Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Where does the antifreeze go?

Okay I replaced my bad overflow jug on my beatup ole 98 Ford taurus with the bad headgasket. However I am still losing antifreeze, but not as quickly before and with no signs of leakage anywhere underneath the overflow jug or radiator. I show no smoke out the tail pipe or fluid and my oil has no gunk on the stick. I know it has to be going somewhere, so where does antifreeze go when you have a bad headgasket?

Why do you still think you have a bad head gasket? You could be leaking out the weep hole on the water pump only when you are at full temp and pressure?

When you have a blown headgasket it gets “burned”, turned into vapor by the combustion process and blown out the tailpipe, some of its vapor perhaps contaminating the oxygen sensors and the honeycomb in the catalytic converter so you don’t see much of a cloud in the mirror.

As the process continues, a groove erodes where the headgasket breech is. Just like the Colorado River created the Grand Canyon, the groove grows.

Unless the breech also involves an oil channel you may never see any signs in the oil.

3 independent garages said so, and one did so after doing a complete pressure and leak down test.

thanks, I guess i was mistaken on what to look for. I was under the impression I would see either fluid drops coming from my tailpipe or white smoke. Now with the new overflow jug I am still not seeing those and no longer fluid around the overflow jug either. Car is still running cool and the same as when I got it a year ago, but i am now going through AF faster then I was a year ago, so I can only assume the damage to the headgasket has gotten bigger.

Thanks for the info, I will just keep riding it out till the engine freezes up and then sell it for scrap and go buy another one from the goodwill auction.

If this is the infamous $500 Taurus, you, my friend, are definitely getting your money’s worth out of it. I tip my hat to you.

thanks, I guess i was mistaken on what to look for. I was under the impression I would see either fluid drops coming from my tailpipe or white smoke

You probably will see those eventually. Your problem right now is that the coolant being injected into the cylinder through the crack is probably washing the oil off the walls of the cylinder. If you were to pull the spark plugs, you would probably find that one of them is shiny clean – steam cleaned by the injected coolant. The thing is that a cylinder with poor lubrication is going to wear faster than the rest.

If it weren’t for the lubrication thing, you might be able to drive for a long time without repairing the head gasket. All you’d have to do is pour some coolant in from time to time. How long would depend on how quickly the head gasket leak got worse. But the truth is that you are probably slowly wearing that cylinder out.

Given that this is not exactly a Rolls-Royce, you might consider checking the potion shelf at the local parts store. Maybe they have something you can add to the coolant that will magically plug the head gasket leak. The odds of it working are probably about the same as the odds of it plugging the cooling passages and destroying your engine. Either way, you won’t have to remove the head – which is a major project.