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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Got a 1995 3.8l GL with 42k miles (has CA emissions stuff as well) from my grandma. Had a head gasket blow and replaced both of them. Now the engine has little power - it will get up to about 45 on a flat road. The engine also seems to heat up pretty quickly, but the cooling system is keeping it from overheating. Suggestions are most welcome.

My buddy suggested clogged catalytic converter but not sure how to test that.

What about O2 sensor?

Or?

Thanks
 

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Sluggish

Got a 1995 3.8l GL with 42k miles (has CA emissions stuff as well) from my grandma. Had a head gasket blow and replaced both of them. Now the engine has little power - it will get up to about 45 on a flat road. The engine also seems to heat up pretty quickly, but the cooling system is keeping it from overheating. Suggestions are most welcome.

My buddy suggested clogged catalytic converter but not sure how to test that.

What about O2 sensor?

Or?

Thanks
I would check the timing. I believe you have to remove the dist. to do the head gaskets. The '95 is likely the last year for the distributor in the 3.8. I had a '95 and Ford replaced the gaskets under a callback. It seemed to be flat but not too bad, just did not get good mileage. I found the ign timing to be about 20 degrees late.

Timing it is a real pain. You need a mirror on a stick to put between the engine and fire wall, aim it so as to see the timing marks using a flashlight. Then point the timing light at the mirror, look into the same mirror and see the marks. Then adjust the dist all at the same time.

I took a white paint market and marked the degree desired from under the car befor starting. Then painted the pin. All I needed to do is make the white marks agree in the mirror.:p

Sluggish and hot both match late ign timing.

Good luck.

-chart-
 

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A clogged cat would definitely restrict the vehicle from getting up to 35-45mph.

If you have an infrared thermometer, you could aim it at the cat to see it's temperature versus other parts of the exhaust system. If it's significantly warmer than the rest of the exhaust, that may suggest you have a clog. Could also do a vacuum test.

If you rev the car up does the car bog down?
 

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^^^^ +1

Be sure to pull the SPOUT connector when checking timing.
 

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Distributer

^^^^ +1

Be sure to pull the SPOUT connector when checking timing.
Good point.

If the dist is in the wrong tooth, most likely, you can move it far enough around to get it in time but it may make the wiring out of place.

I have had experience. :(

I had 3 rear drive 3.8 in the 80's and I kept a spare dist in the trunk. Never needed it on the road, but did change in my driveway. '85 LTD.

I kept a dist for the 3.0 in my first 3 Taurus/Sables in the trunk and I changed it beside the road on my '87 Sable. It ran good enough to get it 90 miles home. Timed by ear. Old School.

The module and pickup on those with the module on the side of the dist was sure to fail, it was only when. Changing the pickup meant pulling the gear off the shaft. Fortunately they moved the module to the firewall by my '92's and my '95.

Whoever decided to put a heat generating device on the side of the distributer to keep it cool should have his sign. "I AM STUPID".

-CHART-
 

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I believe you have to remove the dist. to do the head gaskets.
Not necessary. I managed to replace the head gaskets in my 91 LX 3.8 without having to pull the distributor. Car has been running fine for over a year since the repair.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you all. I will check the timing first - as soon as i get the mirror. And figure out where and what SPOUT is. OK found out what it is, now I'll go see if I can find it.

As far as sluggishness. It seems to rev up a little slow when the engine has no load on it but I would not call it really sluggish.

Thanks Again. I will get back to y'all when I have more info.
 
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