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Thermostat Housing: Why they leak and permanent fix

Thread in 'Engine' started by Paul Fithian, Dec 21, 2018.

  1. Paul Fithian

    Paul Fithian Member 2nd Gen Owner 2 Wheel Drive V8 Engine

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    I have posted this on some other forums and wanted to post here for fellow Sport Trac owners. Bottom line is you are wasting your time and money on anything other than a Simmons aluminum thermostat housing.

    While on a recent trip to Florida, the tensioner pulley seized, destroyed the belt, and caused overheating. This also split the seam on the nylon thermostat housing, which required replacement to get home, more than a thousand miles away. A local NAPA store was great at getting one in from Jacksonville that day, Part No S4402AT by Motorad. As a side note, our local NAPA store stocks these in our town of 30,000 people, indicating high demand.

    This new plastic thermostat housing started leaking ~ 1,500 miles after I installed it shows evidence of weld line separation and where it leaked.

    S4402AT Weld Line Separation.jpg

    Of most interest are the date codes on these parts, they were molded several months apart before welding. This is key to understanding the failure.
    S4402 Lower Date Code.jpg
    S4402 Upper Date Code.jpg

    These parts are molded from glass filled nylon, which will absorb moisture from the air. Nylon parts should be welded together immediately after molding to prevent moisture absorption. This moisture absorption has a great effect on weld strength, as documented in DuPont's literature regarding best practices for welding nylon:

    " b. Effect of Moisture on ZYTEL. Nylon resins absorb somewhat more moisture from the air after molding than most other plastics. When released from joint surfaces during welding, moisture causes poor weld quality. For best results, parts of ZYTEL should either be ultrasonically welded immediately after molding or kept in a dry-as-molded condition prior to welding. Exposure of 1 or 2 days to 50% relative humidity at 23°C is sufficient to degrade weld quality by 50% or more . . ."

    So to fix this, I installed an Austekk aluminum thermostat housing. This also started to leak after ~ 1,000 miles.
    Austekk Housing Leak.jpg

    This great video explains why:


    If you want to do this difficult job once and have it last, an aluminum Simmons Autosportz is the only one I recommend. Check https://simmonsautosportz.com
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2018
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  2. swshawaii

    swshawaii Well-Known Member 1st Gen Owner 2 Wheel Drive V6 Engine

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    Had to be a reason the Simmons is almost 3x the price of the Austekk. Thanks for your thorough research Paul.
     
  3. Paul Fithian

    Paul Fithian Member 2nd Gen Owner 2 Wheel Drive V8 Engine

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    My pleasure! The difficulty of replacing this, especially on a Gen 1 Sport trac, totally outweighs the cost differential.

    Perhaps another member can have a look at the date codes on other failures and confirm the time difference between when the parts were molded.
     
  4. Todd Z

    Todd Z Well-Known Member 2nd Gen Owner V6 Engine V8 Engine

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    All the plastic sucks, its a bad design, and durability of plastic is not there.....
    ALSO the bottom seal, sideways ring, not even an o ring, is CRAP !!!! the aluminum is not machined clean so its planned obsolescence at its best !!!!!

    Apply a thin layer of Ultra copper between the housing and block OR use the paper gasket and youll never change it again !!!

    Been doing this since the aluminum one came out.... Ive installed about 20.....
     
  5. Paul Fithian

    Paul Fithian Member 2nd Gen Owner 2 Wheel Drive V8 Engine

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    It's not that the material sucks, glass filled nylon is used in a lot of underhood applications. Radiator end tanks, power steering reservoirs, coolant reservoirs, intake manifolds, fan shrouds, and fans are some examples. I used to do a lot of this type of automotive development work for one of the big nylon suppliers. Nylon can be used with great success, but the rules for part design, molding, welding, fastening, and sealing have to be followed.

    If these were made in a production cell where the parts were welded immediately after molding, using a vibration instead of ultrasonic weld joint, it would last.
     
  6. Todd Z

    Todd Z Well-Known Member 2nd Gen Owner V6 Engine V8 Engine

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    Exactly my point.... Everything you named fails on the ST... LOL.......
     
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  7. Paul Fithian

    Paul Fithian Member 2nd Gen Owner 2 Wheel Drive V8 Engine

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    If they fail, one or more of the rules I listed were violated.

    All cars made in the past 20+ years use nylon for these parts. It enables cost and weight savings. For intake manifolds, it increases engine HP and torque due to smoother interior walls and colder air charge.
     
  8. EddieS'04

    EddieS'04 Well-Known Member 1st Gen Owner 2 Wheel Drive V6 Engine

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    I bought the simmons for my Trac....
    I also didnot like the way the other were made.
     
  9. Todd Z

    Todd Z Well-Known Member 2nd Gen Owner V6 Engine V8 Engine

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    Eddie, I thought you ran the Austekk on yours ?? Forget it, It was Mark....
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2018
  10. Todd Z

    Todd Z Well-Known Member 2nd Gen Owner V6 Engine V8 Engine

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    Doing a little research on this.... the Aluminum housing posted above IS NOT the Austekk one !!! its the knockoff a (Tom) or some one else is peddling..... The Austekk housing has Austekk Molded in the top cover and the part number on the RED hose In the box is not ATX its ATK....

    SO be careful what you buy !! it could be cheep knock off and screwing a good product !!!
     
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  11. EddieS'04

    EddieS'04 Well-Known Member 1st Gen Owner 2 Wheel Drive V6 Engine

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    Todd, I liked the one piece main body, plus I trusted the forged nipple. In the old days of sheet metal type nipples. I have had them to rust rot. If they were screw in type from SS or bronze. They held up, and when they did get thin. They were easy to screw out of the cast iron. For replacment. With the correct coolant mix, they lasted forever, almost. Most of the old style were NPT threads. I have used pipe nipples in a pinch.
     
  12. EddieS'04

    EddieS'04 Well-Known Member 1st Gen Owner 2 Wheel Drive V6 Engine

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    IMO, the best use of the plastic nylon, is the intake manifolds. Other than some at the TB throat. The runners usually are supported of more HP than the metal runners. They dont have to be extrude honed. Runner ID is generous and smooth, and less heat soak. Port matching is good for OEM also. Ford did have some early 4.6L lowers that cracked though.
     
  13. Todd Z

    Todd Z Well-Known Member 2nd Gen Owner V6 Engine V8 Engine

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    Ok I understand about that, I just doing research like I said above and it seems some one is doing "bad business" practices and using other knockoffs to slam a company.... I despise that coming from small business my self....... Don't always believe what you see on the internet.....
     
  14. Todd Z

    Todd Z Well-Known Member 2nd Gen Owner V6 Engine V8 Engine

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    THIS is the real Austekk, has their name in it from what I have found.... any other not having this is the knockoff....
    I wish Mark would chime in on what he got.....
     

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  15. Paul Fithian

    Paul Fithian Member 2nd Gen Owner 2 Wheel Drive V8 Engine

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    That is also the one with the real leak.
     
  16. K Thomas

    K Thomas Member 2nd Gen Owner 2 Wheel Drive V6 Engine

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    So tell me, why does it look like the supposed leaking part doesn't look like it was installed? Maybe you are Simmons, or a buddy and just trying to bad mouth a better product....DON'T TRUST THIS GUY'S POST.
     
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  17. Paul Fithian

    Paul Fithian Member 2nd Gen Owner 2 Wheel Drive V8 Engine

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    Both were installed and leaked. The Austekk one is still on the truck, and leaking. Waiting for the Simmons part to arrive before I remove the leaking Austekk one.

    I rinsed off the NAPA one before I returned it to them for a refund.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2018
  18. swshawaii

    swshawaii Well-Known Member 1st Gen Owner 2 Wheel Drive V6 Engine

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    These are the "tomautoparts" kits Todd is referring to:

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-ALUMIN...S-FOR-02-10-EXPLORER-MOUNTAINEER/223214837870

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-ALUMIN...T-FOR-02-10-EXPLORER-MOUNTAINEER/223214846817

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-ALUMIN...S-FOR-02-10-EXPLORER-MOUNTAINEER/223214829726
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2018
  19. K Thomas

    K Thomas Member 2nd Gen Owner 2 Wheel Drive V6 Engine

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    Forged "nipples" is a weak spot that will likely crack sooner or later, the Austekk has machined aluminum double sealed, and won't leak regardless of what Simmons buddy Paul (or maybe simmons himself" says.
     
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  20. K Thomas

    K Thomas Member 2nd Gen Owner 2 Wheel Drive V6 Engine

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    So in other words, by your own words your are a scammer "rinsed off for refund" WOW....Anyone that reads your posts should take note, NOT HONEST!
     
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