97 Taurus GL Coolant Leak
Hello, got home yesterday and noticed a trail of coolant down the street and into the driveway. I looked under the car and saw it was still draining out. The temperture gauge was normal all the way home so I don't know when it started. My first thoughts were heater core plugged or water pump bad as these have caused leaks on me before with other vehicles. But the leak was around the center of the vehicle. I thought it was running down from somewhere else so I waited until this morning when it was cool to have a further look. I added water into the tank and started the engine. It was still pouring out around the center of the engine. (A pretty good leak) I turned it off and started to check it out. No leaks apparent anywhere near the water pump or the heater core area. The coolant appears to be coming behind some sort of panel right next to the oil pan. Next to the oil pan underneath the car towards the drivers side there is a metal plate, right between the plate and whatever is behind that is where the water seems to be coming from. Does anyone know what is behind that plate. I went back almost 2 years worth of posts to find anyone who has gone through this and I fear it might be freeze plugs? Is there a way for an average joe to do this? Also, a little history. Since about Feb or March, every now and then, when the car would be idleing, like at a long stoplight or drivethrough, the temperature gauge would start to rise and I would lose heat inside the car. It would never overheat, the fans would be running almost constant and the gauge would go up to about 3/4. I would add some water and it would be back to normal. I could never find a leak or any visable signs of a leak but it was going somewhere. Maybe I just missed the leak. But this one is impossible to miss and does anyone have any idea what might be causing this. Thanks in advance for any input.