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Old 12-31-2012, 09:54 AM   #1
Chaput87
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Hemoraging coolant

Well, there was a small and generally unnoticeable coolant leak over the past couple months on my focus, I just made sure to keep it topped off.

Things changed 2 days ago. I started to overheat (I didn't let it get up into the red) and it seems to be drinking coolant as a pastime.

I have to add half a bottle of coolant per day. There is a sweet coolant smell from the HVAC, especially when restarted after warmup. No coolant visible leaking under the car when I move it from being parked.n Also even with a full resavoir, the heat takes a while to kick in after the engine is warm. I figure that it is due to some air getting in the system once it gets really low.

I suspect that there is a leak in the head gasket.

Anyone else have this issue or replaced a head gasket? How hard/expensive is it on this car to do?


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Old 12-31-2012, 10:44 AM   #2
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It's most likely the thermostat housing. If your valve cover gasket is or was leaking then you need to replace the t-stat and its o-ring along with the valve cover gasket if you haven't already best to use a fel-pro gasket for the valve. It's a very common problem with Zetecs but that should help if you need more I can find you a walk through or write one up for you. Hope that's all it is Good luck
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Old 12-31-2012, 11:27 AM   #3
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actually a blown head gasket sounds pretty likely and it would be advisable to stop driving the car before you do any more damage. check for any water in the oil, crank the car and see if there is an antifreeze smell coming from the exhaust and do a compression check on all 4 cylinders. on the compression check all 4 cylinders should be within 10psi of one another and should be in the neighborhood of 150psi give or take. if all 4 pistons read under 100 psi i would be concerned.

i would normally guess at the thermostat housing too but since there are no visible leaks and you are very clearly loosing water then the only place it can be going that you wouldnt notice is out the exhaust.

a head gasket isnt terribly hard to do but it sure as heck isnt fun either. i would HIGHLY recommend letting a shop do it for you. there are alot of things that you can mess up if you dont know what you're doing.
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Old 12-31-2012, 12:06 PM   #4
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a head gasket isnt terribly hard to do but it sure as heck isnt fun either. i would HIGHLY recommend letting a shop do it for you. there are alot of things that you can mess up if you dont know what you're doing.
If it does turn out to be the head gasket he's right I did it once ant it was a PITA so much can go wrong doing it its crazy I had striped bolts striped bolt holes was not fun rethreding them either. But lets hope it is just the thermostat way easier.
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Old 12-31-2012, 12:09 PM   #5
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well it isnt so much stripping bolts as it is that there is alot of crap to remove and put back together and its alot to remember. and its terrifying when you put it back together just to realize that you have extra parts and dont have a clue where they go!
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Old 12-31-2012, 12:43 PM   #6
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Yah but I was talking about me when I did it the very LAST bolt on the exhaust camshaft striped on me held me back for an hour -_- I used ziplock baggies to organize bolts the wires were the worst part its not so much matching them to where they do as is making sure they are all back in.
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Old 12-31-2012, 06:05 PM   #7
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Thanks for the advice guys. I checked the Tstat housing and I didn't notice anything leaking or cracked.

I think I am going to bite the bullet and hit up my shop on this one. I don't really wanna deal with a head gasket replacement, especially in the winter and the cold.
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Old 12-31-2012, 06:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaput87 View Post
Thanks for the advice guys. I checked the Tstat housing and I didn't notice anything leaking or cracked.

I think I am going to bite the bullet and hit up my shop on this one. I don't really wanna deal with a head gasket replacement, especially in the winter and the cold.
Assuming the worst (head gasket) expect to pay a small fortune - the part is cheap, maybe 10-15 bucks, but the labor is what kills it.
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Old 12-31-2012, 07:00 PM   #9
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coolant + smell in HVAC = heater core?
is it a possiblilty you have leaking core? checked it?
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Old 01-01-2013, 09:17 AM   #10
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coolant + smell in HVAC = heater core?
is it a possiblilty you have leaking core? checked it?
At half a gallon of coolant per day- that would be excessive. There would be a puddle of coolant under the car from where it dripped out the weep hole. What I didn't see suggested in this thread was "does the exhaust smell like coolant", or "is there a whitish substance on the oil dipstick, or around the oil fill cap?"

I'd want to clarify that before I went assuming a head gasket problem. At 1/2 gal per day, there should be something somewhere. If it's going in the exhaust, he might consider replacing the exhaust system down the road because coolant residue will eat up the muffler, cat, and piping from the inside where it's not protected from corrosion.

Just some things to think about there- good luck with the head gasket job. I'd have dared him to try it himself. Yeah, it's a job, but it's not that bad if you have a garage to work in, and as long as you have good advice and the proper tools when you need them. There was a time when I hadn't done one, someone "dared" me to do it. All you have to do is try, but once you get started- don't give up. No mechanic wants to see someone bringing in a pile of parts "Hey man, I suck, can you put this back together with a new head gasket?"
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