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Weird fluid on ground

My 1996 Taurus has sprung a leak, but I don’t know what it is or where it is. I am getting ready to get the jack out and investigate. It’s too CLEAR to be engine oil, also too clear to be tranny fluid, and my powersteering resevoir is still full. Nothing runs funny, no weirder sounds than before, just leaves a huge puddle under car. It’s too THICK to be water from A/C and yet it does it right away w/out A/C on.

Just this morning I lifted hood and started car. I was originally thinking a rack-and-pinion boot was torn. After letting car run about 2 minutes, the leak reappeared. I looked even closer and discovered that it is NOT rack-n-pinion boots, and in fact, it appears to be coming FROM THE FIREWALL.

Any ideas?! Thanks in advance for ya’lls help.

God Bless



Coolant would be my guess. I liked it when all coolant was green, then you knew what it was. These days they’re making all this “green” coolant which is not green in color at all, it’s just supposed to be better for the environment. Also if you dilute regular antifreeze enough it can appear clear. If it is coming from the firewall area, I really don’t know what else it could be.

I agree that, by the process of elimination, this must be coolant.

I suspect that, since it is coming from the area of the firewall, one of the heater hoses has a leak, or it is even possible that there is a leak in the heater core. While you usually notice a heater core leak from the inside of the car (odor, accumulation on glass), I suppose that it could leak to the outside.

The next step is to check the level of coolant in the radiator. Make sure you do this when the engine is stone cold.

Brake fluid is clear.

Check to ensure the brake fluid reservoir is full and the brake pedal doesn’t travel to the floor when the brakes are applied with the engine running.

The master cylinder is attached to the firewall. (Atleast in most vehicles)

Exactly what location on the firewall do you see the leak?

One last shot…Does your A/C drain hose come through the firewall? (Water?)

Could it be brake fluid?

you know, I’m suspecting that now b/c it does smell like coolant. coolant IS a little oily. that’s the only thing that could come from firewall. now, if it is a heater core, is that hard to replace? as soon as you said, “coolant” it all made sense. sometimes we have our moronic moments. thx. is heater core or the like a fairly simple fix? may be a hose being that it only leaks while running which is another clue it’s coolant and leaking at heater core at firewall. Thanks again so much!!

Coolant has a distinctive sweed aroma, brake fluid not so much.

The OP implies that the amount of leaked fluid is fairly large (actually, he says that the puddle is huge), and he states that this leak has occurred on more than one occasion.

If his brake fluid was leaking that badly and repeatedly, wouldn’t the hydraulic system be dry by this time? Wouldn’t he have noticed that his brake pedal is non-responsive? On the other hand, a coolant leak could take some time to drain the radiator and the car could be driven–albeit with the possible risk of engine damage.

Can the OP tell us what his checks of the radiator and the master cylinder revealed?

Will the drip or puddle appear if you run the car without the A/C on?

Does It Feel Quite Oily ? What About A Leak Of The Air Conditioner’s Compressor Oil That Normally Circulates Through The A-C Lines And Components ?

I had a receiver drier spring a leak and the result was a large puddle of thin clear oil.

The compressor depends on that oil for survival.

Is the air conditioning still working well ? Any change in its functioning ?


Hopefully, it is a hose. Heater cores are usually quite difficult to replace (often, the dash board has to come part way out).
Be sure to wash all the coolant off of the driveway. It is both tasty and deadly to dogs and cats.

You are on the verge of a head gasket failure. I had the same car. It is some weird distillant of the coolant. I asked around at the time and was told I had a “known coolant leak” without reference to its source and was admonished that I should stop destroying the planet by continuing to show up for work each day as expected and required.
It is likely coolant. But check your brake fluid. If the car begins to overheat, turn it off. The head gaskets can not handle any kind of overheating.

Oh yeah, see if your heat is working. Not something you’d try down south in summer, but I bet you get nothing but ambient temperature. Of course that might still be something like 100 degrees f, but actually it still should feel hot, and if you try it on a cool night and you have no heat, then the leak is at your heater core. You can by-pass this by cutting the heater core intake and output hoses and adding connectors if you never really need to heat the cabin. If you’re not sure of the method, buy the book find the firewall connections, or have it done for you (easy, five minute job on your car).
By the way, it’s a good car but it gets very average gas mileage and has a lot of problems, many of which are fatal relative to the value of the car. Fix it for least money possible or let go.

No Heat Does Not Necessarily Indicate A Leaking Heater Core.

A Coolant leak anywhere in the engine, like a head gasket failure, or anywhere in the cooling system, like hoses, can cause a low coolant condition (air introduced into the system) that can lead to not only over-heating of the engine, but also a no heat condition.


I have figured it out. When I am not religious about checking fluids, it’ll spring a leak somewhere. It is, however, leaking at the firewall. I added coolant with the knowledge that I’m gonna be tackling a heater core job soon. I appreciate all your replys. I did notice last winter when I turned heater on, I smelled coolant and it got REAL humid in car. It never did it again. I know it’s giving me ample warnings and I need to heed them. I am gonna buy a book to help me with heater core. I have notice lasy winter that one time, it didn’t really want to warm up the cabin.
I understand the cost to fix to value Kizwiki, but no matter what, I would like to keep this car. It has been a good car. It just does the weirdest things when it wants to give me trouble.
Thank you all for tips, help, and your endless knowledge!!!

Keep in mind that breathing antifreeze fumes is not at all good for you, even it you don’t notice it.
If you aren’t going to fix it right away, I would disconnect the heater hoses and connect them together with a short piece of pipe. You won’t have heat, but you won’t have a leak and you won’t be inhaling dangerous fumes either.