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Old 09-28-2018, 12:23 AM   #1
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Coolant leaking from passenger side?

While driving to my son's NICA youth MTB race this weekend in Gettysburg I noticed a fairly steady dripping of coolant from the passenger side front of the engine compartment. I've looked and looked, but can't seem to figure out where it could be coming from as I don't see any hoses on that side at all. I'm flummoxed. Any ideas of common things that might leak on that side?


Also, thinking of proactively replacing the lower radiator hose and possibly even the radiator (still have the original plastic one from 1998). Is there a good replacement radiator that folks recommend?



Thanks for any thoughts!
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Old 09-28-2018, 12:36 AM   #2
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Could it be the heater core? When mine went bad it was gushing coolant out the passenger side.
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Old 09-28-2018, 12:48 AM   #3
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I'm not as familiar with the 4th gen Fords, but on 3rd gen vans they didn't install a coolant recovery bottle, just a hose that went down the side of the radiator. When the engine's hot it can push coolant out through that hose, especially if the radiator has been topped up recently. I'm not sure if your van is designed the same way, but if so that's one potential source.
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Old 09-28-2018, 04:20 AM   #4
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A/C condensation water?
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Old 09-28-2018, 05:37 AM   #5
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Is the coolant hitting the ground directly or does it fall onto a part of the frame or body then onto the ground?

There are a few coolant hoses near the top of the engine bay on the passenger's side that feed/return the cabin heater core. I would suspect one of those first, possibly the Quick Connect fitting also a potential issue. Your description has me thinking its possibly the radiator leaking---I hope not

Perhaps lay under the van when its leaking, look upward into the engine bay for any leaks. I'd crawl underneath from the front driver's side moving towards the passenger side looking for the leak.

It wouldn't hurt anything to change any hose but are there signs any of your hoses are having issues? Same with the radiator---unless you're having engine cooling issues. FWIW parts from the later 90's seem to be very good quality, I'm running a 2000 E250 w/5.4 285K + mile and its original radiator and hoses. The heater core hoses were replaced when I added a rear heater and re-routed the coolant flow.

Brand-wise I don't know any aftermarket that are better or worse than another. I replaced one in my 2005 5.4 for just over $100 my cost branded as TYC, a well-known and higher quality imported parts supplier to body shops etc. NAPA better quality line, most things from Advance Auto, AutoZone, O-Reilly's etc with a strong warranty would be acceptable choices too.

OEM's approach $400 which is a bit much with so many decent choices available. The quality is very high and if that's your choice its not a bad one. Just make sure you really need one before pre-emptively changing all these things.

Check out where your leak is and let us know what you find.
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Old 09-28-2018, 06:17 AM   #6
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Coolant leaking from passenger side?

Thanks. additional data point that I should have added: 1998 E250 5.4

Itís dripping from the frame/body, not obviously from any one part. Iíll check on the heater core hoses. Thanks.

I tried laying under it to see but between the rain this weekend and the coolant dripping into my eyes wasnít having much luck.

I was thinking about the radiator and lower hose just as preventative maintenance, but I agree if it ainít broke donít fix it I guess. I did the water pump, thermostat, and upper hose last year.
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Old 09-28-2018, 06:56 AM   #7
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The heater hose quick-connect fitting to the heater core (engine side fo the firewall) is a likely source. The crack initially and do just what you describe. Eventually it will fail completely.
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Old 09-28-2018, 11:29 AM   #8
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Most auto parts stores carry leak detecting kits containing florescent die and a black light. Put some of the dye in to the radiator, run the engine a bit, park in a dark place, turn on the black light, and the source of leak will likely jump out at you. There is also dye you can add to the fuel or oil to spot leaks in those systems.
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Old 09-28-2018, 11:42 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carringb View Post
The heater hose quick-connect fitting to the heater core (engine side fo the firewall) is a likely source. The crack initially and do just what you describe. Eventually it will fail completely.

Iíve narrowed it down to something related to the heater core. There is fluid leaking out of the drain hole for the core that comes through the firewall. Would a broken quick-connect cause that too, or is that a sure sign of a bad core?

Looks like you need a special tool to do the quick-connects?

Thanks again for all the help! The rain finally stopped today so it was a bit easier to look for where the fluid was coming from.
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Old 09-28-2018, 11:56 AM   #10
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Yes. A cracked fitting can spray through the foam that seals around the pipe. If it's wet on both sides of the firewall it's probably the fitting. No special tools required. Angled needle nose pliers makes it easier however.
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