Solved Coolant Leak: Lower Intake Manifold Gasket

1994 FExplorer, 4.0L, Edmonton, AB: - The Explorer was experiencing a small coolant leak. By 'small', I mean it would mainly leak less than 1/4 cup full after shutting off
the engine. Inspecting under the car, I noticed the leak was originating some where behind the fan, where the lower intake manifold would be.... Damn, like many Ford's of this variety, I suspected it was the lower intake manifold gasket that was going on me.
- I took it to Koch Ford, a local Ford dealer in town, for a coolant pressure test since I didn't have the time to rip apart my engine bay in order to source the problem. After the pressure test, they confirmed my initial hypothesis that the gasket was going.
Curious. I ask Koch Ford, for a price quote for the fix. Price: Over $1000, roughly six hours of labour time, and almost $250 in price for parts!!!! To take this decision, is not a rational division of one's financial resources.
Being somewhat educated-trained in the 'art' (not a science) of car repair, especially when dealing with an SUV of this age and build quality), I knew the fix. The one fix that comes in a bottle that actualy works. The fix that even the US military used in their own nuclear submarine to fully repair the sub's condenser system (sourced in academic history, click here: http://www.historylink.org/essays/output.cfm?file_id739 ).
Remember the context. In my instance, the leak was minimal. I had sourced the problem early. For larger coolant leaks, this solution may not apply. I keep my SUV very well maintained. So I qualify my suggestion here with that point. If your Explorer should be more an Exploder, I got no inherently rational solution for your coolant leaks.
So I went to Canadian Tire, and picked up the Bar's Leak. The Steps I Took: (1) Took off my radiator cap. (2) Using a turkey baster, pumped out a near equivalent amount (a bit more than the Bar's Leak bottle can hold) of coolant; (3) Shook the bottle of Bar's (4) Put a prayer in from all religious view points; (5) Threw the contents of Bar's Leak into the radiator; (6) Put the radiator cap back on. (7) Turned the car on, and went for an approximately 25 minute drive (involving highway and city driving). This allows the chance for the thermostat to open and circulate the coolant. (8) Bought a Tim Hortin's Double Double, and went home. (9) Solved- Has not leaked since. ****(10) IMPORTANT- After I was convinced the leak was sealed, I did a coolant change (not flushing with chemical flush. I just used water and new coolant). I waited three days, drove the car in the meantime, checked for leaks. Satisfied the leak was corrected, I then initiated a coolant change. (Coolant changes are a joke, and the Lube shops charge way to much for such a simple procedure. This message board provides awesome advice on that front).
Bar's Leak does a wonderful job sealing 'minor' leaks. Major car manufacturers use Bar's Leak in many of their production cars, and the product has been out since the 1940s. (Ford, GM, Saab, etc...)
Beware: Some have had horendous experiences with Bar's (eg. clogging the little hole for air release in the thermostat, or clogging their heater cores, and other variety of stories). It may have been due to leaving the Bar's Leak in the system far too long. Remember, seal the leak, and flush it out immediately. The company that produces this stuff states that you can leave it in the system, for maintence. IMO, don't, although the US military did after pouring kilos of this stuff in the nuclear sub!!!!
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Bars Leaks???? Are you serious???? Yes, it does seal leaks... just as advertised.....
Did you know that, to Bars Leaks, your heater core "looks" like a leak? Pray for a warm winter....
You have some of the ideas, but you haven't done enough thinking....
Do all of the major auto manufacturers put stop leak in their cooling systems? Yes....... Why? Well, to keep them from leaking.... Is this a premanent solution? No.... The manufacturer adds stop leak to the cooloing system in an effort to make any cooling system leaks not be evident until after the warranty expires.... Additives are NOT a repair but are merely a stop gap measure.... You are welcome to them but please refrain from considering yourself an expert....
In my nearly 40 years in this business, some of my most profitable jobs have been the result of DIY efforts gone wrong.... If something is leaking, the only reliable course of action is a proper repair.... In your case, the leak hasn't stopped... it has been "postponed"....
FWIW, Bars Leaks has been around for many, many years... other temporary coolant leak "fixes" include smokeless tobacco, ground black pepper, eggs, and several other day to day products.... None of them are a lasting repair and many come with "baggage" that will usually be seen in increased repair costs when the product finally cannot deliver....

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Let me start. Mr. Warren, I respect your opinion very highly when it comes to Fords. Thanks for posting your opinions on a consistent basis, since it's helped me understand certain issues related to my SUV. On the other hand, please do not subject me to statements of ad hominem fallacy. Please do not isolate my ridicule the messanger, but listen to the message. Now, with that noted... let me get to the issue over Bar's Leak.
Dr. Bob, another who has posted on the subject matter on this list has stated his opinion on Bar's Leak: http://groups.google.ca/group/rec.autos.makers.ford.explorer/browse_thread/thread/6cf68711347079b/56b27c84da0332bb?hl=en&lnk=gst&q šr%27s+leak&rnum=5#56b27c84da0332bb
Also, I evidence in the initial email chain, the fact that the US military relied on the product for one of it's nuclear submarines. Yes. albeit, comparing a Ford Explorder cooling system to a nuclear submarine's condensation system is a bit far of a stretch. However, the context that I was presented with, made me choose a proven solution to seal minor coolant leaks (let me qualify, I state, not from all leaks).
Second, your statement about it clogging heater cores is not correct in the absolute sense. Please do not make blanket coverage statements about an issue Ive only provided less than a page description to. I used Bar's Leak to correct a specific situation. It worked. To make prophetic statements, that the 'solution' is a patch job is simply baseless, since your foundational claim is based on my initial email. Also, you understand fully that major car manufacturers have and do rely on Bar's Leak at the point of manufacture, as they do in instances that you stated in your previous email.
The question is: Will Bar's Leak clog my heater core?
http://www.barsproducts.com/bars_faq.htm#common
The manufacturer of Bar's Leak states:
[5. Will Bar's Leaks plug my heater core?
No, the tiny particles will pass through a 24-gauge mesh screen which is the spec for the BIG 3 car/truck manufacturers. They say that any product installed in the cooling system must pass through this screen.
Bar's Leaks is the only stop leak to pass this test and to be approved by the vehicle manufacturers. Note: If using Bar's Leaks to stop heater core leaks, make sure you turn your heater control to HOT. Some vehicles have a valve that controls coolant flow through the core.]
Or shall we take the manufacturers of Bar's Leak, a company that's been around since 1947 and relied upon by the US military, to court for false advertising and fraud?
You must be an import American living near the oil sands of Fort McMurray, Canada. You seem to be quite drunk with power with all these years of usenet group influence. Provide yourself the 'divine right of king expert,' then... and ridicule me into the realms of DYI'ers. Fact is, Don't make car maintenance and repair into something complex with technical jargon that costs to access. The langauge of a mechanic is the langauge of a business man craving for your hard earned money.
Don't slam DIY'ers, and make it seem one requires a College level education to repair a vehicle. Just as you, a DIY can do just a well, since reading 100 books never weighed more than real world experience.
"Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely." Lord Acton.
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LIST OF SOME OF THE MAJOR CAR MANUFACTURERS WHO USE BAR"S LEAK Allis Chalmers (AGCO) AM General (Hummer, etc.) Carrier Transicold Caterpillar (Canada and USA) Cloverland (engine rebuilder) Daimler-Chrysler (US, Canada, and International) Engine Rebuilders (Canada) Ford Motor Company (US, Canada, and International) General Motors Corp. (US, Canada, and International) Gopher Motors (engine rebuilder) Isuzu (international) Jaguar (international) Komatsu (heavy duty) Marshall (engine rebuilder) Mitsubishi (international) Navistar (International Harvester) RB&W Logistics (industrial) Subaru (international) SOURCE: http://www.quasimotors.com/about_bar.htm
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You are still missing the point... these "major manufacturers" using some form of stop leak are doing it for one reason only - and that is to ensure that these things get past the warranty period before all hell breaks loose.... Is there something hard to understand, here?
There are several ways to address any concern with a vehicle... how many of them are "right"?
For my part, I can either fix a vehicle in a manne that I am confortable with, knowing that this is a permnanent type repair... or, I can save someone a whole bunch of dollars with some cheapie repair - just so I can fix it propely on my nickel....
The typical DIYer is prepared to accept something substandard from his own efforts.... Since he is paying for my efforts, he is less likely to adopt a cavalier attitude towards my endeavours.... To add salt to the wound.... I have, in the past, been ":treated" with concerns that were "solved" with cooling system sealers.... I quote a repair cost and then get into it... only to find that I have a "wild card" (unexpected stop leak) in the system... This often hides unexpected costs and will make me the bad guy.... no matter what I try to make of the situation....
To pretend that stop gap measures are "final fixes" is doing yourself a great dis-service.... However, if you feel that this is what you deserve, I will not try to sway your decision.... I will, however, offer rebuttal when you try to convince others that these methods are true fixes.
If "mechanic in a can" worked, I'd be out of a job.... plain and simple....
What is of note.... DIY efforts gone awry are too often blamed on a consciencious technician that is charged with sorting out all manner or poorly considered repair attempts. Once all the homeopathic remedies have been tried, we are now supposed to repair these things for nearly free (Jeez, the owner already has too much money in ineffective repairs) and we are to rid the system of those things that we feel can affect the integrity of our own repairs - also for free....
You, sir, are allowed to advocate your particular assumption of repair..... I will advocate those things that years of experience have shown me to be a fix it right, fix it once kind of deal....
If you feel that driving from one breakdown to the next is what you deserve - moe power to you....

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At the risk of sounding like I'm agreeing with the guy who called me "goofy" I have to say, that in this particular case, I think stop-leak is a bad idea. The intake manifold gaskets are just made of paper. I have replaced two of them and they were in poor condition and likely to leak in several places. I would expect the stop-leak to fail rather suddenly leaving you with a bad coolant leak, possibly a lot worse that what you originally had. Personally I would replace the gasket(s) as soon as possible and carry about 20 gallons of water in the meantime.
OTOH I used some other brand of stop leak to determine if a problem that I had was a leaking head. That was over a year ago and so far it has held and I have not yet had to replace the head gaskets (or worse). I only used about 1/4 of a can. I tried using a whole can and it clogged my heater core.

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On Sun, 23 Sep 2007 01:42:33 GMT, "Jim Warman"

Then how come the many automakers who use it don't wind up with all the heater cores in their cars plugged?

Based on his reply he seems far more knowledgeable then you on the subject.

Undoubtedly the case. OTOH, for everyone of those there were probably 100 cases where the DIY saved at least half to 3/4 on the cost of the repair by DIHimself.

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Mr. Warman, what is the point of this post from you? There is no new content. As someone whom you called a cretin recently due to my making a simple newsgroup protocol error, I would like to return said cretin description to you. Learn how to post (or was it just a simple error like anyone can make?) Should I call you an idiot or cretin like you did to me and many others?
Actually, I have figured Jim out. He can be helpful at times, but other times he delights in calling other people stupid. A recent example is some guy posts about a quick change oil drain plug. Warman goes on a rant about people who use those valves as not inspecting their cars. That made no sense as you still have to get under the car, same as with a conventional drain plug. Anything that encourges people to change oil and get under the car would seem to encourge people to look around and maybe spot some developing problems. I personally do not like those valves, as they hang down and are prone to be knocked off, but they are ok if you mostly stay on paved roads. I knew Jim would go on an illogical rant when he started his post with something like "This is going to be fun"
Also, Jim starts insulting people whenever his Harley will not start and there is no computer to tell him what to do.
I have been a long time member of this group (several years) and would tell new members that until you have been insulted by Warman, you can not be considered an official member. So, ignore his bullying and insults, as he does in fact sometimes provide good info. So, you take the good with the bad.

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