Ford Explorer Sport Trac Problems

Plastic Intake Manifold May Crack Causing Coolant Leak on Ford Explorer Sport Trac

Problem Description and Possible Solution

The Ford Explorer Sport Trac with the 100% plastic intake manifold  is known for engine overheating, even with normal use, and a coolant leak from the front of the manifold. This will often trigger the check engine light and low engine coolant warning light.

The engine coolant leak is from a factory defect, which causes cracking on the front coolant passage of the intake manifold. In a very short time, this leak will lead to engine overheating issues, especially while the vehicle is idling.   

Between 1999 and 2001, Ford released an updated version of this engine, known as the 'PI' version with a metal coolant passage on the front of the intake manifold, to prevent future issues.

There is no factory authorized repair for the intake manifold, and replacement is required to correct the engine coolant leak and overheating issues.


(128 people reported this problem)

Ford Explorer Sport Trac Vehicles With This Problem

RepairPal Verified
Average mileage: 126,363 (10,700–270,000)
Engines affected: 4.0L V6, 4.0L V6 SOHC, 4.6L V8
7 model years affected: 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, more2005, 2007, 2008
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Viewing 1-20 of 59 comments
My 2007 Explorer Limited is using atifreeze very faast and it is niot not showing up on the garage floor. It does not seem to be the heater core, because there is no coolant smoell in cab and no residue coming out of dedfroster/heater. I am looking for a way to check the plastic intake manifold for leakage.
I just got a a word that the leak coming out of my thermostat originated from my intake manifold and it going to cost $700. Part is exclusive Delear part. They need a recall.
Overheated with steam coming from under hood. I thought that it was the thermostat housing, but after taking the cover off found that it wasn't cracked and the leak coming from beneath. I was under the assumption that this was still the bottom half of the thermostat housing, but it is apparent from what I'm reading that it is the gasket for the intake housing. Difficult to get to, had vehicle towed to mechanic for repairs. Now awaiting the verdict. I'm sure that I'll be coaxed into the notion that it is the entire intake manifold.$$$$$ What can I say,...gotta have my transportation.
Engine overheating/loss of coolant. Housing split. Pressure test confirmed. Replacing upper & lower housing&thermostat.
craked intake under the thermostat housing. its not fixed. i wasn't the original owner. so ford told me to go away. they can't help me. but i've been driving with it like this for a while. all i can do is pray i don't break down in the middle of no where with my kids. but hey. what does ford care bout that. tey got tere money worth.
I went on vacation my 2005 sport trac broke down, steam coming out. Had to have it towed, slept in a truck stop on a friday night in no name Giorgia. 36 hours later and $500 I was back on road. Came back home from vacation and the exact same thing happen again. I got screwed by Ford and the mechanics
I have a 2002 Ford Explorer with 4.6L V-8 engine. I noticed loss of coolant but no apparent leak. I saw some coolant on top of engine block after driving. I pressured tested the cooling system and saw coolant leak at base of lower metal thermostat housing where it meets the black plastic intake manifold. Since the lower metal thermostat housing is part of the black plastic intake manifold, it looks like the entire black plastic intake manifold will need to be replaced. :-(
Dam they have it close with the 115,000 miles.

Mine went while out to dinner. Tried to make in home filling up at autozone but gets to hot. $70 for tow to dealer, see what cost monday.
Smell antifreeze. But nothing on the ground. When I look under the hood. Theirs a redish look moist wet substance on the top of the engine. Behind thermostat housing. Where and what is this.Its right under the black plastic cover with 4.0 on it.
Coolant on top of engine. Did a quick search on the Internet. First thing that pops up is this website. Read some of people storys. So I let the car cool down. Started back up let it warm up. There it was in the back side of the housing. Where the too pieces meat up. Plastic was worped.
Lucky for me I'm good with a wrench, unlike some that got ripped off by dealers or shops that charged $600 to $800 dollars for a $78. Part. Anyone can do it, 3 bolts ,3 hoses and a clip. Complete change in 10 minutes. There's a metal housing for $178 you can get. But 138 miles on explorer an the housing now broke may as well put a plastic one on again hoping to get nather 138000 miles out of it. But the way ford been I doubt it. Hell at 90000 miles the transmission went out. Dumb ideal 2 put a plastic housing near something that gets hot time an time again.
Observed smoking from the engine on the freeway. Ford dealership diagnosed issue as cracked thermostat housing. Cost to repair is $711.
I haven't fixed it yet but the thermostat housing is cracked and had drained the coolant and created overheating
Cracked lower housing.
Very easy to fix.
All hoses, housing which has new thermostat included and antifreeze in stock at O'Reilys and right at a hundred bucks.
Common issue so part is in stock.
The temp gauge worked but car has a warning indicator and noise so I noticed the sound and pulled over and saved head gaskets.
Loaded and towing when happened. Idled with heat on high while hot outside but saved motor.
Not a break idea to engineer a plastic housing above the heat sink area of the motor. But. The warning devices worked. Parts are cheap and available. Easy to install.
Still want to drive a ford.
Leaking coolant. Haven't fixed. Not driving truck. Can't afford the parts to fix it. Will wait till spring 2016.