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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have recently aquired a 1992 Ford Taurus with a 3.8 engine. The car has sat for a year or so because it was running hot. I found the coolant leak and fixed it. I have replaced the 3 front plugs, plug wires, cap, rotor, and air filter. I was wondering what I have to do to get the back 3 plugs out? Also when the car is started it idles really rough and then dies, but as long as i give it throttle it will run and I can drive it around until I stop. It will start back up every time. Any one know what could cause this? Any help is greatly appreciated. Sorry for the blabbering but I needed to explain it. Thanks in advance.
 

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The back 3 plugs are a 'challenge'. The creative use of extensions/universal will get it done. I had to use a regular socket (not spark plug)on the center one because of the air injection pipe. Blow out the plug wells with compressed air first to keep crud out of the cylinders. The stalling is likely a vacuum leak or bad IAC valve.
 

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Hello and welcome! First, you need to know that engine is very prone to blowing a head gasket. Are you sure your coolant loss problem is solved?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
No im not sure the coolant loss is solved. It got dark on my last night and I couldnt see anything, however I did drive it around for a while and the temp gauge didnt ever get over half way. I thought that the head gasket may be blowen because after I parked it it sounded like it was boiling in the overflow tank. I tried getting those back plugs with a socket and extension, but when I felt of them with my hand it felt like there was something blocking the bottom part of the plug where the socket fits on. I could feel the top really good and just a little bit of the bottom. I will look closer today and see what I can come up with. Thanks for the replys. also let me add that it isnt trowing any codes and there isnt any lights on.
 

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Save up for the head gasket job. Plan on getting the heads machined too, hopefully they're not warped.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
update!!!

There is now water in the oil. Yesterday there wasnt any, so im guessing I blew the head gasket or the intake gasket. That is probably what is making it idle so bad. I pulled the IAC and cleaned it up. It didnt look that bad. I got the back 3 plugs changed. That wasnt that bad in the daylight. My next ? is... Is it worth it to replace the head gasket or intake gasket? I bought the car for $100 I now have about $200 in it. It is a '92 LX that only has 58,686 miles on it with the 3.8L. it has power everything( windows, locks, mirrors, seat etc...) Everything works on the car. Thanks for the replys in advanced.
 

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Very low mileage! I would do a head gasket repair ASAP. Coolant in the oil can ruin rod bearings fast. I owned an Essex (3.8L) once, never again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
yeah I plan on doing the repair probably this weekend. What is so bad about the Essex 3.8 besides being prone to blowing head gaskets? Maybe I wont have to have the heads worked, and I can just get away with putting the gaskets on it.
 

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yeah I plan on doing the repair probably this weekend. What is so bad about the Essex 3.8 besides being prone to blowing head gaskets? Maybe I wont have to have the heads worked, and I can just get away with putting the gaskets on it.
That is the problem with the Essex. It was a poor gasket design on Ford's part when first put out. I just don't want to do that much work ever again.
 

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There's no such thing as a $100 car. Get the heads checked for warping, get them surfaced if needed. Fix the other little things. If you get it running well with low mileage for less than $1000 you'll be doing very well.
 

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What is so bad about the Essex 3.8 besides being prone to blowing head gaskets?
Fuel economy, and the fact that you can't put revised MLS gaskets on the old style heads, so you're always on pins and needles waiting for the head gaskets to leak again. Buy new head bolts and a good torque wrench and follow the torque sequence perfectly. Also sometimes there's a discrepancy between the original procedure and the gasket mfr's instructions. In that case follow the gasket maker's sequence because the bolt/gasket design may have been modified and improved over the original.

And change the oil twice after the job.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
does anyone know about how much it will cost to get the heads surfaced? I plan on fixing it, but it is not my #1 priority at the moment. I have 2 other vehicles to drive. I just bought the car because it was cheap for the milage and it does run just not good. The gaskets are cheap, so thats no biggie. thanks for all the input.
 

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Will, How sure are you that it isn't actually 159,000 miles?
Reason I ask, is my niece's '94 Taurus has only five digits on the odometer.
If you are in the northeast (rust belt) that car should be really clean with only 59,000 miles.

Not trying to insult anyone, but to repeat what someone else said, 'there is no such thing as a $100 car'.
 

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If you are in the northeast (rust belt) that car should be really clean with only 59,000 miles.
Well actually it could have no floor, rocker panels, seized brakes, leaking lines, etc. from salt sitting in all sorts of places. Hopefully that's not the case!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
No I live down south in Georgia. The odometer reads 058,685 or 058,865. One of the two. I cant remember. the car has no rust at all. The seats have no tears in them. The only things (besides the head gasket) messed up on the car is the headliner is falling, the clear coat is coming off on the top of the front fenders and it has a crack in the windshield. All the windows work, the power seats and mirrors work.
 

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No I live down south in Georgia. The odometer reads 058,685 or 058,865. One of the two. I cant remember. the car has no rust at all. The seats have no tears in them. The only things (besides the head gasket) messed up on the car is the headliner is falling, the clear coat is coming off on the top of the front fenders and it has a crack in the windshield. All the windows work, the power seats and mirrors work.
3M makes a aerosol adheasive for headliners, I think you can find it in auto parts stores. Older cars in the south always have the clear coats comming off them if they were not garage kept their whole life, nothing a paint job couldn't fix. I would get those heads machined, and replace the head gaskets. I would also replace the water pump (for good measure) and flush out any remaining coolant. Change the transmission fluid and filter before putting the car back on the road. After the headgaskets, this car should last a long time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
It has a brand new water pump, thermostat and gasket, and belt on it already. Yeah I have a can of the heavy duty headliner glue. I bought 2 cans when I put a new headliner in my truck a couple months ago. It needs a good bath and the interior cleaned real good, but other than that it looks ok. Someone tried to put a headliner in it already but it looks like they done quick fix. My main concern right now is getting the engine running right. Cosmetic stuff will come later.
 
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