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92 STS, 12 MB E350, 11 Audi A6 Avt, 06 BMW M conv, 69 MGB
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Discussion Starter #1
Greetings all! I'm the original owner of this car, which has been generally dependable for the past 23 years. The last year of registration and inspection was 2013, although I have driven it to operating temperature in the neighbourhood periodically. I had been planning to donate this car until my daughter asked to drive it for another year, so now I'm addressing some issues prior to a new inspection.

Had been experiencing a coolant leak which I traced to the heater core. It was cracked and I completed replacing it yesterday. Now I see leakage apparently under the water pump. When running, there is a fine spray of coolant that seems to be dripping from beneath the pump, then striking the serpentine belt and dripping to the ground. There are no other symptoms. Hoses appear to be intact. So, I had bought a new water pump but after my marathon session with the heater core I'm loathe to tackle this. Any recommendations concerning an additive to stop this leak, given the symptoms, or am I better served to simply replace the pump?

The other issue is the wiper switch. After I turn on the wiper, it generally will not turn off unless I turn off the ignition. This is under all conditions, including simply invoking the windshield washer. What am I looking at to repair this problem?

It is absolutely my plan to donate this car to charity after my daughter no longer needs it, so I'm not eager to drop a fortune into it.

All comments appreciated, thanks in advance.
 

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White Diamond '03 DHS (with DTS floor shift)
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87,184 Posts
Re: 92 Seville STS coolant leak / wiper switch

Cooling system stop leak products are a band-aid and a gamble. May work, may work temporarily, may not work at all. If the coolant is spraying out, the chances of a successful fix are much less. Somewhat like using a band-aid to stop severe bleeding.

As for the wipers, it could be the wiper motor or the control stalk, but I'd bet on the wiper motor
 

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92 STS, 12 MB E350, 11 Audi A6 Avt, 06 BMW M conv, 69 MGB
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8 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Re: 92 Seville STS coolant leak / wiper switch

Many thanks. Looks like I have a job in front of me.
 

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2011 Crown Vic LX, 2009 Chevy Malibu 2LT
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These engines are getting very old now, and so are all of the gaskets. Chances are, when you remove the water pump, you will disturb the very old timing cover and inlet housing gaskets, since they are all drawn together by the pump bolts. Do not take a shortcut and replace only the pump and it's gasket - you will regret it when you still have a coolant leak. Replace all three of the gaskets in the assembly while you are in there.
 

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92 STS, 12 MB E350, 11 Audi A6 Avt, 06 BMW M conv, 69 MGB
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Discussion Starter #6
I thought I had it licked: removed battery and coolant reservoir and raised AC plumbing out of the way. I was pleased that the pulley cover bolts responded to my impact wrench, but was startled to find all of the water pump housing fasteners took very little effort to loosen. Only one fastener was awkward, the one directly below the pump. But now I can't remove the assembly. It refuses to budge and I'm not certain how much force I can safely apply to break it free. So at this point, am I looking at also pulling the timing cover housing as suggested by drewsdeville?

BTW, the new pump assembly came without a gasket, but the old pump clearly has one, so I also bought a FelPro replacement gasket, to which I will apply a minimal amount of Toyota FIPG #103, since that's what I have. Just need to get the old one off.
 

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1991 Cadillac Brougham D'Elegance 5.7 Litre, 1994 DeVille
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6,796 Posts
I wouldn't be too worried about replacing just the water pump. Did you get the bigger torx bolts too? If everything is off you should be able to carefully pry it loose.
 

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92 STS, 12 MB E350, 11 Audi A6 Avt, 06 BMW M conv, 69 MGB
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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
...did you get the bigger torx bolts too?...
Ah yes! It's amazing how easily I detached the pump once all the fasteners are removed!

So, update to what has become a sad story. New pump installed and working, no more water pump leaks, new 180 thermostat, and warm air from the new heater core. What could possibly go wrong? Well, let's see.

The engine was silky smooth with no more coolant leaks per se, but still losing coolant, so I instructed my daughter to drive it minimally until I could diagnose the problem. That was a mistake, for those instructions went unheeded, and my daughter's subsequent highway trip, coupled with an incomprehensible failure to watch the coolant temp, resulted in the inevitable breakdown and a 50-mile return trip aboard a flatbed tow truck. The engine that had been running so smoothly now sounded as if it had lost a bank of cylinders and now it was very evident where the coolant was going, for I was experiencing the billowing white exhaust along with the aroma of anti-freeze and gasoline combined.
Slimy white foam inside the oil filler cap. And, upon the removal of the cap, the visible sizzle of coolant within the engine.
The engine at idle with a full radiator went from ambient to 250 and hot engine warning within the span of 15 minutes. And the overflow reservoir became full.
Top radiator outlet hose hot, bottom inlet hose tepid.
The heater went cold.
I turned off the engine, let it cool and found the radiator required 6 quarts of coolant to top it up again.

This is a car that has served us well and which I had planned to donate to our local NPR station. Now, including inspection, registration, parts, fluids and tow, I was already in it for $600 and counting. So, recognizing a disaster in the making, I resolved now to sell the car for whatever I could get, to recover some of the expenses. But first, let's add a bottle of Bar's Leak Head Gasket Fix. $21 on Amazon. I knew it was a long shot, because the coolant loss was so severe. But low and behold, after idling for 20 minutes with the additive, there was no more billowing white smoke from the exhaust! I ran it a couple of cycles more and observed it was still losing coolant, albeit not as fast as earlier. I could drive the car at slow speed for about 30 minutes until the warning light flickered. What's more, the coolant temperature fluctuated from 180 to 240+ in about a 10-minute cycle, until it finally topped out at ENGINE HOT.
During the cycle, the heater went from cold to hot to cold again.
No more white foam in the oil filler cap, and no more coolant sizzling within the engine.
There was no improvement in the ragged engine.
Although there was no more white smoke, there was the heavy smell of incomplete combustion.

So, I'm guessing that while the gaskets resealed again sufficient to prevent coolant from leaking into the engine, it was not strong enough to prevent combustion gasses from entering the coolant system, contributing to the heat cycle. One, maybe both head gaskets gone. An expensive repair any way I cut it.

So, as of this moment, my inclination is to proceed with the sale of the car. However, my wife has driven this car from new and has rediscovered a very strong bond with it since it started running again. Logic is absent. Now, in order to maintain domestic tranquility, I'm faced with these alternatives:
1. Have it repaired by a shop.
2. Repair it myself. I welcome a challenge, I know how to follow instructions and I have a knowledgeable neighbour.
3. Buy a used STS engine, complete, same vintage, with a 3-year warranty, tested, cleaned and shrink-wrapped, delivered on a pallet to my door for $1000 total. Then, decide if I want to essentially double the price of the engine by having the engine delivered to a shop for the engine swap, or, with my neighbour, do the swap myself.

We do not need this car. My wife and I each have a late-model reliable daily driver and a recreation car. That's four cars total. I know full well what the logical course of action should be. The car is financially a dead loss. But, absent good sense, what are your recommendations?

BTW, about that windshield wiper problem: I removed the fuse and stuck it back into its clip, then banged on the wiper motor with the butt of a large screwdriver. Problem solved. I don't know if it was banging the motor that fixed it, but it felt good.
 

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92 STS, 12 MB E350, 11 Audi A6 Avt, 06 BMW M conv, 69 MGB
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Discussion Starter #9
Good sense prevails. We will be selling it. I will soon list in classifieds the 1992 Seville hard bound FSM that I bought on eBay this morning.
 
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