Blown Head Gasket ... can i avoid it? - TCCoA Forums
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post #1 of 61 (permalink) Old 10-08-2002, 07:08 PM Thread Starter
 
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Blown Head Gasket ... can i avoid it?

my cars got 78k on it now ... its a 96.... everyone with our engine (mustangs included) that i know has had a blown head gasket and costs $1000 plus to fix... can i replace something now before they blow, to save the expense?

thanks
andrew
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post #2 of 61 (permalink) Old 10-08-2002, 07:35 PM
 
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You COULD pre-emptively replace your HG, but I don't think you need to, practically speaking. I would just start saving up a little money (never hurts to have some cash in savings anyway), and become VERY sensitive to the oil, and coolant levels in your bird. I check both at every fillup. At the first sign of any trouble (which may not ever come). Pull over and go nowhere until you are completely sure that the HG are fine.

Even if you do blow a gasket, you should be ok if you stop immediatly and get it repaired.

I have had mine for 90K miles and never had any trouble from it. Just be ready.

Nothing would suck more than dropping $1k in a perfectly good motor then having somebody wreck the car around it.

Just my $0.02
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post #3 of 61 (permalink) Old 10-08-2002, 07:44 PM
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Negative, you have a ford 3.8 engine dude.

these engines are very weak in the headgaskets why well heres a link that will explain why, b/c the block is iron and the heads are aluminum two very different types of materials, puts a lot of pressure on the headgaskets.
http://www.coolcats.net/tech/ts/gaskets.html

go to that link, it will explain it better, like i said you have a 3.8 ford, sooner or later your headgaskets are going to be crappppppppp, so you better start saving up or get rid of it while you can and get a v8. My headgaskets blew at 94,000 i took it to ford and they have a recall for our engines and they changed the gaskets for free i didnt spend one penny, so if they ever blow make sure you call your local ford dealer. and since you have a 96 right???? they have an extended warrenty for vehicles over 94, with less than 100,000 miles.

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post #4 of 61 (permalink) Old 10-08-2002, 09:38 PM Thread Starter
 
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i have a 96 3.8 ... i can buy this warranty now even tho my car has 78k on it??? or i wait till it gets killed and then claim they had a recall and get it fixed for free?

thanks for your help
andrew
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post #5 of 61 (permalink) Old 10-08-2002, 10:12 PM
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Yes!!! Short story and please, if someone thinks this is crap just say so cuz I'm not even sure I believe this myself. When my headgasket blew a ford mechanic (friend) helped me repair my 92 3.8. He noticed that the thermostat was shot. And guessed that a falied thermostat would increase the coolant pressure and contribute to blowing the headgasket. I've never heard anyone else raise this as a possible cause of the headgasket problem in the 3.8 but it makes me wonder. So to answer your question, yes. Replace the thermostat. If I'm wrong you didn't spend any money or lose much time.
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post #6 of 61 (permalink) Old 10-08-2002, 10:54 PM
 
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Originally posted by perch
Yes!!! Short story and please, if someone thinks this is crap just say so cuz I'm not even sure I believe this myself. When my headgasket blew a ford mechanic (friend) helped me repair my 92 3.8. He noticed that the thermostat was shot. And guessed that a falied thermostat would increase the coolant pressure and contribute to blowing the headgasket. I've never heard anyone else raise this as a possible cause of the headgasket problem in the 3.8 but it makes me wonder. So to answer your question, yes. Replace the thermostat. If I'm wrong you didn't spend any money or lose much time.
Perch
That's exactly what set my gaskets to go. My t-stat failed, temp went up and there went the gaskets.

Best advice is to either hope that they go before the Ford special warranty is up, or take special care with the cooling system and oil to avaoid extreme variations in temperature. Obviously, the old the car gets, the less it will take to blow the gaskets. Mine went at about 100,000 miles, long before I heard of the warranty. Sorry I can't give you details on it, since it was a non-issue for me, I didn't bother looking into too deeply.
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post #7 of 61 (permalink) Old 10-08-2002, 11:53 PM
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96-97 have better gaskets than the earlier years, still not "blow proof" but considerably better...
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post #8 of 61 (permalink) Old 10-09-2002, 12:03 AM
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Quote from the link in Marvin's post:

Quote:
There is a special 3.8 V6 replacement gasket kit available from Ford that includes new redesigned head gaskets, or you can use Fel-Pro gaskets.
Quote from Rancher:

Quote:
96-97 have better gaskets than the earlier years, still not "blow proof" but considerably better...
Soooo, what's so much better about these gaskets? Also, I'm not really and truly buying the idea that the gasket problem is entirely the fault of the aluminum heads/cast iron block. There are plenty of other cars in the world that use the same design... no problems in many of them. This needs further investigation, IMO.

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post #9 of 61 (permalink) Old 10-09-2002, 12:05 AM
 
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Originally posted by Josh_Keady
There are plenty of other cars in the world that use the same design... no problems in many of them.
yes, but... you are kidding yourself if you think ford has anything against doing stuff wrong the first, second and third time around.
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post #10 of 61 (permalink) Old 10-09-2002, 12:08 AM
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I'm not saying that Ford DIDN'T screw up, it's obvious that something is flawed... painfully obvious. I just can't get anyone to tell me WHAT it is that they screwed up! So I'm looking for my own answer, if I should turn up anything new, I shall report ;-)

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post #11 of 61 (permalink) Old 10-09-2002, 12:39 AM
 
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Originally posted by Josh_Keady
I'm not saying that Ford DIDN'T screw up, it's obvious that something is flawed... painfully obvious. I just can't get anyone to tell me WHAT it is that they screwed up! So I'm looking for my own answer, if I should turn up anything new, I shall report ;-)
well since they probably arent blowing out on the NA 3.8's from having an obscene amount of power, youre probably just gonna find that either the gasket material or design wasnt sufficient enough to seal.
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post #12 of 61 (permalink) Old 10-09-2002, 12:53 AM
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Maybe... probably. I'll be a little more comfortable with it all either way.

Josh Keady

1994 Super Coupe ('93 5.0L swap), 1990 Tbird 3.8L, 1982 Honda CB900F, 1972 F-100 SportCustom 4x4, 1970 Chevy Custom Camper / 20
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post #13 of 61 (permalink) Old 10-09-2002, 12:57 AM
 
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Originally posted by Josh_Keady
Maybe... probably. I'll be a little more comfortable with it all either way.
what exactly are you looking for? someone to say that a certain bolt or something is out of place? i dont get what you are "comfortable knowing".
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post #14 of 61 (permalink) Old 10-09-2002, 01:06 AM
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I want to be able to say, 100 percent, THIS is what causes the problem. If it's a poor gasket design, I want to know what about the design is poor. If it really is just an expansion differential issue, I want to know why Ford's didn't work and my Chevy's 3.1 alluminum/cast iron setup does.

Perhaps I made my intent sound too much like a noble quest in the previous post... I'm just curious. Not like I'm going to put on a lab coat and get a government grant for an electron microscope

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post #15 of 61 (permalink) Old 10-09-2002, 01:22 AM
 
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well head gaskets can fail for several different reasons. even if you can identify what the USUAL cause of 3.8 gaskets going is, you wont be able to find what causes ALL 3.8 head gaskets to go, because there is going to be more than one cause.

it has already been suggested that the gasket itself may be the weakest link, and as a result is going to be the reason they fail. i can tell you right now that your probably gonna have to blow a headgasket yourself to find out exactly where it started failing. i dont think anyone is going to have evidence that supports something like "we found that 100% of all headgasket failures on the 3.8 were a result of improper gasket design around the #3 and #6 cylinders".

thats just probably not going to happen.
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post #16 of 61 (permalink) Old 10-09-2002, 01:30 AM
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Quote:
i can tell you right now that your probably gonna have to blow a headgasket yourself to find out exactly where it started failing.
Oh... he he... I plan on that. And when it happens, I'll have a big six-in-one flower pot to give my G/F.

I see that there is a communication gap here, but thanks for your responses and don't worry about me dumping huge resources in to this, I'm just going to see if I can put together a few more facts in my head. Limited that ability may prove to be

Thankee, I'm done.

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post #17 of 61 (permalink) Old 10-09-2002, 02:22 AM
 
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The old Chrysler "K" cars had the same problem and it was aluminum heads/iron block. I am sure that a quality gasket would help to reolve the issue, but those cars were designed to keep Chrysler out of bankrupcy and not to last forever.

I expect that the combination of both the gasket design and mixed metal head/block design is what causes it. Btw, I have about 70,000 miles on my Felpro gaskets now. Another year or so of driving will tell the tale.
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post #18 of 61 (permalink) Old 10-09-2002, 08:07 AM
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HA HA HA!!!!! the GM 3.1 DIDN'T HAVE THIS PROBLEM? I've personally changed quite a few headgaskets on GM 3.1L engines MOSTLY 90-92 models. Another couple of bad ones were the 80's 4.1L cadillac and the Early Dodge Neons.

The weak points four our headgaskets IMO is there is ONLY 8 headbolts per head, the whole aluminum/castiron deal, and POOR surfacing on the deck of the heads on the earlier heads (pre96). Get the 99+ head gaskets and NEVER Worry about them Again, ford also has updated torque specs and the 96+ blocks have deeper headbolt hole and use longer headbolts.
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post #19 of 61 (permalink) Old 10-09-2002, 07:50 PM
 
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If i'm not mistaken...they recalled the head gaskets. When my head gasket blew, they hadn't recalled it but a month later they did so i was able to take care of it. I have a 94 and i had a friend who i think had a 96 and his head gasket blew and his was recalled so it didn't cost him a cent. You might want to call you local ford dealer and find out if you bird still falls under that recall.
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post #20 of 61 (permalink) Old 10-09-2002, 08:56 PM
 
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Originally posted by Thunderchick94
If i'm not mistaken...they recalled the head gaskets. When my head gasket blew, they hadn't recalled it but a month later they did so i was able to take care of it. I have a 94 and i had a friend who i think had a 96 and his head gasket blew and his was recalled so it didn't cost him a cent. You might want to call you local ford dealer and find out if you bird still falls under that recall.
Btw, nice ride and welcome.

If you were responding to my post, I don't believe the warranty applies. If referring to Tbird 38LX, yeah, it would definately apply if they were to go soon, prior to 100,000 mile I believe. Does your friend have the exact details of the warranty. That would be fantastic information.
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post #21 of 61 (permalink) Old 10-09-2002, 09:11 PM
 
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hey guys, i have a 91 cougar and i blew my gaskets at 88k. i have friend that blew his less than a month before and he had like 117k on his in his 91 bird (ryan miller). i think it is a 10 yr shelf life. by the way, you will notice a bit more power once you fix them.
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post #22 of 61 (permalink) Old 10-09-2002, 10:55 PM
 
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the headgasket failure is unpredicatble at best. i heard of someone losing em at 30k. mine lasted till 122k, and it only cost me $1000 (only... haha, im lucky if i make $1000 in a month). But i also have a good mechanic that is good friend of my dad's from childhood... So thats always a plus. However, if you do prematurely "fix" them, you wont have to worry about possible engine block cracking or having to get the heads milled, which adds to the cost. Cracking the block means new motor (or new parts car, depending on which side of the fence you look). -greg
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post #23 of 61 (permalink) Old 10-10-2002, 09:10 AM
 
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Originally posted by soop


Btw, nice ride and welcome.

If you were responding to my post, I don't believe the warranty applies. If referring to Tbird 38LX, yeah, it would definately apply if they were to go soon, prior to 100,000 mile I believe. Does your friend have the exact details of the warranty. That would be fantastic information.
Thanks a lot...i appriciate that I havn't talked to this guy in a while and i'm not sure if he still has the bird. Also i think i made a mistake. I think his bird was a 95, because i was complaining that his fell under the recall with a 95 and i didn't with a 94. I'm not sure what his warranty was and I havn't talked to him in a while. I'm sorry...wish i could help. I guess the best thing to do is to call your dealer and give them your vin # and see if your car falls under the recall.
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post #24 of 61 (permalink) Old 10-10-2002, 09:22 AM
 
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Smile

I also have a 96 with a 3.8 and i just went to 2 ford dealerships and they both told me that the problem was fixed in 96. That is sould have a steel head gasket on there from the factory. and that the problem with the previous ones is that the water jet for the 4 cyclinder was so close to the piston that it would brake and then leak fluid into it. He said that a sure way of knowing that is has gonen or is about to is that the car won't have any heat and then all the sudden come out hot and that is due to the presure from the piston pushing against the water jet making a stalemate effect. So in shot we should not have a problem with eathier the 96 or 97 but he said that he made a crap load of money off the 94 and 95.
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post #25 of 61 (permalink) Old 10-10-2002, 10:00 AM
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the 96-97's do NOT have a steel gasket, the 99+ engines do and all 4.2L
the 96-97's were just revised regular one, I can go take a picture of mine and post it (nothing was wrong with them, installed ported heads and new gaskets)
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post #26 of 61 (permalink) Old 10-10-2002, 12:17 PM
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How do you replace the T-stat? Which one do I get and where?
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post #27 of 61 (permalink) Old 10-10-2002, 12:27 PM
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ok its very easy actually, ive done it couple of times.

Look at the t-stat housing, it should be the metal part of the upper radiator hose that goes to the intake and has two screws one on each side of the metal housing.
Make sure you get a Ford t-stat b/c these t-stat have a lock proof, meaning if they ever mess up they will stay open so your car wont overheat. then also buy the gasket that goes along with the t-stat and some gasket sealant, you can buy the sealant at any auto parts store. Then take off the top rad hose and unscrew the two screws from the metal housing, take off the t-stat make sure you sand out the edges inside the housing where the old t-stat was at, b/c it might have sealant all over it and you want the t-stat to site in their right. then just put everything back the same way you took it off, make sure you look at the old t-stat before you take it off to see how its sitting meaning in what position its sitting in the housing. Put sealant inbetween the gasket and metal housing actually put it in both sides so theirs no leaks.

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post #28 of 61 (permalink) Old 10-11-2002, 12:01 PM
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Well I have had 4 thunderbird 3.8 s. 2 of them SC`s and 2 LX`s Rebuilt them all and guess what, the head gaskets where eating there way to the fire ring from the water jacket in the front side of # 4 cyclender. One of the Lx`s was blown when I got it. In my best opinion electrolisis ate the gasket. Point, change your antifreze every one or two years. Let it go and she will BLOW! Just to let you know alot of famous german and japanise cars also suffer from this problem. My brothers benz just got new head gaskets. Only cost him $3400.00 for the job.
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post #29 of 61 (permalink) Old 10-17-2002, 09:18 PM
 
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I bought my 93 LX 2 months ago with a blown gasket. It was blow on the # 4 and 6 cylinders. Granted, my car has 128K miles on the original engine and tranny. I had the head gasket replaced and was able to do so for 900. My mechanic (best friend) told me that not only does the 3.8 engine suck, it is prone to blown head gaskets because of the way the cooling system is set up. if you want to save yourself a lot of money and aggravation, when you refill your antifreeze ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS remove the vent plug. If any air is left inside the system, it will become super-heated once the engine reached operating temp. and will more than likely be the cause of a blown head gasket. play it smart and you shouldnt have a problem.
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post #30 of 61 (permalink) Old 10-18-2002, 12:39 AM
 
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GM "Quad4" had the same problem too.
My sis-in-law's cavalier cracked the head to when it blew on it.
$2200 and they *****ed enough to get it under warranty or recall or something (dont remember)
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