volvoclearinghouse UltraDork
April 3, 2017 8:29 a.m.

I hadn't even set my laptop bag down at my desk this morning when I overheard a group of women coworkers nearby discussing a problem with one of them's minivan. Being the nice guy I am, I asked her what the issue was.

"Well, the other day, it started steaming, and I asked my brother to take a look at it, so he added some oil to it, drove it around, and said it was fine. Then I got to work today, and everyone says my car is steaming and leaking brown stuff."

I go out to the parking lot to look at her vehicle (a blue, 2001 Ford Windstar) and find the coolant reservoir a) devoid of liquid and b) full of brown, sticky mess. I went back inside and grabbed the only thing I could find that would hold liquid - a coffee pot - and proceeded to fill her van with water, running back and forth from the kitchen in our office with pots full of water. Then I had her start the engine.

IMG_20170403_083958

IMG_20170403_083953

IMG_20170403_084011

This was above the front valve cover, below the intake manifold. It looks to be some sort of Ford V6 engine- I'm guessing a 3 liter or 3800? Whatever came in these things. I guessed head gasket or intake gasket. The van has 138,000 miles, and she's had it for about 3 years, and said she basically just drives it. She didn't even know where the temperature gauge was on the dash.

I told her to fill the reservoir with water this afternoon, drive slowly and carefully, watch the temperature gauge, run the heater full blast, and stop to fill the reservoir with water if the temperature gets above 3/4, and she'll probably make it home (she only lives about 7 miles away). And to call her mechanic today.

1988RedT2 UltimaDork
April 3, 2017 8:38 a.m.

Advise her to sell the vehicle on craigslist. Tell her to put "small coolant leak, easy fix" in the description.

volvoclearinghouse UltraDork
April 3, 2017 8:52 a.m.

To add insult on top of injury, she just dropped $1500 on a transmission for it. I'm guessing she has the 3800 V6, which was known for both a) killing transmissions, and b) blowing head gaskets.

patgizz UltimaDork
April 3, 2017 9:01 a.m.

Other advice: never let her brother open a hood again

Klayfish UberDork
April 3, 2017 9:12 a.m.

Well, from the looks of the photos, you poured coffee on her engine. You even put a bit of creamer in it. How rude of you...

spitfirebill UltimaDork
April 3, 2017 9:16 a.m.

Her first mistake was buying a Windstar. The second mistake was repairing the transmission on the Windstar.

volvoclearinghouse UltraDork
April 3, 2017 9:23 a.m.
patgizz wrote: Other advice: never let her brother open a hood again

Yeah. I checked the oil and it was overfull. So, too much oil, not enough coolant. The law of averages does not apply to automotive fluids.

petegossett UltimaDork
April 3, 2017 10:37 a.m.

How's the subframe?

volvoclearinghouse UltraDork
April 3, 2017 10:45 a.m.
petegossett wrote: How's the subframe?

Yeah, I know there's a recall on those. It's not rusty, fortunately.

bentwrench Dork
April 3, 2017 10:46 a.m.

Could bought 3 (or more) Windstars for the 1500$ trans repair.

volvoclearinghouse UltraDork
April 3, 2017 11:14 a.m.

Upon closer inspection, there is some rust in the rear of the front subframe mount. Not terrible, but getting there. Surprising as the sheetmetal looks in good shape on it. Add to the equation 4 nearly bald, and badly dry-rotted (though freshly armor-alled!) tires, and I suggested it might be time to start minivan shopping.

szeis4cookie
szeis4cookie HalfDork
April 3, 2017 11:16 a.m.
volvoclearinghouse wrote: Upon closer inspection, there is some rust in the rear of the front subframe mount. Not terrible, but getting there. Surprising as the sheetmetal looks in good shape on it. Add to the equation 4 nearly bald, and badly dry-rotted (though freshly armor-alled!) tires, and I suggested it might be time to start minivan shopping.

Doesn't Ford have a buyback out for Windstars with rusty subframes?

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ SuperDork
April 3, 2017 11:18 a.m.

If there's a buyback I think you can do her a favor with some muriatic acid and rock salt

volvoclearinghouse UltraDork
April 3, 2017 11:36 a.m.

I sent her a link to the recall details. She might get some money out of this.

maschinenbau HalfDork
April 3, 2017 1:26 p.m.

Wow this makes me relieved. We almost pulled the trigger on an 07 Freestar this weekend until I read about the trans issue and that the recall only covers 04-05, but the same problem happens on 06 and 07. Apparently this is still no true fix for it. Torque converter splines just suddenly go.

Instead I have a T&C in the driveway with the classic Chrysler timing chain rattle.

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