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They found coolant in a Cylinder - What can I Do?

Posted by Hayjud_MN (My Page) on
Sat, Jul 2, 05 at 11:30

This is a '93 Ford Escort. It hadn't been worked on for much too long. When it was taken in to the Ford Dealer to be checked over, this is what they said it needed:

Found coolant in #2 cylinder
head gasket leaking and possible head

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Will it help if we have the rddiator flushed and add "Stop Leak?"

We just can't afford to replace this car, but also can't afford the $1400 repair they said. There must be a less costly way to keep it going.

Hayjud


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: They found coolant in a Cylinder - What can I Do?

**Will it help if we have the rddiator flushed and add "Stop Leak?"**

Absolutely NOT. Too much pressure. I'm afraid your escort is a throw away car at this point if that diagnosis is correct. The only cheep fix is if you can do the work yourself. The gasket itself is cheep. You'd be wise to spend maybe a couple hundred bucks more to have a machine shop check out and resurface the head too at that. For that kind of money you should be able to buy another similar escort or tempo in better shape. jmo


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RE: They found coolant in a Cylinder - What can I Do?

An "indie" could probably do the job for half of that.
The Ford dealer seems bent in scaring away a customer - strange...
One has to be very careful about which anti-freeze he uses. Mercedes has a good one...


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RE: They found coolant in a Cylinder - What can I Do?

Sounds pretty grim!
The car only has 63,000 miles on it and except for replacing the batteries, this is the first problem. That's why I thought there should surely be a solution.

Thank you for your advice!
Hayjud


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RE: They found coolant in a Cylinder - What can I Do?

If you otherwise like the car, it might be worth fixing with that low of miles. You can ask an independent shop for an estimate like earthworm suggests. My own experience has been pricing is the same between the two. For something older like this an independent shop might have better mechanics. Dealerships focus on new cars.

The question to ask yourself is would you pay (up to) $1400 for a '93 escort with 63k miles? I was leaning towards scrapping it before because I see escorts for sale all the time that don't cost that much. I bet they have more than 63k miles on them though. The bottom line is there is no cheep fix for a head gasket repair due to the labor involved. If you like this car it probably makes sense to fix it. If you're ready for a change, don't fix it and use the money towards something else. jmo


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RE: They found coolant in a Cylinder - What can I Do?

A remanned cylinder head for this engine (assuming it is the 1.9L) is about $250.

So,as I see it, the dealer price is really out of line.

Even if they marked the head (and the gasket) up to $400, that still leaves $1000 in labor charges.

Even at a labor rate of $70/hour, that's 14.2 hours of labor!

I could probably do it in less time and I've never done one before!


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RE: They found coolant in a Cylinder - What can I Do?

no offence Brian1703 but i think you have never done an
engine before and haven't a clue what is involved in an
anti freeze leak. Water does not compress so it might crush
the piston or the ring lands. That means a new one. Then the rods have to be resized. After that new bearings for the bottom end. Then a new oil pump if you want warranty.
That is if you plan to keep the car. If not put in a gasket
and sell the car. Anti freeze is full of " sugar " not the
best friend of bearings or any moving part. Prime example.
Ford's 3.8 lt. motors from 90--95 head gasket problem. They
replaced millions of dollars worth of engines. I've rebuilt 4 this year alone at $2000.00 canadian each. My cost in parts. No labour. Anyway, Hayjud, if you are not
keeping the car sell it if you don't want to spend money.
As they say it is a disposable car. Good luck and maybe you will get lucky on a cheap repair. Stranger things have
happened. You might pop a gasket in it change the oil and
be good to go for years. You never know.


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RE: They found coolant in a Cylinder - What can I Do?

You could also check your local junkyard. I got a new, well different engine for my 91 Festiva. Cost $700 installed.

Bob


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RE: They found coolant in a Cylinder - What can I Do?

There is the junkyard option--whole engines for this car run about $350-$400 from the junkyard, although you can find them as cheap as $200.

As far as the dealer cost, (1) it depends on how bad the coolant leak is as to whether those extras are needed (the person who started this thread didn't mention needing to add coolant and these cars DO have a low coolant light) (2) do you think they included all of those extras in their estimate?

As far as that goes, I would get an oil analysis done ($20) to find out how much coolant had gotten into the oil as well as to find out how much wear metal is showing up in the oil. It might be that very little coolant has gotten into the oil, and no damage has been done. On the other hand, the oil might be loaded with coolant and the engine might be about to spin a bearing--oil analysis can tell.


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Questions

Did you bring the car to the dealer for a routine checkup or because the car was having problems? If the car was having problems, what sort of problems were they? How long did these problems continue before you took the car to the dealer? Did you ever have to add coolant? Notice any rough idle? Overheating? White smoke from the tailpipe?

I'm not suggesting that the dealer's diagnosis might be incorrect, but it is always good to get a 2nd opinion..


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RE: They found coolant in a Cylinder - What can I Do?

This is my sister's car and this is what she said.
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I took it in because of having to refill the coolant. First time I had to add coolant was about 4 months ago and then again about 3 wks. ago. Yes it had a rough idle, but never overheated or blew white smoke. The dealer says it looses pressure -- there is no external leak -- found coolant in #2 cylinder--Head gasket leaking and possible head.
_____________

Is 4 months a long or short time? Do you think some kind of quick fix could make it last another year?

earthworm, does the word "indie" mean an independant repairman?

I really appreciate all the in-put, Thanks a lot!
Hayjud


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RE: They found coolant in a Cylinder - What can I Do?

**Is 4 months a long or short time? Do you think some kind of quick fix could make it last another year?**

Coolant doesn't belong in the cylinder period, so imo, any time is too long. If it were mine and I wanted to save the car, I'd find a shop that I trusted and knew had the equipment to test. If they confirm the diagnosis and the cost, then she can decide if she wants to spend the money.

Cheep tricks to try would be some radiator stop leak, install a low pressure radiator cap, and install a 160* thermostat. None of that is intended to fix anything. I give the stop leak virtually no chance of doing anything for a head gasket. The other suggestions I made are aimed at reducing pressure in the cooling system.

If she's not going to try to save the car and it still runs ok now, the cheepest thing to do is to monitor the oil and coolant and drive it till it drops. It might run like this another year or 10 years. It might go belly up tomorrow too. If it does, you can find another running escort any day for less than $1400.


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RE: They found coolant in a Cylinder - What can I Do?

I have changed head gaskets, easy on some cars(Mercedes, Toyota,Chevrolet, VW). Very difficult on others.
About 4 to 6 hours, I am not fast.

Some people do not have this coolant loss problem fixed right away, they just dump in stop leak(usually does not work) and water.
After the engine locks up( a little water or coolant hurts nothing, a lot does !!), the repair could be over 2 grand..

Indie = independent repairman - hopefully not a dieing breed..


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RE: They found coolant in a Cylinder - What can I Do?

Propylene Glycol coolant is reportedly less destructive to the bearings in the engine than standard Ethylene Glycol coolant.

Propylene Glycol coolant is sold under the Peak Sierra brand name as well as the Prestone Low-Tox brand.

It is less toxic than Ethylene Glycol, in fact Propylene Glycol is used in some food products, and so it is marketed as a "low-toxicity" coolant.

So you might consider flushing the coolant and changing it to a Propylene Glycol coolant. I don't believe it's any more expensive than regular coolant.

Here is a link that might be useful: Thread on Bobistheoilguy's forum about Propylene Glycol coolant


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RE: They found coolant in a Cylinder - What can I Do?

Has it got milky oil ? Any appreciable leak would make it into the sump.

I've driven cars that have more water than oil in the engine, it should last a few more months.

63k miles is not unreasonable for a small head gasket failure, although $1400 seems excessive, have you tried elsewhere ?

How often do you actually check the coolant ? It should be weekly on an old car.


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RE: They found coolant in a Cylinder - What can I Do?

Trade it in or,
re-torque the head and drive it - if it still leaks, trade it in. Not much of a leak if only needs water every 4 months.


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RE: They found coolant in a Cylinder - What can I Do?

My 1998 Escort also just started leaking in cyl #2
At least I think so, green plug and some loss of coolant
and it's not anywhere I can see. It runs rough, but
I don't see anything wrong with the oil. Somehow a little coolant must just goe into the cylinder, but I suspect valve will be damaged soon if not already. Collant is very corrosive.
I for one am now looking for another car. It's toast pal!
It is interesting we have the same problem


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RE: They found coolant in a Cylinder - What can I Do?

My 1998 Escort also just started leaking in cyl #2
At least I think so, green plug and some loss of coolant
and it's not anywhere I can see. It runs rough, but
I don't see anything wrong with the oil. Somehow a little coolant must just goe into the cylinder, but I suspect valve will be damaged soon if not already. Collant is very corrosive.
I for one am now looking for another car. It's toast pal!
It is interesting we have the same problem


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RE: They found coolant in a Cylinder - What can I Do?

Not good. These cars and infamous for overheating and with aluminum heads, they warp and the gasket blows. Being an old escort, its probably time to start looking for another car as the cost of repair will likely exceed the value of your car.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cars under $1000 on Craigslist


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