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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does this sound likely?

I jacked the car up today (on jack stands) and had a look underneath with a torch* to try and trace the coolant leak. I had thought that it might be the water pump gasket that was leaking at first, but I don't think so now... It looks like it's slightly further back, just behind the timing cover. This would make it the timing cover gasket wouldn't it?

So, if it is the timing cover gasket then should I even think of attempting to replace that myself? Is there any reason not to do it? I may be as advanced as a "tire-kicker" but that's about it. I realise that there are more bits to remove to get this far back than replacing the water pump gasket, but is there anything else to worry about?

How long would this take to do?

If the advice is to take it to a shop and have them do it, can anyone give me a ballpark figure for cost? The gaskets shouldn't be more than about $15, but I'd imagine labour will be a lot more.

So far, my sum total of car work is limited (pretty much) to replacing a fuel filter on a minivan, and a starter on the mustang, and rebuilding the master cylinder.

Any ideas or advice?

Z.

*To quote the back of the Haynes manual...
Torch (flashlight in the US) Any reference to a "torch" appearing in this manual should always be taken to mean a hand-held, battery-operated electric light or flashlight. It DOES NOT mean a welding or propane torch or blowtorch.
 

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It may be dripping off the timing cover gasket, but the leak is probably coming from above it, and running down.

Wipe everything off as clean as you can get it, fire the car up for a few minutes (until it starts to warm up), then crawl under it and see where it's coming from. Pay particular attention to the by-pass pipe back of the water pump. Also, check closely at the weep hole and where the shaft comes out of the water pump, as well as all hose connections. The main thing is to determine where it's coming from (hint: it's not the timing cover), then it can be fixed.

Whatever it turns out to be, you can fix it. Time to broaden your horizons. :) Not many can afford to own one of these cars if it's taken in for every leak that occurs. You can do it.....!
 

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It DOES NOT mean a welding or propane torch or blowtorch
ROFLMAO!

Timing chain covers aren't that big a deal, but may be a bit time consuming for a first timer. I say go for it. You'll learn a lot in the process, and other than not getting it sealed, there's really not much you're going to mess up. Odds are, though, if you take your time, read the hanes manual, ask questions about ANYTHING you don't understand, you'll have plenty of success, feel good about it when done, and save yourself a couple hundred $.
 

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I reviewed the timing cover replacememt paragraph in my Chiltons. If the Haynes is similar, it is pretty straight forward.

I've had mine off a few times, no biggie.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
(hint: it's not the timing cover)
Hmmm... I don't think that it is the timing cover but the timing cover gasket (NPD part 6020)... If you have the 2003 NPD catalogue, look on page 73... and there is an exploded diagram of an engine... (Attributed to Ford, so it might be a Ford part number)...

If you look at that diagram, you will see the Water pump (8501) connects to the Timing Cover (6019) with a gasket (8507) between them. The Timing cover connects to the block with another gasket (6020) between them. My understanding is that the Water Pump pumps coolant through the block to keep it cool (otherwise the best you could hope for is to cool the front two cylinders, with the back two getting hotter than heck)... So, the coolant has to pass through the timing cover to get into the block. This appears to be done with the aid of two tubes on either side of the cover. If you look at a picture of a timing cover gasket it has various bolt holes, and two round holes on the sides top left and top right. These holes appear to be made to allow the matching holes in the timing cover to allow coolant through and into the engine. Did you follow me so far and if so am I correct?

The coolant is dripping from the front passenger side of the oil pan gasket. It appears to be running down the join between the block and the timing cover. I can't see any sign of a gasket here, but I'm assuming that it hasn't just been left out (I hope it hasn't)... However, given that some coolant has collected in a little "valley" on the side of the timing cover. I think (but don't know) that that is where it is dripping from. It is definitely not coming out of the front of the water pump (weep hole, shaft, hoses...) That area seems to be dry (apart from some oil/grease) while further back (the front of the oil pan/rear of the timing cover area) definitely is wet with coolant (not oil, the coolant is green, the oil isn't).

There is no sign of either oil in the coolant or coolant in the oil so I don't think that we have a problem with the head gasket (I seem to remember seeing that mentioned as a symptom). I can't see any cracks in any of the metal parts so joints/gaskets/seals seems the likely answer to me.

I'll try to get the car back on the jack stands tomorrow morning with the engine turning over and see if I can spot fluids from anywhere further up actually coming out.

Does all of this make sense? Does anyone have any more ideas for places to look?

I am very relieved to see that removing the timing cover will not mean that I have to touch the timing chain...

Thanks for all of your help,

Z.
 
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