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QUOTE (mmmfloorpie @ Apr 18 2009, 11:44 PM) index.php?act=findpost&pid=718705
What do your mechanics say when you take it in to get something fixed/oil change?[/b]
The only time anyone in a "shop" gets to see it is in the winter when I take it in for oil changes and they are always going crazy asking about it, they love it. I usually do all my own work so the shops dont see it, in the winter I dont change my own oil becasue of the snow and the wifes mustang in the garage.
I did go to a Ford dealer a couple weeks ago for a $50.00 test drive and when the salesman looked at my car, he wanted it really bad for the lot, but wouldnt give me a price unless I was going to sign a deal for a new car. The most common comment I get is "why would you do that to a taurus??" Then I ask why would you mod any car ?? To make it look better and a personal reflection of how you treat your ride. Here are some shots on the evolution of the red duratec over the last 2 years.

First was the FMC and Roush decals with the red wire loom and just a good cleaning.
[attachment=29199:Evo_1.JPG]

Next was the replacement of the Roush decal with the "vintage" duratec tag.
[attachment=29200:Evo_2.JPG]

First stage of painting, the red UIM and valve cover.
[attachment=29201:Evo_3.JPG]

Next step was the FMC decal and the 3.0 DOHC decals on the valve cover.
[attachment=29202:Evo_4.JPG]

The newest addition, the painted fuse box cover and air box with new K&N decals.
[attachment=29203:Evo_5.JPG]

The best thing, I have less that $100. in all of this and I still have the original parts in the garage if I ever need them.
 

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Bump from a few years ago, but I wanted to add a Duratec stand point from this.

I have washed quite a few engines before and haven't really had any problems. I'd say I've washed at least 20-30 engines or done it that many times should I say. However, I suggest when washing that you really do take care. I just fried 1-2 coils by getting (literally) a light spray on them. Perplexing though is that it was the back (firewall) coils that went. Don't ask me how those got the water on them (because they were still dirty compared to the engine) but they went. I think it was 4 and possibly 5 that is toast now. :(
 

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Take extra care on a duratec to stay away from spraying the plug boots. Make very sure they fit tight on the plugs and are sealed at the base properly. The '03 I purchased last fall had water in 4 of the 6 plug wells probably from the dealer 'detailing' the car before I picked it up. I used compressed air to blow them all out clean before even removing and replacing the plugs in this case but would be good to visually check the wells- at least the front three for water.
 

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I know this is an old thread, but I just came across it and have something to add (or reiterate) for anyone else looking at this thread for basic engine cleaning tips:

Don't spray a hot engine with cold water (as austex04 says, but contrary to what some others here say). It can warp the aluminum heads and cause a (or two) blown head gasket. It may be rare, but it can happen.

That's what happened with my 1994 Taurus's 3.8 engine a few months after I got the car in the winter of 2006. I drove it to a car wash to clean the engine bay to impress my brother, and by the time I got to the car wash, the engine was hot. The first thing I did when I got there, was to wash the outside of the car. That took about 15 minutes, during which time the engine was cooling, but apparently not enough, even though ambient temperature was about 55-60 F. Next I opened the hood and started spraying the engine with the car wash's pressure hose's degreaser, soapy water, and rinse water. Naturally the water was cold. I remember thinking to myself this brilliant thought: "I've never cleaned a car engine before, so I don't know if spraying it with water is a good idea, but if it isn't, I'll have learned something."

The engine bay got clean, but when I started up the engine, I noticed I wasn't getting any heat from the cabin heater, though it had been delivering full heat just before I shut off the engine prior to the cleaning. I thought it might be a wet electrical connector, but the no-heat problem didn't go away (luckily just inconvenient for me, because I was living in the San Francisco East Bay at the time, which doesn't get terribly cold in the winter).

Gradually over the next few weeks, the engine began showing signs of a blown head gasket: overheating; oil in the water and water in the oil--I forget which happened first, but it wasn't long before the other happened too; and eventually smoke from the tailpipe. I was able to limp along for about a year, frequently replacing coolant and driving easy, but the problems eventually got to be too much to live with, so I had a mechanic take a look. He tracked all of this down to a warped rear head no longer applying enough pressure to its head gasket, causing leaks there, and this also had caused a small channel to be eaten into the head gasket from one of the cylinder bore holes to the outside world. The warped head also had an extenuating circumstance that may have made it more susceptible to being trouble even if just slightly warped: there was a kind of "rivulet", a channel that looked like a miniature riverbed, running from the edge of one of its cylinder bore holes to the outside edge of the head. It looked like a defect in casting that had always been there, and it may have been located where the warp occurred, increasing the chances of decreasing the integrity of the gasket at that location.

Since the no-cabin heat problem started immediately after I had washed the engine, and was fixed immediately upon replacement of the warped head and blown gasket, this is why we concluded that my washing the hot engine with cold water may have warped the head, and that this reduced pressure in the coolant system, preventing hot coolant from being diverted into the lines leading to the heater core.

So, the mechanic replaced the warped head instead of having it machined back to flatness (it would have required too much machining to remove the rivulet), and he replaced both head gaskets, and I haven't had any of these symptoms since then--cabin heat immediately returned, no overheating (until later when the old coolant hose to the radiator burst while driving), etc.
 

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Sorry John, but that sounds rather far fetched. Sounds more coincidental. Considering the design from the factory for the Essex engine block to head mating surfaces (as shown by Barkentine), it's no wonder the 3.8s blown head gaskets.

Engines do not go down the road bone dry in the rain. Rain water splashes up on the 1st and 2nd gens especially since they have no undercarriage splash shield/air dam to speak of.
 

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Yes, I also tend to believe that it was more coincidence than anything. You don't know how it was treated before you bought it. Maybe the belt started slipping after you got it wet and that's why you lost heat? Slipping belt caused it to overheat and damaged the heads? Like Nick said the 3.8L has an extreme propensity to blow head gaskets, so it's more of a question of when vs. if. You probably would have needed to do them at some point regardless of the engine wash.

I agree spraying ice cold water on the engine (especially the exhaust and cats) might create some thermal stresses and should be avoided when possible. Up here the water is hot so I think that would be acceptable to use carefully after letting the engine sit for a few minutes. You want to be much more careful about where you spray and how hard. Alternator, battery, fuse box, and fluid reservoirs should be protected, and avoid spraying around ignition components, especially if you have a DOHC (avoid spraying the cam covers because the water can run down the plug wells).
 

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I have washed many a motor at the car wash with no more ill effects then wet distributors. I also have a hot water hose in my garage that works nicely as well. The best degreaser I have found is called oil eater which I use all the time. I apply it diluted with a garden sprayer.
 

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I have washed many a motor at the car wash with no more ill effects then wet distributors. I also have a hot water hose in my garage that works nicely as well. The best degreaser I have found is called oil eater which I use all the time. I apply it diluted with a garden sprayer.
The degreaser I use is in a purple bottle and does wonders. However it will remove all the skin from your hands if you don't wear gloves.
 

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You all may be right, but the immediacy of finding I had no cabin heat right after washing the hot engine, when I started up the car before leaving the car wash and letting it idle a few minutes (normally long enough to produce some perceptible cabin heat, but I wouldn't think long enough to warp a head if the belt was slipping, unless I'm wrong), is what made me think this may not have been a coincidence. Since I had no heat within minutes of washing the engine, and the heat came back only when the warped head and the head gaskets were replaced, that's what leads me to think that the warped head was the cause of the loss of heat, and if so, it seems likely to have warped at the car wash, or else I wouldn't have lost cabin heat starting at that moment. Also, I didn't notice any other symptoms typical of a belt slipping so badly that the water pump wasn't moving: no trouble steering the little bit needed to move out of the washing bay, no odd electrical/alternator symptoms, etc.

But if an engine can heat up enough only a few minutes after being started, to warp a head if the belt is slipping and thus the water pump isn't moving sufficiently, then maybe that was it, so I'll give it a 50% chance of being the cause. If so, then the loss of cabin heat for the first few minutes could have been initially caused by the slipping belt, which then caused the overheating that caused the warped head, which then "took over" in causing the continued loss of cabin heat. I've learned in fixing computers for 25 years that interesting chains of events like this can happen, and without enough analysis, can make one assume that there was a single cause for a single problem.

I've driven in the rain many times since then, and I've sometimes popped the hood afterwards to check for rainwater, and I've never found rainwater on the top part of the engine, at the heads.

My Taurus was my Dad's before my Mom gave it to me in 2006, and he took good care of it--he was an aircraft engineer/mechanic in the Air Force from WWII through Vietnam, and ran his own auto repair shop (with his brother) for a while just after WWII. He passed away in 2005, so there was no overlap during which I could ask him to pass along his auto repair knowledge, because the Taurus was my first real car (I'd gotten away without needing a car most of my adult life, with short commutes to work, bicycling, trains, etc.).
 

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Damn it!!
I was afraid before now i'm totally scared to wash/clean my engine.. and its filthy dirty.

Today I got all 6 of my COP's replaced and the rear (against the firewall) bank (what's the proper name for that area?) is just disgusting!!! and I got pics
DAMN IT DAMN IT DAMN IT!!



:(
 

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I've always cleaned the engines in the cars I've driven without a problem, including my last Vulcan Taurus. I wait until the engine is cool (NOT HOT!!!) and then you take a hose nozzle that can change settings, and I put it on like a shower-type setting (I also don't turn the hose on so the pressure is maxed, I keep it below half pressure). Gently spray the engine off, then I spray cleaner on, let it sit for a few minutes, and gently rinse. I've never had a problem with it before, and I think as long as you stay away from a pressure sprayer you're probably fine. You could also cover up the electrical components with a plastic bag, if you're uncomfortable. I just think that some water is likely to get in there anyway if you're driving in the rain, so as long as you're gentle it should be okay. Obviously you don't want to drench everything in water though.
 

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the manual says that you can power wash the engine and gives tips and instructions on how to do so. Even with that said i dont think i will ever power wash the engine! When i bought my car the engine didnt seem too dirty but for some reason there was alot of dirt and grease build up on the frame of the car. I bought one of the engine degreaser sprays from autozone and used that on it and most of it came right up with just a wet rag. After reading this thread though i think i am going to try a toothbrush to get what didnt come off yet off.
 

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After reading every post in this thread, I think I'll just leave it dirty and quickly shut the hood after I do maintenance.
 

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Cleaned Engine Bay - No Problems

Cleaned the engine bay with no issues.

Pulled car out, so it was mostly cold. Sprayed P21s Total Auto Wash on everything. Let it sit for 5 minutes, then went around the top parts with a brush to help loosen dirt. Let it sit for another 10-min. Then used the spray nozzle end of the hose on a circular cone shaped spray and rinsed the crud off, spraying from the top not getting down in the spaces. Then started the car - it fired right up. Let it run a bit until steam started coming off the headers. Shut it down and repeated process, making sure to spray the lower parts of the engine this time. Rinsed with the strong single stream jet. Engine fired up right away, no hesitation. Let it run to warm up and dry off a bit. Done.
 
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