'00 Ranger V6 "vulcan" coolant leak, used dye, advice on the leaks pictured


palmbayRanger

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Havent found a similar issue yet via search, figured id ask, if I find out anything meanwhile i will update:


TL;DR:
'00 v6 vulcan temp gauge was rising high. Heard hiss and light steam coming from pulley area. No obvious source of leak. added coolant with uv dye, idled, inspected and found the dye visible only on under side of motor on the back of it (towards firewall).

hosted link to pics: https://imgur.com/a/qQlOwUS

The area pictured appears to be 2 mating surfaces with a gasket that is glowing and also was forming tiny bubbles that would pop, air bubbles I imagine, engine was off during this time. I zoomed in on the other part that was glowing which appears to be a ribbed cylinder connected to a large cog/gear. I'm still trying to get up to speed on this motor and am unsure what this part is called yet, lookin for diagrams.


More details if helpful:
My friend has a 2000 ranger with the v6 vulcan engine; he was near my house the other day and showed up saying that his temp gauge started rising, nearly touching the red line. I asked how long he had it above normal temperature; less than 3 miles (5 min or less).

Popped hood right away, overflow was dry. Hissing noise and light amount of steam visible coming from the front pulley area. Cooled down a bit then let idle briefly, no visible obvious leaks.

I bought uv radiator coolant dye, mixed it with 1/2gal of new green coolant, added this directly into radiator. Let idle for 20-25min. Turned off engine, hiss and steam present in same place but no dye glowing in that area I could find.

Got underneath, found some glowing dye on the backside of motor seen in pictures, middle of the bay towards the firewall. Also seen tiny bubbles slowly forming and popping around the gasket that is glowing in the photo.

Any advice on if this is a common area to find the fluid? About to go outside now in the dark to see if I can see any dye easier, will update.

Thanks for your time fellas.
 


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adsm08

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None of your linked pictures show the back side of the engine.

The pics you did link to all show the area around the water pump and crank damper.

The water pump gasket could have failed, the timing cover gasket is a common thing on the 3.0, and so I would just get a timing cover set and do it all. Once you have the water pump off you are halfway there anyway.
 

palmbayRanger

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Thanks for pointing that out! I was looking at it from an awkward angle and was wrong about the location. After searching for the water pump & damper now it is all making sense being able to spot them in my photos.

Thanks again for the leads, definitely know where to go from here. Solved!
 

adsm08

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Cool. Glad to help.

I will say, the quicker you get it done the better. The way the coolant passages are arranged if the timing cover gasket fails badly enough it will dump coolant into the oil. Probably best to figure for an oil change when you do it either way, you will probably dump some coolant into the oil when you remove the cover.
 

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Understood, thanks for the details I agree changing the oil is the way to go just to be safe.

About TC gasket leaking; in regards to it being common, have you found many of the factory original TC gaskets damaged yourself?


Not questioning you about your knowledge, I assume you may be a pro based on your tag which is why I ask this: I just wonder if the TC leak is reported as being common due to misdiagnosis caused by the way water rides along the edges/contours from the old leaking WP? And/or the TC is leaking on them because it is a non factory installed gasket from a past repair?

Its a tight area, hot engine, probably DIYr under vehicle, no dye, no pressure tester pump, potential for misdiagnosis made me curious to ask is all.

I can definitely believe that the factory tc gasket simply wears out, but if it has potential for long life I will finally buy a radiator pressure test pump kit and get back in there and to do a better job of inspecting this time around knowing what I know now thanks to your help. If its certainly known to leak though I got no issues with replacing it provided my friend deems the time/cost acceptable.

note: im not one of those guys who shows up on a forum, gets reasonable response from experienced regular but then keeps arguing in hopes that the answer changes. Haha, over the while researching things i've found a TON of old forum posts around the net with that scenario so thought i'd avoid any red flags as a new guy questioning your response like this ;)
 
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adsm08

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I have found a number of the factory gaskets to be worn out. I have not seen any instances of failure that were caused by sub-par parts, or poor alignment of the cover, but it could happen.

In my experience the cover is usually only has an issue if the coolant has been allowed to get really nasty.

It is definitely worth getting a pressure tester and trying to see exactly where it is coming from, but if it were me on my own vehicle I would do the timing cover gasket if I had to take the water pump off for anything. You are already half way there and all the other gaskets you need to ruin to get it off are already off.
 

palmbayRanger

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Sounds good, bought a pressure tester now, been wanting an excuse to get one for testing my chainsaw/trimmer. I wont bother checking the leak since the WP/TC gasket situation as you describe it, replacing all the way is the only way to go for sure, will come in handy after the job atleast to test for post install leaks.

Fluid definitely seemed to be bad at some point, noticed some reddish maroon colored sludge in bottom overflow resevoir and the same sludge all way around the radiator neck. I read that this rusty colored sludge is often sign that the impeller probably has fins rusted down to nubs.

Will definitely update on any progress. He was hoping that an exterior resin epoxy based metal filler slathering and/or internal stopleak additive may work but I had to decline helping do that, dont believe that will be worth it for quite a few reasons, primarily because the source of the leak is caused by an EOL rubber gasket which those products can not bond to.

Cheers!
 
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adsm08

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Patching a fluid leak from the outside has never worked even a little bit for me. Just makes it spray farther.
 

palmbayRanger

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Patching a fluid leak from the outside has never worked even a little bit for me. Just makes it spray farther.
Agreed, sounds like a nightmare in this situation. Anything but the real repair in this scenario seems like a waste, would likely be more profitable to just sell it unmolested advertised as needing TC & WP service and priced accordingly.

Will see what the verdict ends up being, even if he doesnt choose to use my help I still learned a ton about this system and a few other fundamental lessons. Thanks again buddy.
 


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