97 Auto coolant leak, sputtering engine

Discussion in 'SN95 V6 Mustang Tech' started by KyleK, Feb 8, 2013.

  1. My 97 3.8 L Mustang started overheating and sputtering on the highway so I pulled over and popped the hood. I could smell burned coolant and checked the radiator, there was no coolant at all there was also coolant all over the right side of the engine. I tried to put in coolant but it went straight through and ran out the bottom of the engine. It wont hold any liquid at all. The head gasket does not seem broken there is no white smoke from the exhaust and the oil doesn't look milky. If i turn the engine on it runs fine untill i put it into gear and it will sputter and eventually shut off.

    Can someone help I don't want to take it to a mechanic because I don't have the money for it right now. It is sitting in a parking lot and I have no way to lift the car to check where the leak is coming from.
  2. if you've got coolant running out, check hoses lst... then check for hole in bottom of radiator.. check the corners... if it's pouring out the bottom of the engine, it's gotta be a bad water pump... sorry...... only other place water goes is out around the intake if the intake gaskets are gone... it usually runs down the side of the engine.......... sounds like a water pump to me.... cost about $55 or so at advanced... you may need a pulley puller/pusher tool also..i just did my 2002.. i'm not sure about yours but 99-04, you have to pull the power steering pulley to get the water pump off..some blue rtv and a gallon of antifreeze... i would do the thermostat while you're at it.... good luck
  3. let me back up and say something else, kyle... you don't need to run it hot... that's bad... if it won't hold ANY fluid, you may have to pull it home or have it towed... this is cheaper than a new motor... if it holds SOME coolant, you might be able to get it home driving short distances at a time and adding water along the way.... good luck
  4. KyleK, I had the same problem, exactly as you described. I had rotten freeze plugs. These are a pain to get to and you're looking at some major labor or a costly shop bill. The plugs I had go were on the back of the engine block, nearest the transmission, and coolant was just flowing out as fast as I poured it in. Had to lift the engine to get to them since they're almost impossible to replace otherwise. Sure there are temporary plugs that you can tighten in place, but they're still almost impossible to put in without lifting the engine.

    I ended up replacing all of the plugs with brass after lifting the engine. The old ones are zinc and electrolysis eats them away. If you're going to a mechanic, you might look at the cost of replacing the engine with a rebuilt, as the labor going to be pretty close to the same. You also won't have to deal later with the corrosion already evident in your cooling system.

    In hindsight, I should have replaced my engine when this happened :bang: . Just make sure the new one has brass freeze plugs ;)

    By the way, I did the water pump, hoses, thermostat route in leading up to the plugs. Turns out it started as a slow leak and blew out from there.