New here, story about 3.8 motors (long) - TCCoA Forums
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-16-2002, 05:46 PM Thread Starter
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New here, story about 3.8 motors (long)

Hello all. I bought my 1986 5.0 mustang over 6 years ago. While going through my second round of college, I had to deliver Pizza in it to cut the bills. The car never quit on me, Ran perfect up to 160k miles, where the t-5 stick tranny finally went out. I was desperate, in a pinch and needed to go to work that day to support my bills. In a crunch, I went to a dealer with 0 $$ and crap for credit. They got me situated into a 1994 tbird 3.8L. Man that car was beautiful, and ran great!! Green with green interior. The good news is that I was able to keep the 5.0, and soon replaced the tranny/clutch with upgraded versions.

I bought the tbird with 88k miles on it. Thinking that it was low mileage. Within a year and a half I racked up about 45k miles on the bird from pizza delivery and college. One morning my thermostat went out, and the next week, my engine blew the head gasket. I was devestated. I owed 6grand on the car, and the engine was useless!! If there is a GOD on this planet, he is responsible for the 5.0 mustang. That little car won't quit. The 5.0 stang again became my daily driver, (now with 174kmiles on the clock) Being extremely broke, and not wanting to sink money into this pit, My father and I underwent the task of doing the gasket replacement ourselves. According to Ford, my 1994 Tbird was not on the recall list---go figure, and it had over 100k anyway. The car broke in February 2002. Over the next 9 MONTHS the car sat, each month faithfully making payments on it, and each day praising my god sent old 5.0 mustang(I am not religious just making a point.)

I did take us the 9 months to do that head gasket do to time restraints, and getting fusterated and quitting for a month at a time. It was not easy. then FORD had some F*CKING MICKEY MOUSE setup in response to what should have been regular heater hose coming from the water pump. A steel hose coming from the water pump. WTF?!! The thing would not go in no matter what, and wound up going through 2 of them at $50 a piece, each time, beating it into oblivian to where it would leak. (my father is an ase certified, very good mechanic on the side) But the two of us were just F*cking stumped with this stupid tube. Finally I got wise and Bought a water pump from a 93 tbird that had the real design where it actually uses heater hose. Luckily it bolted right on. I had to yank my upper intake again to route the hoses.

Oh yeah, in the process, the egr became cross threaded in the intake, causing a huge vaccuum leak, grounding us for another month till we had more time to redrill the intake threads.

9 months later, yesterday I just began driving this car that was intended to be my transportation car. I still owe 5200k on it, and now is faded to hell from not being able to wash it for 9 months. (in storage parking lot)

Although I really love the way the car rides and feels, it makes me nervous.

I also did not mention the previous problems: Bad alternator, faulty braking system, Had to Rebuild the AOD trans, and both motor mounts went out.

This car was not abused by the previous owners, as it was mint, when I picked it up.

I should have gone with my original saying...never buy a non-v8 ford.

Oh well. Now I have a real job and have graduated from college, but the car is not worth more than 1200$ and I owe 5400$ on it, I can't get a new car for 3 more years, and I just don't think it will last that long based on it's history. Thank god for the 5.0 mustang.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-16-2002, 05:57 PM
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I'm sorry to hear about your head-gasket nightmare. Ford definately screwed some things up in '94. BTW, I think you have a 4R70W, not an AOD.

How long ago did you buy the car, out of curiosity?


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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-16-2002, 06:38 PM
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Well I don't feel like telling my whole story but just the short of it. 6 months to replase head gasket and rebuild trans. Also port and polished the heads and intakes. Two days after I was finished the car spun a bearing. Due to the hydrolic preasure from the head gasket. So I rebuilt another engine, 2 months, and i now have that.


1993 LX 5.0
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-16-2002, 07:09 PM
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Re: New here, story about 3.8 motors (long)

Originally posted by jeremy

I should have gone with my original saying...never buy a non-v8 ford.

aint that the truth. I found that out in 89.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-17-2002, 06:23 AM
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well i had the same problem......

but luckily my 95 blew them and ford covered them, and now im done with the car payments so i dont have anymore worries if they blow again, 4.2 or v8 bird here i come!!!!!! i know my 3.8 will blow them again b/c since i changed the headgaskets its still having temp problems of the car running warm with the a/c off and i cannot figure out what it is. Maybe ill go crazy and replace everything, or just wait for the lovely headgaskets. By the way when i blew the headgaskets i owed like 4,000 dollars on the car. Bought the car with 75,000 miles, and they blew at 94,000. I did a carfax report on it yesterday, and i found out that my car went from New York to pensilvannia, to florida and was sold in auction 3 times,and had about 5 owners, maybe if i would of found out about carfax before i bought the car i wouldnt had bought it. I know now for my next car.

Marvin M.

95- Cougar- SOLD (in loving memory)
Mods-17x9 cobra r's,H&R springs,KYB shocks & struts,removed air silencer,9"K&N cone,gutted cats,dual glasspack setup,cooling fan switch, B&M 24,000 tranny cooler.

Back in the game!!!
97 Lincoln Mark VIII LSC-opal opalescent with black interior, upgraded with a 98 tranny, 18x9 black saleen speedstars, LMS dual tip mufflers, 5% tints all around.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-17-2002, 12:47 PM
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EGADS!!!! Well I bought an '89 T-Bird about 3 years ago. I loved that car. It ran great and I bought it with 80k on it and I sold it three months ago with 130k on it. Aside from the original alternator dying (after the gal bought it off of me) It has been trouble free. Yes, it did have the head-gaskets replaced by Ford before I owned it. I actually miss that T-bird (I love my Cat though). It certainly had enough oomph to get around town and got great highway mileage.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-17-2002, 01:12 PM Thread Starter
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I have had this for less than 2 1/2 years.

Are my gaskets going to blow again? I have 130k on the clock, and need it to last at least till 200k till I pay it off.

I see what seems every other thunderbird on the road has a v8. I get extremely jealous, because I reallylove the car and would like to have a v8 in it.

What is involved in a 3.8 to 4.6 engine swap??? Too involved? Not worth it? I have a decent job now, just bought my first house, my wife has a newer 2000 jetta.
I have the worst and longest commute, and the worst/most unreliable car. I would be able to afford a new car had it not be for the 5200K still owed on this heap, that means I will have to drive it for another 3 years b4 I can even think of a new car!!!!
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-17-2002, 03:31 PM
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You owe $5200.00 and the car is worth $1200? Yipes. Being upside down sucks doesn't it? Dude if I were you I would save my cash. The way I see that is you can go two ways:
One, you save your bucks use them to pay off the car early then get rid of it.
Two, you are gonna have to save some bucks then spend $3000 on a complete 99+ GT Mustang motor & installation. Then you still have to pay the car off.
Either way it's gonna suck and be expensive. That's why you never take out a loan on a car for more than 36 months if it is new... I'm sorry that happened to you. If you let me know which dealership it was I can drive by and throw some eggs at the windows for you. Those guys oughtta know better... Sorry again man. Bad deal and a bum MN-12, it's just crummy.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-20-2002, 09:38 AM
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head gasket

how often do the 3.8 headgasket goes and is there a kit that could fix this problem and why in the hell the mn12 3.8's headgasket blow's but the 3.8 on the sable's,taurus,and continental don't go?
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-20-2002, 12:46 PM
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I just had my headgasket go on my 92 taurus about 2 months ago, and I know of another person with a taurus who had a gasket go on him. As far as I understand every older 3.8 is affected.

96 LX 4.6L
13.215 @ 103.09
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-20-2002, 02:32 PM
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ALL 3.8L up till 99' (96-98 are better than pre-96 though)have this problem, just change them (about a 8-12 hour job) with 99+ style ones and NEVER worry about them again.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-20-2002, 03:15 PM Thread Starter
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8-12 hour job??? It took me the better part of a few months to do this. Granted I only worked on it a couple of hours a weekend, but the head gasket job on this engine is extremely involved, and difficult, if you do not know what you are doing, it is not like an older car, do not attempt it.

Kudos to you if you can do it in that time period. I have sworn I will never undertake this job again.
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-20-2002, 03:27 PM
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About a year ago my radiator started leaking suddenly, I didn't realized about it. One morning I drove the car for more than fifteen minutes in normal traffic, before I saw the temp indicator in red. I pulled over immediatelly, it smelled like something burned up. Not a drop of coolant in the radiator. Before I turned off the car the engine was knocking. Fortunately, it started again normally after I let it cool down and poured water in the radiator and drove it back home. Maybe the gaskets are damaged, but not enough to replace them. The car is running good. My brother and I installed a new radiator, new hoses, water pump, fan clutch and thermostat. Do you think it didn't get damaged because it is a V8? Are head gaskets a problem in 5.0's?
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-20-2002, 04:34 PM
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first time took me 13hours (first time ever) in someone elses car and it took me 8 hours to do my own when I swapped my heads and installed a new cam, it isn't THAT difficult if you have a few specialty tools (power steering pulley puller, and a GOOD metric socket set) Most shops only charge 10-12hours labor for this job.

It took me 3 hours to get to this point

and another 5 hours to get it running/driving again.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 10-21-2002, 02:22 AM
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As far as I know the 5.0s (They're 302's!!!) don't have a problem. But it happns to EVERY car. Sometimes gaskets fail. That is the way of the world. If you are having problems check it out.
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