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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys! Long story short. I was coming home from a friends place in NH, the car overheated, I pulled over immediately to check it out. Put more coolant in, ran fine for another hour. Start it after I get home, and coolant is GUSHING from the exhaust. I've never seen anything like it! Damn! Anyway. I'm trying to assess my options here. I know the problem is in the general vicinity of the heads. Be it gasket, cracked head or block, I'm not sure of yet. I'm capable of doing the HG job myself, once I find a suitable indoor shop. But should I? What does a job like this cost at the shop? What parts do I need besides the HG's and new bolts? Any horror stories I should know about? I really just want some input. Oh! The car JUST hit 150k two hours before this happened!
 

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Sounds like the whole engine is done for, with coolant comming out of the tail pipe like that you know the main bearings are contaminated with coolant. Nows the time to decide if you want to keep that car, or junk it. I would start hunting for a junkyard engine or a rebuilt engine if the car is in good shape otherwise. If you get a junkyard engine, you may as well replace the headgaskets BEFORE putting it in the car if it looks like it wasn't done. These would have been great engines if not for the headgasket problems, Ford should have used iron heads on this engine like GM did with their 3.8 V6's.
 

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I wouldn't write off the engine so quickly...I'd be surprised if "the main bearings are contaminated with coolant" because if the coolant was coming out the exhaust, it' sounds like the coolant is mostly in the combustion chamber, not the crankcase. See what the oil looks like, and especially since you said you've got the ability to tackle the job yourself, it can't hurt to pull the heads off and see what you find before looking for a new engine or a new car.

FWIW, the problem isn't with the aluminum heads - it's the original gaskets. Use the revised gaskets (my old one got Fel-Pro - don't skimp on them) and NEW head bolts and the problem is fixed.

My old 3.8 made it about 120k before the original gaskets let go - I didn't quite have coolant gushing out the exhaust, but there was lots of steam and it ran on 5 cylinders. I had lots of coolant in the oil, and the engine ended up being fine after the gaskets were replaced until I got rid of the car.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I wouldn't write off the engine so quickly...I'd be surprised if "the main bearings are contaminated with coolant" because if the coolant was coming out the exhaust, it' sounds like the coolant is mostly in the combustion chamber, not the crankcase. See what the oil looks like, and especially since you said you've got the ability to tackle the job yourself, it can't hurt to pull the heads off and see what you find before looking for a new engine or a new car.

FWIW, the problem isn't with the aluminum heads - it's the original gaskets. Use the revised gaskets (my old one got Fel-Pro - don't skimp on them) and NEW head bolts and the problem is fixed.

My old 3.8 made it about 120k before the original gaskets let go - I didn't quite have coolant gushing out the exhaust, but there was lots of steam and it ran on 5 cylinders. I had lots of coolant in the oil, and the engine ended up being fine after the gaskets were replaced until I got rid of the car.
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I'm definitely not writing the car off. It's funny. Even after the coolant geyser, their wasn't ant coolant in the oil. At least it doesn't look like a milkshake. I've secured a shop for the next week, and am ordering the fel-pro headgasket kit. It should be a fun and exciting weekend! I'll let you know!


By the way. While I have the engine apart, I was thinking about removing the AC compressor. Where would I get a delete pulley for that, and would that affect anything but the horse power rating?
 

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<div class='quotemain'>
I wouldn't write off the engine so quickly...I'd be surprised if "the main bearings are contaminated with coolant" because if the coolant was coming out the exhaust, it' sounds like the coolant is mostly in the combustion chamber, not the crankcase. See what the oil looks like, and especially since you said you've got the ability to tackle the job yourself, it can't hurt to pull the heads off and see what you find before looking for a new engine or a new car.

FWIW, the problem isn't with the aluminum heads - it's the original gaskets. Use the revised gaskets (my old one got Fel-Pro - don't skimp on them) and NEW head bolts and the problem is fixed.

My old 3.8 made it about 120k before the original gaskets let go - I didn't quite have coolant gushing out the exhaust, but there was lots of steam and it ran on 5 cylinders. I had lots of coolant in the oil, and the engine ended up being fine after the gaskets were replaced until I got rid of the car.
[/b]

I'm definitely not writing the car off. It's funny. Even after the coolant geyser, their wasn't ant coolant in the oil. At least it doesn't look like a milkshake. I've secured a shop for the next week, and am ordering the fel-pro headgasket kit. It should be a fun and exciting weekend! I'll let you know!
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Even if you don't see coolant in the oil, buy some cheap Walmart oil and change it, then after you warm it up change the oil and filter again with some good stuff. Better safe than knocky.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Dude, replace the bearings. BTDT, your bearings have probably been contaminated and ruined.
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I wish I had the time and resources to replace the bearings. A complete rebuild itself would be great, then I know I could get another 150k out of her! I think the best I can feasibly do now is the top end, and send out an oil sample to check for coolant contamination. That might give me some insight to how long I can depend on the current engine. I appreciate the concern though.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
<div class='quotemain'>
Dude, replace the bearings. BTDT, your bearings have probably been contaminated and ruined.
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I wish I had the time and resources to replace the bearings. A complete rebuild itself would be great, then I know I could get another 150k out of her! I think the best I can feasibly do now is the top end, and send out an oil sample to check for coolant contamination. That might give me some insight to how long I can depend on the current engine. I appreciate the concern though.
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Ok. So I got the job finished. I can say that I look forward to never having to do that again! It was so much easier on my Volvo! I can't believe how much crap those engineers can cram into such a small space! But its done. I just need to throw a timing light on her to double check myself. Now it's bedtime.
 
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