Oil in radiator coolant

ford
coolant
oil
expedition
radiators

#1

I have a 98 Ford Expedition xlt 5.4 L that is getting oil in the radiator. No water in the oil or transmission. No white smoke either so I’m pretty sure no blown head gasket but my mechanic friends seems to think I need a new radiator, my only issue is this radiator does not cool the engine oil so how could I be getting oil in my radiator? They tell me to buy a new radiator & make sure to flush out real good. Any ideas on other causes? Thanks


#2

The transmission cooler is integral with the radiator. An internal leak will allow automatic transmission fluid to mix with the coolant. Are you losing any transmission fluid?

It’s either that or a head gasket. There are no other options.

If there’s oil in the coolant it’s the head gasket. If there’s transmission fluid in the coolant it’s the transmission cooler.

So, what’s in the coolant besides coolant?


#3

Mcparadise’s post sums it up really well.
The only thing I can add is that you should start looking for a new mechanic.


#4

It locks like a milk shake. I have had this problem with my boat, but that was pits in the heads so I rebuilt the motor. I have never had this issue with a car. My old 72 280 Mercedes over heated, then the next morning went out to fill will water to get me to a service station, only to start her up & have white smoke & water run out. Now I knew that was a head gasket. This, being fluid, oil in the radiator it has kinda thrown me for a loop. I have asked around in other forums & most say replace the radiator due to no water in the oil and or transmission fluid. I ordered a radiator today & will replace on Monday when I get it. Hopefully that is the issue. Hopefully not a head gasket…thanks for the responses.


#5

Head gasket issues are very unusual in Ford modular motors unless they have been severely overheated. The design of the head gasket, superbly-finished sealing surfaces and TTY head bolts work well together yielding a very reliable system. I can’t say that it never happens though. If it is a bad head gasket, you might be able to find a used engine and install it for a lot less than installing a new gasket. The same features that I mentioned above make the latter expensive.

I would have guessed that this vehicle has a separate oil-to-air trans cooler, but mcparadise indicates that it has an oil-to water cooler. Which is it?