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post #1 of 36 (permalink) Old 11-28-2005, 09:47 PM Thread Starter
 
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3.8 overheating, exaust blowing white moist smoke

Hello again, First off I have a 1991 Cougar LS 3.8. This morning when I drove to work about 10 minutes away going 75 mph. I parked and noticed that the engine was kind of shaky so i checked my temp and it was pretty hot. my car has never had problems with temp it has always been below where it says normal on the gauge. I waited about an hour for it to cool so I could check the coolant. It was missing some so I filled it up. After work I drove home and the car felt realy shaky and when I pressed the accelerator it would choke and want to die. I drove home slowly about another 10 minutes going 35 mph and the temp got realy hot on me again so I stopped it and had my Dad pull it home with his truck (affraid of blowing the engine) When we got home we noticed that when it gets hot all the coolant goes to the other little tank on the left (I forgot what its called but you guys should know what im talking about and it starts to overflow and spills all over the left side of the car (by the air intake). The only thing I could think of is the Thermostat isnt working. As for the car losing power and blowing out what seems to be coolant out the mufler I dont know???? Any ideas on what could be going on?? Oh ya and we checked the oil and its clean, just changed it about 3 weeks ago. The oil doesnt look like chocolate. Well I think i explained everything any help would be appreciated and i would be glad to explain my self better if misunterstood thank you
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post #2 of 36 (permalink) Old 11-28-2005, 10:34 PM
 
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sounds like a head gasket has failed... sorry

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post #3 of 36 (permalink) Old 11-28-2005, 10:52 PM
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post #4 of 36 (permalink) Old 11-28-2005, 11:45 PM
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Yup. Now you're an 'experienced' cougar owner. So what are you going to do? If you try and get a professional to replace your headgaskets it'll cost more than the car is worth. I hope you'll rescue your cougar by getting a few of your friends/relatives together and doing it yourself.
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post #5 of 36 (permalink) Old 11-29-2005, 04:42 PM Thread Starter
 
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That sucks if it is a HG, I hope not, im gona replace the Thermostat and see how it goes. The good thing is that my cuzzin and my uncle are mechanics. Well thanks for the imput. You know what sucks, i had just bought it new rims and tires and filled up the tank with gas lol. Im all depressed oh well, now I get to drive my dads new 4runner. Thanks guyz im gona go istall that damm thermo and pray it works (I doubt it though now that I heard from the experts)
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post #6 of 36 (permalink) Old 11-29-2005, 08:03 PM
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Sorry, but if you have accurately described the symptoms to us (and I believe you have) then you have blown your hg. I wouldn't drive it at all, not even around the block. Get your cuz and uncle to take the heads off and get a valve job and put them back on. And one more thing, the consensus on this board is that antifreeze ruins oxygen sensors. So a blown hg also means replacing the O2 sensors after you're done.
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post #7 of 36 (permalink) Old 11-29-2005, 09:12 PM Thread Starter
 
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Well I only had about 1 hour of daylight we replaced the thermostat but we forgot to by one of the gasgets so it wont leak, so im gona finish tomarow. I did check everything again. The oil still looks good clean, and the spark plugs are not wet or turning colors. Is that a good sign? Also it still had coolant almost all the way up. Thanks for the info perch ill remember that if we have to replace the HG's
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post #8 of 36 (permalink) Old 11-29-2005, 11:16 PM
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another vote for the hg's, sorry. really, instead of throwing money at it you should try to get a compression test done to be absolutely sure, but by the symptoms you described, it's an almost sure bet that your hg's are toast.

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post #9 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-01-2005, 02:51 PM
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I'm another vote saying blown Head Gaskets.

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post #10 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-01-2005, 03:00 PM
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When my HGs went, I had two plugs that were carbon free, and 4 that had 30k worth of carbon, that was one of the many clues I had that I was taking the top end of my 3.8 off and replacing head gaskets.

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post #11 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-01-2005, 03:28 PM Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bangster
When my HGs went, I had two plugs that were carbon free, and 4 that had 30k worth of carbon, that was one of the many clues I had that I was taking the top end of my 3.8 off and replacing head gaskets.
I didnt check them all, I havnt had time to work on it. I dont get out of work untill 4:00 pm and it gets dark around 5:20 pm over here so I dont have much time. Ill have to wait till this weekend. This lady at my work has a 93 cougar xr7 im not sure if its a 5.0 but it says v8 on the side. Im gona try to get her to sell it to me because she says she dont like it, its not in great condition (body) but she said it runs great except something with the tranny. She got it for free so she might sell it to me for cheap. We'll see, damb I miss my car.
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post #12 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-02-2005, 07:46 AM
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A 93 should still be a 5.0, also an AOD for the transmission.

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post #13 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-03-2005, 09:09 PM Thread Starter
 
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UPDATE: Ok we installed the thermostat today and I took it for a spin for a good 15 minutes and it ran ok. White smoke was still coming out but stopped around 5 minutes into the drive. No more white smoke but the temp is still above normal and still kind of shaky. It seemed to gained that loss of power. Any ideas what could be causing it to overheat? Some kind of sencor maybe?
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post #14 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-03-2005, 09:14 PM Thread Starter
 
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Oh and another note, I called my uncle this morning (hes the one who owned it before) I told him what was going on with the car. He said the Head gasgets have already been replaced around 140,000 miles. It has 205,000 miles right now.
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post #15 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-03-2005, 09:15 PM
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BLOWN HEAD GASKET! Even if your thermostat was bad, overheating a 3.8 is a sure-fire way to blow the head gasket. Top of that motor needs to come apart or you could destroy the bottom end.

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post #16 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-03-2005, 09:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadMikeyL
BLOWN HEAD GASKET! Even if your thermostat was bad, overheating a 3.8 is a sure-fire way to blow the head gasket. Top of that motor needs to come apart or you could destroy the bottom end.

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ditto. it definitely sounds like the head gaskets are GONE.

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post #17 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-05-2005, 01:57 AM
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Yeah dude, blown hg. better watch out or you could crack one of your cylinders, which is what happened to my 3.8

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post #18 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-05-2005, 07:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CadenaCougar91
Oh and another note, I called my uncle this morning (hes the one who owned it before) I told him what was going on with the car. He said the Head gasgets have already been replaced around 140,000 miles. It has 205,000 miles right now.
it doesn't matter if the hg's have already been replaced x number of miles ago, the 3.8 is a head gasket eater if not replaced properly, if the heads had even been alittle warped, or there was maybe just a little bit of debris on the hg mounting surface it would cause it to blow again, i think i saw on the board that somebody had done the hg's and it lasted less than a month or thereabouts.

so like i said before, do a compression test to find out for sure, or don't and continue to drive around and think it's a sensor or something that makes it shake, heat up and run funny and lunch your motor in the process, your choice.

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post #19 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-05-2005, 07:59 AM
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The SCCoIA group lost a member because of repeated blown headgaskets on his SC. The shop warrantied the work kept replacting the gaskets but not decking the block or milling the heads to stop the problem. The guy just gave up and sold the SC to buy an Impala SS.

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post #20 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-05-2005, 09:18 AM
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even if the head gaskets arent bad or showing any signs of failing, would it be a good idea to replace them before a long highway run?

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post #21 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-05-2005, 10:08 AM
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Steven,

We need a little more information to answer you.

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post #22 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-05-2005, 10:50 AM
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i might be going to key west in june with a couple buddies in my car. about 21 hours, 1400 miles, at a good rate of speed. i dont have any symptoms of them going yet but would it be a good idea to include that as part of a tune-up?

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post #23 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-05-2005, 02:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redneckcougarguy
i might be going to key west in june with a couple buddies in my car. about 21 hours, 1400 miles, at a good rate of speed. i dont have any symptoms of them going yet but would it be a good idea to include that as part of a tune-up?

If it's all flat, you should be fine. It's when you start hitting hills and mountains is when out ol' 3.8 starts coughin.

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post #24 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-06-2005, 02:46 AM
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its definetely not flat

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post #25 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-06-2005, 03:05 AM
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Let me second Chorizon, Compression check. This is the definative way to find out if the HG is bad, and since your family is mechanics they should let you borrow the tester (it only takes maybe an hour to do). If not a HG the I'd say engine coolant temp sensor and car is running lean.

Did you uncle have the head machined when he replaced the HG? This is something that should always be done only cost about $50 to have a machine shope resurface and is worth the piece of mind.

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post #26 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-06-2005, 09:21 AM
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Most definitely check the compression and check the state of you coolant. IF it has been in there for 2 years, change the coolant. I'd also pressure check the radiator. I've had a rotted radiator in a SC I bought and the shop checking out the car never caught it, and the radiator went in the 88 I took to my daughter in college between Kansas and Texas. I was lucky to find a shop that put in a new all metal radiator for $250 including labor in Amarillo.

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post #27 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-14-2005, 06:46 PM Thread Starter
 
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What sounds like a good price for a head gasget replacemnt, My own uncle wants to charge me $800 for it, that sounds like to much to me
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post #28 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-14-2005, 06:49 PM
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i personally would charge about 400 bones for it, but 800 sounds like a low shop price, most shops would charge about 1200 more or less.

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post #29 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-14-2005, 07:10 PM
 
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Is that for the set and labor and the head work?
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post #30 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-14-2005, 07:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 96CougarXR7
Is that for the set and labor and the head work?
i don't know if that's directed to me or not, but for 800 and up it better be, figure in the gaskets and the headstuds it is already hitting about 100-150 bones, if i were to do it i would charge 400 for the labor and the gaskets set and basic head work, i.e general cleaning and checking to make sure the heads are straight, any milling or bent valves are extra since they go to the machine shop for that stuff, shouldn't be more than a buck fifty extra unless they are in really bad shape..

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