Ford Taurus Coolant Leak

Ford Taurus Coolant Leak

Timing Cover Coolant/Antifreeze Leak Summary:

It is common for a high mileage Ford Taurus or Mercury Sable to develop a coolant leak on the passenger side of the engine. At first you may notice coolant slowly disappearing, but the leak will eventually get to the point that you need to fix it.

The cause of the problem is the gasket on the back passenger side of the engine gets cooked by the exhaust pipe (top of the Y pipe), and  the heat soaked gasket breaks down.

Ford Vulcan 3.0 OHV Timing Chain Cover Gasket Repair:

The “Ford Taurus coolant leak” affects the following models.:

The repair should be similar for all listed, but we are going to focus on the problems and tips I had for a 2002 Mercury Sable.

Tools You Will Want to Have on Hand:

  • Metric Gear Wrenches (I used the ones with pivot heads which did help some places)
  • Metric sockets both deep and regular.  – It will help to have a couple sets of extensions as well. – (13 MM is used extensively) * it is best to get the 6 sided type. You will be switching wrenches quite a bit if you do not have access to power tools there are a lot of tight spaces.
  • Bolt-Type Wheel Puller Set (Amazon is your best bet or Harbor Freight if you happen to live near one) You will probably hear this called a – Harmonic Balancer Puller – Gear Puller, Crank Shaft Pulley
    • Note: You can probably borrow these for free from places like Auto Zone and o’reilly’s (I borrowed one from O’reilly’s but it was in bad shape.  I’ll buy one the next time I’m in a town with a Harbor Freight)

Parts You will Probably Want on Hand:

  • Timing Cover with Gaskets
  • New Water Pump
  • Oil Pan Gasket
    • (https://www.rockauto.com/ is probably your best bet if you need a new Timing Cover Local stores won’t be able to touch their prices)
  • Check the idler puller when you pull it out
  • Timing Chain and new gear?  I’m not going to do mine because I don’t expect the car to live long enough for it to be a problem.

I’m not going to do a total walk through because the following videos basically has it covered,  but be sure to look at my notes because he has a couple of mistakes that will take you a long time to figure out. (He had more apart than you will)



  • You need to remove all the bolts/nuts from the heat shield. (Back Passenger side)  You will need to pull it out and push it back out of the way. (Not all the way out) – be careful when you are putting the Y pipe back together the heat shield can push the pipe into a position that will cause cross threading.
  • Make sure you REMOVE THE WATER PUMP FROM TIMING COVER! in the video he states that it comes you can leave the powersteering pump in and that the timing cover and water pump come out as a unit.  DON’T DO THAT! It works if you have the power steering pump assembly pulled but you will not be able to get it out if you do not.
  • On reassembly it helps to take out the font passenger headlight assembly to reconnect the main hose to the bottom of the coolant bottle.  (If you have never had it off before it is two black pull tabs that will pull up and out and one 8mm bolt.)

 How to Replace the Oil Pan Gasket On a Sable:

If you are leaking coolant you are likely leaking oil as well.  Here is a video on how to replace the oil pan gasket. I drained the oil and coolant out of the car a day early so I didn’t have much mess when I dropped the oil pan.

Video Notes:

  • You will want to have two 8″ extensions if you are using a regular ratchet. (8mm bolts)
  • It helps to have a 8mm gear wrench to the the shield off.