The intake manifold on the modular 4.6 is known for failing and leaking coolant (sometimes spectacularly). About a year and a half ago, my Crown Vic started leaking a little down the back of the block. In December, it started getting worse until recently when I noticed coolant just about everywhere it could be on top of the engine, and had to refill it almost daily.

Removed: Alternator, throttle body, plenum, ignition coils, fuel rails/injectors, emissions stuff, entire wiper/cowl assembly (for access), 15 years of dirt and corrosion, some more stuff I’m surely forgetting

So most of yesterday was spent replacing that manifold. It’s possible my leak was just the gaskets, but considering the reputation of this manifold to fail, I wasn’t about to find out otherwise. Being a (relatively) modern car, there is a lot of stuff in need of removal, as can be seen above, to get the intake off.

I have a 2-car garage, so why not work in the driveway as far from the toolbox as possible?

Once I finally got everything apart (mainly challenged by the fact that every bolt was rusty and stuck to some degree - including one of the wiper/cowl bolts that I ended up having to drill out) I found that the head surface near the water port that was the first to leak had been eroded away some. Nothing that a little RTV shouldn’t handle, though.

That bracket on the right was incredibly inconvenient, and of course refused to come off where it’s bolted to the back of the engine. At least it came loose a little.

My alternator had been on the fritz as well, so I took advantage of the opportunity to replace it while everything else was apart. I also replaced a ground strap on the back of the engine that has been broken as long as I’ve had the car, since it was actually accessible at this point.

Blurry picture courtesy of the setting sun and a 5-year-old phone.

After much reassembly and letting it set overnight, it seems to be good to go. Filled the coolant back up and went for a drive, no obvious leaks (yet...) and seems to be running pretty well. As a thank-you, the car left me a business-card-sized present when I closed the door.

Yes, that’s rust. I don’t have rocker panels behind the trim anymore, and the pinch welds are rapidly disappearing. Weirdly, the frame is in good shape. The coming winter will probably be this car’s last.