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Wile I was at jiffy lube the other day, one of the guys called me into the garage and showed me that while he was squirting oil into the engine, oil was seeping up and out of one of the head bolts...

The car drives fine, only loses half a quart of oil over 5,000 miles, no CEL or anything... could this just be a striped bolt? I havent tried tightening it yet, but if thats not the problem than what am i looking at?



:unsure:
 

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It's coming from the valve cover, not the head bolt. Try snugging down the valve cover bolts, if that doesn't help, replace them.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It's coming from the valve cover, not the head bolt. Try snugging down the valve cover bolts, if that doesn't help, replace them.
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Its not, the valve cover bolt is hidden behind the dipstick in this picture, and is an actual bolt with a nut on it.
 

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Yeah, but are you sure it's coming from the bolt and not from the valve cover seal directly above the head bolt? It's much more likely that it's the valve cover leaking than the head bolt - check the most likely and cheapest first.
 

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also check if you are losing coolant, there will be a sweet smell (of burning coolant) coming from your exhaust, and there will be a burning oil smell from your windshield defrosters (when the switch is put there).
 

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<div class='quotemain'>
It's coming from the valve cover, not the head bolt. Try snugging down the valve cover bolts, if that doesn't help, replace them.
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Its not, the valve cover bolt is hidden behind the dipstick in this picture, and is an actual bolt with a nut on it.
[/b][/quote]

OK, bring it on up to RI and I'll do the head gaskets for ya.... :)
 

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I have the exact same year, and they always tell me my head gasket needs to be changed because it's leaking. My car runs fine, loses a little oil, not much, it's expensive to change that gasket at the dealership over $300 I thought they said. I think not! TJ
 

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I would get a Used Oil Analysis to see if you have coolant in the oil. That's one good way to tell if you have problems.
 

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What you have is a classic Vulcan blown head gasket. DO NOT TRY TO TIGHTEN THE BOLT WHERE THE LEAK IS. The only thing that you will accomplish is breaking off the head bolt. Not all blown headgaskets result in between the combustion chamber and oil or coolant which require immediate repair.

I had a similar problem on my 87 Taurus Wagon, and I drove the car 170K miles that way without a single problem, other than having to add some coolant every week (only leaked after the engine was hot, and shut off, then bumped some coolant out).

Ford Dealers charge an average of $1000 to replace a single headgasket. You are not going to get one replaced for $300. Quotes I have seen from several Ford Dealers are $800-$900, even though virtually all of the work has been done when replacing the first head gasket, they charge the same amount to replace the 2nd one (replacing the 2nd headgasket only requires removing the head bolts from the 2nd head.

If you have the money to let Ford replace the headgasket, you might as well replace the engine with a rebuilt. The cost is about the same.

Has long as the headgasket failure does not extend into the combusion chambers, or from the oil to coolant passages you may be able to get away without making repairs. DO NOT ALLOW THE ENGINE TO OVERHEAT.
 

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What you have is a classic Vulcan blown head gasket. [/b]
I thought the "classic blown head gasket" applied to the Essex (3.8L) motor?

Both of my sister's Tauri, a '96 and a '99 look just like the OP's picture and I know neither of those cars has a blown head gasket. I vote for a bad valve cover gasket or loose valve cover bolts.
 

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3.8's are commonly known for head gaskets, however the Gen 3 Vulcans seem to have a sweet spot for them too. However, the "classic blown Vulcan head gasket", at least IMO, should refer to the #1 cylinder failure. I've seen a ton of them.

Is it possible that bolt goes through an oil galley or something? Is it one of the bolts that is supposed to have paste thread sealer on it?
 

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I think you have a valve cover gasket leak and I would start there. If you replace the head gasket have the heads rebuilt at the same time. If this is something you are able to do you can save alot of money but if the repair bill is high, I would also check into the cost of replacing the motor with a complete rebuilt as suggested by another post. I just replaced both headgaskets in my 87 3.0 Taurus and saved a bundle doing it myself. Found an original Ford headgasket on the rear head and a Felpro gasket on the front head. Someone had obviously done it before but in my opinion did a halfass job. If the job is worth doing do it right the first time. If you do repair just the head gaskets also replace the headbolts with a new set. A set of new headbolts isn't that much and yes I did mine also. Good Luck.
 
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