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Ford Fiend
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55k and I've started loosing coolant. No leaks I can find but the smell is pretty strong on the passenger side of the engine. Any idea where to look, maybe just start with a cap?
Not a bad idea. Cheap insurance. If you're losing it and you can smell it, it's leaking out somewhere. Some leaks won't stop once they start, such as the radiator tank leak I mentioned above.

It's only $8. Smear a thin film of vaseline on the reservoir neck where the two orings in the cap seal against it.:

https://smile.amazon.com/Motorcraft-RS-530-Radiator-Cap/dp/B009TKOPH6/ref=au_as_r?_encoding=UTF8&Make=Ford|54&Model=Focus|679&Year=2012|2012&ie=UTF8&n=15684181&s=automotive&vehicleId=4&vehicleType=automotive
 

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55k and I've started loosing coolant. No leaks I can find but the smell is pretty strong on the passenger side of the engine. Any idea where to look, maybe just start with a cap?
Look at the top of the motor mount on the passenger side. If there are signs of moisture, replace the coolant reservoir. Alternately, you can simply run your hand over the bottom of the coolant reservoir and feel for moisture. If it's wet, replace it. The coolant reservoir has become a common failure point in the cooling system for the 12+ Focus and 13+ Escape...
 

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Replaced the cap, still losing coolant. Felt all around the reservoir with the car running and didn't notice anything significant. Still have a strong smell of coolant in and around the reservoir area.

I think I'm going to go ahead and replace the reservoir because it's cheap and easy. If that doesn't do it I'll buy a pressure tester and go that route. Also wondering if it's coming from the water pump weep hole since that isn't far away. Although I haven't actually been able to find fluid leaking out so far.
 

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is the coolant reservoir cap on properly? as it can be tight but then just needs a slight turn more to lock and fully close so the picture on the cap is straight if you are looking at it from the front
 

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Just checked, I had bought a Gates cap, maybe I should try an actual motorcraft one? Well the Gates doesn't click and the sticker isn't anywhere near straight.
 

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At smaller leak amounts the coolant just appears to disappear. Doesn't mean you don't have a seep type leak somewhere though. The cars have a lot of hoses and two points at each hose there can be a seep. The reservoir can have the cap ooze slight amounts of steam off too. I have chased leaks all over the place on the earlier models and they can be literally everywhere. I just get them to a minimum and stop looking as it is normal to me to lose small amounts over time, the caps alone will do that at having to seal pressure again at heatups. The pressure works the rubber seal to give off small vapor burps at times and normal, to a point. Like every car back to the '50s.

I commonly find the leaks by looking for AFZ residue underneath the car at hose ends, you don't find an active leak as it dries very quickly, only a residue of it where it pools from gravity to dry in a thicker amount to be seen. A drip point if you will. The reservoir tanks can leak from underneath, sometimes one bigger crack or a series of yield stress marks that can ooze coolant out. Be guided by the AFZ smell, my parking spot is like a pocket, it enhances that and I pick up on the smell pretty quick to go after leaks. Sometimes the reservoir caps have to be overtightened a bit, one of my cars is like that, big pliers to add another 1/8 turn after hand tighten to seal it.

The cars can seal to leak absolutely nothing but that is not usual, they all at some point begin to lose at least small amounts and to be expected. It's a function of a sealing system that is not good enough to seal 100% in all cases. You can seal an engine up with 100% water and zero leaks over time and then add AFZ and then leaks show up, AFZ being a slicking agent, it makes the water more able to leak.

All that of course makes the flaw in post #9 harder to find, but that test is different, it is a constant pressure the entire time thing rather than one like a normal car where the engine heats up to pressure then the pressure comes back down at cooling off. The latter can produce a 'pumping' phenomenon, to seep say a couple drops then stop to do it again later. I've watched a radiator cap suddenly spit out a drop to then go back to working right long term, it can happen. You can change the cap but it still may happen again. The vagaries of working with rubber. I've done the lube the cap seal thing too, the rubber gets older and then tends to snag to ball up to cut or shred at tightening it, the lube lets the rubber stay flat to seal better. Pull cap and look, if the seal has snag marks instead of a clean smooth crush groove you are there.

'Probably about every 6 months or so I give it a little top up...'

Perfectly acceptable to me. About what I shoot for.
 

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I have a 2012 ti automatic and a 2013 se 5spd, BOTH have had the rads shit the bed from 130k to 150k, luckily it is a cheap and somewhat easy fix to do myself.
The 2012 has been going for over 100k now without any coolant loss whatsoever, the 2013 has been about 15k and is also steady with no loss.
 

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Alright I am going to complicate things a little more. As I have said before, when I topped up the coolant it would drop fairly quickly for a few weeks and then stabilise at the level it seemed to like.

Well about 2 months ago I did a coolant change, it was way overdue. Drained all the old coolant, didn't flush as it wasn't looking bad inside at all, just got as much out as I could following Haynes instructions.
Refilled with fresh coolant made up to spec. Ran the engine topping it off as it worked the air out of the system and accidentally overfilled a little bit. Wasn't too worried about this since I figured it would drop naturally anyway as it did before.
No drop at all! Level is still slightly overfull as it was after I finished the job.

Bloody weird car! lol.
 

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welcome to cars xD and how they act you may of touched the part that was seeping and when you reattached it it sealed proper... the seeping could of been so small and only when driving so you wouldn't of seen any spots.
 

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Discussion Starter #32
Mine appears to be fixed now. I replaced the reservoir and I replaced the cap again, this time using a Motorcraft cap.

The new cap seems to have fixed my issue too. I've put about 6K on my 2014 since replacing the cap with an OE and I haven't seen a drop in the coolant level in the surge tank...thankfully.
 

Ford Fiend
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Just an update for the comment I made below...

Use silicone paste (dielectric grease) on the cap o-rings and they will never "stick" in the neck and make it hard to take off again. Vaseline doesn't hold up well to the heat.


It's only $8. Smear a thin film of vaseline on the reservoir neck where the two orings in the cap seal against it.:
 

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Mine would drop a bit below MIN and settle. I'd fill it, and it would repeat, so I just learned to live with it. I did a drain/fill a few weeks ago, and it hasn't dropped a bit since I filled it to MAX. Hopefully it stays that way.
 

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I just checked mine yesterday and found the coolant level below the minimum level. This is the first time I鈥檝e noticed this. Oddly enough I had it at the dealership just last week getting the purge valve recall done. I鈥檓 surprised that they neglected to check fluid levels since they were trying to push a bunch of maintenance items that I鈥檇 already taken care of.

I鈥檒l try the coolant cap and report back if this continues.
 

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It's funny a reply should pop up as my car has gone back to playing games again and dropping the coolant level after probably a year of stability.
 

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Ive had my 2012 focus se hatchback since new...i currently am almost to 250k on it...can i give all the posters on the coolant loss a suggestion from what ive seen? Ok....here goes....two hoses with coolant one takes in n one brings out....firewall....heater core? Anywho...there is a felt pad of sorts on the firewall....check around the hoses after driving the car and see if the felt is damp there....it seeps into the felt and you cant tell its oozing out....the problem is the hoses are not clamped on there from my experience....they are both a quick connect fitting....inside each is a black oring that starts to disintegrate a bit...just enough it seeps coolant by....just something you can check...unfortunately i havent found an exact fit of the oring....buy the hose units
 

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A somewhat common place for a focus to leak coolant is from the degas bottle, check to see if it's damp on the bottom. They all crack in the same spot, underneath the bottle, above the engine mount. The coolant level dropping half way down toward minimum seems a bit too much
 

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Hidden coolant leak finally found

Hey Folks,

I have had a annoying coolant leak from 30 days from new.

I top up the reservoir every 3-4 months. Dealer said there was no issues.

She left me stranded for the 1st time this weekend.

Initially, it looked like the hex head frost plug on the top right side of the cylinder head. Removed, examined and reinstalled.

Directly below the plug is the coolant adapter.
Four bolts and four hoses and a sensor later.

There was part of the internal gasket plastic wall completely missing and the stretched out rubber no longer able to do the job. Defective since it was installed. It was only the sweet smell.. I could never actually find the source until now. Hope this can help somebody else. See pics
 

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