'93 Cougar V6 and head gaskets

I need some brainstorming, folks.
Friday, the Cougar began to run rough, especially on acceleration from a stop. It also showed nothing on the temp. gauge and made no heat. When I
checked under the hood the overflow tank was dry. There was pressure in the system even tho the car was cold. After refilling the tank, (radiator was OK) I found bubbles coming up every time I goosed the throttle even when cold. Lots of bubbles. The oil was perfect, no milkshake and the level was not above where it belonged. I thought, uh-oh, head gasket.
Saturday morning it went to the local dealer. I explained my suspicion and the service writer made me describe symptoms. She said they 'might' be able to look at it in a day or two.
Today I got a call, the mechanic had filled the coolant and bled the system, then test drove it. Now he wants to replace the thermostat to make heat. I asked if they had checked for exhaust gas in the coolant and they acted like I was speaking gibberish.
I found out later that this dealer had been forced to sell and had let business die off. They have 2 mechanics for a 20 bay shop.
I think they have no clue and might damage the car with further putzing. I was quite clear about my suspicions and I feel ignored.
Should I be worried? Maybe even very afraid? I am ready to haul it out of there ASAP.
What say you guys?
Thanks!!
PoD
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I would... Put it this way... if they are that clueless, they probably wouldnt do anything to the heads, even if they did change head gasket..
that isnt the old Peffley successor, is it?
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Yes sir, it is the old Peffley. I had used them a couple of years ago and was OK with them. They are also the closest dealer. I think I am running away, now. Any suggestions? Thanks! Paul
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You checked for coolant under the car?
Coolant under the hood and exterior to the motor, i.e. on block, firewall, etc?
Does your radiator have defective connect between plastic tank halves and alum. fin ass'y like my '94 'Boid? Leaks most in cold weather.
If blown head gasket is indicated, can you check plugs and/or do a compression test?
Etc, etc.
If you can't discuss the relevant stuff directly with a competent mechanic, I'd get the car out of there and run some tests myself.
Good Luck, Puddin'
On Tue, 21 Mar 2006 03:55:11 GMT, "Paul of Dayton"

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I think I finally got thru to them. They called this morning and spoke to my roomie (it's really his car). They decided the head gasket was bad and also found a leak in the timing cover gasket. He OK'd the repair. It will be done by Friday - maybe earlier if parts show earlier.
I haven't been able to speak directly with the mechanic because of work commitments. I traveled to Cinci early this AM in the snow for a training meeting - can't use a phone during those, bosses get mad.
Everybody is quite nice there but I suspect the service writers aren't allowed to write down customer diagnosis comments. I have had work done there in the past and was satisfied.
No coolant under the car I could see but I had smelled it for a few days. I replaced the water pump a month ago and suspected I had just spilled some then. The leak hadn't gotten bad enough to really run it dry, there was plenty of coolant in the radiator. The first tip-off was that it was under pressure while cold. I unscrewed the cap and coolant whooshed out. I shoulda known right then but it took me another hour or two to get it right.
I will give it a good checkout after it is done.
Thanks Everyone!
PoD
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If I think real, real hard, maybe I can remember a writer that I could discuss a problem with in serious detail. Have seen nary a one in recent years.
If I couldn't walk the shop floor and line up a tech. that truly comprehends the problem, I think I'd do a 1 page write-up of symptoms, observations, etc and instruct the writer to pass it on to the tech.
Hope it turns out OK.
Cheers, Puddin'
On Wed, 22 Mar 2006 00:02:15 GMT, "Paul of Dayon"

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I think they've got it, now. Only time will tell. If I had a week or two to spend, I probably would have tackled it myself. Fortunately, I can keep an eye on it and double check the work.
PoD
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Paul of Dayton wrote:

If you have no heat..... and the coolant is full ..... And the system is pressurizing when cold.... and you still see air bubbles.... prolly a head gasket
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