Blew some gasket. Wow that is common here. - TCCoA Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-14-2006, 10:11 PM Thread Starter
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Blew some gasket. Wow that is common here.

Alright, my official conclusion after owning the car for a couple of weeks is that either the head or intake gasket blew, but it still has to be easier to change than on my Riviera (Supercharged V6, FWD)

Here are the symptoms:
Rough Idle
Car runs hot quickly
Steam from tail pipe (New)
Rust in coolant lines
Gas Smell in water

I changed the T-Stat and saw just how much crap was in the lines (the radiator cap was new and hadn't formed a layer of stuff yet). Just after that I got steam out of the tail pipe and it took forever to fill the radiator and it smells a bit like gas.
Needless to say the car is sitting now.

I'm assuming that the rust is from water getting into the metal wire on the gasket and rusting it out. I saw the same thing on the Riviera.

Here are my questions:
- Do our intake gaskets use a metal wire, or am I totally screwed and need to pull the heads?
- Does anyone have a step by step for this or should I just follow my Haynes Repair Manual on this one?
- What does the gasket kit cost, and how common is it? Both Head and full head/intake?
- I'm assuming that it'll be a Mustang/Thunderbird/Cougar kit, is this right?
- How much will it cost to have the heads surfaced? Rough estimate.
- Will I be doing this again in another 130,000 or so miles?

If I overlooked anything please point it out before I call the boss for tomorrow off so I can get this done before our big project on Monday.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-14-2006, 11:55 PM
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congrats on blowing your HG, it's the fun part!

Also check your oil, does it look like a chocolate milkshake? Some cars have that happen where the antifreeze gets into the oil. Mine didnt, but it never hurts to ask!

Well i'll try to answer your questions here for ya.

1) you will totally need to pull the heads completely off the block.

2) just follow the haynes manual for head gasket replacement, thats exactly how I learned how to do it.

3) Gasket kit was about $110.00 for me when I purchased it, and it comes with everything you need, new upper and lower intake gaskets, head gaskets, throttle body gasket, EGR tube gasket, etc etc.... Even came with valve-stem seals.

4) As far as I know the thunderbird/cougar kit is exactly the same as long as it's for the 3.8 The mustang engine is the same also, so I would assume that it's gonna be the same.

5) Rough estimate? Well when I had mine done, it was only about $100.00 and that included having them checked for cracks, milled, and a valve job done. Highly recommend the valve job, it will definately help out, and you got the heads off so might as well do it!

6) I cant tell you honestly. 3.8's are notorious for blowin HG's. I blew mine on my 96' at 102,700. And now I'm almost at 111K on it, and no problems absolutely at all. Just make sure it's done right the 1st time and you should have no problems what-so-ever.

Remember, if you have any questions on here, just feel free to ask! There's a plethora of knowledge out there, and HG's are one of the most common things on here to learn about.

Enjoy having fun with it. It took me 3 months, but that was because I was moving, going to school full time, and workin 40 hours a week. If I knew then what I knew now, i could simply do the HG's in a weekend. Once you do it the 1st time, it makes it just that much easier if it happens a 2nd time.

Also one quick note. IF you do it yourself MAKE SURE you get a Torque-to-Yield indicator. That will help you so much with stretching the head bolts on the engine.

~X=Remember, every problem is a blessing in disguise=X~

96 3.8 NA, 180* T-Stat, PnP Upper and Lower intake, Air Silencer Removed 9" K&N added to fender well, Mild J-modded transmission, 24K B&M Supercooler, 2.25" dual Magnaflow high-flow cats w/2.25" di/do Magnaflow, JVC El-Kameleon LX-30.

RIP Orion 800.4 amp, and Ascendant Audio 12" sub. Caught on fire in trunk...
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-15-2006, 06:39 AM Thread Starter
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My oil is fine, I pulled the dip stick almost right away to check on that. Anything other than oil in there is usually not good.

So I'm looking at about $200 in repair work the week before Christmas.

Hate to say it, but this car is going to have to sit for a week or two. Payday is supposed to be the Monday after next, December 25th.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-15-2006, 08:38 AM Thread Starter
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Apparently this is very, very, common.
I have a friend who bought a '95 Mustang V6 and plans on replacing the gaskets and seals after 100,000 miles.

Was it $100 for both heads to have them milled, or $100 each?
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-15-2006, 08:52 AM
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the stock head bolts go in the trash. get the arp chevy 2.8 v6 head stud kit from summit. yes, chevy.

keep bolts together in labeled sandwich bags, take pics, and take your time.

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-15-2006, 10:00 AM Thread Starter
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Couldn't I use bolts for the GM 3.8? I read somewhere that Ford more or less copied the design for our engines (even though my SC 3.8 on my GM didn't blow head gaskets until after 175,000 miles).

I'll try to assemble a list of parts and prices, break out the camera, and document my work for others to use when their heads blow.

I guess I might a well have the heads ported while their off of the car. Dad's shop has the tools and he knows what he's doing there.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-15-2006, 10:24 AM
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you can, but i dont know if they will work. the 2.8 studs will work, i have them on my bird.

the gm and ford 3.8s are two different animals.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-15-2006, 10:51 AM
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when i had a 3.8, i thought mine blew but the previous owner put the T-stat in backwards

1997 Mercury Cougar XR7 Sport 4.6L
P.I. Intake, Mustang T/B and Upper Plenum,B&M Heavy Duty Trans Cooler, Trans Temp Gauge, A/F Ratio Gauge, K&N Cone Filter, Air Silencer Delete, 50% Front 20% Rear Tint, A&A Fiberglass GFX Kit, Xenon Front Clip, Magnaflow High Flow Cats

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Daily Driver, 38mpg!

at least Ford can pay their bills and not go on welfare like GM and Chrysler.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-15-2006, 12:59 PM
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that happened to me as well. dont let the gasket shift around on you. get the gasket that has an adhesive side, and stick it to the tstat housing, then rtv it.

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-15-2006, 02:28 PM
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welcome to the club....... that is the hg blowers of america club.......... when you fix it do it right or you'll just be looking at more work real gaskets for everything you take off, new head bolts, milled heads or brand new heads, i've managed to keep all my lifters and pushrods and the car has been fine, but if you have the money get those replaced too. these motors prove to be pretty tough for the most part........i had to drive it about 4.5 to 6.5 miles after mine blew w/ the heater running full birdy is still you can't do that w/ a chevy 3.8 w/out replacing way more than i've listed!!!!! well........good luck on your hg adventure!!!

happy 400th post to meeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1994 Chevrolet Camaro Z28
LT1 350
K&N Intake and Flowmaster Exhaust
1995 Lincoln Mark VIII
hollow front cats, 3rd cat still there, no resonator, replaced by a single 40 series flowmaster, 2 3"x18" tips out back. screamin demon coil packs, mallory pro wires, motorcraft platinum plugs. intake resonator delete.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-16-2006, 10:50 PM Thread Starter
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Forget the whole thing.
The rest of my payment on the car is due tomorrow and I'm not giving them a check.

My Tranny lost all but first gear, the brake system suddenly, and without warning, feels like it's failing and my headlights died all of the sudden.
I had a mechanic tell me that it looks like the head gaskets were showing signs of failing so the dealer ran Liquid Glass through the system and toped it off with coolant (which breaks down the glass). He also said that the brake, parts of the electrical, and the fact that sensors under the hood (vacuum comming from the intake, for example) looked 'fixed' to keep the car running until they had my money.

I also had a lawyer give me a list of things I can get them for, should they demand the remainder of my payment when I return the car tomorrow. Basically I can go to court for a little while and own the dealership should I get hurt from one of these "fixes".

The Thunderchicken is going back and I'll just look for a V8 T-bird/Cougar.
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