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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay. Sorry for the strange title but hopefully it gets some attention. I’m in a bit of a predicament with a transit I bought used 1 year ago as my main vehicle. It is a t250 2016 ecoboost medium roof lwb with a quigley 4x4 conversion and around 134k miles. I love this van and my plan was to build it out as a weekend getaway/beach vehicle for the family. The problem is that I started smelling a burning coolant smell by the drivers side under the hood and the driver wheel well. No puddle on the ground and I tried a coolant dye with no luck. I did post about this problem a few weeks back and members have been great offering advice on where to look for the leak. I now have it at a second mechanic (first guy couldn’t find a leak) and he pressure tested it. He said that he went to start it this morning after yesterday’s pressure test it was misfiring. He thinks it could be a slow coolant leak into a cylinder. It took about 4 months for me to notice my coolant level drop so it is very slow leak. what would you guys do?

1) finish building it out and drive it until it get bad (I should add that I drive my 3 little girls daily in it)
2) trade in for a new vehicle (wife wants to give me hers and get new. I don’t like this option lol)
3) sell it privately (being upfront about the problem)

how much would a repair cost worst case scenario if it is leaking into the cylinder?

thank you,
chris
 

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If it's running okay for now despite the undiagnosed coolant smell, I would hang on to it and pursue ferreting out the issue. 134k is not particularly an issue with these vans and these days a bird in hand is worth two in the bush.
 

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Might want to get some price estimates from more than one mechanic.

We cooked a turbo on our 2013 Explorer (basically same engine), had them both replaced (both were beat - gotta love giving a well-cared-for vehicle to a 20-year-old 😄) and still had issues. Bit of white smoke. Figured head gasket had gone. Two different mechanics wanted to just put in a "lightly used" engine - which has been our play on high-mileage vehicles before. But since those were harder to come by in 2020, we ended up going tear-down.

Long story short... during tear-down for disassembly, he found some other issue (can't recall what now... I really don't pay much attention to our other vehicles :rolleyes: ) and resolved it for much less than expected.

But if it had gone, "lightly used," or the tear-down hadn't exposed the other issue, it'd have been a lot more money.
 

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I am a firm believer in fixing stuff. From a CPM basis, it is almost always the better choice, but most people (not saying you, just in general) like to junk their vehicles because "it cost more to fix than it is worth." I think most people just like to to own new(er) and not have to deal with it. I get it.

Since it is a 4x4 conversion, I would definitely try to find out what is actually wrong with the vehicle. You need to find a really good mechanic with awesome diagnostic skills. Although, some issues just can't be diagnosed 100% without tearing things apart. What state are you in? maybe someone has a suggestion.

Even if the engine is junk, I would drop in a remanufactured engine and drive it for as long as it will go, but that is me, maybe you have no use for it or don't want to deal with that, and that is OK.

If it was me, and no one could diagnose it, I would add coolant, keep driving, and see what happens. Hopefully it would get worse and the problem would become obvious.

If you just want to get rid of it, tell the forum, you never know who might want to take on a project like this.
 

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There was a ford mechanic on here a while back who said you are not suppose to pressure test, I do not remember the details because the forum thread did not concern me at the time.
I would say take it to Ford. My warranty expired a year ago but I do not think I could trust anyone else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for all of the input everyone. I’m not against fixing things and I definitely don’t want to give up a 4x4 van. It is the coolest vehicle that I have ever owned. I just hate spending money and not getting to the root of the problem. I’m probably gonna keep driving until the problem gets worse. I just don’t want to be 3 miles down a sandy beach when it breaks down lol. Let’s assume worst case and I need an engine rebuild or replacement. Any ideas what something like that costs? I’m concerned it would be ridiculous considering the mechanic working on it also quoted me $1850 for noise the rear differential makes when driving and the whirring noise when turning.

and to answer an earlier question. I’m located in Long Island ny. About midway between Manhattan and montauk.
 

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Leaking onto the manifold creating the smell makes sense but why the misfire?
We had a similar problem with our Prius, coolant was leaking into a cylinder and causing a misfire but only when the engine was cool. When the engine heated up, the leak fixed itself. Our mechanic diagnosed with a camera in the cylinder and you could see the coolant leaking at the head gasket. I think the coolant in a cylinder shorts the spark plug and creates the misfire. We needed a new head gasket. I never noticed a burning smell. Good luck!
 

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My 2021 with 5k miles has a rough idle for the first 30 seconds and all coolant systems will evaporate water out of them. They are not completely sealed. Our F150 had the same odor that tuned into a leaking thermostat fitting made of plastic of all things. I would monitor the coolant level and look for a very competent tech lots of shad tree guys in the world. Vehicle techs are becoming like doctors and are starting to specialize. If I had a whining rear end I would find a driveline specialty shop. Most of the good Jeep/4x4 shops would be a my first choice. Most dealers have different techs for different jobs our F150 started shifting funny at high speed and it took two months to get on the schedule because their “transmission guy” was completely booked.
 

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My 2015 recently had a small crack in the coolant reservoir that only leaked when the system got pressurized enough on a long highway trip. Before that, it was the same scenario you describe and of course it wasn't dripping when I opened the hood in the driveway. This photo was on that highway trip with the engine still running.
Automotive tire Motor vehicle Bumper Fender Automotive exterior

After discovering that, it was replaced the next day for $30 or so and a few minute's time.
 

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Of the options, I'd keep it and try to repair myself (starting with asdrew's post above, it can't hurt, and it's cheap).

Because of all the other improvements, this van may very well be served by a crate engine replacement. NOT done by Ford (that would cost as much as a new van!). This is a worst case scenario of course. But, look into prices to have a new/rebuilt engine dropped into it. That way you know what the MOST it would cost you, and with a crate engine, you get a whole new warranty on it. It might only be 1 year, but that's 1 year more than you have now! I'm going to guess it would be $10-12k. If someone knows, please share.

pros:
engine warranty for a limited time
peace of mind
other stuff that might be wearing out would be replaced
less cost than buying a new van and starting over

cons:
might be overkill cuz it's just a gasket
no van for 2-3 weeks
no excuse to get a new van with new option gizmos
 

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If all else fails the 10,000 page 2016 transit service manual is for sale cheap on Ebay, These are the original ford service manuals and they come on Cdrom only. I got mine a year ago for $35 dollars.
The service manual tells you step by step how to fix anything on the transit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Mechanic didn’t feel the need to check exhaust gases. He said that he couldn’t smell it in the coolant with his nose. I’m not sure how but he said very small head gasket leaks can sometimes leak coolant into the head but not the gases into coolant. I would think it would be the other way around. Gas molecules are smaller and I would think pressure is higher in the cylinder compared to the coolant system. I ordered a tester from Amazon and will give an update tomorrow evening.

He was concerned Because the engine randomly shakes a little rough when he restarted after to pressure test. He said that it was misfiring but went away after about 30 seconds. He thought coolant was forced into the cylinder during the two pressure tests he did. Strange thing was it didn’t show any codes.

any thoughts appreciated and thanks again to all of the helpful people on this forum.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Also, does anyone know what temperature range my coolant should be between. On hot days with ac running I’m around 205 on highway and fluctuate between 195 to 212 around town. It hits 215-220 backing up my steep driveway
 
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