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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Are symptoms of this....Long I know but worth it...

My sister had a 97 Taurus w/ 3L OHV that she kept in pristine condition. Oil change 3000 miles. Antifreeze summer and winter. The car did great until just over 100,000 miles. It started to heat up beyond where the needle always stayed. Not to the HOT mark. They had it flushed. Seemed to help. A week or two later it started to go past the normal needle point on the temp gauge again.
Had it flushed again, better but no fix.
My brother in law wanted to trade it w/car for clunkers. My sister wanted to give it to my daughter and her husband w/2 kids. (They needed a car and are young and broke).....so I checked the car out. It would climb toward hot when stopped but you could put it in neutral, raise the RPMs and watch the needle go down. Never getting to the HOT point. I replaced the belt tensioner as it was worn. Still the same. I flushed it twice more. Got some crap out of it...not much, still same problem. No CEL ever came on.
Took it to a reputable garage. They replaced the radiator and water pump. Drove car to daughters house (did fine) and gave it to her. I told her to keep an eye on the temp gauge and let me know if it goes past half way. ( The car would run with needle just below half way, always did when working fine). The car started to slowly get hotter than normal. This was a few weeks after all the repair work. I said keep a close I on it.
A few days later she called me and said the car made a funny squeal sound while driving. (I now think it was the cam syncro that made the sound - more on that later) I asked if the gauges looked normal, and she said yes. About 12 miles up the freeway it overheated and died.
I drove to her location, and all the coolant was gone but no hose ruptured. I was pretty sure it would need head gaskets at the very least. Had it towed to my house and placed with the front facing one of my garage/basement doors to make work easy on me.
Removed the heads and took them to get milled flat. They looked the heads over and took just enough off, not much.
This car was as clean as any I've worked on due to the excellent maintenance my brother-in-law does to all his vehicles.
While waiting on the heads i picked up a set of top end gaskets that come with the head bolts, valve seals injector O rings etc....and started prepping the motor. There was still a little water in the jackets around the cylinders so i decided to siphon it out. This Is where i made a mistake. Alot of rust/crud came out with the water left in the block as i siphoned it out. (Keep in mind this engine has been well maintained and flushed more time than I can count.)
I put everything back together, doing an excellent job as usual. Crank the car and it idles like crap, hard to start, and has a P1131 and P0340 code - ( bad cam syncro). I pop the sensor off and the tab on the synchronizer is gone, with some debris inside. ( can't mark it and replace).
Get the Motorcraft and install it correctly. Car cranks better but has a stumble, worse in gear. I now have a 300, 301 that come and go - (CEL only blinks occasionally). Check for vacuum, spark, fuel injector and all that crap associated with the codes. Find nothing. Car runs great on the road just not at idle.
Give the car to my daughter and tell her it may get worse or better but I can't do much other than drive it and wait and see. So off she goes.
The car don't get better. The car is starting to use water, and the idle while in gear is getting worse. The CEL is blinking most of the time when stopped in gear. This is about 2 months after all the work listed above. I get the car back and start troubleshooting again.
Car is running very bad at Idle. Doesn't overheat unless it gets low on coolant. Code are - P0133, P0306, P0303, P0430, P0455. I check the compression on each cyl. They all build up like normal to about 155 psi. Cyl 3 is low @ 140 unless you turn it over 5 or 6 times. 4 times for all the others. I feel like the codes are related to one thing. Intake or head gaskets....so..I go to work on it..........

I take the heads to the shop. He sees a crack in the combustion chamber at first glance. Later he calls and says the other head is cracked. - He hooks me up with two later model reworked heads. While I'm waiting on them I decide the inspect my motor a little closer. I take a piece of fish-tape (stiff wire) and run it down into my water jackets that circulate water past the cylinders. It feels like there is a mud like substance inside the water jackets. I take a clear hose and siphon out some of the water/mud. There is so much rusty mud that I spend 4 hrs with a shop vac, pressure hose that will fit down inside the block and the fish-tape to stir / break loose the rusty mud. Using the fish-tape ti dig the mud away from the tail end of the engine (the end further away from the water pump) took lots of effort and time. I got several cups of rust/mud out of the engine. I would spray, dig around, suck it out. I repeated this until I felt I had broke loose and removed all the rust/mud. This rust was as fine as powder.
I had to go to pull-a-part to get a EGR to manifold tube as i broke mine trying to bend it just a little to remove my manifold. The engine I found one on had a freeze plug missing, so i ran my finger inside and the motor was full of this rust/mud.

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The car is running great. No codes, idles perfect, no coolant loss. I'm sure everybody will say - That's why you maintain your cooling system. - I say this engine has a defect and premature death caused by this mud/rust will affect everyone that has this motor. You may prolong the life but there is a flaw that will eventually get anyone that has this model engine.

Added more at the bottom of page. Also my post above this edit is misleading in the maintenance of the cooling system. While antifreeze was always kept in the car it was NOT flushed each year. I have discussed this with my brother-in-law and while well maintained, he didn't have it flushed when changing coolant. - More Below-
 

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hi, was 50/50 coolant mix used in the past or 100% mixed with
distilled water?

I've always used distilled water to dilute my Prestone.

Take a look at this product, Evapo-Rust.

Evapo Rust :: Harris International Labs

It will not harm cooling system parts and while a bit expensive,
will fix your rust problem.

regards
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My brother-in-law who had the car most of its life used 50/50 mix. The problem I have with this whole issue is most vehicles never have this much rust build up regardless of how bad the owner treats the coolant mixture.

When I started searching the web on overheating issues with this car I ran across service bulletins about rust problems and numerous individual people with heater cores clogging up, blown head gaskets, cracked heads and so forth. I hope Ford has corrected this because my sister and brother-in-law are now owners of a 2008 Taurus with the 3 liter OHV just like the one they gave my daughter.
 

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First let me say there is a lot of good information in your message.

Why on the 1st round of head removal didn't the machine shop check for cracked heads? Overheating an engine is almost guaranteed to give you warped or cracked heads or both. If you don't get cracked block or heads, thank your lucky stars. And in many cases with aluminum block/heads this will be death to an engine.

Evapo-Rust. Nice product but wrong application for his problem. Once the rust is removed how is he going to protect the rust from coming back?

About your inquiry with a defective block material. That is a possibility not to rule out. I have read a lot of similar posts on this forum with the same issue. But what I don't hear is the name of the coolant used that may be the root caused of this problem. Would Motorcraft anti-freeze would have a much better product to use to avoid rust in the block?

I have use Motorcraft antifreeze since day 1 and never had a problem with it. I flush every 33K miles and refill with Motorcraft coolant.

Glad to hear you have everything running again. What name brand coolant did you use?

I don't know what the recipe is for Motorcraft coolant but if it is a better product for your engine you may want to consider it. As added insurance if the thermostat is older than 10-years you may want to replace with a Motorcraft as well.

Monsoon
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
hi, was 50/50 coolant mix used in the past or 100% mixed with
distilled water?

I've always used distilled water to dilute my Prestone.

Take a look at this product, Evapo-Rust.

Evapo Rust :: Harris International Labs

It will not harm cooling system parts and while a bit expensive,
will fix your rust problem.

regards
I'm not sure this would correct the problem I encountered. The rust particles were like a powder that had settled and packed itself at the bottom of the block, especially toward the end of the motor farthest away from the water pump. I had to stir it loose with a length of fish tape (slim piece of hardened metal) and high pressure water in combination with a shop vac to suck it out. I wasn't worried about getting some water in the parts of my block that only oil should be, but was extra careful not to get any rust material where only oil should be.

The bottom line, is either I removed this mud-rust or pull the motor and vat the block. This motor was flushed almost to death early on when it first started to run warmer than normal, and heater core clogged. Lots of junk was washed out during the early flushes and the heater started to work like a champ. Eventually nothing but clean fluid came out after each flush. The car still finally overheated and died while my daughter was driving it.

It was the 2nd time around reworking the heads that I discovered all the rust-mud in the bottom of the block.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
First let me say there is a lot of good information in your message.

Why on the 1st round of head removal didn't the machine shop check for cracked heads? Overheating an engine is almost guaranteed to give you warped or cracked heads or both. If you don't get cracked block or heads, thank your lucky stars. And in many cases with aluminum block/heads this will be death to an engine.

Evapo-Rust. Nice product but wrong application for his problem. Once the rust is removed how is he going to protect the rust from coming back?

About your inquiry with a defective block material. That is a possibility not to rule out. I have read a lot of similar posts on this forum with the same issue. But what I don't hear is the name of the coolant used that may be the root caused of this problem. Would Motorcraft anti-freeze would have a much better product to use to avoid rust in the block?

I have use Motorcraft antifreeze since day 1 and never had a problem with it. I flush every 33K miles and refill with Motorcraft coolant.

Glad to hear you have everything running again. What name brand coolant did you use?

I don't know what the recipe is for Motorcraft coolant but if it is a better product for your engine you may want to consider it. As added insurance if the thermostat is older than 10-years you may want to replace with a Motorcraft as well.

Monsoon
I don't know what the best antifreeze is to use. Some GM's use a red liquid that is supposed to be good for 50,000 miles, and voids the warranty if another type is used. My mothers Buick Century started leaking the red antifreeze just past the warrenty @ 53,000 miles. It was the original antifreeze. The shop replaced the intake gaskets and used a yellow/green antifreeze. About 20,000 miles later the gaskets started to leak again. The same shop said Buick redesigned the gaskets and they shouldn't leak again. It's been about 12,000 miles so we'll see.

My personal opinion is as long as you use the correct antifreeze and flush once a year you should never have a problem. Most antifreeze's today say they are recommended for aluminum or iron. They are additives that claim to lubricate and reduce temperature when added to the coolant. Never tried any.

I'm a just a back yard mechanic, 48 yrs old, was building hot rods before I could drive. I no longer work on a car unless i have too. This is the 1st time I've seen this much rust-mud in a motor that was fairly well maintained.

I don't think it was the block material, but maybe casting flaws like ridges sticking out inside the block that rusted so much. The higher the nickel content the better when it comes to blocks.

Oh well, the car is running great so I'm happy. I just thought someone could avoid the 2nd time around or even prevent it from happening at all if they see what coolant rust can lead too.
 

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The 96-99 Vulcan motor had a poorly designed cooling system, routing the coolant in ways that created cold spots. This breaks down the coolant faster into an acidic sludge. It then eats away at the engine metal, for example disintegrating the water pump impeller. Yearly coolant flush and fills are the only preventative maintenance, unfortunately most owners don't realize the problem until it's too late and there's a significant amount of sludge. I believe the cooling system was redesigned around 2000 and the problem is not as severe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
OK, thought i would update my post. After new heads and gaskets, cleaning all the crud out of the engine (rust-mud) gave the car back to daughter to drive. Chec engine light came on says 1 catalytic converter is not functioning up to standards. Reset the light with battery and it stayed off a while but came back on. I'll probably use the spark plug spacer trick for that, but that's not the main problem.
She told me the engine sounds like its boiling if you shut it off and lift the hood. Also sees steam escaping from under the pressure cap on the overflow reservoir. I traded vehicles and sure enough when the car gets to operating temperature steam comes from under the pressure cap and it sounds like the intake manifold is boiling water with engine turned off. I refused to believe anything could be wrong with the heads, gaskets, or intake. I go to autozone and purchase a replacement coolant reservoir with cap. While at AZ I replace the pressure cap with the new one. Drive it hard on the way home. Turn off the car, lift the hood and listen. No steam from cap and no boiling sound. I very carefully loosen the pressure cap til it's loose enough to let steam escape. I hear the boiling sound under the intake manifold. I tighten the pressure cap and it instantly quits. When the car cools off I will replace the reservoir and I think all will be right with the world. I could probably just replace the pressure cap but the reservoir is hard to see through even after cleaning it good while waiting on the heads.

My brother in law took his Taurus (2008) and had it flushed and replaced the coolant after I showed him what came out of the 1997. I think if the cooling system had been maintained with yearly flushing this car would never had this problem. I have a new respect for maintaining the cooling system on these engines.

Also my post above this is misleading in the maintenance of the cooling system. While antifreeze was always kept in the car it was NOT flushed each year. I have discussed this with my brother-in-law and while well maintained, he didn't have it flushed when changing coolant.
 

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<quote>
I very carefully loosen the pressure cap til it's loose enough to let steam escape. I hear the boiling sound under the intake manifold. I tighten the pressure cap and it instantly quits.<quote>

This is because of the properties of water (even mixed with coolant). basically when your coolant is under pressure, it has to get VERY VERY VERY hot in order to boil. as soon as you open the cap, the pressure is released and the coolant can boil throughout the system.
 

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quickie cooling system fix. I had a 93 taurus with an Essex engine that I was just going to run until it dropped. One fine day the head gasket started leaking. I would have to stop and put in water every 10 miles on the freeway. I heard about this stuff called Irontight. I get it at a parts dealer called Lordco in Canada. I got the type that forms a ceramic seal on the cooling system. It stopped the leak and i drove it for another 3 years and 50,000 K without a leak. It still worked fine until the day it was rear ended and destroyed. Not bad for a lousy 18 bucks.
 
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