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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Have a 96 GL. 176K miles.
Has a blown head gasket. Am told that head gasket replacement may not be wise since compression increase would likley ruin rings in short time on a car with that many miles. What would you do given the following?....
Technically was totalled in Jan, 2011 due to front and rear bumper cover damage. In that process I bought it back from insurance company, fixed and passed inspection. I found and repainted bumpers and proceeded to put +$1200 into car parts and lots of personal labor....struts, strut mounts, CV axles, 4 tires, battery, master brake cylinder, ball joints, 2 rotors, brake pads, hub assembly, sway bars, tie rods, water pump, radiator hoses, coolant sensor and housing, thermostat, radiator flushed including heater core, alignment, and other stuff. Knowing many of you have also "bonded" with their Taurus over the years....would you cut your loses and say bye? new engine? Do a head gasket repair anyway?
 

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2003 Ford taurus Centennial Edition
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Had my head gaskets replaced about 145,00...no problems. going on 198,000, now. I would fix it 'cuz you have a lot invested in repairing it so far.
 

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:unsure:.....Stu, No one knows this car any better than you. I would press on considering all the maintenance work you've already done. Changing the head gasket will not change the compression unless you use a much thinner head gasket than what was previously installed. Go get you a Gasket Head set, which comes with everything you need, and WALA your set to go. I've had my Taurus over 10 years, and I'm in no hurry to replace it, 118,000 miles on original Engine, Trans, such a good ride. Good luck,
david....:unsure:
 

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Personally I would keep it knowing you did all that work to it. You'd probably feel bad if you let it go now.

The price of a headgasket repair is in the same range as a new engine. If you aren't going to do it yourself, opt for the new engine. If you are doing it yourself you will save a load of money but I hope you have a backup car. It isn't as hard as it is time-consuming, and if you get an OEM style gasket set, you should have zero problems.
 

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Cake monster
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From what I've read, upper end engine rebuilds can't cause things like rings to fail, they're either good or not. I would be willing to bet that the cylinder walls look almost new once you remove the heads. I would also be willing to bet that you would have good compression after a head gasket job. If it was driven for a while with coolant in the crankcase, you might want to think about the possibility of rod knock after you do the heads, there is a risk of that happening.

You can search back into other threads for more info on how to do the repair.

You need a good metric tool set, including torque wrenches. You will need a service manual for your car. If you haven't done this before, expect to have the car down for more than a weekend. You should have a digital camera to take pictures for reference. You need plastic baggies and boxes to store things like bolts. Haynes manuals show you the basics of proper engine tear down (at least the one I have does). Expect stuff like broken bolts. You need a few changes worth of oil, oil filters, antifreeze (if the cooling system got badly contaminated with oil, you might want to take it to a shop to flush it). Complete upper end gasket kit and head bolts, cleaning materials for the block surface as well. You might want to change the spark plugs too, but that's your choice.

Take the heads to a machine shop for inspection. They might be cracked.

Or, take it to a mechanic, that's much easier. :lol2:
 

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Let me ask a related question. Under what conditions should one proceed with head gasket job? Heads not cracked and cylinder wall condition were mentioned. What else?
 

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You wont know if the heads are cracked until you magnaflux the heads at the machine shop or if you see the cracks yourself after removing the heads. I have seen rusted cylinder walls do just fine with a good cleaning and lots of oil. Usually they only rust up if they have been sitting for weeks or more with water on the cylinders. Anything you see inside that is bad may make you think about another engine, for example: pistons cracked above the ring land. I have seen this on chevy 2.2ls, but never on a Ford 3.0.

One time I did heads on a 99 Taurus and it still poured water into the oil and smoked like crazy. We determined the block was cracked after I did the headjob. That was 1 out of who knows how many Taurus head gasket jobs I have done. We wound up installing a used engine for him instead and it turned out great. Just some ideas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks everyone for the insights. It turns out in this particular case I have a cracked block. So now its a new or used engine or part it out (wife not pleased with that idea) or off it goes to pick-a-part... the thought of which, I am somewhat embarrased to say, causes me significant saddness.....unlike the other 14 cars I have owned.
 

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new car

Thanks everyone for the insights. It turns out in this particular case I have a cracked block. So now its a new or used engine or part it out (wife not pleased with that idea) or off it goes to pick-a-part... the thought of which, I am somewhat embarrased to say, causes me significant saddness.....unlike the other 14 cars I have owned.
dont know if you have the money but there is a 05 that has been totally upgraded on this site, i think it is in s. carolina for 6K obo
 

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A Vulcan with a cracked block?? Holy ****.
 

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Cake monster
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Thanks everyone for the insights. It turns out in this particular case I have a cracked block. So now its a new or used engine or part it out (wife not pleased with that idea) or off it goes to pick-a-part... the thought of which, I am somewhat embarrased to say, causes me significant saddness.....unlike the other 14 cars I have owned.
It must have run very low on coolant to cause the block to crack. Last time I checked, you could get a used vulcan engine for $300-$400 from a wrecker (in my area). Rent an engine hoist and learn how to do an engine swap, they're not really much more complex than a head gasket job, just a little more lifting. :lol2:
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
From the comments now I am not so confident of the analysis I paid for at Pep Boys. Antifreeze pouring out per the earlier picture. Towed to Pep Boys who said it failed block test....and pointed to where it was leaking. I asked if it was from head gasket or crack. Response was simply my engine is ruined. One mechanic said it must be cracked to have water coming out like that since head gasket blown has fluid seeping out not pouring out. Is that correct?.....can they actually even determine if its a crack vs head gasket is the if it fails the "block test"? Or are they just assuming? I guess the question is.. on a blown head gasket is it possible for the amount of fluid to leak as shown in picture (keeping in mind the pouring out of fluid is with the not even running). What test needs to be done to authoritatively determine its a head gasket issue versus cracked block?
 
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