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99 & up 7.3L Power Stroke Engine and Drivetrain Discussion of the 99 & up 7.3L Power Stroke diesel engine and drivetrain in the 1999-Up Super Duty trucks and Excursions. No gas engine discussion allowed except on transmissions and drivetrain that pertain to all models. Please confine discussion of topics in this forum to those items that are specific to the 7.3L Power Stroke engine.

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Old 11-13-2011, 04:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Locating coolant leak

This weird coolant leak is driving me nuts. I first noticed it from under the truck. There was a coolant trail coming from the de gas bottle hose to the radiator. Easy fix, just tightened the hose clamp at the de gas bottle and problem solved. Now there is another coolant leak and here are the symtoms: Coolant on top of the water pump near the thermostat housing.
Coolant dripping off the lower radiator hose and de gas bottle hose.

Coolant running down the passenger side on the front of the engine/oil pan area.

I checked everywhere and couldn't figure out the leak. I cleaned all the coolant off and ran the truck for about 30min then drove for about 30min. No leaks! What the heck?! I just want to know if I need a water pump or if the thermostat housing is leaking. Any suggestions?
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Old 11-13-2011, 05:17 PM   #2 (permalink)
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If it is above the water pump, it would almost have to be coming from the thermostat housing, the upper hose(s) or the degas bottle. You could have a cracked degas tank - might be worth pulling it and cleaning it up really good. Never hurts to pull the thermostat and clean everything up - replacing the o-ring, of course. If it really is hard to find, get a bottle of UV dye ( Quest/8 oz. cooling system UV dye with measure and pour (385) | UV Light and Accessories | AutoZone.com ) and a cheap UV flashlight. Run it for the shortest amount of time you think necessary to leak some coolant and then go hunting - at night in the dark makes it easier to find the dye.
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Old 11-13-2011, 05:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'll get some of the UV dye and get to it this coming week. I tried to check the weep hole with the wife's compact mirror (LOL) but couldn't really get a good angle to see it. I replaced the thermostat with a dieselsite 203 degree and the billet housing about a year ago. I was thinking that maybe the water pump was leaking so bad that the fan was blowing coolant on top of the water pump. The truck has about 140k on the original water pump. A friend of mine who used to work at a ford dealer said that you should get about 160k out of a stock water pump. I'm just concerned because I'm back and forth to school every 2 months. School is 7 hours away with lots of long stretches of nothing.
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Old 11-13-2011, 07:29 PM   #4 (permalink)
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As cheap as waterpumps are - and considering the upper and lower hose housings go to the pump, I'd swap it out. Beats getting stuck in the middle of nowhere. Good time to do a flush and upgrade to a good extended life coolant (if you are in the 99.5+ year range)
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Old 11-13-2011, 07:46 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I've heard of the billet housing leaking before. Did you use any RTV with it or just the gasket? The best time to look for a leak is when the engine is hot. You might be able to see a small drip, even if it doesn't hit the ground, when the engine is hot and the coolant is pressurized.
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Old 11-15-2011, 10:23 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Found the leak today! Billet t stat housing is leaking at the base and the water pump is leaking from the weep hole. Getting ready to buy a new water pump. I hear GMB and Airtex are good. Any suggestions?
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Old 11-15-2011, 10:32 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Airtex is OEM supplier - RockAuto has good prices.

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Old 11-15-2011, 10:49 PM   #8 (permalink)
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International who made your engine, and who's engine your Ford cooling system was designed around, recommended a Heavy Duty Extended Life Coolant (HD ELC) for all 2/2/99-up built engines (SN 940614-up). After this build date they began to use a sealant in the injector cups that was compatible with the Organic Acid Technology that the ELC coolants use. These are generally red coolants with operation lives of 300K-750K miles/6-8 years, depending on brand. They are very robust and require no maintenance or additives. Popular brands include International's Fleetrite ELC, Shell Rotella ELC, CAT ELC, Chevron Delo ELC, Peak Final Charge, Prestone Heavy Duty ELC, Zerex Extreme Heavy Duty, etc.

*Tip* Due to International's compatibility tests, all pre-2/2/99 build engines (pre-SN 940614) should use a conventional coolant with the addition of SCA (or a pre-charged conventional coolant already charged with SCA). Most conventional coolants will be green, "low-silicate" and meet ASTM D4985. There are too many brands to list. They will require the addition of a supplemental coolant additive (SCA) at initial fill and maintenance of that SCA thereafter. Most pre-charged conventional coolants will be pink, purple, or blue and meet ASTM D6210. These coolants do not require an initial dose of SCA, but will require SCA maintenance thereafter. These are coolants like Peak Fleet Charge, Prestone Heavy Duty, Zerex Precharge, Shell Diesel Ready, Fleetguard Fleetcool, Fleetrite Fully Formulated, and so on.

Now many folks with OBS and Pre 2/99 build 7.3's have used the ELC without issue but there are those that have had the issue International worried about with the injector cup sealant eroding. I got all this info off of FTE.
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Old 11-15-2011, 11:32 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Just ordered the airtex. The code didn't work but I do have to order a few more parts and rock auto was cheaper than e bay.
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Old 11-15-2011, 11:38 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Switched to ELC last year and added a coolant filter. This will also give me a chance to fix my radiator drain. Hopefully the new water pump will last another 140k!
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Old 11-16-2011, 06:20 AM   #11 (permalink)
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A cooling system pressure tester is a tool you may not use very often but is invaluable for finding those small leaks that drive you nuts. I found a used one for $40. A new one is around $75.
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Old 11-16-2011, 08:49 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Also, check the condition of the thermostat housing bolts once removed if they are rusted, my advice is replace them. You can take one with you to napa and they can match it up its ok if its a hair longer.
Found out the hard way when my pump went south the bolts snapped when I tried to remove the tstat housing. Just FYI to ya
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Old 12-08-2011, 09:35 PM   #13 (permalink)
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The dieselsite housing only fixes half the problem. As you've found out, the poor Ford square cut o-ring causes as many leaks as the weak housing does. The kit below corrects the problems with both the housing and o-ring.

T-Stat Housing Ring

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Old 12-11-2011, 09:57 PM   #14 (permalink)
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The new pump is in! The old one was trashed! The impeller was starting to dig into the water pump housing and the bearings were gone. Removing the fan clutch wasn't as hard as everyone makes it out to be. The guy on youtube using an air hammer is an idiot. Hopefully I'll get another 140k out of the new pump. And I got the thermostat housing sealed up. No leaks so far and she runs great! Thanks to rock auto for getting the parts to me so fast.
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Old 12-11-2011, 11:03 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surlyman1 View Post
Removing the fan clutch wasn't as hard as everyone makes it out to be. The guy on youtube using an air hammer is an idiot.
You can say that again. The proper tool makes it easy and doesn't damage things.

Glad you got it fixed up.

Mine's going in soon for a leak from the coolant into the oil pan. I think we've narrowed it down to the front cover gasket where it connects to the block, or the front cover itself. Drove it today with some UV dye in the coolant, for diagnosis and it lost about 1 gal coolant in a 10 mi or so test run. Only leaks when it gets warm and apparently at higher rpm's (faster WP speed), as it hadn't dropped coolant level in over a week just sitting. First time I'd driven it in over a week. It was a short respite from the withdrawl symtoms, but not all that satisfying.
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