The dreaded coolant heater banjo pipe...LEAVE IT ALONE! Any advice? VIDEO ADDED!!!!

the t3d

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#1
I think I done messed up. All because I wanted to replace it with a new one I bought from Driftmotion. When the motor was on the stand, I tried to remove it so I could replace it and was immediately regretting it when I saw how difficult it was being just with a few turns. I said screw it, and tried to tighten back down as much as I could, but I knew that one day it could come back to haunt me. Today was that day. This motor has not even ran yet, so this is extremely frustrating. I filled it up with coolant today and did a pressure test to about 14psi. And while she appeared to not lose any pressure at all for a good while, I did my inspection. I dreaded putting my finger and flashlight back there because I just had a feeling and sure enough, wetness. Not pissing out or a steady drip but noticeable wetness. My brain wants me to think its coming from the rubber cap I put on it, but I know it's from the washer area. I'm so mad. If I would have just left it alone I probably wouldn't have had to even worry about this. My only options I believe are to see if I can somehow tighten it a little bit more from the top, possibly by making a tool, or removing the damn head from my almost finished engine bay and just hope that the threads don't come out with it. I was trying to find other similar stories and didn't have much luck. So, if anyone wants to relive their ugly past with this issue, please share with me what you had to go through and how did you manage to fix the issue. My fear is having the threads stripped upon removal of the pipe and struggling to fix a gaping hole in my head. Look at all the work is done! I'm just very annoyed with this. If I do have to take this apart, I wanted to hear it run at least once before I dealt with this issue because I haven't heard her run in over 5 years and I am so close. It's not pissing out or anything, and I think I had this same issue on my last motor. I just kept an eye on it and topped it off until another part of the headgasket sealing surface blew out. Have a look!


 

3p141592654

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#2
I replaced mine about 10 years ago. There are two typical outcomes. Ones is the banjo breaks off and your left with the threads in the head. That did not happen to me. But there are some posts on this site (IJ I believe) where he used a big square easy out to remove it.

In my case it was like yours. I was able to break it loose, then it jammed up as I tried to remove it. In my case I flooded the threads with PB blaster and worked it back and forth slowly. Eventually after some hair raising suspense it came out. There were damaged threads, but not enough to matter. I was glad I got it out because there was internal corrosion on that steel pipe.

Assuming its not the hoses, your leak probably comes from one of the two flat gaskets that seals the connection. The seal may have been damaged by the partial removal. In my case, the loss of a few threads in the head did not prevent me from installing to rated torque on replacement, and it has been fine ever since.

I used a zinc based anti-seize when I put it back together. I hope if I ever have to do it again it will not be an issue.

Image1.jpg
 
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Piratetip

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#3
Before you attempt anything I would recommend the following:

- Clean the area thoroughly with brake clean or cleaner of your choice to get the area completely dry.
You may need to use some compressed air as well.

- Use your mirror to observe exactly where the leak is coming from.
Could be the Cap or either of the crush washers.

Once you know the source of the leak you can weigh the options for the fix.
 

the t3d

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I replaced mine about 10 years ago. There are two typical outcomes. Ones is the banjo breaks off and your left with the threads in the head. That did not happen to me. But there are some posts on this site (IJ I believe) where he used a big square easy out to remove it.

In my case it was like yours. I was able to break it loose, then it jammed up as I tried to remove it. In my case I flooded the threads with PB blaster and worked it back and forth slowly. Eventually after some hair raising suspense it came out. There were damaged threads, but not enough to matter. I was glad I got it out because there was internal corrosion on that steel pipe.

Assuming its not the hoses, your leak probably comes from one of the two flat gaskets that seals the connection. The seal may have been damaged by the partial removal. In my case, the loss of a few threads in the head did not prevent me from installing to rated torque on replacement, and it has been fine ever since.

I used a zinc based anti-seize when I put it back together. I hope if I ever have to do it again it will not be an issue.

View attachment 80481
Good advice, and Lady Luck was certainly on your side. You did all this with the head out of the car didn't you?
 

the t3d

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Before you attempt anything I would recommend the following:

- Clean the area thoroughly with brake clean or cleaner of your choice to get the area completely dry.
You may need to use some compressed air as well.

- Use your mirror to observe exactly where the leak is coming from.
Could be the Cap or either of the crush washers.

Once you know the source of the leak you can weigh the options for the fix.
Yea, my next step was to get some brake cleaner and clean the area thoroughly and recheck it. I wish I had a little camera with a scope for tight spaces. I think I'm gonna replace cap anyways to eliminate that because there is slight cracking but nothing that looks piercing. But if it's not the hose cap, the head is gonna have to come off isn't it? Also, thank you.
 

3p141592654

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Yes, it was done out of the car unfortunately. My experience replacing just the hoses back there would make me think getting the banjo out would be very frustrating.

Good advice from Pirate to make sure its not something simple first.
 
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plaaya69

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#7
You do get more room once you remove the valve covers too but cover up the exposed cams with a large bag so you do not drop any debris into the cylinder head. A standard deep impact socket (32mm iirc) with a breaker bar should fit in the rear.

I have seen those rubber cap's leak/fail quite fast as the rubber almost seems to soft on those compared to a normal reinforced coolant hose. Your motor is looking very nice by the way and I know it is frustrating with last minuet problems but just take your time on the repair and double check the leak in a dry area again.
 
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the t3d

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The only simple thing is I positioned the hose clamps so they are very accessible. I just purchased some more cans of brake cleaner, and I'm gonna hit up Harbor Freight tomorrow. Gonna drain it a little, remove and replace the rubber cap, clean it thoroughly, fill her back up, and then re-pressure test it. I found one thread that mentioned trimming down a 32mm deep socket to fit it on there to try and give it an extra turn to tighten it. If I'm going to have to remove the head eventually to replace it, I might as well try to see what I can do with it on the car. I think I would want to try and loosen it first to avoid snapping it by overtightening it, and then see if I can crank her down. But I may wait on the extra turn test because I'm so close to getting running, that I just wanna hear it run before I have to tear it all apart. Plus, if by some miracle she starts to come out on her own, I may be able to replace it with it on the car. Shit is makes me nervous! Breaks my heart, but you gotta do what you gotta do I guess.
 
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the t3d

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You do get more room once you remove the valve covers too but cover up the exposed cams with a large bag so you do not drop any debris into the cylinder head. A standard deep impact socket (32mm iirc) with a breaker bar should fit in the rear.

I have seen those rubber cap's leak/fail quite fast as the rubber almost seems to soft on those compared to a normal reinforced coolant hose. Your motor is looking very nice by the way and I know it is frustrating with last minuet problems but just take your time on the repair and double check the leak in a dry area again.
I appreciate that very much. I'll be starting aerospace engineering school in the Fall and was hoping to drive this to Melbourne (across the state) by the time August came around. I love/hate that I'm a perfectionist and feel anxiety when I know something isn't right when it should be. I start a full-time job as a machine shop assistant that pays decent. That will definitely help with my expenses that sure to come, and maybe I can learn some tricks while I'm working there. Thanks again for the advice.
 

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oh the fun... could just dump a gallon of silicone on it lol. easy way to get at it is weld on nut to a socket and use a wrench
 

the t3d

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oh the fun... could just dump a gallon of silicone on it lol. easy way to get at it is weld on nut to a socket and use a wrench
lol trust me I've considered it. I have a deep 32mm socket arriving today to see if I can get it on there and maybe get an extra turn. Then I'll go from there.
 

NashMan

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The gasket is fiber coated so good luck, hopefully ya have a welder welding on the socket is the easyest
 

DeadlyWrenches

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You mentioned how difficult it was to remove after just a few turns. So even if it was staring you right in the face with no interference, you are back at square one with the real possibility of ruining the cylinder head. Which would be a real shame to abandon the remaining service life of a 7M head over something like this (human induced failure).

You could try to tighten it. Either off the vehicle or with a welded nut.

You might HAVE to replace the sealing washers. They are aluminum and once crushed that's it. You could possibly snap off the threaded part of the fitting into the head, or the cylinder head threads could get ruined during removal. I would soak it a few days in ATF.

You could slap grey rtv meant to resist glycol in that area as mentioned. It would work if the area was completely dry and you let it cure 24 hours.
 

the t3d

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You mentioned how difficult it was to remove after just a few turns. So even if it was staring you right in the face with no interference, you are back at square one with the real possibility of ruining the cylinder head. Which would be a real shame to abandon the remaining service life of a 7M head over something like this (human induced failure).

You could try to tighten it. Either off the vehicle or with a welded nut.

You might HAVE to replace the sealing washers. They are aluminum and once crushed that's it. You could possibly snap off the threaded part of the fitting into the head, or the cylinder head threads could get ruined during removal. I would soak it a few days in ATF.

You could slap grey rtv meant to resist glycol in that area as mentioned. It would work if the area was completely dry and you let it cure 24 hours.
Trust me, I regret even looking at it. I appreciate all the recommendations while you remind me of my f-up, I actually do. I am going to try to snug it down carefully, and I may try and seal it up, RTV style. Do you know which particular silicon I would need to deal with coolant? I am too nervous at the moment to try and remove and replace it just yet, but if the leak neither improves or gets worse, I will consider removing the head. I will be sad, but I'll do what I have to.
 

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Great video and description. Kudos on that.

Why not remove the engine as a whole? Leave the head alone, just pull the motor/trans. It's an afternoon of work, sure, but you'll have good access and can really take your time to do it right while not messing with the fussy 7M head and head gasket. I would really worry about ruining the head by over-tightening.

I don't believe any RTV applied topically will buy you any sealing at all. You need to replace that crush washer.

Pull the motor/trans and try to follow Pi's advice. I'd also add some careful heat with a heat gun (not a torch).

I've dealt with a few tough union joints at the back of a 7M and always been able to get them swapped out. Some did require some careful, hair-raising removal, but going slow, using lube and heat have worked for me. If you really screw it up and damage the head I think that's the best place to do it. It should be relatively easy to repair the threads and sealing surfaces.
 
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the t3d

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Great video and description. Kudos on that.

Why not remove the engine as a whole? Leave the head alone, just pull the motor/trans. It's an afternoon of work, sure, but you'll have good access and can really take your time to do it right while not messing with the fussy 7M head and head gasket. I would really worry about ruining the head by over-tightening.

I don't believe any RTV applied topically will buy you any sealing at all. You need to replace that crush washer.

Pull the motor/trans and try to follow Pi's advice. I'd also add some careful heat with a heat gun (not a torch).

I've dealt with a few tough union joints at the back of a 7M and always been able to get them swapped out. Some did require some careful, hair-raising removal, but going slow, using lube and heat have worked for me. If you really screw it up and damage the head I think that's the best place to do it. It should be relatively easy to repair the threads and sealing surfaces.
While I totally understand that, I think I would rather remove the head. It was such a pain in the ass to remove the motor and tranny and reinstall it last time, it almost seems more manageable to just remove the head instead. If I had a better hoist and other tools to make it go smoother, I'd probably go that route. I'm gonna get it to run first, since I'm so damn close, and then I'll probably bite the bullet and just pull the head.

I kind of agree regarding the silicon, mostly because if I can't thorough coat it all around and at the top and bottom washer, it's still gonna leak. I was just gonna try one little snug turn, and since I will most likely be removing the head anyway, the machine shop may be dealing with this regardless. They can pressure test it and will have more tools than I to fix it if something goes wrong. And since the head is stock, I may have them beef it up a bit. What a pain in the ass this is...I appreciate the advice though. I love your Youtube videos!
 
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suprarx7nut

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While I totally understand that, I think I would rather remove the head. It was such a pain in the ass to remove the motor and tranny and reinstall it last time, it almost seems more manageable to just remove the head instead. If I had a better hoist and other tools to make it go smoother, I'd probably go that route. I'm gonna get it to run first, since I'm so damn close, and then I'll probably bite the bullet and just pull the head.

I kind of agree regarding the silicon, mostly because if I can't thorough coat it all around and at the top and bottom washer, it's still gonna leak. I was just gonna try one little snug turn, and since I will most likely be removing the head anyway, the machine shop may be dealing with this regardless. They can pressure test it and will have more tools than I to fix it if something goes wrong. And since the head is stock, I may have them beef it up a bit. What a pain in the ass this is...I appreciate the advice though. I love your Youtube videos!
Fair enough. I'd probably run it as is first, too. If anything else is weird, that'll give you the chance to address it.

Good luck and thanks for the kind words! Wish I had more time to edit and post footage. :(
 

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#22
I disagree with removing/unbolting the engine and transmission to repair this issue.

First, trying to work the fitting with about 1000 lbs of dangling metal doesn't sound fun OR safe. You could bump a brittle part of the engine and break something else. You could hurt your self if your lift mechanism slips or fails. Not smart.

Second, if the wheels fall off the bus (damaged, unusable threads in cylinder head) now you either HAVE to remove the cylinder head to attempt personal repair, send it to a machine shop, or you have to attempt repair with your swinging 1000 lbs of death.
 

the t3d

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I disagree with removing/unbolting the engine and transmission to repair this issue.

First, trying to work the fitting with about 1000 lbs of dangling metal doesn't sound fun OR safe. You could bump a brittle part of the engine and break something else. You could hurt your self if your lift mechanism slips or fails. Not smart.

Second, if the wheels fall off the bus (damaged, unusable threads in cylinder head) now you either HAVE to remove the cylinder head to attempt personal repair, send it to a machine shop, or you have to attempt repair with your swinging 1000 lbs of death.
I agree with all of this but you didn't add your repair advice lol. I'm assuming you are suggesting just removing the head and sending it to a machine shop, no?
 

the t3d

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Fair enough. I'd probably run it as is first, too. If anything else is weird, that'll give you the chance to address it.

Good luck and thanks for the kind words! Wish I had more time to edit and post footage. :(
I can totally understand the video editing and the time needed for it. I have taken over 4,000 pictures of this build, with some videos here and there. The editing is what would kill me, but I love having a library to remind me that I have combed through everything. And if I ever forget I did something, I can always go back and search for it. Document everything!
 

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#25
Jack the car up, put stands under the chassis rails, unbolt the subframe and lower it a few inches with your jack. Should give you a heap of access the the back of the head. Valve covers off will give you even more.

If you feel resistance unscrewing it then stop and screw it back in half a turn before continuing. Use lots of WD40 spray.

The thread for the banjo is either 20x1.5 or 22x1.5 and may need to be chased depending how damaged it is.

New crush washers for sure, silicone on the outside will do SFA.
 
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the t3d

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Jack the car up, put stands under the chassis rails, unbolt the subframe and lower it a few inches with your jack. Should give you a heap of access the the back of the head. Valve covers off will give you even more.

If you feel resistance unscrewing it then stop and screw it back in half a turn before continuing. Use lots of WD40 spray.

The thread for the banjo is either 20x1.5 or 22x1.5 and may need to be chased depending how damaged it is.

New crush washers for sure, silicone on the outside will do SFA.
This route intrigues me a little. I don't know how long the subframe bolts are, but I know they are pretty long. But even an inch of extra room is pretty good. I just don't want the subframe to slip out from hanging on by just a few threads. I suppose I can unbolt just one and see how much of the threads are inside the frame and use that as a guide. You have any other advice regarding this?

And regarding the silicon on the outside, what does the SFA part mean?
 

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You'll probably only get an inch or less if you leave the bolts in but try one first as you suggested. If it were me I would support it with a jack and remove the bolts altogether. Then lower the jack with stands underneath for safety. If you remove the locking bolts on the spines where the steering column goes into the rack you should get 2-3" out of it. My experience is with cressidas but I would think the mk3 would be similar.
Obviously check carefully you aren't stretching/pulling on anything as you lower the motor but a couple of inches should be ok.

SFA = Sweet fuck all = won't do any good
 
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the t3d

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You'll probably only get an inch or less if you leave the bolts in but try one first as you suggested. If it were me I would support it with a jack and remove the bolts altogether. Then lower the jack with stands underneath for safety. If you remove the locking bolts on the spines where the steering column goes into the rack you should get 2-3" out of it. My experience is with cressidas but I would think the mk3 would be similar.
Obviously check carefully you aren't stretching/pulling on anything as you lower the motor but a couple of inches should be ok.

SFA = Sweet fuck all = won't do any good
I kinda like this idea, but do you think I should try a light tightening of what's on there now? Or just wait to deal with it when I am ready to replace it? Regardless, my focus is to get her running to see how everything else is functioning. I'm glad it's just a slight drip because it will allow me to hear her run for the first time in over five years without any further damage or overheating, and check out how the other systems are functioning. Then after a few manly tears and some video, I can bite the bullet and work on this issue. And yea, I definitely would not have figured out "sweet fuck all". Thank you again for all the help.
 

andrew_mx83

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Sure you could fire it up but id Just fix it now. What's an extra days work after a 5 year wait?
7m's that leak coolant, don't seem to end well.

SFA must be an aussie term then.
 

the t3d

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Sure you could fire it up but id Just fix it now. What's an extra days work after a 5 year wait?
7m's that leak coolant, don't seem to end well.

SFA must be an aussie term then.
Well, going this route would prevent a lot of engine dismantling, which is was one of the main reasons I wanted to get it running first before taking it all apart. BUT if this allows me to remove the part on the car, then fixing the problem beforehand isn't a terrible idea. But I did pressure test this thing to know that it won't be pissing out, which gives me some peace of mind. My biggest worry is that if something DOES go wrong, then I'll have to remove the head and then wait to hear her run. I hate that I'm getting more impatient with this thing since I am so damn close to finishing her. It clouds my decision making and I'm an extreme overthinker. And yes, most likely an Aussie thing. SOL is more American, I guess. "Shit outta luck"
 

3p141592654

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#31
Fire it up. Check that there are no other hidden issues. Then repair the banjo. Would suck to repair the banjo only to find out that there was a second issue that you could have fixed as well while you were there.
 

the t3d

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Fire it up. Check that there are no other hidden issues. Then repair the banjo. Would suck to repair the banjo only to find out that there was a second issue that you could have fixed as well while you were there.
I 100% agree. I found a vacuum leak near one of the injectors and I have a smoke tester machine on its way so I can confirm exactly where it is leaking from. I will be fixing that issue and checking for other vacuum leaks. Then after filling all the rest of the fluids up, connecting all the electrical connections, and wiring in the battery and accessories, I will be ready to officially fire her up and see how she sounds/performs. Would you agree that I should just let her run in the driveway and inspect rather than try and take her out on a spin. I wanna do the break-in process very thoroughly so I would rather just wait til all leaks are fixed, but damn it will be tempting to want to take her around the block. DISCIPLINE!!!
 

suprarx7nut

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#34
I disagree with removing/unbolting the engine and transmission to repair this issue.

First, trying to work the fitting with about 1000 lbs of dangling metal doesn't sound fun OR safe. You could bump a brittle part of the engine and break something else. You could hurt your self if your lift mechanism slips or fails. Not smart.

Second, if the wheels fall off the bus (damaged, unusable threads in cylinder head) now you either HAVE to remove the cylinder head to attempt personal repair, send it to a machine shop, or you have to attempt repair with your swinging 1000 lbs of death.
If anyone is dangling 1000 lbs of metal from a MK3, they might have accidentally picked up the subframe along with the engine/trans! When I had my 7MGTE shipped with accessories it was around 400lbs if memory serves. Tack on another 100-150 for the trans and you should struggle to push 600-700 lbs. Still heavy, granted, but well shy of 1000.

I also assume OP has a decent hoist and an engine stand as the engine was just out of car recently. You wouldn't work on the dangling piece of metal, you'd install it on an engine stand so it's nice and safe. :) I'd be more leery of a putting a car on jackstands than pulling a motor - from a safety perspective.


For the break in period, I wouldn't sweat the difference between a warm up in the driveway and immediate shut down vs a warm up and spin around the block. I'm no engine builder expert though, so perhaps others with more performance build experience can chime in. I would at least drive it up and down the street to ensure the clutch/trans are happy.
 
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the t3d

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If anyone is dangling 1000 lbs of metal from a MK3, they might have accidentally picked up the subframe along with the engine/trans! When I had my 7MGTE shipped with accessories it was around 400lbs if memory serves. Tack on another 100-150 for the trans and you should struggle to push 600-700 lbs. Still heavy, granted, but well shy of 1000.

I also assume OP has a decent hoist and an engine stand as the engine was just out of car recently. You wouldn't work on the dangling piece of metal, you'd install it on an engine stand so it's nice and safe. :) I'd be more leery of a putting a car on jackstands than pulling a motor - from a safety perspective.


For the break in period, I wouldn't sweat the difference between a warm up in the driveway and immediate shut down vs a warm up and spin around the block. I'm no engine builder expert though, so perhaps others with more performance build experience can chime in. I would at least drive it up and down the street to ensure the clutch/trans are happy.
I would say I have a decent hoist, but as you extend the arm further the weight limit is being pushed too far and it scares the shit of me. I don't mind the jackstand route, because I can shake test the hell out of the car to know that it wont be going anywhere. The biggest issue is maintaining the subframe in position if the bolts are all the way, and then somehow it slips. But gauging how much of the threads of the bolts are actually in the frame will at least give me an idea of how much I can lower it with and without the bolts installed.

Regardless, I think I will start to tackle this job after I get her running. I need to replace the injector o-rings, smoke test the car, boost leak test the intercooler piping system, connect the ecu connectors, fill the power steering system, purchase and install a battery, and she'll be ready to fire in the driveway. To drive it around the block, I want to replace the brake master cylinder as all calipers and rotors have been replaced, and then replace my front strut mounts because they are completely shot. Overall it isn't much. It was this stupid little coolant leak that is messing everything up dammit!
 

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#37
Mine broke off and I had to have the machine shop remove the remains. I also had to buy a tap for it, which cost about $80. So if you need to borrow that tap, I'll loan it to you pay for shipping.
-AM3
 
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the t3d

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#38
Mine broke off and I had to have the machine shop remove the remains. I also had to buy a tap for it, which cost about $80. So if you need to borrow that tap, I'll loan it to you pay for shipping.
-AM3
First off, I am sorry that happened to you. Did it happen with the motor on or off the car? And if you don't mind me asking, what did it run you to get the machine shop to fix it? Also, that would be absolutely amazing that you would offer that. I did have a feeling that since the hole is huge, the tap would be expensive as hell. I won't be attempting to fix this issue until after I get her running and test the rest of the other systems, but I will definitely keep you in mind for when I attack this. Once again, I really appreciate it.
 

Another MkIII

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#39
First off, I am sorry that happened to you. Did it happen with the motor on or off the car? And if you don't mind me asking, what did it run you to get the machine shop to fix it? Also, that would be absolutely amazing that you would offer that. I did have a feeling that since the hole is huge, the tap would be expensive as hell. I won't be attempting to fix this issue until after I get her running and test the rest of the other systems, but I will definitely keep you in mind for when I attack this. Once again, I really appreciate it.
Its no big deal, you learn from breaking things. It happened when I was getting ready for reassembly with the head out.

My machine shop actually included it for free if I bought the tap since I had just paid them to resurface the head and install a helicoil kit, and prior to that I had them do my entire engine block, and also a lawnmower engine. So not sure what it would cost, but I've worked with taps enough to learn that I should pay someone to do it. PM me and I'll get you my contact info since I don't always check this site regularly.
-AM3
 
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Piratetip

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#40
Oh joy.
My engine coolant is leaking in this exact same area as OP.

Don't know exactly which component but I have every part on order.
Going to replace it all in one shot, don't want to deal with this again.
Though I feel like I already replaced all these parts 10x years ago, but my memory fails me.

Wish me luck.

Here is the parts list I have coming if anyone runs into this again. (They will)
QTY - PN - Description
2x - 90430-22008 - Gasket(For Water By-Pass Pipe)
4x - 90467-22003 - Clamp Or Clip, Hose(For Water By-Pass Hose)
1x - 16282-42010 - Hose, Water By-Pass, NO.5
2x - 90339-16007 - Plug, Heater Water
1x - 90405-17005 - UNION, WATER BY-PASS PIPE
1x - 90401-22004 - Bolt, Union(For Water By-Pass Pipe)
4x - 96112-10250 - Clamp Or Clip, Hose(For Water By-Pass Hose)

Some parts are superseeded by new PN's but they all work for ordering.
Also getting some duplicates just to have on hand.