1986 Ford Bronco Vehicle is leaking coolant

Tiny
MECHLADY
  • MEMBER
  • 1986 FORD BRONCO
  • 6 CYL
  • 4WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 210,000 MILES
My 1986 Ford Bronco is still running fine with over 210, 00 miles on it. Knock on wood. Probably thanks to the regular use of Duralube since birth. Hey!
I like the car, plus I'm a disabled person, and my budget is low is why I put in money for repairs; and sign on to ask this question. But all that is beside the point.
A seemingly small cooling fluid leak has recently developed in the vehicle. The slow loss of fluid does cause moderate overheating on moderately long drives. I'd estimate I'm losing a 3 to 4 quarts somehow, and somewhere along the way. It sure is limiting my ability to get my necessaries done.
I have turned on and ran the vehicle for a mile or two, to right back home in an attempt to discern the source of the leak; as, of course, a simple hose replacement would be no great problem.
However; the hoses appear ok. I feel nor see any fluid on them, in areas around them, and/or at each C-clamp junction. The leak doesn't gather up front with the radiator assembly. It appears to be, maybe, 1-2 feet back, and is dripping off the undercarriage. I can't see in particular where it is arising from.
Could anyone tell me what might be the trouble and/or source of the leak? If it is a big repair, I probably won't be able to fix it myself, but at least I'll have a heads up, and be at less of a disadvantage, when I take it to a mechanic.
Thanks. Help!
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Tuesday, August 12th, 2008 AT 4:58 PM

9 Replies

Tiny
MERLIN2021
  • EXPERT
A quick pressure test will find any leak and is your first step, most good shops can do the test and give you an estimate of what's needed.
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Tuesday, August 12th, 2008 AT 5:03 PM
Tiny
MECHLADY
  • MEMBER
No offense sir; but that, I pretty well figured on my own. After all, that involves taking it to a mechanic. I'm not completely unfamiliar with car mechanics; I have done some myself in healthy times, plus my male relates are all excellent mechanics. Don't have access to their opinions is why I post the question in here. What I'm wondering is: besides hoses what or where, in general, could be the source of the leak. * I, personally, don't have a pressure tester. I need a 'general' for several reasons: to discern whether or not I may be able to repair myself;. Etc.. Know what I'm dealing with?
Gosh, I thought I'd get a more articulated response than that. What did I tip for?
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Tuesday, August 12th, 2008 AT 5:18 PM
Tiny
MECHLADY
  • MEMBER
First come first serve.? Early bird gets the worm? Opportunistic. You've done no service to me. You did not answer, in any way, the question I asked.
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Tuesday, August 12th, 2008 AT 5:44 PM
Tiny
MERLIN2021
  • EXPERT
I tried to decipher where your leak is and your description leaves me wanting!
The obvious is sometimes the best? Autozone rents tools and refunds your money when you return it so it's free! Go rent a pressure tester and have at it.
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Tuesday, August 12th, 2008 AT 5:56 PM
Tiny
MECHLADY
  • MEMBER
My question related to where else the coolant could be leaking from besides hoses - as in other mechanisms involved that are vulnerable to this type malfuntion.
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Tuesday, August 12th, 2008 AT 6:22 PM
Tiny
MERLIN2021
  • EXPERT
Your initial assesment of your problem was unclear. If you care to tell me more I will help.
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Tuesday, August 12th, 2008 AT 6:35 PM
Tiny
MHPAUTOS
  • EXPERT
Hi there,

Thank you for your donation,

As Merlin 2120 has advised is the best option, There are core plugs fitted to the block there are part of the casting process and are often steel "welsh plugs"or core plugs that can rust and leak. Often they are very hard to see when it is a pin hole, or a small leak from the head gasket is not uncommon. The usual things like hoses and the such are normally the problem but the pressure test will be very helpful in diagnosing this problem for you.

Mark (mhpautos)
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Tuesday, August 12th, 2008 AT 7:17 PM
Tiny
BLACKOP555
  • EXPERT
Since its overheating as you state when you go on trips, it may be due to the low coolant level or it may be due to a possible headgasket leak.

A quick test is fill up radiator all the way with coolant, remove drive belt, run vehicle. Do alot of bubbles appear? Any bubbles? If so I would suspect a possible head gasket failure. Also you can try to touch hot engine oil of the dipstick on the hot exhaust manifold after driving, after touchign it on there, if it boils then theres water in the oil due to mentioned above.

Once again, the best way to diagnose this would be with a pressure tester as previously stated.
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Wednesday, August 13th, 2008 AT 8:32 AM
Tiny
MASTERTECHTIM
  • MEMBER
Possible leaks are as follows in no particular order but happen often on this vehicle. Leaking intake manifold gasket, leaking seam in radiator, loose clamps on radiator hose, heater core hose connections and or heater core, rusted freeze plug, heater bypass valve, head gasket, water pump, front timing cover and or cover seal, I bet you will find that it is one of those. Let us know.
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Friday, August 15th, 2008 AT 6:24 AM

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