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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
2001 Taurus 3.0 non flex fuel 120k miles

6 months ago the car temp gauge got hot, so I stopped and let it cool and checked coolant level. It was low and added coolant, about a half a gallon. No leaks anywhere nor through the exhaust or in the oil. I kept driving the car with zero issues. 4 months later the car got hot again, so I stopped at the gas station and let it cool. Put water in, but very little quarter of a gallon. I decided to drive home, 2 miles. Gauge went up again on the interstate and burried in the Hot section. I shut the car off and coasted and fired up again and coasted, did this until I got off of the interstate. Finally got the car home, but now it was putting white smoke out of the exhaust and it smelled of antifreeze. I got home and let it cool, checked coolant level and wasn't down as much as before. I checked oil and no coolant in the oil.
The next day instead of doing research I pulled the heads and took them to the machine shop. They did a valve job and checked for cracks, no cracks, also resurfaced heads.

I picked up a Fel Pro gasket set, Head bolts, thermostat and was getting ready to start re installing. Well after speaking with a Ford dealership tech, he asked if I had checked for a cracked block or if the intake gasket was blown. Well I had made the mistake of "assuming" it was a head gasket. Upon arriving home I looked at the head gaskets and intake gaskets that came off of the engine. I could not see where the head gasket was blown and the intake gaskets looked ok. Now I am worried I have done alot without needing to.

I am now looking for insight, suggestions, or anything to help before I start putting this car back together. I would hate to put it back together only to find out that the problem was not fixed.

Thank you so much in advance
 

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Failed gaskets won't make the car overheat that much. You need to find the source of the overheat before putting it back together. Could be a water pump, plugged radiator, coolant sludge, etc.
 

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Cake monster
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2001 Taurus 3.0 non flex fuel 120k miles

6 months ago the car temp gauge got hot, so I stopped and let it cool and checked coolant level. It was low and added coolant, about a half a gallon. No leaks anywhere nor through the exhaust or in the oil. I kept driving the car with zero issues. 4 months later the car got hot again, so I stopped at the gas station and let it cool. Put water in, but very little quarter of a gallon. I decided to drive home, 2 miles. Gauge went up again on the interstate and burried in the Hot section. I shut the car off and coasted and fired up again and coasted, did this until I got off of the interstate. Finally got the car home, but now it was putting white smoke out of the exhaust and it smelled of antifreeze. I got home and let it cool, checked coolant level and wasn't down as much as before. I checked oil and no coolant in the oil.
The next day instead of doing research I pulled the heads and took them to the machine shop. They did a valve job and checked for cracks, no cracks, also resurfaced heads.

I picked up a Fel Pro gasket set, Head bolts, thermostat and was getting ready to start re installing. Well after speaking with a Ford dealership tech, he asked if I had checked for a cracked block or if the intake gasket was blown. Well I had made the mistake of "assuming" it was a head gasket. Upon arriving home I looked at the head gaskets and intake gaskets that came off of the engine. I could not see where the head gasket was blown and the intake gaskets looked ok. Now I am worried I have done alot without needing to.

I am now looking for insight, suggestions, or anything to help before I start putting this car back together. I would hate to put it back together only to find out that the problem was not fixed.

Thank you so much in advance
It sounds like you had a cooling system failure that lead to a warped head or head gasket. Were the heads warped? If you had white smoke, you obviously had coolant in the combustion chamber, it had to leak from somewhere, which means your work was probably required. I would consider it standard practice to replace the waterpump (like $40) while doing a head gasket job, maybe the propeller rotted off? You should have the rad checked over when you get it back together, or possibly replace it now. But I'd take it to a shop and have them clean and check the cooling system for blockage. What did the coolant actually look like? Rusty? Is there rust on the back cooling pipes? If there's lots of rust bubbles, it's probably slowly oozing out from there.

I would replace the water pump and put it back together, if it continues to overheat then you know there's something wrong with the cooling system. If the block was cracked, the head gasket job probably won't help and you'll have the same issues as before . I don't see the block cracking, though.
 

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What work did you have done on the heads. I have been down this road before, and learned that fixing a blown headgasket is not as simple as replacing the gasket. The head needs to be resurfaced, and while they are at it, they can check it for cracks.

The block rarely ever cracks. It can happen, but I would consider it an almost non-existent problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Heads were resurfaced, checked for cracks, and received a valve job. No cracks were found. I am picking up a new water pump to install first before the heads go back on. Coolant looked good, nice and green. Will maybe have the radiator cleaned. Thanks for the input from everyone.
Jason
 

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The overheat & white smoke sure sounds like a head gasket leak to the combustion chamber but would have expected some evidience when inspecting the old gasket. Was there any coolant leaking to the ground?

I'd suggest that after you get the heads & intake manifold back on and the coolant system is sealed up...fill with water and pressure test. Spark plugs out and oil pan drain plug removed... Inspect for leaks. If good, continue with re-assembly.

I just went through this last month. Had a coolant leak that I mistakenly attributed to head gaskets. After I replaced the head gaskets and completed re-assembly, I filled up with new coolant and still had a bad leak. Turned out the leak was actually due to a blown gasket between the timing chain cover and the engine block. To repair, I had to remove a lot of the stuff I had just re-installed...Adding to the aggravation
 

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gasket between the timing chain cover and the engine block. ...Adding to the aggravation

Talk about adding to the frustration...
I just finally placed my last order with RockAuto, the BIG order too. Everything from fuel & oil filter, plugs, wires timing chain... but of course I missed the freaking timing cover gasket! What the phuq was I thinking!!!

thanks for the reminder RMC.
 

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Talk about adding to the frustration...
I just finally placed my last order with RockAuto, the BIG order too. Everything from fuel & oil filter, plugs, wires timing chain... but of course I missed the freaking timing cover gasket! What the phuq was I thinking!!!

thanks for the reminder RMC.
Don't bother with the timing cover gasket. I used a bead of RTV sealant (black or gray) in place of the gasket and had no leaks at all.
 
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