1996 7.3L Oil-cooler Leak - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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Old 03-11-2013, 04:29 PM

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1996 7.3L Oil-cooler Leak

I have a 1996 Power Stroke. It has 219000 miles on it. I live in the desert Southwest where it usually warm all year round. I noticed when I drove back to Kansas in January where is got down to 22F at nights, my oil-cooler started leaking. It would just push out a small amount of oil when I started on cold mornings and it would stop leaking when warmed up. I assume the old o-rings where getting cold, hence not sealing in the cold weather. When I got back to Phoenix and the truck hardly leaks. I get just a tiny drip watery oil at times.

The question is, I am going to be making another 2000 mile round trip to the Midwest next month. Is this something that really needs to be fixed or do these coolers have a habit of controlled leaks. It is a bout a $550 dollar job to fix assuming the oil-cooler is repairable. I was wondering if it is a risky bet to travel without getting it fixed. I do no mind the little dribble as long as it does not turn into a catastrophic leak when I am 900 miles down the road somewhere in the middle of the desert on Route 66/I-40.


Last edited by CatusBronco; 03-11-2013 at 05:44 PM.
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Old 03-15-2013, 06:54 AM
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I've had a few oil cooler leaks in the 4 OBS PS I've owned, and they all got worse. I don't really think ambient temperature has much to do with it. Assuming it is the cooler, by the time you replace O-rings,coolant, oil & filter, the price you were quoted isn't too bad. If you have the space and time it really isn't all that hard to repair yourself,saving a few bucks.It's awfully disappointing to come out and see a large puddle of oil under your rig. I've never heard of them healing by themselves. Anyway, Good luck!
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Old 03-15-2013, 07:44 AM

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Thanks for the information. I think I am going to have mine redone later this year. The temperature is 90 degrees F in Phoenix and it has all but stopped leaking. I think the seals are more flexible when it is warm hence will seal a little better. All that being said, I agree it will not heal itself. I was worried more about a catastrophic leak going down the road. After talking with some other folks they tell me they have had their oil-cooler leaking for a couple of years before doing anything about it. It sound like the leak just gets progressively more of a puddle pain as time goes on and then it is time to bit the bullet and get it fixed. I will probably have my local mechanic fix it as he offers a 12K mile/12 mo. warranty on parts and labor across country.

Thanks again
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