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OT Ford 3800 V6 Head Gasket

Discussion in 'Uncategorized Threads' started by School Teacher, Apr 25, 2007.

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  1. School Teacher

    School Teacher Well-Known Member

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    My wife and daughter each have a 1997 Mercury Cougar with a 3800 V6. My wife’s cougar has less than 50,000 miles on it and the daughter’s car has over 110,000 miles on it. Each vehicle has above average appearance and has been well maintained. Additionally, each vehicle has a good transmission and air conditioning system and does not leak oil.


    Each of these vehicles has a tendency to “use” coolant and, when the low coolant light comes on, we add about 8 OZ. of coolant to the coolant overflow tank. Each cougar uses less than one gallon per year.

    At the last visit to an independent garage, who has serviced our vehicles for years, the mechanic recommended that we replace the intake manifold and head gaskets (it may have been one or the other or both) at a cost of over $2000. I declined the service and said that I planned to simply continue to add coolant unless the coolant loss becomes more severe at which time I will donate the vehicle to charity.

    My question is does not the Ford 3800 V6 of the 1997 model year have a problem with intake and head gaskets?

    Also, isn’t $2000 a little high for replacing head and manifold gaskets?
     
  2. Etiquette

    Etiquette Member

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    I re-torqued to manifold bolts and stopped the leak, just hope it holds. This was on a 3100, but think they are all about the same. The gal per year of coolant is minor, its per month you will probably need to do something.

    Had a 1200 quote for gasket and add 300 if manifold needed replacing.

    Good luck.
     
  3. Etiquette

    Etiquette Member

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    I should have added, it is most likely NOT a head gasket. U should be able to look under the intake manifold and see the coolant, but keep in mind it maybe cooking away. You can sometime smell it burning before you will see the coolant until the leak really gets going.
     
  4. rooferbob

    rooferbob Active Member

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    Donate the car, save $2,000, buy trap gun and go shooting!
    Rooferbob!
     
  5. Quack Shot

    Quack Shot Active Member

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    Ford 3.8 liter engines have a history of head gasket troubles. They leak! It seems to be more common in a front drive vehicle, but the head gaskets are the usual suspect. The intakes might leak a bit too, but if you are losing coolant on a Ford 3.8 liter engine and don't see a hose, heater core, or other obvious leak, it's a 90+% probability of a head gasket. They are known to leak internally and can actually allow coolant to mix into the oil. That is a bad thing to happen. They had extended warranties on some of them, but I would believe that all of those have expired by now. $2000 seems pretty high, but it requires a bit of labor and the parts are not cheap. You should replace the head bolts at the same time, since they do deteriorate over time. I would suggest a dealer, since they have the latest TSB's and probably have one or two techs that exist only to do those jobs and could do themm in their sleep. It is imporatnt to go by the factory torque procedures and do NOT polish the head, block, or intake surfaces with an abrasive pad. Clean the old gasket material and be sure the rough finish is still there. It helps to retain the gasket. If you polish it, you increase the chances that the gasket will slip or displace causing another premature failure.
     
  6. halfmile

    halfmile Well-Known Member

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    Keep an eye on the oil. If it takes on a gray coloration, the coolant is mixin in with it.

    I would torque the head and add coolant for the minor amount you report.

    But, if warranty coverage is available take advantage of it.

    HM
     
  7. Etiquette

    Etiquette Member

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    I goofed, I was thinking GM and not Ford. Perhaps this link will give you some additional information.

    http://www.alldata.com/products/diy/
     
  8. oz

    oz Active Member

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    Ford had a lot of leaks that looked like head gaskets BUT were only a Y shaped hose near the right rrear side of the head. Usually we fixed the hose and leak was gone. cut the clamp off and use a new section of hose with a hosecclamp. oz
     
  9. kehrby

    kehrby Active Member

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    I'm with Tron here, as always on car repairs. That motor is not even a good boat anchor. Ford has made and does make some good engines but that one ain't it! Don't even bother fixing it. Give the car away and you will be money ahead.

    Steve
     
  10. School Teacher

    School Teacher Well-Known Member

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    We purchassed a new 2007 Toyota Camry for our daughter and I will drive the Cougar, adding coolant as required, until it becomes junk. Then it will go to charity.

    It's a shame that Ford is too shortsighted to realize that some customers expect that a car company knows how to build a decent engine.

    No more Fords. My daughter was considering a new Mercury Milan (I think that's how its spelled) but that sale is gone.
     
  11. kehrby

    kehrby Active Member

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    I didn't mean all Fords were bad, just the 3.8 engine. Matter of fact the Milan happens to be a very good car! Same thing as the Fusion. I haven't seen many problems with these cars at all.

    Steve
     
  12. avidtrapshooter

    avidtrapshooter TS Member

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    head gasket huh? its not the hardest fix out there if it isn't bad yet, you gotta worry about it when coolant starts getting into the oil cause then theres a chance a bit of coolant is getting into the engine bearings it'll kill em right quick, and you'll have quite the picnic on your hands, i would sell the car before it gets worse and while its worth something and running decent a head gasket can slowly go but it can also just blow on you and your in a world a trouble with a ton a different problems.
     
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