Automotive

Antifreeze leaked out and car can barely steer for some reason

  • Last Updated:
  • May 25th, 2021 5:50 pm
[OP]
Newbie
Oct 4, 2016
87 posts
28 upvotes

Antifreeze leaked out and car can barely steer for some reason

Hi.

I have a 2006 Ford Fusion with just under 220k on it. I'm basically driving it into the ground when it's just me driving and not the family. Been using an Accord for that. Ready to replace it with an SUV or minivan in a few months.

CEL came on three days ago and got a P0420, which is catalytic converter. I read that it's not a big deal and I can keep driving, but might lose some efficiency. Actually had a problem with that three years ago when it was rusted out. Mechanic welded it or something for like $200. Running fine since. And of course, since March 2020 I haven't had to commute the ten minutes to the train station so life of car extended past what I was expecting.

Anyway, drove about 20 minutes today to go pickup some kijiji thing on someone's porch. Stopped at the curb, left car idling since it was going to be 30 seconds, but I heard like a clanging sound under the hood and then I thought I saw a little smoke coming up so I turned it off. Picked up the thing then started car again and as I pulled off I noticed the steering was extremely stiff. Pulled over at a school for half hour and checked some fluids like power steering. But it turns out it was from the coolant tank. Hard to tell in the pic but it's pretty much empty.

When the car is not running, there's no leaking. When it's running you can see it dripping out. CAA guy immediately guessed that too. Anyway, he drove the car to my house but didn't back it into my driveway on the flatbed because it was late at night and didn't want to beep, beep, beep. He dropped it on the street and drove it up. As you can see, it left a stain on the street. I'm about to go get kitty litter and drop it on there for an hour then sweep it up and hose it down.

Anyway, I don't understand why leaked out antifreeze would cause steering failure. Also, the two times I started the car after this happened, about ten seconds in, the CHECK CHARGING SYSTEM and battery light would come on and stay on, despite having the car running.

Also, with car running, the exhaust was sputtering somewhat and shaking.

This car ain't worth $500 and unless replacing the coolant tank is like $200 and will somehow fix the steering problem as well, then it looks like this car is done. Plus it is rusty underneath. Other than that, barely any rust. None that anyone would notice unless you closely examined it. And who knows what damage has been done to the radiator. It was noticeably hotter than usual when I lifted the hood.
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40 replies
Sr. Member
Nov 6, 2014
907 posts
1558 upvotes
Woodbridge, ON
My guess would be blown head gasket. Which would cause excessive coolant leak and cause the engine to run rough. Not worth fixing at that age/mileage if that's the case. Pull the engine oil dip stick. If it's contaminated with your coolant there's your answer. (scrap it)
Deal Expert
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Jun 12, 2007
16742 posts
5296 upvotes
London
either trashed the serpentine belt or tensioner - no power steering = stiff steering, alternator= no charging or water pump=over heated
Deal Addict
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Nov 14, 2003
4843 posts
3114 upvotes
LaLaLand
A broken water pump pulley would cause the coolant leak and might loosen the serpentine belt causing the power steering problem.
Deal Expert
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Feb 11, 2007
17176 posts
19063 upvotes
Oakville
batcave wrote: A broken water pump pulley would cause the coolant leak and might loosen the serpentine belt causing the power steering problem.
+1, this is it.
If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Feb 20, 2015
1831 posts
1245 upvotes
Southern Ontario
Looks like you'll be looking for another car. You might get $500 or more from a wrecker. Not worth fixing, even if you are doing the work yourself.
Deal Fanatic
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Oct 12, 2007
5986 posts
3540 upvotes
Ottawa
batcave wrote: A broken water pump pulley would cause the coolant leak and might loosen the serpentine belt causing the power steering problem.
I would agree with this - broken, loose, or on its way to being seized. Other than just coincidences, I cannot see anything else that would simultaneously affect steering and lead to a coolant leak. If it's leaking, it would require a new water pump and gasket. Pumps on these cars are super cheap - under $100 delivered.

I would suspect that the OP's cat code is an exhaust leak given the age of that exhaust system - cheap fix if they want to and the car would run way better.

A handy person could get this working fine again for under $200 for the code and the coolant. A running car is worth more than one that doesn't run.
Deal Addict
Oct 1, 2015
1789 posts
2228 upvotes
Barrie, ON
Waterpump like it's been mentioned above, maybe a tensioner or pulley as well. Cheap fix.
Deal Addict
Jun 26, 2009
4314 posts
3545 upvotes
GTA
Gibsons wrote: Looks like you'll be looking for another car. You might get $500 or more from a wrecker. Not worth fixing, even if you are doing the work yourself.
$500 for fusion?? You are so funny Grinning Face With Smiling EyesGrinning Face With Smiling Eyes Even scrap yard forklifts sneeze when they see old fords.
Member
User avatar
May 31, 2008
238 posts
395 upvotes
If you're able to do the work yourself it might be worth trying to repair, but taking it to a shop will probably end up costing more than it's worth. I'm also suspecting waterpump, but a few extra things might need replacing as well. Seeing how it's a 2006, I would put it on Kijiji and sell it ""As Is" and hope for the best. Take anything over $500 and run.
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Feb 20, 2015
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Southern Ontario
Tommy74 wrote: $500 for fusion?? You are so funny Grinning Face With Smiling EyesGrinning Face With Smiling Eyes Even scrap yard forklifts sneeze when they see old fords.
Get what you can get and move on.
Deal Expert
Mar 23, 2004
29736 posts
10454 upvotes
TG3857 wrote: Hi.

I have a 2006 Ford Fusion with just under 220k on it. I'm basically driving it into the ground...
TG3857 wrote: CEL came on three days ago and got a P0420, which is catalytic converter.
...
Anyway, drove about 20 minutes today to go pickup some kijiji thing on someone's porch. Stopped at the curb, left car idling since it was going to be 30 seconds, but I heard like a clanging sound under the hood and then I thought I saw a little smoke coming up...

as I pulled off I noticed the steering was extremely stiff. Pulled over at a school for half hour and checked some fluids like power steering.
...
But it turns out it was from the coolant tank....it's pretty much empty.

...
Also, with car running, the exhaust was sputtering somewhat and shaking.

This car ain't worth $500

who knows what damage has been done to the radiator.
fordmaple wrote: My guess would be blown head gasket.
l69norm wrote: either trashed the serpentine belt or tensioner - no power steering = stiff steering, alternator= no charging or water pump=over heated
batcave wrote: A broken water pump pulley would cause the coolant leak and might loosen the serpentine belt causing the power steering problem.
mxthor3 wrote: Waterpump like it's been mentioned above, maybe a tensioner or pulley as well.
TG3857 wrote: Hi.

I have a 2006 Ford Fusion with just under 220k on it. I'm basically driving it into the ground...
Welp, I'd say mission accomplished.
[OP]
Newbie
Oct 4, 2016
87 posts
28 upvotes
Update on the spill on the street. Went to the 24 hours Shoppers to get some kitty litter and it did its job perfectly.

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Deal Addict
Dec 27, 2007
3697 posts
1233 upvotes
Edmonton
TG3857 wrote: Update on the spill on the street. Went to the 24 hours Shoppers to get some kitty litter and it did its job perfectly.


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So you post an update about something so useless but yet you didn't even look under the hood to notice the pump/pulley/belt

Clearly your priorities are elsewhere
warming up the earth 1 gas fill-up at a time...
You only live once, get a v8
[OP]
Newbie
Oct 4, 2016
87 posts
28 upvotes
tmkf_patryk wrote: So you post an update about something so useless but yet you didn't even look under the hood to notice the pump/pulley/belt

Clearly your priorities are elsewhere
I guess douches gotta douche! Couldn't help yourself, huh?

The car is done. Or did you not get that sentiment from the posts above? Why would I make it my priority when I'm basically going to scrap it or sell as is? It's more of a priority now to look for the minivan or SUV, but no immediate rush since it's not like we can drive around our kids to a bunch of extra curricular activities these days.

I posted out of curiosity. Wondering why so many things would go wrong at the same time and wondered about the remote possibility of it being a cheap fix. I was also going to email my mechanic Tuesday morning and ask him if there's any point in me getting it towed to him by CAA and him have a look. And also ask if he knows someone that would be interested in it as is or for parts. I believe the going rate for scrap is like $200 to $250 based on my wife's old Jetta from a few years back.

And believe it or not, someone browsing, who is not a gearhead, like myself, may find it useful to know that kitty litter absorbs some car fluid spills. I did not realize this and only looked into it since it was a big spill and it's on the street.
Deal Addict
Dec 27, 2007
3697 posts
1233 upvotes
Edmonton
Take several pictures of the scoop and shovel you used, and maybe a video of how to scoop it onto the spill. It might help out. Also a brand of kitty litter might help too
warming up the earth 1 gas fill-up at a time...
You only live once, get a v8
Deal Addict
Oct 3, 2017
1024 posts
877 upvotes
I thought CAA will not tow a vehicle more than once ie from point of first call to home in your case but then not from your home to a garage or from a garage they towed it to, then to another garage.

Maybe they changed their rules but it used to work this way. Anyone know their policy now?
[OP]
Newbie
Oct 4, 2016
87 posts
28 upvotes
billford wrote: Take several pictures under the hood, like you did of the street. Maybe it will help someone else out if they have a similar problem.
Good idea. I was going to see if mechanic wanted to take a look and then confirm later on but of course, there's a good chance he'll say don't bother.
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[OP]
Newbie
Oct 4, 2016
87 posts
28 upvotes
tmkf_patryk wrote: Take several pictures of the scoop and shovel you used, and maybe a video of how to scoop it onto the spill. It might help out. Also a brand of kitty litter might help too
Just for you. This is the shit right here. Highly recommend you use this brand.
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[OP]
Newbie
Oct 4, 2016
87 posts
28 upvotes
George613 wrote: I thought CAA will not tow a vehicle more than once ie from point of first call to home in your case but then not from your home to a garage or from a garage they towed it to, then to another garage.

Maybe they changed their rules but it used to work this way. Anyone know their policy now?
Not familiar with that but I did do this two years ago when my clutch cylinder I think it was gave out. Took it home, then I contemplated for a few days if I should get rid of it then but three days later I had CAA take it to my in-law's mechanic and they fixed it for $170. If it were going to be a few hundred then I'd probably have done away with it then.

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