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1996 Eddie Bauer Bronco with 5.8 V8 Automatic, with roll cage. Taylor, Michigan
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73 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So I drive my Bronco home roughly two hours, no issues on the drive. I get it home and into the garage to work on it and it has started a fluid leak. It wasn't leaking before that, that I noticed. I topped off the oil, added some anti-freeze, and filled up the washer fluid. When I crawled under to look for where the leak was I saw the circular dust cover was loose and had some fluid coming out of it. I pulled it, cleaned it, and put it back in. Now it appears to be leaking from in the front. Sorry it's so dirty, I'm still slowly cleaning and working through it.

Fluid appears to be oil, no red tint to it, no distinct smell.

I'm not super mechanical and still figuring everything out. I called into my local shop and they indicated I needed to call them back next week. Any idea what I'm looking at here, and what it would take to fix it?

165273
 

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1996 ford bronco XLT 5.0
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26 Posts
Its either a rear main seal or poss output shaft seal if it is red fluid check your trans color and compare it to your leak

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Oil pan gasket or rear main seal.is likely. Shop time? Not cheap. On a lift it's a 4-5 hour job I would say. Remove drive shafts (no telling if your u joints need to be replaced - just saying) remove transfer case then trans or drop both as a unit (most good shops have a good transmission jack that will support both) then replace rear main. Personally I'd do a repair sleeve, new seal - but they won't really know until they get in there if it's the seal or the oil pan gasket.

Crawl under the truck take a 1/2" (likely size) deep well on a 1/4" ratchet (you DO NOT want to overtighten them) and snug up the oil pan bolts to see if any are loose.

Also could be a leak from the rear of the intake manifold, a bad valve cover gasket etc etc.

Get a can of brake cleaner - put some safety glasses on (shit burns - I'm warning you) and spray the all the oily spots down and wipe as much as you can off with shop towels. Go to a local parts store pay $10 for a bottle of UV oil dye and another $10 for a cheap UV flashlight. Add the dye to the oil, run it for a bit, then see if you can find the leak(s).

I had a seep from my RMS and / or oil pan gasket. I yanked the engine and went through it. But I don't like fixing things more than once if I can help it and the Bronco isn't my daily driver.

Oil pan gasket is doable without pulling the engine - but it's putting lipstick on a pig if you don't really know the condition of the other gaskets , seals etc.

That's if your SURE it's oil. If it's red - it's ATF and if it was really coming from that grommet, it's likely a front pump seal in the transmission. (Trans has to come out as well).
 

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Put a container under and see how much it leaks over night, mine leaks in the same spot which im assuming is oil pan or rear main, mine may be 1/2 qt low in 3,000 miles if that and im sure some of that is being burnt due to the combustion process. Collect some in a container to see the volume of fluid that comes out. It may be a decent amount because it looks like your trans pan is saturated. My will build up some light residue on the trans pan but never looks wet
 

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1996 Eddie Bauer Bronco with 5.8 V8 Automatic, with roll cage. Taylor, Michigan
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73 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Container is under it, I'll give it 24 hours and see how much it collects. Trans fluid levels are fine, oil seems a little bit low but just barely. I left them at that.

Trans fluid is also red, which is not the color of the fluid leak, which appears to be dirty yellowish.
 

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Container is under it, I'll give it 24 hours and see how much it collects. Trans fluid levels are fine, oil seems a little bit low but just barely. I left them at that.

Trans fluid is also red, which is not the color of the fluid leak, which appears to be dirty yellowish.
have you tasted it? Be extremely careful here. Put a light Dab on your finger, taste it and spit it out. If its bitter its coolant. If it really doesnt taste like anything its oil.
 

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1996 Eddie Bauer Bronco with 5.8 V8 Automatic, with roll cage. Taylor, Michigan
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73 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I have not tasted it yet. I'll pull the pan I have under the drip later tonight and see what it looks like and put up some pictures.
 

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Charlie don't surf..
'92 Ford Bronco XLT
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15,067 Posts
anyone who's ever owned a Bronco has had to deal with this at some point in time..It's possible if you have a coolant leak that it's mixing with some of the dirt/grime on the back of your engine as it runs down and making it look like oil. The rear mains as was stated above are notorious for failing on these but in my experience it's usually just a few drips here and there not a flood..If you're noticing a yellowish tint that I'd say it's more than likely coolant..could be you have a leaking freeze plug or the gasket on the lower intake might be starting to go..you could always rent a coolant pressure test kit, clean up the engine and see if you can find the source of the leak that way..

good luck.
 

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1996 Eddie Bauer Bronco with 5.8 V8 Automatic, with roll cage. Taylor, Michigan
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Discussion Starter #9
^^^^ That sounds pretty likely. The coolant was bone dry when I got it home. I filled it up with the rest of the fluids. I'll checks it's levels tonight.
 

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25,789 Posts
Yo FuzzyBunny,
As suggested and;
Section 03-03: Engine Cooling
1996 F-150, F-250, F-350, F-Super Duty, Bronco Vehicles and F-250, F-350 and F-Super Duty Vehicles with 7.3L Diesel Engines Workshop Manual​
CLEANING AND INSPECTION
"Coolant Condition Check
WARNING: NEVER REMOVE THE RADIATOR CAP (8100) UNDER ANY CONDITIONS WHILE THE ENGINE (6007) IS OPERATING. FAILURE TO FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS COULD RESULT IN DAMAGE TO THE COOLING SYSTEM OR ENGINE AND/OR PERSONAL INJURY. TO AVOID HAVING SCALDING HOT COOLANT OR STEAM BLOW OUT OF THE RADIATOR (8005), USE EXTREME CARE WHEN REMOVING THE RADIATOR CAP FROM A HOT RADIATOR. WAIT UNTIL THE ENGINE HAS COOLED, THEN WRAP A THICK CLOTH AROUND THE RADIATOR CAP AND TURN IT SLOWLY TO THE FIRST STOP. STEP BACK WHILE THE PRESSURE IS RELEASED FROM THE COOLING SYSTEM. WHEN IT IS CERTAIN ALL THE PRESSURE HAS BEEN RELEASED, PRESS DOWN ON THE RADIATOR CAP (STILL WITH A CLOTH), TURN AND REMOVE.
NOTE: It is not sufficient to inspect only the coolant in the radiator coolant recovery reservoir (8A080). The coolant in the radiator coolant recovery reservoir may not be representative of the coolant in the rest of the system. For reservoir coolant to be representative of system coolant, engine must have been operated long enough and gotten hot enough for an extensive exchange of coolant between the radiator and the radiator coolant recovery reservoir since the last time coolant was added to the radiator coolant recovery reservoir.



Allow engine to cool and remove radiator cap.
  1. Inspect coolant in both radiator and radiator coolant recovery reservoir. Coolant should be a green or blue color (depending on brand of antifreeze used).
    Clear coolant or coolant only a very light green or blue indicates that there is only water or a very weak antifreeze mixture in the system. Advise the owner of the need for the correct 50/50 coolant mixture.
    A very muddy brown color indicates an unauthorized brand of stop-leak has been used. This may eventually plug the system, causing overheating. Advise the owner that the best course would be to drain the system and repair the original concern, flush the system, and refill with correct 50/50 coolant mixture and, if necessary, Cooling System Stop Leak Pellet D9AZ-19558-A or Cooling System Stop Leak Powder E6AZ-19558-A or equivalent meeting specification ESE-M99B170-A.
    Make clear to the customer that any stop-leak material is not a satisfactory repair for a serious cooling system concern such as a leaking water pump (8501), gasket, or radiator.
    A reddish brown color indicates rust in the cooling system. Advise the customer that the best course would be to flush the cooling system and refill with the correct 50/50 coolant mixture. Ford Premium Cooling System Fluid, E2FZ-19549-AA or equivalent meeting Ford specification (ESE-M97B44-A and ESE-M97B43-A) contains corrosion inhibitors. In addition, add 1.4 liters (1.5 qts.) of Heavy-Duty Cooling System Additive FW-15 or equivalent meeting Ford specification ESN-M99B169-A.
    An iridescent sheen on the top of the coolant indicates a small amount of oil entering the coolant. This is common in high-mileage vehicles.
  1. CAUTION: If there is coolant in the engine oil, the cause must be corrected and the oil changed or engine damage will occur.

    Check the engine oil on the oil level dipstick (6750) to see if any coolant is entering the engine oil as indicated by drops of coolant visible in the oil or a milky appearance to the oil. If the oil checks out OK, inform the customer that, while not an immediate problem, the situation should be closely monitored during routine maintenance.
  1. CAUTION: Severe oil leakage to the engine coolant, as indicated by a milky appearance to the coolant, must be corrected or severe engine damage will occur.

    If the coolant is a milky brown color (like coffee with heavy cream) engine oil is entering the coolant. On 7.3L diesel and 7.5L gasoline engines the most probable cause is a leak in the engine oil cooler. Remove and inspect to find the problem.
    If the oil cooler checks out OK, the head gasket (6051) may be leaking around the oil passageway to the cylinder head (6049). It will be necessary to remove the cylinder head, inspect for the problem, and replace the head gasket. If the head gasket checks out OK, then a crack between an engine oil gallery and the cooling passageways could be the cause. Inspect the cylinder block (6010) and cylinder head. Refer to Section 03-00.
    A reddish milky appearance to the coolant indicates that transmission oil is leaking into the coolant indicating a leaking transmission fluid cooler (7A095).
  1. CAUTION: If coolant is found to be entering the transmission fluid, the cause must be corrected or transmission damage will occur.

    Check transmission fluid to make sure coolant has not mixed into transmission fluid as indicated by a milky appearance. If it has, it will be necessary to flush transmission (7003) and replace filter outlined in the appropriate section. Refer to Group 07. Replace radiator assembly, flush cooling system, refill transmission, and refill cooling system with correct 50/50 coolant and antifreeze mixture.
  1. If chunks of rust are visible on top of the tubes in downflow radiators or in the inlet tank in crossflow radiators, flush the cooling system.
  1. If there is puffy white corrosion around the tubes where they are attached to the core headers, flush the system. If there is corrosion on aluminum radiator parts, there is going to be corrosion on aluminum engine parts that come in contact with coolant.
  1. Advise the owner of the importance of using the proper 50/50 mixture of water and Ford E2FZ-19549-AA Premium Cooling System Fluid or equivalent meeting specification ESE-M97B44-A that contains corrosion inhibitors. In addition, add 1.4 liters (1.5 quarts) of Heavy-Duty Cooling System Additive FW-15 or equivalent meeting Ford specification ESN-M99B169-A.
  1. If the appearance of the coolant is OK, use a hand-held refractometer, such as Rotunda Battery/Antifreeze Tester 021-00046 or equivalent to verify proper coolant concentration. The range is: (minimum) 45/55, (maximum) 60/40.
  1. If the cooling system is found to be low on coolant, top off only from a premixed solution.
  1. If a weak concentration is found, add straight coolant sparingly until concentration readings are within acceptable levels.
  1. If too strong a concentration is found, remove a small volume of coolant and add water sparingly until coolant readings again fall within the specified levels.
  1. NOTE: Make sure coolant is thoroughly mixed before taking readings. This is accomplished by running the engine until the water thermostat opens.


    Recheck coolant concentration to make sure the coolant has been brought into the proper concentration."
 

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1996 Eddie Bauer Bronco with 5.8 V8 Automatic, with roll cage. Taylor, Michigan
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73 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
So I checked the radiator and coolant reserve, neither are showing any loss of fluid, in fact the radiator was filled to the brim. Tub was pretty empty though, the leak is very slow.

165357
165358
 

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1996 Eddie Bauer Bronco with 5.8 V8 Automatic, with roll cage. Taylor, Michigan
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73 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
No taste associated with it that I could tell
 

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Premium 4 Lyfe - Way Back Staff
'95 XLT: 5.8, MAF, E4OD, 4.56's, 6" on 33's
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36,513 Posts
Rear main. Could leak slowly like that for years but if it bugs you like it did me, use the sleeve with the seal replacement... as recommended before.
 

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1996 Eddie Bauer Bronco with 5.8 V8 Automatic, with roll cage. Taylor, Michigan
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73 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
I will look into that. I'm not sure if I'm up to that level of mechanical repairs myself yet, though I am planning on taking it to a shop for a general check up. I'll keep an eye on the levels and as long as it's not bad, or getting worse, I won't worry a huge amount about it. Thanks everyone!
 
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