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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I own a 2000 Taurus SE with the 3 liter flex fuel engine which I have babied ever since I bought it in 2001: always garaged; oil changes always with Mobile One; fixed things as they broke. Everything on my car works, which is the way I want it. If it was installed, I expect it to work. If it doesn't, it gets fixed. You can eat off the engine... I keep it clean.

Anyway, I was out of town last week sitting in bumper to bumper traffic on a very hot (100° F) day when I noticed the temperature gauge rising. Normally it sits on Cold until it's started, then warms up to about 40% of full deflection and then sits there steady as a rock. This time it crept up to about 3/4 of full deflection but that was as far as it went. Once I got moving again, it dropped back down to its normal midrange temp again. I only noticed this because it's never happened before.

Then on the trip home, another anomaly: after about 200 miles at highway speeds on another hot day, the engine suddenly started losing all power and the check engine light came on. The temp gauge was at its normal midrange once again and I had no clue what had happened. I pulled over,m shut down and raised the hood. Then I tried cranking it again and it acted as if nothing had ever happened: normal power, normal temp, and no check engine light. I drove the rest of the way home without the air conditioning just in case. No more problems.

I made an appointment with my very honest mechanic to check out the heating problem, see what trouble codes he could pull, and perform a few normal maintenance items. He asked me to leave the car, which I did.

The next day I got a call: bad news! He said they ran a test where they add a chemical to the coolant which can determine the presence of exhaust in it and mine was positive. He said this could indicate a cracked block, head gasket problem, or head problem. He said he didn't do big time engine work and suggested I get rid of the car rather than repair it.

That car is a creampuff. I hate the idea of letting it go. I will not put it out on Craigslist to cheat another individual. I don't really need another car as I have a truck and a motorcycle so I won't be trading it in. Right now, I have a tentative plan to donate it to the local public radio station.

I am open to all ideas. The exhaust doesn't smoke. It does not use oil, nor does the oil look like it's got anything mixed with it like antifreeze.

I mentioned my mechanic is honest. He is, and I know it. He's had more than one situation where he could have socked it to me and I'd have been totally unaware of it... and he didn't. His diagnosis fee yesterday was all of $15. My list of maintenance tasks could have earned him a good $300 if this hadn't come up. :(

So what do you guys think?
 

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I own a 2000 Taurus SE with the 3 liter flex fuel engine which I have babied ever since I bought it in 2001: always garaged; oil changes always with Mobile One; fixed things as they broke. Everything on my car works, which is the way I want it. If it was installed, I expect it to work. If it doesn't, it gets fixed. You can eat off the engine... I keep it clean.

Anyway, I was out of town last week sitting in bumper to bumper traffic on a very hot (100° F) day when I noticed the temperature gauge rising. Normally it sits on Cold until it's started, then warms up to about 40% of full deflection and then sits there steady as a rock. This time it crept up to about 3/4 of full deflection but that was as far as it went. Once I got moving again, it dropped back down to its normal midrange temp again. I only noticed this because it's never happened before.

Then on the trip home, another anomaly: after about 200 miles at highway speeds on another hot day, the engine suddenly started losing all power and the check engine light came on. The temp gauge was at its normal midrange once again and I had no clue what had happened. I pulled over,m shut down and raised the hood. Then I tried cranking it again and it acted as if nothing had ever happened: normal power, normal temp, and no check engine light. I drove the rest of the way home without the air conditioning just in case. No more problems.

I made an appointment with my very honest mechanic to check out the heating problem, see what trouble codes he could pull, and perform a few normal maintenance items. He asked me to leave the car, which I did.

The next day I got a call: bad news! He said they ran a test where they add a chemical to the coolant which can determine the presence of exhaust in it and mine was positive. He said this could indicate a cracked block, head gasket problem, or head problem. He said he didn't do big time engine work and suggested I get rid of the car rather than repair it.

That car is a creampuff. I hate the idea of letting it go. I will not put it out on Craigslist to cheat another individual. I don't really need another car as I have a truck and a motorcycle so I won't be trading it in. Right now, I have a tentative plan to donate it to the local public radio station.

I am open to all ideas. The exhaust doesn't smoke. It does not use oil, nor does the oil look like it's got anything mixed with it like antifreeze.

I mentioned my mechanic is honest. He is, and I know it. He's had more than one situation where he could have socked it to me and I'd have been totally unaware of it... and he didn't. His diagnosis fee yesterday was all of $15. My list of maintenance tasks could have earned him a good $300 if this hadn't come up. :(

So what do you guys think?
So what was the code? I think the performance issue was seperate from that of the exhaust gasses in coolant one.

I would not get rid of the car, chances of a cracked block are minimal and you probably just have a headgasket on its way out. Just get that repaired, or do it yourself, no big deal. You might have a cracked head too, but these cylinderheads are relatively cheap.

Leon
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
I don't know what the code was. The mechanic did no more work when he saw the results of the coolant test. The idea was to avoid throwing good money into a pit.

With what you've written, I need to find somebody who can do a head gasket job and let them pull the trouble code.

And yes, I would agree the symptom were coincidental rather than that of a larger problem. I'm guessing the performance problem is going to end up being a computer or sensor issue. The cooling thing is probably a discrete issue. I just thought it might be catastrophic. After all, if I sink a wad of cash into it, I still have an eleven year old car.
 

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If you have an "overheat" problem with cracked heads, head gasket or block verify it a coolant pressure tester. Kinda looks like a bicycle pump with a gauge on it. While its under pressure look for leaks. Pull the dipstick and see if water and oil are present. I'm kinda old school so I use a pressure tester, it never lies and simulates the closest thing to the engine running.

Personally, I wouldn't pass anything on anybody. May be your mechanic did a misdiagnosis? May be the chemical he put in your car was bad to begin with. Its always good to cross check with another tool and verify results.

I would also check the radiator is clear of debris. And if you don't have a Motorcraft thermostat in your car - get one ! Water pumps have been to known to loose their impellers as well if you have the OEM pump on.

Monsoon
 

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I own a 2000 Taurus SE with the 3 liter flex fuel engine which I have babied ever since I bought it in 2001: always garaged; oil changes always with Mobile One; fixed things as they broke. Everything on my car works, which is the way I want it. If it was installed, I expect it to work. If it doesn't, it gets fixed. You can eat off the engine... I keep it clean.

Anyway, I was out of town last week sitting in bumper to bumper traffic on a very hot (100° F) day when I noticed the temperature gauge rising. Normally it sits on Cold until it's started, then warms up to about 40% of full deflection and then sits there steady as a rock. This time it crept up to about 3/4 of full deflection but that was as far as it went. Once I got moving again, it dropped back down to its normal midrange temp again. I only noticed this because it's never happened before.

Then on the trip home, another anomaly: after about 200 miles at highway speeds on another hot day, the engine suddenly started losing all power and the check engine light came on. The temp gauge was at its normal midrange once again and I had no clue what had happened. I pulled over,m shut down and raised the hood. Then I tried cranking it again and it acted as if nothing had ever happened: normal power, normal temp, and no check engine light. I drove the rest of the way home without the air conditioning just in case. No more problems.

I made an appointment with my very honest mechanic to check out the heating problem, see what trouble codes he could pull, and perform a few normal maintenance items. He asked me to leave the car, which I did.

The next day I got a call: bad news! He said they ran a test where they add a chemical to the coolant which can determine the presence of exhaust in it and mine was positive. He said this could indicate a cracked block, head gasket problem, or head problem. He said he didn't do big time engine work and suggested I get rid of the car rather than repair it.

That car is a creampuff. I hate the idea of letting it go. I will not put it out on Craigslist to cheat another individual. I don't really need another car as I have a truck and a motorcycle so I won't be trading it in. Right now, I have a tentative plan to donate it to the local public radio station.

I am open to all ideas. The exhaust doesn't smoke. It does not use oil, nor does the oil look like it's got anything mixed with it like antifreeze.

I mentioned my mechanic is honest. He is, and I know it. He's had more than one situation where he could have socked it to me and I'd have been totally unaware of it... and he didn't. His diagnosis fee yesterday was all of $15. My list of maintenance tasks could have earned him a good $300 if this hadn't come up. :(

So what do you guys think?
Take it to a mechanic that does ``big time engine work`` for a second diagnosis and repair if you aren`t comfortable doing it or have no tools. Be prepared to spend some cash if you have someone do it for you. If you want to do it yourself, after you determine the head is bad (THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT, YOU WANT TO KNOW FOR SURE BEFORE YOU DO), you can tear the engine down, take both heads to a machine shop and reassemble everything with a new gasket set. You need things like a torque wrench, it`s a good idea to have lots of tools or know a friend that will let you borrow his.

Good luck!
 

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Code ?

Jay

Something does not add up here. A car that quits and has a code, means something just happened. A leaking gasket does not do that. Little higher than normal on a hot day is normal. I believe something else is went wrong. If your mechanic cleared the code, your information is lost. If not, have someone read it and get us to us here on the post the number and you will get good advice. Of you can go back to the mechanic and have him give you the number. That number is really important to knowing what happened.

-chart-
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Jay

Something does not add up here. A car that quits and has a code, means something just happened. A leaking gasket does not do that. Little higher than normal on a hot day is normal. I believe something else is went wrong. If your mechanic cleared the code, your information is lost. If not, have someone read it and get us to us here on the post the number and you will get good advice. Of you can go back to the mechanic and have him give you the number. That number is really important to knowing what happened.

-chart-
I believe the engine quitting on me suddenly and the rising temp situation are coincidental and separate problems. I mentioned all of what I wrote on the off chance I am wrong about that.

I just don't understand how that chemical test could have been positive for exhaust gas. My car doesn't use oil, the exhaust doesn't smoke, the oil looks and smells normal, and it has never overheated. I don't consider 3/4 deflection of the temp gauge on a 100° day overheating. It just got warm. Maybe if I'd stayed stuck in traffic that day it would have overheated but I didn't and neither did it.

My first mechanic may well be correct about the aux fan not coming on for whatever reason. That would explain the temp rise in bumper to bumper traffic and why the temp is otherwise normal and to the slightly cool side of midrange as its normal operating mode.

He did not pull the codes so they should still be in there. The first thing he did was the chemical test and then he stopped any further work until he'd talked to me. That is a good shop but engine tear down isn't part of what they do there: they do diagnostics, brake and front end work, tires, transmission service... that sort of stuff. They are *very* honest which is why that is my first choice for auto repairs. But pulling heads is more than they do. More than I can do, too. I can swap out alternators and other bolt on parts but that's about it.

I will see about getting the code(s) and will post them here when I do.
 

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Fans

I believe the engine quitting on me suddenly and the rising temp situation are coincidental and separate problems. I mentioned all of what I wrote on the off chance I am wrong about that.

I just don't understand how that chemical test could have been positive for exhaust gas. My car doesn't use oil, the exhaust doesn't smoke, the oil looks and smells normal, and it has never overheated. I don't consider 3/4 deflection of the temp gauge on a 100° day overheating. It just got warm. Maybe if I'd stayed stuck in traffic that day it would have overheated but I didn't and neither did it.

My first mechanic may well be correct about the aux fan not coming on for whatever reason. That would explain the temp rise in bumper to bumper traffic and why the temp is otherwise normal and to the slightly cool side of midrange as its normal operating mode.

He did not pull the codes so they should still be in there. The first thing he did was the chemical test and then he stopped any further work until he'd talked to me. That is a good shop but engine tear down isn't part of what they do there: they do diagnostics, brake and front end work, tires, transmission service... that sort of stuff. They are *very* honest which is why that is my first choice for auto repairs. But pulling heads is more than they do. More than I can do, too. I can swap out alternators and other bolt on parts but that's about it.

I will see about getting the code(s) and will post them here when I do.
As to 'aux fan' in your post.

There should be two fans, they will be in parallel and both come on low speed with A/C and high speed with engine temp over some temp maybe 235 or so. If both fans do not come on with A/C then you have a fan/resistor problem. In addition to what other issues.

Good luck.

-chart-
 

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It's possible that you have the start of a head gasket leak but don't see the signs of it yet. My son's car had a leaking HG but I didn't see the signs except for an occasional temp fluctuation. I kept thinking it was air in the system so I kept bleeding it and it would be good for a few days then return.
How many miles do you have on the car? I haven't done a HG on a Taurus but I'm guessing it would cost between $1000 - 1500 to have a mechanic do it. As others have mentioned, try to get the code that caused the CEL. Good luck.
 
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