1994 f150 with 4.9L I6; 180k mi.
Parked vehicle last night after using it uneventfully for work the day before. Upon leaving the house at 11:30 AM, I noticed that I’d picked up a new mechanical noise. Nothing major; actually wasn’t sure I heard anything at all.
As I drove to the store, I noticed it was idling slightly unsteady…much less so than a missing cylinder. I resolved to check the high-tension connectors when I got home for security. I glanced down at the gauges to check and see if my oil pressure was good; I then noticed coolant temp reading “high normal.”
When I got out, I noticed a small pool of coolant forming. I looked at where the puddle was forming…the radiator hose had come off! (Actually separate from the radiator connector, as one might do if draining fluid without using the petcock.) I popped the hood: no unusual smells. Nothing seemed abnormally hot. Placing a finger against the head was uncomfortable, but not painful. Spit expectorated upon the head did not sizzle.
I then called my wife, explaining the situation, and walked back home 2 miles. We then took the spare car, bought antifreeze, and added it about an hour post-shutdown. Where the car was parked seemed wetter than the light drizzle allowed; daubing a finger in it and tasting gave a slight sweet taste.
I tend to check my fluid every so often (not every day, though) and coolant was verified as “full” as recently as 100 miles ago. (I don’t make a habit of crawling underneath, though, so I couldn’t tell you if hose had been slowly backing off or not.)
As to cause: is it plausible that this could happen without foul play?There have been a few vandalism incidents in the neighborhood; it’s also possible that I [peeved] off a neighbor recently. I’m not about to go any further than fixing, though, unless there’s really no other plausible explanation.
As to the mechanical questions: How much damage was done? Did I “catch it” in time? What do you suggest as far as repairs/maintenance? (I was planning on doing a compression test, and keeping a close eye on fluid levels over the next 1,000 miles or so.)
Engine sounds completely normal, and I’ve got my fingers crossed that I’ve dodged a bullet!