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Posted: 12/20/2005 8:11:30 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/20/2005 12:50:59 PM EDT by Lennster]
2001 Ford Focus ZX3

My car is going through anti-freeze and it is not leaking out. No puddles or visible leaks in engine. But I am filling it up every few weeks.

This morning it was hesitating real bad - like the first time I drove a stick - jerking back and forth.

I had it towed to the dealership this morning.

What are they going to tell me?
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 8:12:49 AM EDT
Blown head gasket, and or Cracked head...
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 8:13:08 AM EDT


Head gasket/cracked head/heater core.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 8:13:13 AM EDT
could be blown head gasket.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 8:13:33 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/20/2005 8:14:21 AM EDT by LoginName]
Cracked engine block?

Check your oil for any visible water/antifreeze contamination.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 8:13:38 AM EDT
head gasket, head, block
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 8:14:29 AM EDT
Your car is somehow missing $2,388.91. As soon as you replace the missing funds, it will run fine again. It's routine maintenance.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 8:16:12 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Lennster:

What are they going to tell me?



Bend over.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 8:16:14 AM EDT
FORD = Blown gasket

Happened to me.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 8:16:16 AM EDT
Blown head gasket or warped head or cracked block or any combination of the three. Did you pull the dipstick and check the oil? If so, was it milky?

Sounds like shades of 80's Ford Escort-itis.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 8:16:50 AM EDT
Head gasket seems to be a issue with that engine. I know of a couple others with about the same problem.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 8:19:13 AM EDT
Whenever coolant level drops and no visible leaks, CHECK THE OIL. Any antifreeze in oil makes a mix that looks like baby poo and it really gunks up the engine.

The hesistation is probably from water on the plug electrodes.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 8:37:11 AM EDT

Originally Posted By FatMan:
Blown head gasket or warped head or cracked block or any combination of the three. Did you pull the dipstick and check the oil? If so, was it milky?

Sounds like shades of 80's Ford Escort-itis.



I did check the oil and it was fine. Just had it changed about 400 miles ago. Looks light brown and the correct viscosity.

God I hope it isn't a cracked head...
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 8:38:30 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/20/2005 8:39:49 AM EDT by red65]
head gasket

all blowed up.

comes out the tailpipe as a vapor know as "steam"
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 8:40:40 AM EDT
As pointed out its most likely a head gasket. You need to fix it before the end. I had a Sable with 140k miles so I drove it until it died. It had blown gasket but wasnt worth the money to fix. I drove it until blew up literally like a NASCAR racer. The smoke was glorious. I got $3000 credit for the POS when I donated it to a charity.

Link Posted: 12/20/2005 8:45:11 AM EDT
Couldn't it be something as simple as a loose hose?
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 8:46:07 AM EDT

Originally Posted By thelastgunslinger:
Couldn't it be something as simple as a loose hose?



He said there were no leaks. A loose hose would leave a puddle. Its being burned off as he drives or is seeping into the oil pan.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 8:50:46 AM EDT
Any funny smells when running the heat?

No visible leaks and no antifreeze in the oil, I'd have to guess heater core.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 8:51:29 AM EDT
Smell the exhaust for signs of sweet smelling anti-freeze that might be getting into the combustion chamber.

If not, then its either going into the oil or its leaking outside the engine and you just haven't detected it yet.

Could be a rear "freeze plug" but from the description of your vehicles performance, sounds like its internal.

A check of the spark plugs would quickly tell which cylinder was the culprit. The plug will be very clean compared to the others.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 8:52:21 AM EDT
Head gasket has pin hole in it, allowing coolant to leak into combustion chamber. Coolant is then vaporized and goes out with exhaust. A garage can do a real simple, quick, and free test on your coolant to prove that this is the case. I believe they check for exhaust by-products in your coolant.

It's happened to me on two different cars. It's pretty common. Bend over and take it.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 8:56:54 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ARDOC:

Originally Posted By thelastgunslinger:
Couldn't it be something as simple as a loose hose?



He said there were no leaks. A loose hose would leave a puddle. Its being burned off as he drives or is seeping into the oil pan.



Not always true. It could be a leak only under pressure, so it never creates a puddle under the car. Or the leak could be directly on the exhaust, making the antifreeze evap. Either of these scenarios are very possible.

The most likely thing is a blown headgasket.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 9:01:31 AM EDT


For future reference, you can check for burnt coolant in your combustion chambers at home in either of two ways:

1. Look at and sniff the exhaust. If it blows white smoke after warming up and being driven a bit, that is probably coolant burning. (White = coolant, blue = oil, black = fuel.) If the exhaust smells sweet, that is probably coolant burning.

2. Pull each sparkplug and look at it. Burning coolant will whiten your plug. Check all four (or six, or whatever), because it is likely that only one cylinder is burning coolant. It is unlikely that the head would crack or the head gasket would leak such that coolant would go into all cylinders.

Do you have a puddle/wet spot on your passenger side under the dash? If yes, you may have a busted heater core. Might also be leaking only on the outside (I'm not familiar with the Focus.)

You may have leaks around the block/head coolant hoses, radiator hoses, thermostat, water pump, radiator, radiator cap, etc.

Bottom line, if the dealer reccommends a gazillion dollars worth of work to replace your head gasket, surface grind your head, and refill your blinker fluid, go get a second opinion from a shop you trust. Make sure they pressure test the cooling system.

Good luck!
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 9:01:41 AM EDT
Tapeworm.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 9:02:33 AM EDT

Originally Posted By michaelj1978:
Tapeworm.



Link Posted: 12/20/2005 9:03:28 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/20/2005 9:03:47 AM EDT by raven]
What would crack or blow a head? Overheating?
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 9:03:46 AM EDT
Heater core. The coolant is leaking under the carpet in the pasenger compartment. The carpet pad is soaking it all up.

At least that's what happened with my 89 chevy blazer.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 9:12:33 AM EDT

Originally Posted By raven:
What would crack or blow a head? Overheating?



That is one possibility. The 3.8L they put in the Taurus/Sable had aluminum heads w/ a cast block. They were known t crack and or have the head gasket leak.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 9:17:14 AM EDT

Originally Posted By raven:
What would crack or blow a head? Overheating?



Get that cardboard out from behind the radiator.

Ex-girlfriend wanted in there, because her truck heated up faster that way.

Then one day the temperature went up to 60.
Engine overheated, and she warped a head, causing the head gasket to leak.

The symptom was combustion gasses being forced into the water jacket.
Radiator overflow bottle kept overflowing.

$600 to fix. (V6 Jeep engine)
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 9:17:38 AM EDT
Here's the usual "fix"...

<­BR>

...!
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 9:33:03 AM EDT

Originally Posted By MonkeyGrip:
Head gasket has pin hole in it, allowing coolant to leak into combustion chamber. Coolant is then vaporized and goes out with exhaust. A garage can do a real simple, quick, and free test on your coolant to prove that this is the case. I believe they check for exhaust by-products in your coolant.

It's happened to me on two different cars. It's pretty common. Bend over and take it.



Yep.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 9:33:46 AM EDT

Originally Posted By raven:
What would crack or blow a head? Overheating?



Yep.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 9:34:16 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Max_Power:
Heater core. The coolant is leaking under the carpet in the pasenger compartment. The carpet pad is soaking it all up.

At least that's what happened with my 89 chevy blazer.



You'd smell the hell outa that man.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 9:51:12 AM EDT
My head gasket story is a bit different. It only leaked when the cooling system was under pressure, and the engine wasnt running. I had a 82 Honda Accord, I overheated it one day when the T-stat stuck. Head gasket leak stated about 3 months later. It never burned coolant running down the road - I could drive forever and it would loase a drop.

However, once I parked it.... it would leak into #1 cylinder only... until the colling system pressure subsided.

Go to fire it up 2 hours later... and sometimes it would fire up, stumble REAL bad for a few seconds... a little white smoke, and I was on my way.

Other times.... if #1 pistol stopped on a compression stroke.... it would fill the space with water. Then, I got to start the car, and WHAM. Hydrolock. I started keeping a spark plug wrench under the front seat. Pull spark plug #1, hit the starter, spray water everywhere, reinstall, and I was on my way.

I did this for about 6 months before I got around to replacing the head gasket.

Note - you can replace the head gasket - but if you dont address the warped head, then it is just a matter of time before it leaks again.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 9:53:06 AM EDT
Let's see...

It could be leaking only under pressure, so that it only flows while driving, and a little bit after you park it.
It could be leaking onto a part hot enough to boil it off.
It could be leaking into the combustion chambers through a blown head gasket or cracked head, thus coming out of the exhaust.
It could probably be a few other things that we haven't thought of.

Make sure they do a leak test and find out where it's really leaking before you start throwing parts at it. If possible, have them show you where it's leaking.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 10:02:52 AM EDT
Whatever you do don't pay it $5 to drink the anti-freeze.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 10:13:11 AM EDT
drunk on antifreeze and can't focus on problem, that might be the problem, just kidding
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 10:34:14 AM EDT
4 cly head gasket with lof and tune at Christmas time = $925.34

If it wasnt so close to Christmas it would have been a few C notes less, closer to $700.00

Good luck
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 10:39:54 AM EDT
if the engine is eating anti-freeze due to a blown gasket, wouldn't the exhaust smell of antifreeze and also have little blobs of oil in the antifreeze?
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 11:30:00 AM EDT

Originally Posted By twonami:
if the engine is eating anti-freeze due to a blown gasket, wouldn't the exhaust smell of antifreeze and also have little blobs of oil in the antifreeze?



Not always. Mine NEVER smelled of antifreeze except for at initial startup, and never got anything in the oil. It depends on where the gasket leak is.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 12:50:09 PM EDT
The dealership called and said the antifreeze was leaving through the thermostat housing because it was cracked. But I never saw any puddles...

The hesitation was caused by some air intake tube something or other that had collapsed.

I will post the exact results when she is all done.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 12:54:29 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Lennster:
The dealership called and said the antifreeze was leaving through the thermostat housing because it was cracked. But I never saw any puddles...

The hesitation was caused by some air intake tube something or other that had collapsed.

I will post the exact results when she is all done.

Buy a lottery ticket! You're a VERY lucky guy if this is all there is to it!

w00t!
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 12:55:14 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Max_Mike:

Originally Posted By Lennster:

What are they going to tell me?



Bend over.







Yep.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 6:32:04 PM EDT

Originally Posted By DzlBenz:

Originally Posted By Lennster:
The dealership called and said the antifreeze was leaving through the thermostat housing because it was cracked. But I never saw any puddles...

The hesitation was caused by some air intake tube something or other that had collapsed.

I will post the exact results when she is all done.

Buy a lottery ticket! You're a VERY lucky guy if this is all there is to it!

w00t!



Yup. A "simple" issue. Lets see....

Housing: 15.00
New Stat: 10.00
Intake plastic: 25.00
Labor: 75.00 @ 2 hours.....

It'll still be a couple hundred bucks.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 6:53:35 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Fat_McNasty:
Blown head gasket, and or Cracked head...



+1. Get that checked first thing.
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