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oil in radiator water


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workman4
New User

May 17, 2013, 1:46 PM

Post #1 of 7 (2415 views)
oil in radiator water Sign In

I have a 2002 Ford Windstar van with a 3.8 v-6. I recently discovered engine oil in the radiator coolant in the overflow tank. I wonder how did this oil get into the water? Is there any fix for this? I also noticed an oil leak at the front of the lower intake manifold. But I don't see how this could get into the radiator water.


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

May 17, 2013, 2:41 PM

Post #2 of 7 (2394 views)
Re: oil in radiator water Sign In

Run, don't walk to fix this! Oil in cooling system is better than antifreeze in oil - neither good. More frequently it's trans fluid in the radiator cooler for it that mixes there than engine oil but anything sealing oils and coolant apart could be at fault.

Seeing oil lower intake isn't getting in from that but suggests gasket(s) or hopefully not a crack that allow this to happen.

CHECK OIL NOW TO SEE IF COOLANT IS IN IT. ALSO CHECK TRANSMISSION SO THERE'S NO MISTAKING WHICH ONE IS GETTING IN THE WRONG PLACE.

No way I can know the exact source of this but you can't wait or it will only get wildly expensive. If just oil in coolant flush the heck out of it even with soap and get that out too. Oils are not compatible with cooling system rubber parts, hoses, seal of water pump etc. They might get soft and all need changing out for new - can't tell from here.

If not taking this on yourself get going now to find a place today if possible. Any more driving of it will just make matters worse,

T



workman4
New User

May 18, 2013, 5:53 AM

Post #3 of 7 (2361 views)
Re: oil in radiator water Sign In

I am going to be taking off the intake manifold today and replacing the gasket with a new one. Also flushing the radiator with dish detergent. I have done a search on this site for this problem and about 6 people had a similar problem. One man's son had poured a quart of engine oil in the overflow tank. That would be an easy fix. LOL It certainly looks more like engine oil than transmission fluid.
I have noticed some disagreement in the senior members and moderators that responded to these threads. Hammertime said he dosen't see how a blown head gasket could cause this. There are no other symptoms from my car. It seems to run perfect. It has good intake vacuum. Gauge says steady 19. I will update on what I find after taking things apart. This is one of the more difficult problems I have ever encountered in many years of working on cars. There is no coolant in the oil.


(This post was edited by workman4 on May 18, 2013, 5:54 AM)


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

May 18, 2013, 6:15 AM

Post #4 of 7 (2356 views)
Re: oil in radiator water Sign In

Anything sealing fluids, oils, compression gaskets or the parts if defective (cracked) could leak any which way given the right circumstances. Cooling system when cooling down, shut off is in slight state of vacuum as coolant shrinks after being warm and will pull from tank or whatever is easiest for that action.

Hope you see the flaw which would be re-assuring you have it. Do get any soaps fully flushed out as said,

T



HT
User

May 18, 2013, 6:34 AM

Post #5 of 7 (2348 views)
Re: oil in radiator water Sign In

This is Hammer Time. If your problem was the other way around where you had coolant in the oil, the intake gasket would be far more likely but it's pretty hard for the oil to get into the coolant.

Check to see if the car has an engine oil cooler in the radiator. That would be the most likely cause. A blown head gasket is possible but unlikely. It has to take a very specific path for that to happen. A cracked head would be far more likely although that engine is not known for that.


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

May 18, 2013, 7:00 AM

Post #6 of 7 (2344 views)
Re: oil in radiator water Sign In

Right HT, intake itself I don't think passes oil thru it on many of anything. Wild maybe - someone spilled a LOT of oil AND just hit a spot where it could be sucked into cooling system? Then it should be leaking coolant too I would think.

We know that whatever the heck it is has to be fixed. OP - do your testing before ripping it all apart. Have you pressure checked cooling system as you can't when it's apart? Did you rule out trans fluid yet?

T



HT
User

May 18, 2013, 7:34 AM

Post #7 of 7 (2336 views)
Re: oil in radiator water Sign In

An intake leak can cause oil to drip into the crankcase but there is no liquid oil there to be pushed into the cooling port.






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