Maintaining a 23 year old Ford Ikon: How I fixed a coolant leak

The mechanic vehemently discouraged repairing the manifold and further added that it will almost certainly leak again.

BHPian Sanidhya_Mukund recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

23rd year update and how I nearly got scammed:

So the Ikon turned 23 on the 13th of September, 2023, but I couldn’t post then as I was out of the country. First order of business upon my return last week was to fire up the Ikon and take it for a short spin round the block.

Connected the battery and the car fired right up. Drove it for about a kilometer in my residential lane and parked it back. Things were working well, barring a few electronic gremlins. However, things started going south as soon as I went away to connect the hose pipe to give it a wash. I was shocked to see a pool of coolant under the near-side front wheel:

Panicked, I opened the bonnet to find a leak emanating from the point where the Intake Manifold is bolted onto the engine block. (Screenshot from the internet to show the area clearly.) apologies for the grubby engine bay. Picture was taken just before a wash:

I sent a video of the leak to D-BHPian Vigsom, and he was of the view that it could either be the Manifold itself that is leaking, or, it could be the Manifold gasket. Armed with some preliminary information thanks to him, I rang up a mechanic from Palika Bhawan (a place known for car repairs in Delhi), and within a few hours, the mechanic was at my doorstep, ready with his tools to take apart the vehicle. (With the NGT order in place, everything has to be done at home) After some disassembly, he was able to pull the manifold out:

He told me that there indeed was a leak in the manifold and that he will look for a replacement at the usual junkyards in Delhi, as it is impossible to find a brand new replacement. I gave him the go ahead for this, and off he went. Meanwhile, I had a talk with D-BHPian Vigsom and came to the conclusion that repair could also be a viable option, since the leak was not too big. The viability and availability of a second hand manifold was also doubtful, given the fact that most Ikons, especially 1.3 Endura models have been off the road for quite a while now.

I called my mechanic up and discussed this with him too, however;

1. The mechanic vehemently discouraged repairing the manifold and further added that it will almost certainly leak again.

2. He claimed to have found a used replacement at a shop in Mayapuri for ₹ 6000. However, the scrap seller would only give us a replacement if the one coming off the car is given to him.

This did raise red flags, but since I was desperate to have my car up and running again, I told him to go ahead. The next day, he came to my house with a “shiny new” manifold, claimed to have been sourced from a car that was scrapped just a few days ago and fitted it in about half an hour. The car was back to its non-leaky state, and I was happy. However, while I was going through the video of the leak that I had sent to Vigsom sir, something caught my eye. The “replaced manifold” and the one that was on my car had the exact same scuff marks! I immediately realised that rather than replacing the manifold, he had simply repaired it and was trying to pass it off as a different one:

Confronted the mechanic then and there, who vehemently denied any wrongdoing. Realising that he wouldn’t admit, I sought some help from some rather assertive individuals, who were able to make him admit it in a jiffy! However, he claimed that it was the parts dealer that scammed him and that it was him who was the victim.

Anyway, instead of paying him ₹ 6000 for a “replacement”, I paid him ₹ 1600 for repair and labour.

I also had the oil, oil filter and air filter replaced and the coolant topped up. Also had the throttle body cleaned and the car is now smooth as ever. All of it done in my driveway:

While the amount I could have potentially lost was not very high, it pains me to see how casually do these chaps go about ripping people off. It’s somebody’s hard earned money, and they have no right to be doing this. Had I not noticed those two pre-existing scuff marks on the manifold, I would have happily paid him his ₹ 6000 plus labour. Needless to say, he’s not getting any more business from me.

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