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Old 04-04-2013, 10:23 PM
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Coolant in Oil

Hi guys,

My first post here. Bought a cheap 2001 F350 with a 7.3, just over 245k miles on it. Was not running when I bought it. Didn't start, and oil in coolant.

It had a LOT of oil in the coolant... previous owner didn't know much about cars, trucks, engines in general I guess.

Long shot but someone may recognize my name from NASIOC, a Subaru forum. I race my Subaru Impreza on the road course as a hobby and have built it up in my home garage over the past few years. 295 slicks, roll cage, sleeved motor, big turbo, 600awhp from a 2.5L

Anyways, I bought the truck cheap, didn't mind doing work to it and I think I'm pretty good with tools so I had a go at it (first diesel engine). I cleaned the engine down, did an oil change twice to flush everything. Cleaned the oil cooler and changed the o-rings and gaskets, new de-gas tank, etc. Pulled the valve covers off, put new ZD-11 glow plugs in, new AP injector o-rings, new glow plug relay, flushed the coolant system like 4 times with simple green, and like 10 times with water, it currently has RO/DI (reverse osmosis de-ionized) water in it (RO/DI unit for my reef tank).

Fired up right away (glow plug relay was dead before). Drove the truck around, runs very smooth, good power, no smoke, nice idle, no oil in the coolant anymore. Also popped the oil filler cap off and this motor has ZERO blow-by. I was so amazed that the original motor in this thing has 250,000 miles on it almost and I put the filler cap on the filler neck upside down and it barely even moves.

Now to the bad part, I was driving it the other day, about to put ELC coolant in it and noticed that the coolant level was low. Checked dipstick, oil level is high. Loosen drain bolt to oil pan and like 4 litres of water was in there.

I drained the water out of the pan, added water back into coolant tank, truck drives fine... no oil in coolant with truck idling for over 30 minutes. I think that rules out the oil cooler being bad? With truck hot, coolant pressure is up of course, turned off the truck, came back a few hours later when cold and the coolant tank is completely empty. Drained into the oil pan again.

What do you guys think it is? Cavitation problem? I am going to pull off the water pump this weekend to check the front cover as I've read around this part can develop pin holes from cavitation if the cooling system is not maintained properly (which I doubt the previous owner did).

I don't think it's the injector cups? I don't have fuel in my coolant or oil in my fuel (checked fuel bowl when changing fuel filter).

I also don't think it can be the oil cooler anymore since there is no oil going into the coolant when engine is running? However I can see coolant bleeding off into the oil cooler when engine is off since coolant pressure will be higher when engine is off and hot...

Pin hole in the block? I really hope it isn't this. Haven't done a compression test on the motor but since the truck has like zero blow by maybe we can rule this out...

Once I pull the water pump I'll look at the front cover... if it's good I will have to drain oil, remove oil filter and pressurize cooling system to see where coolant leaks out from I guess.

Any insight to the problem guys? I have pretty much done all the research I can.

Cliff notes:
250k miles on stock 7.3
Oil cooler o-rings/gaskets changed
New injector o-rings
New glow plugs and relay
New oil and filter
RO/DI water in coolant system
No external oil or coolant leaks
No smoke from tail pipe
No blow by whatsoever

No oil in cooling system
Coolant level stays relatively high with engine running
Coolant bleeds off into oil pan when engine is off and hot after a few hours

Front cover? Cavitation? Injector cups? O-cooler problem? Pin hole in block? Head gasket? Cracked head?

I have been driving the truck around for about 120 miles total now with straight water in the cooling system. Is that enough mileage to cause a cavitation issue that quick?

Last edited by alcoolaid; 04-04-2013 at 10:29 PM.
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Old 04-05-2013, 06:26 AM
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injector cup failure would be an indication of FUEL in coolant. Your problem i bet is the OIL COOLER, needs rebuilding.

Riffraff Diesel: Oil Cooler Seal Kit

Its possible also, the cooler itself is damaged from within the tube, too

But like you said though, if the coolants' been neglected..(not checking SCA level), then you could have developed a cavitation within the front cover..
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Old 04-05-2013, 06:43 AM
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Oil cooler was rebuilt already but did not pressure test it.

If I pressurize coolant system with oil filter off, should coolant come out of the outer flange area or the center?
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Old 04-05-2013, 07:06 AM
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NO..unless its wore from within.
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Old 04-05-2013, 08:35 AM
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Yes. If the oil cooler failed itself I just want to know which part it will come out from.
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Old 04-05-2013, 05:16 PM
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Update: front cover is fine.



Took the water pump off after work to inspect the front cover. No signs of cavitation. Lots of oil staining though.

When I drained the water from the block I noticed more oil in there. I guess the oil cooler could still be leaking then... will have to order a new one from rockauto with another gasket kit
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Old 04-06-2013, 06:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alcoolaid View Post
will have to order a new one from rockauto with another gasket kit
The cooler on there now, was new, too?
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Old 04-06-2013, 11:24 AM
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Nope just cleaned as stated in first post.
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Old 04-08-2013, 04:04 AM
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Did you ever find the problem? I just had a similar issue. driving on highway for about 30 min with cruise control on and notice temp gauge pegged. Pulled over a quick as I could but buy the time I stopped temp was back to normal and tank was empty and there is water in the oil now. Truck runs fine just looses water in oil. 135K on motor was thinking cavitation caused the lack of flow and then blow out the back or gasket on front cover. Any thoughts?
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Old 04-08-2013, 06:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GETPHILTAFISH TOW TRUCK View Post
Did you ever find the problem? I just had a similar issue. driving on highway for about 30 min with cruise control on and notice temp gauge pegged. Pulled over a quick as I could but buy the time I stopped temp was back to normal and tank was empty and there is water in the oil now. Truck runs fine just looses water in oil. 135K on motor was thinking cavitation caused the lack of flow and then blow out the back or gasket on front cover. Any thoughts?
I'm pretty sure it's the actual oil cooler itself that has a hole in it that's why I'm still getting oil in the coolant and water in the oil. It's less oil in the coolant than before but still some is getting in there.

New one is ordered and will be here some time this week. Will update again once I get it on there. If I were you I would drain all the oil and remove the oil filter. Then get a small regulator or somethig and hook it up to some hose and a T on the small hose on the top right of the degas tank. Pressurize it to like 10-15 psi with compressor air and see if water leaks out from the oil filter flange or block. If it comes out from oil filter flange than most likely the oil cooler is broken itself or the gaskets are bad. If it comes out from the oil pan drain bolt then it could be the front cover or bad head/block

Gotta do some testing first I guess. Drain the water from the oil and top off the coolant. Idle the engine with rad cap off and see if you have oil in your coolant? Should be floating on the top.
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