TCCoA Forums banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I bought a '97 Thunderbird with the 4.6 V8 in it about a month ago. When I was looking at it, I didn't check the coolant bottle, got home and checked it a few days later and it had a ton of oil mixed in with it. Brown and nasty looking. I flushed it all out real good twice myself, then had it professionally flushed by a radiator shop. And it's mixed oil back in the new coolant each time. And the oil level on the stick is dropping. There's no coolant getting in the oil, car doesn't overheat. Runs and drives fine. A friend said that he saw it steaming out the tailpipes as I drove home the other day, although I haven't seen it do this myself. Only thing I've done to the car is change the oil filter adapter gasket just incase it was leaking and mixing in some oil in the coolant. That didn't help.

I've had two mechanics look at the car, and here is what each of them have told me:


1. Said it was probably a headgasket, and to just put a new motor in it. As it would be about as expensive to change headgaskets on the current motor, as to put a different one in it. Especially with the high miles on the current motor (193,000) that it wouldn't be worth it.

2. Said it was a cracked head. He advised if the motor runs good, that he would just put a new head on it. He quoted me $400 parts and labor using a known good head that he already has.

So, I'm looking for opinions guys. What does it sound like to you? What should I do?


Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,485 Posts
that deal doesn't sound too bad. I had the same problem. I used blue devil sealant and I couldnt be happier. Its sixty dollars and you have to flush the coolant, but thats still a hell of a lot cheaper than 400.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,758 Posts
Couldn't it also be leaking between the passages in the oil filter adapter?

I know they are common to leak and they have water and oil in them.

I just wouldn't jump at a head gasket/cracked head until all other easier places are eliminated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Couldn't it also be leaking between the passages in the oil filter adapter?

I know they are common to leak and they have water and oil in them.

I just wouldn't jump at a head gasket/cracked head until all other easier places are eliminated.
So you're saying the adapter itself (not the gasket) could be leaking? I looked at the adapter some when I changed the gasket, but didn't notice anything, but I wasn't looking that closely either. What usually happens to the adapters when they start leaking? Do they crack between the passages?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,758 Posts
No, I'm talking about the gasket itself. I have seen the adapter crack, but not actually leak.

How long between changing the gasket and seeing oil in the coolant?

Hopefully someone that works on these 4.6L's much more than I do will chime in. :thumbsup:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Well, basically here is what happened:

When I bought the car the dealer said the only thing he had done to it was to have someone change the adapter gasket as it was leaking oil on the ground and making a mess. I checked the oil, but didn't look at the coolant before I bought it, then a few days after purchase I did, and saw this huge mess of oil in it. So it's always had this problem since I've had the car. The coolant was actually thick in the degas bottle from so much oil being in it.

I did some research and thought that maybe the gasket had been leaking oil into the coolant (as you suggested) as well as leaking externally. So I flushed the coolant really well two different times. Each time after driving the car some, it would start coming back, and getting nastier the more you drove it. I also noticed the oil level dropping far faster than it should on the stick.

So then, I decided to change the gasket myself, thinking that maybe they damaged it when they did it. Or maybe it was a defective gasket they had installed. After I changed it (which is kind of a PITA :D) I had the cooling system flushed by a radiator shop. This didn't help anything. It got oil right back again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,758 Posts
Well, basically here is what happened:

When I bought the car the dealer said the only thing he had done to it was to have someone change the adapter gasket as it was leaking oil on the ground and making a mess. I checked the oil, but didn't look at the coolant before I bought it, then a few days after purchase I did, and saw this huge mess of oil in it. So it's always had this problem since I've had the car. The coolant was actually thick in the degas bottle from so much oil being in it.

I did some research and thought that maybe the gasket had been leaking oil into the coolant (as you suggested) as well as leaking externally. So I flushed the coolant really well two different times. Each time after driving the car some, it would start coming back, and getting nastier the more you drove it. I also noticed the oil level dropping far faster than it should on the stick.

So then, I decided to change the gasket myself, thinking that maybe they damaged it when they did it. Or maybe it was a defective gasket they had installed. After I changed it (which is kind of a PITA :D) I had the cooling system flushed by a radiator shop. This didn't help anything. It got oil right back again.
Sounds like you covered the bases with that gasket.

I think if it was me, I would look for a low mileage Explorer motor and do an engine swap. More money, but I think for the "bang for the buck" it would be the best way to go.

As for the $400 to do a head gasket replacement. That sounds real good (almost too good) since the gasket is $50, and the head bolts (which have to be replaced) are $30 and includes a cylinder head!

But just my .02. :thumbsup:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,638 Posts
...I think if it was me, I would look for a low mileage Explorer motor and do an engine swap...
If you are going to replace the motor anyway, why not try one of those liquid head gasket treatments. If it works, you have saved all the money and labor of replacing the motor. If it doesn't work you lose what... ten or fifteen bucks?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Sounds like you covered the bases with that gasket.

I think if it was me, I would look for a low mileage Explorer motor and do an engine swap. More money, but I think for the "bang for the buck" it would be the best way to go.

As for the $400 to do a head gasket replacement. That sounds real good (almost too good) since the gasket is $50, and the head bolts (which have to be replaced) are $30 and includes a cylinder head!

But just my .02. :thumbsup:
I just put a cooling system pressure tester on it from autozone's loan-a-tool program. The cooling system won't hold pressure. I pumped it up to 14lbs both with the car running, and with it off. Leaks down pretty fast. I can't see any external leaks. It was also steaming pretty decent out the tailpipes too, although this got better the longer it ran, which doesn't make much sense if it were a headgasket causing it.

I'm going to do some checking around and see what I can find engine wise. I would be tempted to go with just having the one head changed, as you said the price does sound good, and this guy has done good work for me in the past. What really worries me about going that route is that it would only be changing one headgasket and who knows how long it would be before the other one would fail.

I don't know. I guess I'll have to think about it for awhile. I appreciate your help and advice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
If you are going to replace the motor anyway, why not try one of those liquid head gasket treatments. If it works, you have saved all the money and labor of replacing the motor. If it doesn't work you lose what... ten or fifteen bucks?
Well, it's not so much what it will do to the motor, but what will it do to the rest of the cooling system (radiator, heater core, etc.). My dad bought a truck a few years ago that someone had put one of those "mechanic in a bottle" treatments in to seal a leak in the radiator. Not only did it seal that leak, it also completely blocked the inlet to the overflow bottle, clogged up the radiator and the heater core too. Sometimes the "cheap" route doesn't turn out so cheap in the end.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,661 Posts
Are there any other oil leaks on your car that you can see?

I know this may sound stupid, but have you considered the rad. being the culprit? I have seen examples (mine included) on the stock rads that the built-in trans heat exchanger will leak into the rad, thus mixing coolant and tranny fluid, which will give a similar appearance to oil in the coolant.

The overflow tank on my 95 was full of that slude as well, and it was my rad leaking, not a head gasket. Since you did a pressure test already, is there any way you can test JUST the rad? You may also find a leak where the plastic side tanks crimp to the aluminum center section. Been through that twice as well.

Just some food for thought before you go down the head gasket route.

Jay
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top