Need some advice. Loosing antifreeze - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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Old 10-08-2011
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Need some advice. Loosing antifreeze

hi all. hoping for some input here. i have a 97 Ford Ranger. 4.0/6 cyl. It has over 300,000kms on it so it's 'up there'. however, this truck drives like a dream and body is in incredible shape. I haven't owned it that long and have found some problems;

-loosing antifreeze. LOTS of antifreeze. I am pretty sure it is going out the tail pipe. My
mechanic thinks that it could cost more than i may want to put in. (he is very honest-hard to find) there is no residue, that i can find, on the engine, no puddles or even drips under the truck. I am thinking of gambling and have him go as far as the manifold and hope it is the gasket. makes a god awful noise when she starts cold. Stops when it warms up.

-No heat. I put in a new thermostat and yes, i put it in the right way:) Coils to engine.
I replaced the rad cap, it has a brand new rad too.

Advice is very much appreciated. Thanks in advance
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Old 10-08-2011
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Originally Posted by Rascal View Post
hi all. hoping for some input here. i have a 97 Ford Ranger. 4.0/6 cyl. It has over 300,000kms on it so it's 'up there'. however, this truck drives like a dream and body is in incredible shape. I haven't owned it that long and have found some problems;

-loosing antifreeze. LOTS of antifreeze. I am pretty sure it is going out the tail pipe. My
mechanic thinks that it could cost more than i may want to put in. (he is very honest-hard to find) there is no residue, that i can find, on the engine, no puddles or even drips under the truck. I am thinking of gambling and have him go as far as the manifold and hope it is the gasket. makes a god awful noise when she starts cold. Stops when it warms up.

-No heat. I put in a new thermostat and yes, i put it in the right way:) Coils to engine.
I replaced the rad cap, it has a brand new rad too.

Advice is very much appreciated. Thanks in advance
What color is your oil? milky and brownish? check that.
Is your antifreeze brown also? How about smoke? is there any?
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Old 10-08-2011
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oh thanks. forgot to say that there is no ugly in the oil. oil is very clear actually. antifreeze is ugly brown though
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Old 10-08-2011
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oh thanks. forgot to say that there is no ugly in the oil. oil is very clear actually. antifreeze is ugly brown though
Intreting. Mines been this way for a while, but i know its from a Valve Cover leaking. Might want to check that out. Right around 100,000 miles (160,000 Kms) 4.0 engine valve covers are known to leak.
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Old 10-08-2011
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Would that not just affect the oil though? How would valve cover affect the antifreeze? Confused...still:)
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Old 10-08-2011
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Would that not just affect the oil though? How would valve cover affect the antifreeze? Confused...still:)
the anitfreeze gets into the oil abit that way.
However, Your sure its coming out of the tail pipe?
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Old 10-08-2011
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Just assuming that as i can't see where else it could go? I mean the oil is clean, no drips or puddles or wet stuff anywhere visible. For the amount that I loose, it should be one heck of a mess. So we assume that it is going out the pipe. Where else could it go do you think?
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Old 10-08-2011
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Originally Posted by Rascal View Post
Just assuming that as i can't see where else it could go? I mean the oil is clean, no drips or puddles or wet stuff anywhere visible. For the amount that I loose, it should be one heck of a mess. So we assume that it is going out the pipe. Where else could it go do you think?
I'm assuming it burns? and smokes like crazy?
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Old 10-08-2011
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no. that's the funny thing. she runs awesome. I put some Rislone head sealer in it (trying anything) and it spit a ton of white stuff out the tail pipe. But, no blue or no ugly stuff or smell at the pipe.
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Old 10-08-2011
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nekkid??? WhAT?
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Old 10-08-2011
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That makes no sense, It should burn off in the tailpipe if it drips into there. There really isn't anywhere for it to leak past the Heads.
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Old 10-08-2011
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i know. drives me mad. after a bit the white stuff cleared outof the tail pipe when I put taht Rislone in. It's the funniest thing. All I know is that after about 100kms, i have to put in at least 4ltrs of antifreeze/water in. I have put the new rad cap on and will check it again tomorrow am but can't see how that will matter. Thanks for your input. I appreciate the time. It is a puzzle
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Old 10-09-2011
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Pull the plugs and check their condition, if your burning antifreeze they will look different.

The heads are known to crack around the exhaust valve and burn antifreeze as the engine runs. This antifreeze crap is getting way expensive with that big of a leak it will nickel and dime you on coolant costs. If it is heads your looking at 150 a head plus another 200 total for gaskets and then labor if you choose. So for 500 in parts you can have new heads and all gaskets replaced on the top half.

Im not saying that is your issue.

Here is a rebuild thread, he got new rockers and pushrods along with headers too which will up the cost.
https://www.ranger-forums.com/4-0l-ohv-sohc-v6-tech-33/project-thread-rebuilding-4-0l-ohv-121741/
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Old 10-09-2011
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excellent idea re the plugs. i completely agree. i won't put the $ into it if it is the heads. There has to be a line somewhere. Thanks much. really appreciate your input
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Old 10-10-2011
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Have only had time to take one plug. They are pretty new but it was #6 cyl and kind of gray looking. Will pull rest during the week.

Do you happen to know when the engines in them changed? Mine is a 96
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Old 10-10-2011
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You can pressure test the cooling system. See if it holds pressure. That's the easiest thing to do.
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Old 10-10-2011
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Not sure where your thermostat housing is on your year but on mine it's right up top and it cracked in the back an was squirting into the valley between the heads it drove me crazy figuring out where my violent was going. I thought it was burning. But what happened was it got in that valley and boiled of and I had no drips so that why I didn't see it.
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Old 10-10-2011
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The tstat housing is on the front of the engine just above the water pump, if it fails it will dump down the engine onto the ground.

Engines changed in 01 from the OHV to SOHC like btm757 has.
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Old 10-10-2011
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my thermo housing is above the water pump at the front so it would run down the front. thanks for the idea though. It is a 3 bolt housing and the bottom bolt is stripped. However, it is bone dry and no residue or stain. i think the o ring keeps it front leaking and the other two bolts are tight
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Old 10-10-2011
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thanks again. i found an engine, IF I need one, that is an 02 though
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Old 10-11-2011
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I'm pretty sure those two motors would be different. Yours being an OHV and the 02 would be SOHC.
To swap, you might be looking at more then the truck is worth.
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Old 10-11-2011
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Yes, i completely agree. i'll be really looking hard at all of this before I make a decision. The body is almost mint, drivetrain seems good but at the end of the day, the truck is a 2wd, and most important, has over 300,000kms on it. I paid 1300 for it and i think i will not get that back if engine is hooped but she's purty. lol
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Old 10-11-2011
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Did you pressure test it???
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Old 10-12-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rolsmojave3 View Post
You can pressure test the cooling system. See if it holds pressure. That's the easiest thing to do.
^^^This is step one. Look for leaks while pressurized.

Be aware that the old OHV 4.0's are well known for leaky lower intake gaskets, albeit they usually show that problem via poor cold idle and a lean DTC due to a vac leak. Nonetheless, that gasket has been known to allow small amounts of coolant to be ingested. The good news is, all you need to do (for most of them, depends how long the leak has gone on for) is retorque the intake. Also, if it's ingesting coolant into the intake, you should be able to smell it in the exhaust.

*I came across an early Explorer with the OHV 4.0 that was using coolant, but not leaving a steam cloud behind it. Turned out to be a left side head gasket that allowed coolant to leak and run down onto the ground at random times, making detection a bit slower than optimal.

**If you don't have a cloud of steam behind you, and one of especially long duration and on cold mornings, and if you don't smell coolant in the exhaust, and if you know it's not a leaky heater core (and you'd know), and if you don't have a misfire on cold starts (ie, wet plug) that goes away as it warms up, then I'd be willing to bet that you have an external leak. This is where the pressure tester will help you.
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Old 10-13-2011
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those are some excellent ideas!! I'm going to tell the mechanic about this and see what he thinks. I still haven't had a chance to pull more plugs. Darn work intereferes with life.lol

I added a couple of litres of that new Rislone head gasket sealer stuff just to see if that helps. I have been keeping an eye on the coolant level in the overflow. Also, a new rad cap

Another thing to add here is that the previous owner put a brand new rad in it.
-when the vehicle is shut off, after a good 50 miles, the upper rad hose is collapsed.
-when the truck is running, there is a consistant whirring sound. Sounds like power steering (not the squeal sound when bearings go) It is a consistant whirring sound. Rythimic with engine.
-On cold start she will sometimes tick like mad then as it warms up, goes away. Doesn't do it all the time though.

This is the strangest thing!

Sure do appreciate the feedback. This is an awesome forum!! Very tolerant! lol
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