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Discussion Starter #1
This has to be some of the worst luck that I have ever had in my life. I have been working on putting an Explorer PI intake on my car. I fought with leaks the first time that I put it on the car, but I got all of that fixed after I took it off and Re-RTVed the intake. There was a casting error on the rear driver's side coolant port that made it tough to seal up that port, so we made a metal shim of .005 to seal it off.

Anyway....tonight I cranked the car up thinking that it would all be sealed up. Well...I was wrong, but it wasn't the intake. I have a leak that is coming out of the transmission bellhousing that is coolant...yes coolant. My only guess is that it is the "Freeze Plugs" on the back of the block. Has anyone ever heard of these going out?

I still have antifreeze in the valley too. There isn't much in there but there is a little bit which baffles. We can't figure out where exactly it is coming from. It isn't bothering anything though except just steaming off when it gets hot.

This little intake swap is about to turn into a pull the transmission or engine or both. I just wish I had a little bit more money to be able to build it up when I put it back in. It has already been 2 weeks and now is going to be more time to fix whatever is wrong with it now. Has anyone had problems like this putting a PI intake on?

Russ
 

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sure it is a freeze plug and your coolant hose isn't on all the way? it is possible the coolant in the valley is leaking out the drain hole in the back of the block on top of the bellhousing
 

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:zwthstpd:

theres a hole in the block behind the intake manifold that should have a crappy plastic plug in it (My 95 block had a plastic cover) you wont probably be able to see it with the intake but it doesnt matter.If you do indeed have coolant leaking from the bellhousing area im almost positive its just draining from the valley beneath the intake.

soooooooooo get the coolant out of the valley and i bet you'll be golden!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
sure it is a freeze plug and your coolant hose isn't on all the way? it is possible the coolant in the valley is leaking out the drain hole in the back of the block on top of the bellhousing


All of the coolant hoses are dry. There is no coolant on the bellhousing at all. It is a large amount of coolant that is coming out from the inspection plate. I am talking like 3 streams about the size of pencil draining down. We are going to inspect further later, but I don't think anything is leaking from the valley also because there is just a slight amount like a little puddle up front in the valley about the size of a quarter.

Russ
 

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I dont want to ask a stupid question,but when you did the swap you changed the coolant nipple behind the water pump and the coolant tube right?


Are there even freeze plugs on the rear of the engine? i dont remember if there were or not,If you're not sure either i have my old block sitting in the garage i could dig it out and check for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I dont want to ask a stupid question,but when you did the swap you changed the coolant nipple behind the water pump and the coolant tube right?


Are there even freeze plugs on the rear of the engine? i dont remember if there were or not,If you're not sure either i have my old block sitting in the garage i could dig it out and check for you.
There are NO stupid questions here. I need help so I will take anything at this point. I did replace the nipple with the PI nipple and coolant crossover tube. We just had everything apart when we re-did everything and it looked great....nice and dry.

I have a Ford Manual for the 96 Thunderbird and it shows two small plugs on the engine block. There is one other plug but I'm not sure anything runs near it.

Russ
 

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Only thing I can think of is that the intake is leaking into the valley, and its draining into that crappy plastic plug on the back of the valley.
 

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Sorry to hear you're having trouble, Russ.

The best way I can think of to make sure it's a freeze plug or not is to put some kind of die on top of the engine, in the valley, and see if it colors the water coming out.

Dry purple cool aid works well, and is bio-degradable; any powder with a clearly different color will work. :)

If it runs across the valley, and out the hole, it will be colored by the dye, whether you can see the coolant or not.

If it comes out the same color as stock, it is coming from inside the motor.

A UV light helps see regular prestone-type coolant; YMMV...

Good luck, and I sure hope you don't have to drop the tranny.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Sorry to hear you're having trouble, Russ.

The best way I can think of to make sure it's a freeze plug or not is to put some kind of die on top of the engine, in the valley, and see if it colors the water coming out.

Dry purple cool aid works well, and is bio-degradable; any powder with a clearly different color will work. :)

If it runs across the valley, and out the hole, it will be colored by the dye, whether you can see the coolant or not.

If it comes out the same color as stock, it is coming from inside the motor.

A UV light helps see regular prestone-type coolant; YMMV...

Good luck, and I sure hope you don't have to drop the tranny.

Sounds like a good idea....thanks. My dad took a look at the '97 Mustang engine that we have sitting around (in storage) and he said that he is pretty sure that it IS coming from the intake, but we still don't know where it is leaking from yet. I really don't want to drop the transmission either...it would be a huge pain considering this was just supposed to be an intake swap. :D I was really hoping to make it to the track this coming weekend, but it looks like it isn't going to work out.

Russ
 

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Iv'e done the dye thing to find where a leak is happening before; If you have several areas, you can use different dyes, and see what mixes.

Use colors that you can tell what combines, (blue/yellow=green, etc.) and see what comes out...if the colors combine into a unreadable mess, a coffee filter will seperate the colors; put a drop on a filter, and it will spread out into bands. Compare vs the original colors, some dyes are more than one color.

A small, high pressure leak, like along a crack or seal is almost invisible; you can usually only see where it hits, and spreads out. I don't think our systems have that much pressure, tho.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The system has from 14-16 psi iirc. I think it may be coming from the thin metal block off plate that we put in there. I am burnt out on working on it, so I haven't been in a big hurry to work on it anymore. I can't see any coolant coming from the passenger side (through the valley) and there isn't any coolant leaking at the back of the intake, so my guess would be somewhere on the driver's side of the valley where the alternator is blocking it. I plan on welding up the two coolant ports on the NPI heads going on the forged shortblock.

Russ
 

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Yeah, I know how that burned out thing is.

I had to diagnose a big industrial machine, with a bunch of separate cooling chambers, all connected to the same cooling lines; coolant running out the bottom, either disassemble the whole thing, or figure out which piece. 480 3-phase power, which makes it fun...

I put cloth dye in the ends of the different pieces, and looked to see what came out...It took me longer to flush the system when I was done than to fix the bad seal.

Listen to the really old guys you work with, IF they know their stuff; they're always too lazy to do things the hard way. :D
 

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The system has from 14-16 psi iirc. I think it may be coming from the thin metal block off plate that we put in there.
Russ
What is this "thin metal block off plate," what is it made from, where is it located, and why didn't you mention it from the getgo?

From the rear of your motor:
Coolant can leak from-

freeze plugs
head gaskets
intake
hoses/tubes running coolant to the heater core from the rear of the pass. head
hoses/tubes returning coolant from the heater core under the intake and to the back of the water pump.
That is all.
Maybe it's the heater hoses.
In my application no coolant flows through my intake, but that's how I'd troubleshoot it.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
This has to be some of the worst luck that I have ever had in my life. I have been working on putting an Explorer PI intake on my car. I fought with leaks the first time that I put it on the car, but I got all of that fixed after I took it off and Re-RTVed the intake. There was a casting error on the rear driver's side coolant port that made it tough to seal up that port, so we made a metal shim of .005 to seal it off.


Russ

Mercenvy,

That was my first post. I did mention it from the get-go. It is a piece of metal that was cut to fit perfectly on the driver's side rear coolant port. There is no coolant that flows through the intake in that area, and we thought that the O-ring gasket had a little bit of give in it. It solved the leak problem on the back side of the intake, but it could have possibly created another. The coolant IS coming from the intake.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Well I found out exactly where the leak was at on the intake. It was between the Coolant Crossover and the intake. I guess it had been taken off to either be replaced by an older one with the 2 sensors bungs or to drill out the Explorer crossover. Either way it wasn't cleaned up before it was put back together and I should have checked it before I put it on the car. Here are some thumbnails (just click):

Here is the O-ring surface on the plastic intake side:



Here is the O-ring surface on the crossover side:



Here is the crossover side after we finished it up:



There was some pitting in the metal where the plastic-metal-coolant had reacted in an dissimilar materials electrolysis reaction as you can see in the second picture.
The car is now bone dry around the intake and if anyone needs any pictures of anything intake related or PI intake swap related, let me know since I have plenty.
Thanks for everyone's help.

Russell
 

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Glad you found it

And at least it was on top!

When I do my motor swap, I'll be looking at the rear freeze plugs, now that I know they're there, too. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #17
And at least it was on top!

When I do my motor swap, I'll be looking at the rear freeze plugs, now that I know they're there, too. :D
Yes I am glad that it was on top, but it sucks that this could have been prevented with a little better prep on my part.

Russ
 
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