View Full Version : Coolant leak???

10-29-2007, 10:26 PM
Hi All!

Here is a question for you all...On the '96 I noticed the back seemed "wet" yesterday. I also had a sweet/vinegar smell on my hand from opening the drivers door.

At first I put it off to a bridge around here being sprayed with anti-ice the other day (bridge was all wet, but not raining...?). However, I am starting to wonder if something in the cooling system is leaking. I looked under the car the best I could (jack broken right now) and it seemed OK. But, the left (drivers) side of the car had coolant (or whatever this stuff is) under it. Basically in line with the tires. The left rear pipe was extremely grungy from the axle back. The left front wheel well was wet and the left rocker panel under the door was wet. Further inboard was dry. The coolant reservoir is a little down, but the car was not hot when I checked it either. The lower edge of the bumper was "wet" all the way across and the rear (left and right)rocker panels were also "wet". Both the left wheels had a film of this "stuff" on them.

Strange how it is basically in line with the left wheels. If it is coming from the car, what would you suspect? Car has 69k on it and is bone stock. I thought I smelled coolant a couple weeks ago, but did not have this "stuff" all over the back end of the car. The bottom of the engine seems clean and dry, so I do not think it is the radiator or water pump as that would "blow back" under the whole car?

Any thought and ideas would be appreciated. I washed it tonight and am going to take it for a drive to see if it comes back. The Ford dealers (2) in town don't seem to know much about the Cobra. I am hesitant to bring it to them, but do not know anyone else.


10-29-2007, 11:12 PM
Hmmmm...after the wash, I let it warm up fully in the driveway then put in the garage. It smells like coolant.

Any idea what would leak in such a way to get the drivers side of the car (including left front wheel) wet when driving?


10-29-2007, 11:39 PM
Coolant smell inside the car could be from a leaking heater core. Check the passenger side floor to see if it is wet or damp. If the heater core is leaking, it will drip on toward the passenger side of rear of the engine by the firewall.
If the heater cores is bad, the part is not too expensive, labor is very expensive, it is time consuming and the ac has to be discharged and recharged.

10-31-2007, 08:44 PM
Hi...I am pretty sure it is not coming from the heater core. It is on the drivers side, and not inside.

The left front wheel well was pretty wet. Is the t-stat located off the lower radiator hose? Perhaps that setup is leaking.

10-31-2007, 09:48 PM
Yes, the thermostat is on the left side, I have had to Cobras and both of them had a crack in them and started to leak from no where. I had a smell of anti freeze and then they cracked. It will more than likely not leak with the car running at speed.

11-01-2007, 10:19 PM
Tazz--thanks for the advice, I will keep it in mind.

Turns out that I over-reacted (again).

After throughly washing the old dear, then taking her out for a cruise, there is no sign of a leak. Someone I was talking to about this made the off-hand comment that perhaps a truck or something blew a radiator hose or something on the bridge. I bet that was exactly it! Bridge took a day to dry out totally. Either something dumped on the bridge or blew a hose.

Thanks for taking the time to read my post. I still do smell antifreeze from time to time, so I will keep an eye on the t-stat housing.


11-03-2007, 12:26 AM
I would do a complete check anyway.... Check the coolant level. Sometimes the cap will not hold pressure and dump coolant when the temperature rises. I would at least inspect what you can, including the block for leaking freeze-out plug. My guess would be the either the cap (coolant would be everywhere under the hood) or loose fitting on one of the connections to the stat. Also the oil cooler has been known to leak on occasion but that would not get the front wheel wet.