Coolant leak!

Discussion in 'General Tech' started by boostd2, Jan 19, 2016.

  1. boostd2

    boostd2 New Member

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    New member, first post here.

    I recently acquired this 1996 3.8 v6 auto mustang for cheap. Been using it as a daily.
    Ran good no issues for a month until this morning it started leaking coolant, badly.
    I traced the leak to be just under the passenger side exhaust manifold. But it is very difficult to get an angle to see as the engine mount is right there in front of the leak. I cannot get my hand in there.

    As I squeeze the radiator hose, the water/coolant spews out of a hole on the side of the engine block below the exhaust mani. It spews on the plate the bolts the engine to the mount.
    I have seen coolant leaks before but nothing this strange, what could have popped out of there causing such a large leak on the side of the block? The stream of water leaving the block is significant, i'd say half an inch in diameter.
    I know the freeze plugs are way bigger than that, so what else is there down there?
    Thanks for the help in advance.

    Regards,

    R.Martina
     
  2. boostd2

    boostd2 New Member

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    [​IMG]

    Here's an image I just took to illustrate the leak.
    This is standing beside passenger side tire, looking down past the exhaust manifold.
    You can see the exhaust tube & ignition wire on the left of the picture.

    I took it as I was squeezing the radiator hose. Look at it pour out of the block!
     
  3. lwarrior1016

    lwarrior1016 Moderator Staff SN95 Supporter

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    Freeze plug got a hole in it. Time to either pull the engine and change it, or attempt to do it in the car.
     
  4. lwarrior1016

    lwarrior1016 Moderator Staff SN95 Supporter

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    Welcome to the forum, by the way. Sorry it had to start so rough lol.
     
  5. boostd2

    boostd2 New Member

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    Yeah I figured.
    As I kept looking around for more clues I thought it must be the freeze plug itself since there's nothing else on the side of an engine block that can cause coolant to leak like that.
    I don't think there is a way to change it with the engine still in the car(?) since it's sitting right behind the motor mount.
    Even if I remove the mount alone it's still gonna be a tight space to work with. But i'll give that a shot first I guess.
    Having to pull the engine to replace a $2 plug, who would of thought my first american made car would be this fun in the first month of ownership.
     
  6. lwarrior1016

    lwarrior1016 Moderator Staff SN95 Supporter

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    It's really not a hard job to pull that engine. If you have access to a lift you might be able to raise the engine and support it, remove the mount, then change the plug from the bottom of the car.
     
  7. the5.ohh

    the5.ohh Legend

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    Gonna just toss this out here.... Maybe. Maybe. Put some silicone over the hole until you decide what you want to do to fix it. I'd do the same tbh. Not gonna hurt anything until you make up your mind.
     
  8. lwarrior1016

    lwarrior1016 Moderator Staff SN95 Supporter

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    Silicone is rubbery. If there is a hole (like it appears) the pressure in the cooling system will blow right through that silicone.
     
  9. g36 monkey

    g36 monkey Moderator Staff SN95 Supporter

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    This.

    I would look at this as a great opportunity to go through some much needed maintenance. If you pull the motor to do it, I would, while it's out, go ahead and do the head gaskets as well, since they have a tendency to let go on the 3.8. You could also do the mounts and such with it out. I would do plugs as well. If you wanted a nice little upgrade while it was down I would look into doing a split port swap as well
     
  10. lwarrior1016

    lwarrior1016 Moderator Staff SN95 Supporter

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    split port swap, a little comp cam, oh yeah thatll do it lol.


    Side note, I helped a buddy freshen his bottom end in his 3.8, it was a split port setup. We put a small comp cam in it and he spun that thing to 7K rpm ALL THE TIME! It was awesome. When he sold it, it was still driving strong.
     
  11. the5.ohh

    the5.ohh Legend

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    I totally skipped over what it was from. I'm completely shot today haha. Never mind lol
     
  12. boostd2

    boostd2 New Member

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    Update on this. I was able to remove the motor mounts and raise the engine enough to do the job. Once I had enough clearance to work it became fairly easy. Got it done, installed everything back, drove perfect for two days only to find a small puddle of coolant AGAIN under the engine when I parked in after work yesterday. Obviously first thought was that somehow one of the freeze plugs wasn't seated right and started leaking again, but this time it was dripping from around the crank pulley area. Jacked her up and found out the leak was coming from the water pump. Looks to have a small crack in the pump housing just behind/under the pulley (from what I could see anyway).

    Didn't have time to really look at it, but I'll remove the pump tomorrow and have a look at it's guts. so far looks like i'm gonna need a new unit.
     
  13. g36 monkey

    g36 monkey Moderator Staff SN95 Supporter

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    woo! at least the water pump is fairly easy as well :)