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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey peeps.

A friend has a '95 Sable GS with an overheating issue. 2 different mechanics apparantly told him the car is not worth fixing. He did not get a written estimate, so I don't know exactly what they said about it, but he tells me "The engine is bad and the exhaust isn't going out of the rear and is pushed forward until it boils out of the coolant reservoir. Two mechanics have told me it's not worth the money to try and fix."

Is that even possible? I know coolant can seep into the cylinders through bad gaskets or cracked heads/block, but I've never heard of an exhaust issue pushing gases into the coolant system.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes, possible and probable. Exhaust gas into the cooling system indicates at least head gasket issue. Is this a 3.8 essex engine or a 3.0 vulcan eng.?
Hmm, did not know that. I get how it's possible, just had never heard of it happening for some reason.

He believes it is a 3.0. How likely is it that the head is cracked, do you think, as opposed to just bad gaskets? And any idea if it's worth getting a head from the local auto wrecker if it turns out to be that? I'm also curious as to how difficult it is to change a gasket on these things. I've swapped heads on an F-150 with a 351W engine, but never a front wheel drive car, and I'm thinking about doing the work for him if it's not going to be too ignorant of a job.

Thanks for the help!
 

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Both engines are known to blow head gaskets. The 3.0L is easier to replace though. It shouldn't be that much harder if you've swapped heads before.

The head can crack if it overheated. I think you can have it checked at a machine shop. Getting a head from the junkyard is fine if the replacement isn't cracked.
 

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Cake monster
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Hmm, did not know that. I get how it's possible, just had never heard of it happening for some reason.

He believes it is a 3.0. How likely is it that the head is cracked, do you think, as opposed to just bad gaskets? And any idea if it's worth getting a head from the local auto wrecker if it turns out to be that? I'm also curious as to how difficult it is to change a gasket on these things. I've swapped heads on an F-150 with a 351W engine, but never a front wheel drive car, and I'm thinking about doing the work for him if it's not going to be too ignorant of a job.

Thanks for the help!
When a head gasket blows or the head cracks, it starts to loose the compression through the leak, the cylinder can act like a pump and fill the cooling system with exhaust gases. It becomes pretty obvious in bad cases, it'll pressurize the cooling system entirely while the engine is still cold.

Vulcans like to do this, my opinion is that the heads were casted too thin, much like the 2.9 Cologne heads though possibly not as bad. They tend to blow after getting overheated. It appears to be a different pattern than the 3.8, which blows more than the Vulcan. It seems that almost all of the time it happens this way: engine runs hot, heads warp, head gaskets fail and then the head cracks. The stock heads don't take an overheat at all. These engines blow way easier than I think most people give them credit for, the Vulcan is tough, until you run it hot or let the CMP go too long, it's a huge flaw.

Tear it down, if you've done a 351w it shouldn't be a stretch for you, there's still some room in there to work on, it's a small engine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Both engines are known to blow head gaskets. The 3.0L is easier to replace though. It shouldn't be that much harder if you've swapped heads before.

The head can crack if it overheated. I think you can have it checked at a machine shop. Getting a head from the junkyard is fine if the replacement isn't cracked.
Yes, I've had heads magnafluxed once before. Thanks for the info.

When a head gasket blows or the head cracks, it starts to loose the compression through the leak, the cylinder can act like a pump and fill the cooling system with exhaust gases. It becomes pretty obvious in bad cases, it'll pressurize the cooling system entirely while the engine is still cold.

Vulcans like to do this, my opinion is that the heads were casted too thin, much like the 2.9 Cologne heads though possibly not as bad. They tend to blow after getting overheated. It appears to be a different pattern than the 3.8, which blows more than the Vulcan. It seems that almost all of the time it happens this way: engine runs hot, heads warp, head gaskets fail and then the head cracks. The stock heads don't take an overheat at all. These engines blow way easier than I think most people give them credit for, the Vulcan is tough, until you run it hot or let the CMP go too long, it's a huge flaw.

Tear it down, if you've done a 351w it shouldn't be a stretch for you, there's still some room in there to work on, it's a small engine.
Okay, thanks. The car has almost 200,000 miles, but I'm told it runs nicely other than the overheating issue, and that it appears to be at least somewhat taken care of, although "The check engine light pops on after about 4 to 15 minutes of driving, again, dependent on the outside weather temp (the hotter it is, the faster it happens)." I have no idea how much new gaskets/replacement head from pick'n'pull/coolant/etc. would add up to, but do you think it's worth the repair if the labor is free?

Also, any guesses as to how long it takes to strip a head off of one of these cars?
 

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If it's an old high miles Vulcan, my question would be the water pump. They are known for the impeller blades being dissolved/gone at high miles, hence the overheating that leads to other problems.
 

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Cake monster
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Yes, I've had heads magnafluxed once before. Thanks for the info.



Okay, thanks. The car has almost 200,000 miles, but I'm told it runs nicely other than the overheating issue, and that it appears to be at least somewhat taken care of, although "The check engine light pops on after about 4 to 15 minutes of driving, again, dependent on the outside weather temp (the hotter it is, the faster it happens)." I have no idea how much new gaskets/replacement head from pick'n'pull/coolant/etc. would add up to, but do you think it's worth the repair if the labor is free?

Also, any guesses as to how long it takes to strip a head off of one of these cars?
Old post:
Redo the heads (if you can): $150ish each
Gasket kit (on rockauto): $60 plus shipping
Bolt set (on rockauto): around $30 depending plus shipping

Wires, oil (2 or 3 changes worth), plugs, antifreeze and ATF for the P/S pump will be needed. You need a good toque wrench to do this. It's a good idea to only do it if your tool set is pretty good, and you know how to use them. Get a set of feeler gauges and a straight edge for this. You'll have to get the cooling system checked over or do it yourself to ensure that the heads won't blow again from some other component failure. Expect to break some things or end up replacing at least $100 worth of stuff while tearing it down, that's not very uncommon. You also need stuff to clean the block serface. If your rad is already full of oil, you might be better off taking it for a flush than trying to clean the crap out yourself.
If you buy heads out of a junk yard, you should still have them looked over by a machine shop.
 

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Before you throw mad amounts of money and time at heads or gaskets. Is the exhaust coming out the rear AT ALL, or does it seem like its restricted maybe. Compare it to yours, does it feel about the same? Clogged cats or muffler could have been the root cause and cracked a head or blown a gasket. You simply "fixing" it with heads and gaskets......... I'm sure you'll be peeved if it does the same thing again.
 

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Its one of those things where you will have to take step back and decide if its worth it to fix this. Yes, you can shave hundreds off by doing much of the work yourself, but this problem might be bigger than just a head gasket issue. I would find out if the exhaust is plugged. Leaking coolant can plug the converter, and the misfires from the low compression can do the same. If the exhaust is affected as well, you may be better off finding another Taurus of a similar year. Then you can use the old one for parts.
 
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