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Old 04-15-2018, 07:51 PM   #1
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What the heck is it?

While under my van doing a predeparture inspection, I noticed little drops of oil splattered around the undercarrage. Working my way forward I settled on it coming from the valley between the heads, under the intake manifold. It appears the most likely area is on the drivers side, under the thermostat housing. Looking around with my bore scope, it seems that there is more dirt and oil around the thing in the photo. It's darn hard to tell though since there is little room even for my tiny scope, but this sensor seems suspect. Being so close to the thermostat, it's easy to imagine it's a coolant temp sensor, which would eliminate it as the source of the oil. Then again, could it be screwed into an oil galley? Hopefully someone recognizes it and can tell me what it is. If it's a coolant sensor as I suspect, what else might a likely source of oil that leaks into the valley and then off the back of the motor? It really seems that the most oil is in the area of the front of the engine, drivers side. Oh yea, it's a 2001 5.4
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Old 04-15-2018, 08:21 PM   #2
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Could be the CHT sensor...?

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Old 04-15-2018, 10:06 PM   #3
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It looks like it could be the cylinder head temp sensor. The next question is, does it screw into an oil galley? If not, what else might leak oil in that area? (or anywhere else under the manifold?
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Old 04-15-2018, 10:28 PM   #4
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Can you snap more pics?
In one pic, if possible point to the suspect?

Without a 5.4 in front of me its hard to see...
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Old 04-15-2018, 11:30 PM   #5
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That photo was taken with my wireless borescope, which has a depth of field of about an inch. Trying to snake it under the intake manifold is difficult as I keep running into things, can't really see where I'm going and can't get the big picture.. What seems to be the most oil covered area is near the drivers side front of the head under the manifold. The valley has quite a bit of oil in it, but it's really hard to see where it's coming from. That was the best photo I could get of where I suspected the oil was coming from, it seems to show the electrical connector to the sensor that's screwed into the head. I thought it might be the valve cover, but it kinda looks like even if it did leak, it would run down the block not into the valley.
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Old 04-16-2018, 05:20 AM   #6
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5.4 Modular Motors had a minor head defect that would have oil being pushed out from one corner, nothing too serious as it was a very small "leak". Because the heads are the same casting left and right this "leak" shows up at the back outside edge of the passenger side which corresponds to the outside front edge of the driver's side. Your sighting of accumulated oil would be consistent with this Ford anomaly. Since the front cover hides this leak its unusual for anyone to notice this "leak" because the oil runs down the block out of sight and back into the oil pan.

Some have tried having the heads machined flat after some mileage to varying degrees of success stopping this. Honestly I don't know its a job I'd want to do with a 50/50 shot at curing it completely and forever.

FWIW my 2003 5.4 has what might be a manifold leak of the water jacket which is another somewhat common problem with those engines.

If this bothers you raise the front of the van in some way (park on a hill, use ramps. etc) place a drain pan at the back of the engine and basically "flood" the area under the intake with a solvent that will run through the space between the block and intake. Catch any run off with the drain pan, clean the area as best you can and drive the van a bit more to see if the sensor is indeed leaking.

Typically such leaks aren't fatal but annoying as hell and require perhaps a bit more frequent checking of coolant and oil.

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Old 04-16-2018, 09:23 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JWA View Post
5.4 Modular Motors had a minor head defect that would have oil being pushed out from one corner, nothing too serious as it was a very small "leak". Because the heads are the same casting left and right this "leak" shows up at the back outside edge of the passenger side which corresponds to the outside front edge of the driver's side. Your sighting of accumulated oil would be consistent with this Ford anomaly. Since the front cover hides this leak its unusual for anyone to notice this "leak" because the oil runs down the block out of sight and back into the oil pan.
Thanks for the insight. Let me see if I understand what you said, The known leak can be at the outside back of the passenger side or the outside front of the drivers side? Wouldn't it switch to the inside of the drivers side? Which "cover" are you refering to, and how would the oil get back into the inside of the engine? The oil I'm seeing is running down the valley and then down the back of the block on the passenger side. Thanks for your help...........
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Old 04-16-2018, 11:38 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by arctictraveller View Post
Thanks for the insight. Let me see if I understand what you said, The known leak can be at the outside back of the passenger side or the outside front of the drivers side? Wouldn't it switch to the inside of the drivers side? Which "cover" are you refering to, and how would the oil get back into the inside of the engine? The oil I'm seeing is running down the valley and then down the back of the block on the passenger side. Thanks for your help...........
You are correct Sir---"leak" does move to inside corner of driver's side head.

"Cover" in this context is the engine front cover, that over the timing chains et al.

AT does your oil show up at the outside passenger edge of the block/head or is does it exit more towards the center? Do you have a photo of the leak as its collecting on the back of the engine?
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Old 04-16-2018, 02:24 PM   #9
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I have the "seep" that JWA describes. I assume only on the pax side but could be wrong. It first showed up around 250,000 miles. Or at least that's when I noticed it. Now at 450,000 it's looking more like a leak than a seap, but it never drips anything on the ground, so I'm not worried about it. At this rate I might have to address around the 600,000 mark, at which point I'll probably fix it by buying a new van.

Also, if you spill oil while filling the crankcase, it runs down the spout and, and somehow ends up in the valley, or so it turns out....
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Old 04-16-2018, 03:30 PM   #10
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i'm pretty sure the CHT and knock sensors both go in blind holes in the valley. the same hole in the head casting, since both heads are the same.
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