Montero gen 3 coolant leak


New member
So I noticed some white smoke from the tail pipe while I was sat parked up with the engine running so I plugged my OBD reader and found my coolant was at 220f

I then took it to the garage to have it checked out and they thought it could be the water coolant crossover pipe and or maybe the head gaskets. And since it would cost a lot in labour to tear it apart to find it and a few other problems with the car they suggested just running the car into the ground and not spending a fortune on it.

so after that I decided to tear it down myself and see If I could see something that was a simple fix.The coolant crossover pipe looked fine it didn’t seem to be leaking but there seemed to be coolant coming from the gasket on the head.
I checked the oil and don’t see any milky residue so I’m not sure if it is the head gasket. There is a pool of coolant on top of the engine block.
The coolant on the back part I think is what leaked from the crossover pipe while I was unplugging the hoses. I’m not sure if I want to attempt to do the head gaskets if that’s what it is. I’ve never seen this car overheat so not sure how the head gaskets would be the issue.
Unless it’s been there from the previous owner.
Im thinking of scrapping it if it turns out to be the head gaskets 😬
Anyone have an idea on what I should check next?
maybe I need to check on the scrapyards phone number lol



Active member
Bye all means scrap the vehicle over a simple coolant leak lol.
Or better yet, just sell it cheap so some deserving person can repair it and have a great vehicle.
What is your monthly budget for the new vehicle?

I don't get it!
Good luck .

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New member
Check to see if the throttle body coolant lines have cracked or ruptured. Throttle bodies have coolant jackets to keep them from icing over and can leak just like any other coolant line. Could be dripping down the line and pooling in the V of the engine.

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New member
PaydayGabe am I really that privileged to own a car with 160k on the clock and worth around 2k and probably cost close to that for a garage to fix? I don’t get it either🤷‍♂️

This is just a cheap car to get me to work and back.
now I really don’t want to change head gaskets myself as I’ve never done it before and don’t have the tools, I was hoping for an easy fix with a coolant leak maybe a new gasket or o-ring.

I will check the coolant lines for the throttle bodies but it looks like the culprit could be the head gaskets.
thanks Ephalants.


A few things:
-If there is white smoke coming from the tail pipe and you are loosing coolant, it is getting burned in the combustion chamber somehow. Either head gasket or possibly intake. The coolant in the engine valley is unrelated or another issue entirely (that is likely an easy fix). The head gaskets really are not that much more work from where you are already. It would be more money because a machine shop should check them over or they will probably leak again.

-I hear this argument often from people saying "the car is not worth fixing", "It would cost more money to fix the car than its worth" etc. From my point of view, both these are the wrong way to look at things. When you think about the value of a vehicle, it should not be associated with a dollar amount, only what the vehicle's use can offer you, or what is the utility value of the vehicle. In other words, who cares what the monetary value of a vehicle is, unless you are planning on selling it.

As an example: The Montero is worth 2k as it sits now with engine problems, it does everything you want from a vehicle, and you want to keep it. The vehicle needs $2k of work and there is no indication it is going to blow up after the work. This scenario= 2k total to have a running vehicle that does what you need.

You can either sell it and buy another 2k vehicle. At 2k you will get something that is in just as bad of shape as your montero and likely needs 2k to get it running. This scenario=4k total

You can buy a running vehicle for 4k. It will likely be high milage, just like your montero and will probably need work down the road. In this scenario you should probably plan on having 2k in repairs done over the next year or so. This scenario=6k total.

You can buy a newer low milage vehicle that will last several years before needing work. In this scenario, who knows=12k++?

Or say screw it and get a big loan on a new vehicle for the next 5-7 years. In this scenario=50k

Obviously there is no right decision and everyones situation is different, but if you are able to do vehicle repairs yourself, it often makes much more financial sense to keep and fix vehicles, even if its several $kkk, vs buying another vehicle.


Bye all means scrap the vehicle over a simple coolant leak
I'm not judging OP about his decision, but as I mentioned in my radiator thread, you're going to see more of this happen as the parts for these rigs get harder and harder to get, in addition to the labor that goes into it. A headgasket job is just time consuming more than anything else, but this isn't that big of a surprise to me and I think we're going to see more if it moving forward.

OP if you're still trying to ID just do a compression test now that you're that deep into it, if its all within tolerance then start tracking down the issues from there.

Michael Brown

You followed me, so now we're both lost
I would invest in an inspection camera to look into the small spaces for the leak. Mine has saved me countless hours by showing me exactly where a leak is before I disassemble everything.

Since you are already down there, I would suspect it is the o-ring for the pipe in the back of the water pump housing. This seal does not always get replaced during water pump/timing service. It eventually leaks and causes the coolant to get low. Combine this with other problems, like a malfunctioning radiator cap or blocked hose to the overflow tank, and you will have the engine get low on coolant and overheat. This would eventually warp the heads and cause an internal leak.

Check the o-rings on all the metal pipes, and do a compression test. There is also a combustion leak detector system that will check for failed head gaskets by reacting to combustion gases in the coolant from the radiator.


New member
Thank you for the ideas everyone. I’m Still undecided if I will attempt to fix this one. With 2 small children I don’t get a lot of free time to take on projects like this and I feel if I make a start it might be a long time before it gets done.

I’ve been looking at land rovers for awhile now and with this happening it forced me to get a move on in buying one.
so I just got myself a nice LR4 😀

Michael Brown

You followed me, so now we're both lost
He doesn't have time to work on a Montero so he gets a Land Rover. lol

Hopefully you get this sorted out. In any case, good luck.


Active member
This is exactly why I humbly removed myself from this thread.
Let's move on to something valid. see ya!

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