[2001 Ford Focus ZX3] Antifreeze burning in the sparkplug wells (#1, #2)
On my way to work yesterday evening: My vehicle's temperature gauge was at 0F (never moved) for the majority of the drive; I thought it was rather peculiar, but possibly had something to do with the fact that I had just put petroleum jelly on the battery terminals (which shouldn't affect anything).
Then, ~10 miles in: The engine started to misbehave, and misfire (and now I think I know why). I pulled over, looked at it, and saw nothing wrong. I unscrewed the antifreeze reservoir, and immediately noticed it had no pressure built up. Then, after I started the vehicle up: The temperature gauge suddenly (slowly) climbed to 50% (where it normally sits at after you drive for a bit). It stayed there for a bit. Then, as I drove off, and used the gas: It would slowly drop back down to 0F.
This morning (a few hours ago), after I pulled into the drive way: I checked the radiator cap again. It had a very little amount of pressure. The temperature gauge read 'normal' too. It did the same trick.
I decided to pull the spark plug cover off, because I heard a slight 'hissing' noise (I thought it was the serpentine belt honestly). The spark plug well was filled up half way with something BOILING, and STEAMING (antifreeze.. The water portion).
I left the covers off, and walked away. I came back but not 10 minutes later: All traces of the liquid were gone. It doesn't smell like antifreeze. But I know what I saw.
Could it possibly be the head gasket (cracked/blown/damaged)?
Could it possibly be the 'core plugs/freeze plugs/valve covers/whatever nickname they have' be to blame? (http://www.focusfanatics.com/forum/showthread.php?t=284552)
Could it possibly be something else, somewhere else, that I've yet to discover? It's definitely an INTERNAL leak. I have visually inspected everything.
Symptoms laid out:
- No pressure building up (radiator cap was good last I knew!)
- "White" smoke (but no odor) from the exhaust (possibly condensation from the cold morning?)
- Engine misfires on occasion (possibly occurring when the liquid enters the spark plug well)
- Low power/Acceleration (again: misfires?), until ~3k RPMs (DPFE sensor? EGR valve?)
Any ideas on how to check for sure what the problem is, and any potential solutions?
I am fixing to try a $10 solution that should theoretically work (assuming it's the head-gasket/tiny hole/valve cover screw): "Mendtite by Zecol" (a 'stop leak' type deal).
Does the white "smoke" ever go away?
Along with it: A liquid. If you romp on the gas (neutral): It spews the liquid on the ground. More than a trickle, less than a cup.
It's also very inconsistent. A moment ago: Nothing. But not two minutes later: White smoke again (ergo: My edit, and now this edit).
And now: Nothing again.
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