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On my old '95 with a 3.8 (given to my bro in law) the valves started tapping today and if you went from throttle to foot off the gas whether driving or idling it will shut off. I checked the oil (added 1 qt) and the coolant (12 oz. in the rad. and the overflow was full) and still tapping. He said the oil light would flicker before it shut off but that could be because the idle was dropping. I did a search but couldn't find anything other than it might be a blown head gasket or motor. When the gasket went in my old Toyota it went into self cleaning mode and was obvious but his oil, besides from maybe needing to be changed, and his coolant looked fine.

He has only put a K&N filter on it.

Please HELP! He hasn't payed for the car yet. :ripped:


:confused:
 

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If the oil light flickers, and the oil is full, then the oil pressure is low, which is why it's tapping. What's the mileage on the car? How well did you (and any previous owners) maintain it? It's possible that there's a buildup of sludge in the engine, restricting oil flow. It's also very common on the older 3.8's to have worn bearings, especially if it has or had a front cover or head gasket leak. Does it knock at all when you start it up cold? That's a sure sign of worn bearings. If it's just sludge buildup, a cheap fix, if you're lucky and it works, is to get a bottle of some kind of engine flushing oil additive, dump it in the engine and run it (follow instructions on the bottle) then change the oil and filter right away. It might clear up. Another trick the old-timers used to use is putting a half bottle of tranny fluid in the oil and let that run in the engine for a while - trans fluid has more detergents in it than oil, so it can often remove varnish buildup from sticky/noisy lifters, and no, it won't hurt the engine. I'd recommend having it checked for front cover gasket and head gasket leakage, both very common and very destructive. If you change your own oil, do it after the car's been sitting for a while. Without starting the engine, remove the oil drain plug slowly and see if any coolant starts dripping out before the oil does. If so, you likely need to replace the front cover gasket - if you don't, that engine will be a paperweight in no time.
 

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I did a search but couldn't find anything other than it might be a blown head gasket or motor.
Can't be the head gasket. Sure 3.8 is notorious for blown head gasket but that only happens if the car begins to "burn up" the coolant and no coolant is left in the system (thus the car overheats and blows the gasket). OR atleast this is what I have been told. But you said the car had enough coolant so I doubt if it is the head gasket.

Also is the car smoking? If so, what color is it? also is it burning coolant?

Help me out with some details....i am trying to put together this picture in solving the problem. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the reply's. I should have posted more info.

170k on the car
I think the engine has 90k (bought used but the motor looked new)
When I started the car it was still warm but had been sitting for a couple hours
I didn't see any smoke.
I changed the oil every 6k with Mobil 1 when I had it. I think he changed the oil in March so it probably should be changed. I used engine flush a couple of times when I had it.

I don't think it's a bearing. It definetly valve tap in the front bank. When I took the oil cap off you could hear it louder.

Keep the suggestions coming. I'll tell him to change the oil and flush it out today and see what happens.

Do they have adjustable valves that might need to be tightened?

It happens all the time but gets louder when you give it some gas.


-Jeff
 

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One of your hydraulic valve lifters has probably collapsed. Pull the valve cover off, and start wiggling the rockerarms and pushrods. One should be a lot looser than the others. That's the bad one.

You should be able to buy one lifter from Ford. Use only a new lifter! There is a crown on both the cam and lifter faces. Worn out lifters may not have this crown. It will kill a cam to put a used lifter on a lobe if the used lifter doesn't have a crown. (Used lifters usually don't.)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Originally posted by Dan_in_WA@Jul 15 2004, 05:26 PM
One of your hydraulic valve lifters has probably collapsed.  Pull the valve cover off, and start wiggling the rockerarms and pushrods.  One should be a lot looser than the others.  That's the bad one.

You should be able to buy one lifter from Ford.  Use only a new lifter!  There is a crown on both the cam and lifter faces.  Worn out lifters may not have this crown.  It will kill a cam to put a used lifter on a lobe if the used lifter doesn't have a crown.  (Used lifters usually don't.)
Damn!!!!!!!! :eek: You're good! :notworthy:

:thumb: That's exactly what it was. I'm just glad I didn't have to do the work. It has been a royal pain. 2 broken bolts, broken dipstick (and consequently 2 oil pan bolts having to be drilled out). Whoever built that motor must have tightened everything with a cheater bar.

My Bro got the lifter at Carquest for $12.50.

I couldn't believe how much crud there was in the engine. I thought I took good care of it changing the oil every 6k with full synthetic and using motor flush a couple of times.

I would have taken pics but I wasn't home this weekend. I didn't realize you would have to take the head off to replace the lifter.

I'll post again when the job is done.(it was started last Sat)
 

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a side note: you said you changed the oil every 6k. i don't know what the owners manual says, but recommended is 3k/3 months. i change mine every 2,500 miles, just to be safe.

might prevent the severe sludge build up next time.

good luck.
 

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Alot of the older fords, like my '90 Tempo said every 7,500 miles for oil changes on lite-medium duty driving, and I beleive 5k for severe duty driving...granted I chaged it every 3-4k as well as the previous owner. Don't know why Ford would have done this....but its probably why you find alot of the olders ones oozing oil.
 

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A 3k oil change is needed when using conventional dino oil. If you're using full synthetic, like Mobil 1, you only need to change it every 6K to 7500...

JR
 

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Originally posted by 3-fords1000@Jul 22 2004, 05:21 AM

Damn!!!!!!!! :eek: You're good! :notworthy:

:thumb: That's exactly what it was.
:D



Thank you! :lol2:
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I always used synthetic for the car. I wouldn't trust dino oil for that long. I change my trucks oil every 2k with regular oil and just put Amsoil in my sedan. I figure I'll go about 15k on it with periodic filter changes.

-Jeff
 

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yeah i would definitely not do that. 3000 miles oil changes are safer for Tauruses...6000??? i think you are pushing you luck a bit there....synthetic or not :)
 

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I'm glad you got it sorted out. One thing I want to say though.

What does it matter if he paid for it yet? If it quits working you still have to pay for it. It's like when you finance. It doesnt matter what happens. You still pay for it. If someone didnt pay for a car I gave them on a pay back basis to court we would go.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
You don't understand my wife's family and that's as far as I'm going with that.

-Jeff
 
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