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I see this way too often. Here's a look at a '99 S-10, 4.3 Vortec after I pulled the lower intake manifold. The owner'd tried to get off on the cheap by using Stop Leak.
DSCF1596a1.jpg

DSCF1595a1.jpg

The original problem was a radiator leak which he'd finally brought to me for replacement last fall. Detecting the Stop Leak in the coolant, I flushed the system, then refilled it with water and Cascade . After running it for a few hours, I yanked the radiator, drained and again flushed the system until the water came out clear before installing the new one. Last January, he brought it back with a leaking water pump. The coolant still showed residual Stop Leak in the system so I did the Cascade and flush routine once more before replacing the water pump. After only putting about three hundred miles on it since then, he brought it back claiming the water pump was leaking again. When I checked it out, I found it wasn't the pump but the lower intake manifold gasket that was leaking.

The cause is obvious. The front and rear holes on each side are coolant ports. The port on the rear right is clogged completely, the rear left one is about 90% plugged-off. The gaskets had literally blown apart around both front ports due to the increased pressure. There's going to be about as much labor time in cleaning and flushing, as in the disassembly and reassembly time on this job so despite the gaskets being relatively cheap, it's gonna' cost him a bundle. I also expect to see it again before long for a clogged heater core and eventually, another new radiator. Regardless of how well and often you soap and flush a system, you can never get rid of that stuff and it will keep coming back to haunt you. Block Seal does the same.
 

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Back in the 60s and 70s that stuff was used all the time in old and high mileage cars and trucks. It was a cheap way for us broke young 'uns to get more miles out of our clunkers in those fleeting years between our teens and mid-20s. After that we either had jobs or had joined the military, and were able to take out loans for better vehicles.

 

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Back in the 60s and 70s that stuff was used all the time in old and high mileage cars and trucks. It was a cheap way for us broke young 'uns to get more miles out of our clunkers in those fleeting years between our teens and mid-20s. After that we either had jobs or had joined the military, and were able to take out loans for better vehicles.

Rust is one of Ford's most popular factory finishes.
 

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I see this way too often. Here's a look at a '99 S-10, 4.3 Vortec after I pulled the lower intake manifold. The owner'd tried to get off on the cheap by using Stop Leak.
View attachment 461507

View attachment 461505

The original problem was a radiator leak which he'd finally brought to me for replacement last fall. Detecting the Stop Leak in the coolant, I flushed the system, then refilled it with water and Cascade . After running it for a few hours, I yanked the radiator, drained and again flushed the system until the water came out clear before installing the new one. Last January, he brought it back with a leaking water pump. The coolant still showed residual Stop Leak in the system so I did the Cascade and flush routine once more before replacing the water pump. After only putting about three hundred miles on it since then, he brought it back claiming the water pump was leaking again. When I checked it out, I found it wasn't the pump but the lower intake manifold gasket that was leaking.

The cause is obvious. The front and rear holes on each side are coolant ports. The port on the rear right is clogged completely, the rear left one is about 90% plugged-off. The gaskets had literally blown apart around both front ports due to the increased pressure. There's going to be about as much labor time in cleaning and flushing, as in the disassembly and reassembly time on this job so despite the gaskets being relatively cheap, it's gonna' cost him a bundle. I also expect to see it again before long for a clogged heater core and eventually, another new radiator. Regardless of how well and often you soap and flush a system, you can never get rid of that stuff and it will keep coming back to haunt you. Block Seal does the same.
Had the same engine in my 99' chevy astro van with 350,000 miles on it. Last year I had a small antifreeze leak that I could not locate but was able to smell. Purchased some silver seal and all was good until 2 months ago when either the head gasket or lower intake manifold gasket blew and engine started spewing oil with antifreeze out of the bottom of engine. Was not upset because I knew I was on borrowed time with 350 K. on it. Listed on craigslist and got $400 for it.
 

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No overheating issues? Surprised that the thing went that long without grenading (considering it was a Chebby.) ;)
Gauge would jump around occasionally but assumed it was the thermostat slowly going bad. She was a good engine. I changed the oil and filter every 5k miles for 16 years. Going to miss her. Got a 2017 Ram promaster city to replace it.
 

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Gauge would jump around occasionally but assumed it was the thermostat slowly going bad. She was a good engine. I changed the oil and filter every 5k miles for 16 years. Going to miss her. Got a 2017 Ram promaster city to replace it.
My dad used some stuff called Bars Leak. Swore by the stuff. Sounds like you got plenty of miles out of it, tho. Isn't the Ram Promaster a rebadged Fiat Ducato? Pretty popular in Europe and getting pretty popular here understand. My choice would be a Ford Transit first, then the Ram, then the Mercedes Sprinter. Primarily because of dealer/maintenance support.
 

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My dad used some stuff called Bars Leak. Swore by the stuff. Sounds like you got plenty of miles out of it, tho. Isn't the Ram Promaster a rebadged Fiat Ducato? Pretty popular in Europe and getting pretty popular here understand. My choice would be a Ford Transit first, then the Ram, then the Mercedes Sprinter. Primarily because of dealer/maintenance support.
Yeah, that's Barr's Stop Leak that was the culprit here. Personally, I'd recommend an egg if you have to use anything. Pepper is an alternative but it doesn't flush out completely either. With older vehicles, you could get away with more but the later models are a different animal with their tiny crossover tubes and more restricted passages. Older radiators and heater cores also had 3-4 rows of tubes, often of larger diameters but anymore, most have two rows at most. Some aftermarket truck radiators do offer a three or four row option but they're becoming scarce.
 
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Barr's Stop Leak is a banned substance in my shop. Seen something similar to this happen to an 'older' 350 with Barr's Stop Leak in it. And replacing the whole cooling system was not a lot of fun at all. Oh sure, you can have the block boiled out, rod out the radiator, replace the heater core and hoses, water pump. etc., but IF you had just taken care of the leak right the first time, you would not have to do all of that.
 

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My wife had a friend years ago that had somewhat of a checkered past. She had a child out of wedlock (as we used to say) but a super nice guy managed to fall in love with her and they got married (which straightened her out in time). But she needed to get from Houston to San Diego where he was stationed.

Her car was a hot mess. It was a mid 70's Dodge Dart, and this was the early nineties. It overheated all the time, she had to stop for water everytime she used it. Ran really terrible. My wife was worried she wouldn't make it. Rightly so. She asked me if there was anything I could do. I recommended a new radiator but she was broke. So I went with the Barr's Stop Leak. Car had 150,000 miles on it. In those days that was more miles than it is today.

Tuned it up, replaced the PCV valve due to the puddle of oil in the bottom of the air filter housing. Filters, oil change, fan belt etc. basically all the stuff anybody would do before a long road trip in a wreck like that. I did what I could with what I had to work with. She drove it around for a week before she took off.

She made it without a problem. She said she drove it for three more years without another issue. Go figure. Maybe those older engines could handle the Barr's Leak better.
 

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My dad used some stuff called Bars Leak. Swore by the stuff. Sounds like you got plenty of miles out of it, tho. Isn't the Ram Promaster a rebadged Fiat Ducato? Pretty popular in Europe and getting pretty popular here understand. My choice would be a Ford Transit first, then the Ram, then the Mercedes Sprinter. Primarily because of dealer/maintenance support.
Yup. Fiat makes it for Ram. I test drove a Ford transit and the Chevy city express . Ford was way to much $ and Chevy was a little to small for my needs. No complaints so far.
 

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