'01 Windstar coolant leak near rear of engine
I have a 2001 Windstar LX 3.8L Auto with 150K miles, MidAtlantic area.
The van has a coolant leak, but I can't tell where the coolant is coming from. Soon after starting the engine, coolant starts dripping (drip, drip, drip -- not a stream) from the rear edge of the oil pan that seems to be coming from above the back side of the oil pan somewhere. There's also a slower drip closer to the right front wheel. I pulled off the cowl and looked everywhere I could see from above and below. All of the hoses look fine.
I replaced the metal bypass tube that goes under the intake manifold about a year ago when it had a pin-hole leak. That was difficult to find, so that's my motivation for asking before disassembling this time around. I already replaced the radiator hoses on general principal, but that was no help for the specific leak problem. I suspect it might be the water pump, but could coolant leaking from the water pump make it back to the oil pan area? Seems unlikely at first blush. I've read that replacing the water pump is difficult on this vehicle, so I'm not eager to do it until I see the evidence.
The dripping stops after the engine has been running for a while. I'm not sure whether that's because the leak stops when the engine is warmed up or because the engine gets hot enough to vaporize a slow drip of coolant.
Any suggestions are welcome. Is there something in that neighborhood that could cause this kind of visible leak? Is there something I can do to help diagnose the problem?