1995 Ford Taurus 3.8L Temperature Problem

When operating my car in cold weather (generally below freezing), the temperature gauge will periodically rise nearly to the top of the scale for a time, and then drop back down to normal. As the car continues to get warmer, it
does this less and less. The heater will only blow out cold air while the gauge continues to rise, and then finally blow out warm air when the gauge drops back to normal. In warm weather this problem does not occur at all. Any theories as to what causes this?
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Change your thermostat.
td999 wrote:

temperature gauge will periodically rise nearly to the top of the scale for a time, and then drop back down to normal. As the car continues to get warmer, it does this less and less. The heater will only blow out cold air while the gauge continues to rise, and then finally blow out warm air when the gauge drops back to normal. In warm weather this problem does not occur at all.

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What for? It won't fix his problem. He's likely got a head gasket starting to leak. If it were a flakey thermostat the heater would blow hotter not colder when the temp gauge goes up. What's probably happening is combustion gasses leak past the bad gasket into the cooling system and cause an air lock. Coolant doesn't flow through the radiator or the heater core untill the system "burps" and coolant starts circulating again. Bob

temperature gauge will periodically rise nearly to the top of the scale for a time, and then drop back down to normal. As the car continues to get warmer, it does this less and less. The heater will only blow out cold air while the gauge continues to rise, and then finally blow out warm air when the gauge drops back to normal. In warm weather this problem does not occur at all.

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I had the same exact problem with a 94. Check your coolant level and your thermostat.
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=======================Yep, best to check the easier, cheaper things first. Then you can start yanking the heads off if need be. :)
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temperature gauge will periodically rise nearly to the top of the scale for a time, and then drop back down to normal. As the car continues to get warmer, it does this less and less. The heater will only blow out cold air while the gauge continues to rise, and then finally blow out warm air when the gauge drops back to normal. In warm weather this problem does not occur at all.

My wife's 95 Sable w/ 3.8 does the same thing when the coolant level falls. We had a small coolant leak for more than a year before I finally became energetic enough to fix it. So I have quite a bit of experience with the coolant level sneaking down. (It was the "O" ring at the water pump intake.) Since I'm not the one who drives the car, I'd only hear about it when she had no heat, or it ran hot.
Gary
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The only thing that seems strange is the fact that this problem happens with the car only in cold weather. Thanks for your replies. I will definitely look in to those possibilities you all mentioned.
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