!

take off what you need to to get at the heads, alternator AC compressor, etc. then uplug everything up top. (labeling is recommended, especially if your not putting it all back together right away...) remove the intake manifold, and valve covers. then attack the heads and get them all out of the way.

once you get the intake, valve covers and heads all off, clean the block mating surface up real good with some scrapers and things, just don't get too aggressive with it and scratch the surface all up.

look for cracks on the block, heads, and cylinder bores(rotating the crank helps to spot cracks down low in the cyl's). check your heads for leaking valves by setting them face up and poor some fuel into each valve area, and let it sit. if the fuel leaks out your valves are not sealing in that cylinder.

then have the heads milled smooth at a shop(valve job done if needed), get some new head bolts and reinstall using the recommended torque spec/pattern. then work your way back up from their with all new gaskets. also a good time to replace any old dried out vacuum lines.
My machinist showed me a really neat trick to checking for leaking valves. Put the port side of the valves you're checking up (like exhaust or intake), fill the port with water, then blow around the valve seal (from the combustion chamber) with compressed air. If the valve is leaking, air bubbles will bubble up the water.

I thought that trick was pretty neat and more accurate than the leaking gas test. (the heads were off the vehicle, btw - in case that wasn't obvious)
 
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