Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt, The Strenuous Life

For context, please read the prior three posts concerning this topic before continuing.

Ford recommends changing the left and right lower intake manifold gaskets and the front cover gasket whenever there is unexplained coolant loss in their 1997 – 1999 pickups equipped with the 4.2 liter V-6. My hunch was that one of the intake gaskets had failed because of a rough idle when the truck was cold and because I had never f0und any sign of moisture in the oil. So I postponed replacement of the front cover gasket. The biggest problem I had was reattaching the IMRC actuators to the back side of the intake manifold. I would hold the lower cap screw, slip my hand in the small space between the left actuator and the firewall only to discover that I had dislodged the actuator and I couldn’t move my hand. My wife could do it, but I must admit being prone across the engine with no support at all from her feet and reaching down there looked like an activity that would shortly lead to complaints.

Upon finishing the job, I got another check engine light, but it was only the throttle position sensor. This was not a big concern because I did no work on the TPS but for unplugging and re-connecting it.  It did not re-appear after I reset the code, unplugged the TPS cable and plugged it back in. I may have a loose connection or a failing part, but I will wait for another check engine light before investigating further. The manufacturer recommends an immediate oil and filter change following the repair because removing the intake manifold causes coolant to enter the oil reservoir. I decided to drive the vehicle about one mile to get the water off the gallery in the engine, stir and mix the water with the oil,  and get it warm so it flowed out well. It did. It looked like a Starbuck’s frappuccino. Then the frightening part became apparent. When I re-started after the oil change, coolant started dripping from the exhaust pipe. This indicates a failed head gasket, cracked block or cracked head. But it could also indicate I pumped a slug of coolant into the exhaust on the last start before the repair. Based on the performance of the truck – it runs better than it has in years, the stability of  the coolant level, the continued lack of water in the oil, and the coolant drip ceasing on subsequent uses, I assume that my repair is holding and did in fact remedy the problem.



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