1994 Ford Thunderbird 4.6L V8 - TCCoA Forums

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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-11-2015, 05:31 PM Thread Starter
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1994 Ford Thunderbird 4.6L V8

Hello. I am a woman who loves cars. I know more about cars then my husband who wants to send our vehicles to the mechanic anytime something goes wrong. I, on the other hand, want to work on my own car. I have had my Thunderbird since 2005. When I bought her the odometer read 45K miles. I was told the car came from the big island of Hawaii (she did have Hawaii plates). The odometer stopped working about three months after I bought the car. Now fast forward to 2015, I guestimate that she has about 120K miles on her. Over the years I have replaced just about every part on the engine except the block itself. I have had an oil leak and a transmission leak for sometime. Just yesterday I noticed a coolant leak which I have traced back to the water pump. I noticed I have oil up on the left side next to the header where the fuel injectors are. I have put probably at least $2K into my Thunderbird which I bought for $1500. Any help is appreciated.

For the tranny leak I replaced the tranny oil pan gasket and put in a new filter but she still leaks.
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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-11-2015, 05:40 PM
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Valve cover gasket? Is the tranny pan where the leak is? Did you use a new Ford gasket?

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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-11-2015, 06:13 PM Thread Starter
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It could be the valve cover gasket. Is that easy to fix?

Yes I used a Ford tranny gasket. Best I can figure out is the tranny is leaking from the top.
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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-11-2015, 06:59 PM
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valve cover = easy but time consuming. Everything around the valve cover needs to be clean otherwise as soon as you lift it off the head, grime/dirt/crud will fall into the cylinder head = not good. Soapy wash when the engine is just barely warm would be a good idea before tackling this.

There are fittings on the side of the transmission where the fluid enters/exits. Those need to be checked that they are tight. Other than that not too many other places it can leak fluid from, aside from the transmission dipstick area.
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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-11-2015, 07:20 PM Thread Starter
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valve cover = easy but time consuming. Everything around the valve cover needs to be clean otherwise as soon as you lift it off the head, grime/dirt/crud will fall into the cylinder head = not good. Soapy wash when the engine is just barely warm would be a good idea before tackling this.

There are fittings on the side of the transmission where the fluid enters/exits. Those need to be checked that they are tight. Other than that not too many other places it can leak fluid from, aside from the transmission dipstick area.
I will somehow post good pics of the oil leak by the valve cover. I hope it's an easy fix and not too costly. I'm having to put about a quart of oil in once a month to make up for the leak.

Can you easily see the fittings on the side of the transmission if I have it on jack stands?

Thank you guys for helping me.
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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-11-2015, 09:02 PM
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Yep, the transmission cooler line fittings and the dipstick tube will both be quite visible on the passenger side of the transmission once you put the car up on jackstands.

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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-11-2015, 11:01 PM
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As for the transmission leak, the tail shaft housing gasket could be leaking. I had mine leak pretty good until I replaced it. Also, if you have the original radiator still on the car, check to make sure your transmission cooler isn't leaking into the cooling system.

Valve cover gaskets can be a pain in the butt due to the lack of space around the engine. You have to make sure the gasket channels are really clean when installing new gaskets or they'll fall out when you go to put the valve covers back on.

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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-11-2015, 11:09 PM
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When was the last time you checked your PCV valve? I bought a replacement PCV valve and a grommet for the passenger side valve cover. And even with low miles, that thing was pretty rigid. I ended up keeping the PCV valve, and only replaced the grommet.

Maybe you can clean down the engine bay a little bit and see where the oil trail starts.

what was the hardest part to replace so far? I haven't replaced much but that backend emission tee and the vacuum hose under the throttle body so far are my least favorite part.

p.s. i ordered the service manual and vacuum guide off of ebay, i might be able to look some things up for you once it comes in.
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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-14-2015, 12:21 AM Thread Starter
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When was the last time you checked your PCV valve? I bought a replacement PCV valve and a grommet for the passenger side valve cover. And even with low miles, that thing was pretty rigid. I ended up keeping the PCV valve, and only replaced the grommet.

Maybe you can clean down the engine bay a little bit and see where the oil trail starts.

what was the hardest part to replace so far? I haven't replaced much but that backend emission tee and the vacuum hose under the throttle body so far are my least favorite part.

p.s. i ordered the service manual and vacuum guide off of ebay, i might be able to look some things up for you once it comes in.
My PCV valve was replaced a few years ago.

I had to replace the emission tee a few months ago and good Lord that was a pain in the rearend. The tee was falling apart. I luckily found a replacement at oriellys in a taped package. The guy behind the counter didn't know they had it on the shelf. I found it in the back where they keep their hoses. My brother helped me with it.

Thank you, that would be a great help with the service manual and vacuum guide. I will let you know


Thank you everyone for your suggestions. I now have a coolant leak to add to the list of fluids in my carport. It leaked coolant the other day. It looks like it's coming from the bottom of the water pump. Two days later not leaking anymore. I cannot change the pump out until Thursday. I'm thinking I have to change the thermostat out too because it does not move much anymore.
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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-14-2015, 11:34 AM
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If have the stock 1994 heads you are putting a quart of oil in it for burning, not leaking. (My opinion).
Mine would leave little spots all over the place but they really burn the oil much more.

But do look into the water leak. There is a weep hole under the water pump to warn you the inner seal is going out.

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post #11 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-14-2015, 09:24 PM
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Sounds like a great time for a PI swap!
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post #12 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-16-2015, 04:36 PM Thread Starter
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If have the stock 1994 heads you are putting a quart of oil in it for burning, not leaking. (My opinion).
Mine would leave little spots all over the place but they really burn the oil much more.

But do look into the water leak. There is a weep hole under the water pump to warn you the inner seal is going out.

If I could post pics on here I would to show you the oil spots where I park my car. The underneath of my car is coated in oil and tranny fluid.
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post #13 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-16-2015, 05:53 PM
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If I could post pics on here I would to show you the oil spots where I park my car. The underneath of my car is coated in oil and tranny fluid.
No I know what they look like. I parked over 1/2 sheets of plywood.

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post #14 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-17-2015, 01:36 PM
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If I could post pics on here I would to show you the oil spots where I park my car. The underneath of my car is coated in oil and tranny fluid.
If it's that bad, you may want to look into replacing the oil filter adapter gasket, as both coolant and oil flow through it. They do go bad. I'd shift that to being priority # 1.

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post #15 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-17-2015, 05:24 PM
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Valve cover gaskets can be a pain in the butt due to the lack of space around the engine. You have to make sure the gasket channels are really clean when installing new gaskets or they'll fall out when you go to put the valve covers back on.
I put a dab of Black Hi-temp RTV on the slightly wider "tabs" of the gasket, just like factory.

Give it >20 minutes to set up a bit, and it won't fall out.

Just make sure it's fully seated when you glue it down like that; other wise, it will leak right where you made a hole.

The valve covers are a pain to get out/put back. Some of the bolts are really hard to remove. The shock towers are a drag.

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post #16 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-17-2015, 10:13 PM
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be careful with the thermostat housing bolts and also when tightening in a new oil pressure sender /**del the filter pan adapter**/. I am putting together some notes on how to approach that change. I did read somewhere that someone actually managed to brake their filter adapter thing. So I will probably try to find one in a junkyard somewhere and box it up as a spare. /**someone overtightened the oil pressure sender, that is how they cracked the oil filter assembly**/

I also recently busted my thermostat housing bolt. Well more like broke off. so i have to come up with a way to drill down into that to try to get it out. It will be fun. So make sure when you replace that thermostat, you use some RTV sealant and tighten it slowly when the car is cold. And when your brain says, this should be tight enough, and the torque wrench hasn't clicked yet. Just do yourself a favor and stop it/half ass the torque on that part.

edit ** corrected part, but had to make it ugly since i couldn't figure out strikethrough text.

Last edited by digitalgreasemonkey; 04-28-2015 at 04:19 PM. Reason: fixing bad information
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post #17 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-18-2015, 09:15 PM
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What's a "filter pan adapter" ?

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post #18 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-18-2015, 09:42 PM
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What's a "filter pan adapter" ?
I think they are referring to the oil filter adapter housing, in which case they typically only break in over tightening conditions both of the sender and of the housing bolts. Not-so-common sense should be used while dealing with any hardened steel hardware and aluminum, same with the tapered pipe threads of the sender.

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post #19 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-21-2015, 07:58 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you everyone! I had the oil filter housing replaced last year. It was leaking out of the plug area. The shop I took it too decided to "try to fix it for me" and cracked the housing. Not fun. $200 later and that does not leak. My bro came over and the oil pan gasket is definitely leaking. It looks like a pain in the you know what to get to it.

The weeping hole on the water pump stopped leaking. Does anyone have an idea why that may be? Do they fix themselves or it just going to take a crap on me one of these days?
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post #20 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-21-2015, 11:20 PM
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The weeping starts off intermittently due to the bearing seal (used to be a rope like substance ages ago!) shifts as it's wearing out. It'll crap on you like a 3 year old after a box of ExLax (I couldn't read, see the '3 year old' note!) if you leave it long enough.

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post #21 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-21-2015, 11:29 PM
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Thank you everyone! I had the oil filter housing replaced last year. It was leaking out of the plug area. The shop I took it too decided to "try to fix it for me" and cracked the housing. Not fun. $200 later and that does not leak. My bro came over and the oil pan gasket is definitely leaking. It looks like a pain in the you know what to get to it.

The weeping hole on the water pump stopped leaking. Does anyone have an idea why that may be? Do they fix themselves or it just going to take a crap on me one of these days?
If it was leaking...and now it's stopped...replace it immediately.

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post #22 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-22-2015, 05:11 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, I was afraid of that. Thank you!
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post #23 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-28-2015, 04:20 PM
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re: filter pan adapter

bumping thread for edit. filter pan adapter = my neighbors must have been smoking something powerful.

what it should have been. Be careful tightening the "oil pressure sender" someone cracked their oil filter assembly. (Saw that in the thread elsewhere, corrected it as i went through my notes)
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post #24 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-19-2015, 10:58 AM Thread Starter
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Ok finally replacing the water pump and thermostat. Any words of wisdom?
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post #25 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-19-2015, 01:39 PM
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The water pump is very easy (knock on wood). Don't even have to take the belt all the way off, just move it to one side. IIRC, I left the upper hose on too.

The biggest pain is getting the coolant to go into the bucket instead of running along the plastic shroud and out in 3 different places.

Unless your are experiencing temp fluctuations, I can't say I would replace the T-stat. But if you must, I always use grey Permatex on the flanges as a back up to the o-ring. Can't hurt. They actually make grey sealant that is specifically for coolant.

Torque all bolts, don't overtighten. Good luck!

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post #26 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-19-2015, 02:56 PM
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The water pump is very easy (knock on wood). Don't even have to take the belt all the way off, just move it to one side. IIRC, I left the upper hose on too.

The biggest pain is getting the coolant to go into the bucket instead of running along the plastic shroud and out in 3 different places.

Unless your are experiencing temp fluctuations, I can't say I would replace the T-stat. But if you must, I always use grey Permatex on the flanges as a back up to the o-ring. Can't hurt. They actually make grey sealant that is specifically for coolant.

Torque all bolts, don't overtighten. Good luck!

Al
This. The water pump tends to stick in the hole, so just whack it on the left and right sides with a rubber mallet to loosen it up, then it'll come right out. I had to do mine on my last 97 Thunderbird in the winter in Minnesota. That wasn't fun, but it got done quickly.

For filling the coolant, back up, you should do it with the engine hot, thermostat open. Fill from the overflow reservoir, not from the radiator. You don't want air bubbles in the system. Not a bad time to change the coolant if it's not testing properly.
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post #27 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-20-2015, 09:31 AM
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For filling the coolant, back up, you should do it with the engine hot, thermostat open. Fill from the overflow reservoir, not from the radiator. You don't want air bubbles in the system. Not a bad time to change the coolant if it's not testing properly.
I will clarify that you should fill it up with coolant before getting the engine hot. The above statement could be interpreted to mean get the engine hot before adding the coolant.

And the only place you can fill it is from the overflow since that is where the cap is.

Just fill it up, then start it up and add what you can. Run the car for 30 minutes with the front end elevated, heater on high, and cap off.

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post #28 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-20-2015, 09:46 AM
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No need to turn the heater on; these cars do not have a heater core bypass valve.

With a stock 4.6L MN12 cooling system, you'll be better able to bleed the air out of the system with the car on level ground rather than nose up.

If you're able to run it for 30 minutes with the coolant reservoir cap off without pushing coolant out of the reservoir, you were awfully low on coolant.

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post #29 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-20-2015, 04:07 PM
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I've never seen coolant push out of the reservoir from running the car in the driveway. I have even driven it to work and back with the cap purposely loose to get any air out of the system, and no coolant pushed out of the system.

That was probably unnecessary, but I am used to having cars that are tough to "burp".

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post #30 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-21-2015, 11:58 AM
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I will clarify that you should fill it up with coolant before getting the engine hot. The above statement could be interpreted to mean get the engine hot before adding the coolant.

And the only place you can fill it is from the overflow since that is where the cap is.

Just fill it up, then start it up and add what you can. Run the car for 30 minutes with the front end elevated, heater on high, and cap off.

Al
Good point, but I would hope it wouldn't have to be said.
I always forget if ours have a radcap or not. Pretty sure my 99 Mustang GT did, but I only change the coolant when I first buy the car and then after a couple of years I test it and change as needed. Haven't owned a car long enough in the last few years to have to do it more than once.
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