Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 03-18-2011, 12:09 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Encinitas, CA (a San Diego suburb)
Posts: 13
Oil in my Radiator!!! -- Please Help

Does anybody know what can cause engine oil in the radiator coolant?

Three months ago, I purchased a 1993 Ford E250, 5.4L SMB with 65K miles. Before buying it, I had a reputable mechanic check it out and he noted that the antifreeze for dirty (but no mention of oil). After I bought it and drove it 500 miles of so, I had the antifreeze changed, and the mechanic assures me there was no oil in the antifreeze at that time.

I recently had a small coolant leak, and the mechanic had to remove the upper radiator hose to get to the leak. When he did, he notice that there was motor oil lining the hose. Further inspection showed black motor oil floating in the radiator and overflow tank. This has only gotten worse over the last couple months.

It is clearly motor oil (and not tranny fluid) and will eventually eat up my radiator hoses. The mechanic assures me that it is not a blown head gasket because a) the valves/rockes are lubricated by splash so pressurized oil does not pass through the head gasket and b) there are no hydrocarbon gasses in the antifreeze.

The mechanic's conclusion, by process of elimination, is a cracked block which requires replacement of the whole engine. Well, that is possible, but the Ford 5.4 L engines are not known of that type of problem. I'd really hate to replace the engine, only to find that that was not the cause of the problem.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.
__________________

tomdt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2011, 02:56 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
woodbee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Rohnert Park, CA
Posts: 282
Re: Oil in my Radiator!!! -- Please Help

I believe if it was a cracked block you would have coolant in your engine oil.

Woody
__________________

__________________
2009 White E-350 Modified EB-43, 4x4, 6.0 PSD
http://www.beckersminerals.com
woodbee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2011, 03:12 PM   #3
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Encinitas, CA (a San Diego suburb)
Posts: 13
Re: Oil in my Radiator!!! -- Please Help

Quote:
Originally Posted by woodbee
I believe if it was a cracked block you would have coolant in your engine oil.

Woody
Thanks Woody. I asked that exact qustion. No water in the oil (or at least I hope not, God forbid). My understanding is that the oil pressure is much higher than the water pressure, thus oil is forced through the crack (if it exists) into the coolant rather than coolant into the oil. Your reaction?
tomdt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2011, 03:59 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Silver350's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: BC Canada
Posts: 427
Re: Oil in my Radiator!!! -- Please Help

Well, so far the process of deduction has an engine that first came out in late 1997, in a 1993 van, and a cracked block diagnosed by a mechanic that wants to replace the engine without further investigation.

Is it possible that there is residue left over from a previous repair? If it was me, since you have a very short history with this vehicle, I would change the oil immediately just in case there is coolant in it. Flush the cooling system using a cleaner, then take oil and coolant samples after some driving.
__________________
"there is neither science nor fact prevailing here" - vlamgat
Silver350 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2011, 04:26 PM   #5
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Encinitas, CA (a San Diego suburb)
Posts: 13
Re: Oil in my Radiator!!! -- Please Help

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver350
Well, so far the process of deduction has an engine that first came out in late 1997, in a 1993 van, and a cracked block diagnosed by a mechanic that wants to replace the engine without further investigation.

Is it possible that there is residue left over from a previous repair? If it was me, since you have a very short history with this vehicle, I would change the oil immediately just in case there is coolant in it. Flush the cooling system using a cleaner, then take oil and coolant samples after some driving.
Thanks for the thoughts. Maybe I grabbed the wrong engine description, sorry. It is the 351 cubic inch fuel injected V-8, original 1993 stock engine.

We have changed the oil and checked the oil to confirm no coolant (luckily the water settles to the bottom of the oil pan). I when I first purchased the vehicle, two independent mechanics verified there was no oil in the coolant. The quanitity of oil floating in the coolant is unquestionably increasing every time I drive the vehicle.

There is probably no downside to draining the antifreeze, flushing the system, and refilling it with plain water (no risk of freezing here in San Diego) before we replace the engine. Stranger things have happened, but I doubt that is the solution. If it is, I'll buy you a nice dinner :-)

I stongly agree with your point on "replacing the engine without further diagnosis", but not sure what additional diagnosis I can ask for. The oil pressure is fine, so there is no major leak. I suppose we could check compression on each cylider, but I doubt that would tell us much. The inability to see what is going on is very frustrating to me.
tomdt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2011, 08:00 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
Silver350's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: BC Canada
Posts: 427
Re: Oil in my Radiator!!! -- Please Help

I'm not sure why you are so quick to rule out a head gasket. The only way to tell for sure if there is coolant in your oil is through oil analysis, its a cheap test (+/-$25) and will tell you so much. Before you spend big money on this, try some "Irontite". I once used it to seal up an old 400 Cummins for 100,000 miles before I finally rebuilt it. It really works.
__________________
"there is neither science nor fact prevailing here" - vlamgat
Silver350 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2011, 08:41 PM   #7
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Encinitas, CA (a San Diego suburb)
Posts: 13
Re: Oil in my Radiator!!! -- Please Help

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver350
I'm not sure why you are so quick to rule out a head gasket. The only way to tell for sure if there is coolant in your oil is through oil analysis, its a cheap test (+/-$25) and will tell you so much. Before you spend big money on this, try some "Irontite". I once used it to seal up an old 400 Cummins for 100,000 miles before I finally rebuilt it. It really works.
Wow, again, thanks for all the thoughts. The primary reason for ruling out the head gasket is that the scematic for this engine apparently does not show any pressurized oil channels passing throught the head gasket. Instead, according to my mechanic, it shows that the rocker arm assembly, push rod, etc are all splash lubricated.

I will definately do the oil analysis. Oil in the coolant is a concern. Water in the oil is a potential disaster.

Finally, I will do some research on Irontite. Thanks for the the info.
tomdt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-19-2011, 04:53 AM   #8
Senior Member
 
Silver350's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: BC Canada
Posts: 427
Re: Oil in my Radiator!!! -- Please Help

OK. The top end is splash lubricated, but how does the oil get to the top? It is either through an external oil line or through the inside, through a head gasket.
__________________
"there is neither science nor fact prevailing here" - vlamgat
Silver350 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-19-2011, 10:30 AM   #9
Site Team
 
Ford_6L_E350's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Washington - Ridgefield
Posts: 4,725
Re: Oil in my Radiator!!! -- Please Help

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver350
OK. The top end is splash lubricated, but how does the oil get to the top? It is either through an external oil line or through the inside, through a head gasket.
Or, up throught the pushrods. Common in many older engine designs. Not sure about this one.

Mike
__________________
SOLD04 EB350 Custom Floorplan
6.0 PSD 4.10 Posi
Salem Kroger coil spring 4wd
SMB Trailer w/AT Air Suspension
Alaska to Key West, Labrador and more
130685 miles 16.65 mpg average

Prostate cancer survivor. viewtopic.php?f=8&t=11099
2015 VW GTI
Leaving CA for WA
Ford_6L_E350 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-19-2011, 12:49 PM   #10
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Encinitas, CA (a San Diego suburb)
Posts: 13
Re: Oil in my Radiator!!! -- Please Help

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ford_6L_E350
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver350
OK. The top end is splash lubricated, but how does the oil get to the top? It is either through an external oil line or through the inside, through a head gasket.
Or, up throught the pushrods. Common in many older engine designs. Not sure about this one.

Mike
Not sure how oil is getting to rocker/push/valve assembly in this engine. My mechanic tells me no presurized oil throught the head, and I think I need to trust him on that (or at least until I have information to the contrary).

Back to the bigger questions:

1. Any thing else that can cause oil in the coolant besides a) cracked block, b) blown head gasket or c) someone pouring oil in the radiator?

2. What do people think about Irontite or a similar product? Frankly, if we cannot identify any option other than a cracked block (or possibly a blown head gasket), I don't see a downside to trying it, flushing the radiator and see if we get more oil in the coolant.
__________________

tomdt is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

» Sportsmobile Registry

Sporty

BusTalker

quigley

4x4Ken
Add your Sportsmobile
Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3
Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Sportsmobile SIP or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:57 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.