First some background - this is a 3.8 engine, 1995 Windstar with a
heavily diluted antifreeze (mostly water) in North Texas. This Windstar
3.8 engine already had the head gaskets replaced 45K miles ago.
One recent morning, with the temperature (an unusually cold for Texas)
26 degrees, I started the Windstar to warm it up before I took off to
work. Immediately the car started as usual but I could hear a loud
screeching like belts rubbing which within seconds was accompanied by a
ton of white smoke coming from the engine compartment. I popped the
hood to check but the smoke was too great to see anything - the
screeching/whining continued. Within a minute I heard a snap and the
engine seemed to relax as the white smoke started to dissipate. I shut
off the engine anticipating that I had just snapped the serpentine
belt. Sure enough the belt had shredded and melted the idler pulley.
Later during the day, with the temperature in the 40s, a closer
inspection revealed a small amount of the belt material on the water
pump pulley with signs of friction on the pulley as well - at this
time, the water pump pulley turned freely. It doesn't take a seasoned
mechanic to hypothesize that the water pump has siezed probably due to
ice overnight which caused the whole belt shredding fiasco. All other
pulleys turned relatively freely.
I went to the parts place, got a new belt and idler pulley and
installed. The starter turns but now the engine will not turnover. I
inspected under the engine for and signs of antifreeze/water leakage as
well as out of the tailpipe as I continued to try to turn the engine
over - no signs of antifreeze or water leakage. The Windstar serpentine
belt drives the alternator, power steering pump, A/C and water pump so
I do not see any connection to the timing belt which could cause a no
turnover. Any ideas?
Being that I am not a mechanic, I had to research "hyrodlocked" and I
now have a pretty good understanding that I would have to have a
considerable amount of water in the combustion chamber to get that
condition and would most likely have issues cranking. This engine
cranks fine - just doesn't start (I thought "turnover" meant "start"
but I have been seemingly corrected in this thread).
Funny thing is, your suggestion jogged my memory on another term -
Vapor-locked. I know that VL mostly happens in non fuel-injection
vehicles but I thought that some way, some how, VL might also be a
consideration considering my clean cranking. I figured that if I crank
enough, it should clear out the fuel line eventually if in fact I have
a vapor lock situation.
Well, I went out and cranked it this morning (48 degrees outside), and
it started! Pretty rough at first but it all smoothed out after 2
minutes. No coolant out of the tailpipe at all! No leaks under the
engine! I think I may have dodged a major bullet.
Next, going out to drain the system and fill with coolant - somebody up
there is cutting me some slack!
As some may already know regarding these 3.8s, they have big problems
with head and front engine cover gaskets. My head gaskets were
blown/replaced 45K miles ago and there is a very small ongoing leak
from the front engine cover gasket - small enough where if I top off
the reservior every 2 weeks or so, it can be managed. Of course, this
leads to a very diluted coolant mix which isn't a big problem except
for maybe 20 days a year in TX - this cool snap snuck up on me :-(.
All pullies move although there is some resistance with the steering
pump pulley - not sure if that is normal or not. When cranking, the
belt moves all pullies. Think there may be enough resistance to keep
from turning over?
When cranking the pulleys turn
engine not turning over
What is it
Doesn't crank/turn over or doesn't start ????????
There is a big difference
If it cranks but doesn't start check the crank sensor, maybe the belt
snapped it or damage the connector
Actually, it was almost a problem for a lot more than 20 days - including
the days it would have taken to get your engine fixed.
Sounds like you really need to fix that front engine cover gasket. It will
save you in the long run. Plus, having coolant leak all over Texas is not
good for the environment, unless you can park it outside a particular ranch
in Crawford, in which case I don't care.
Not to mention, that, in the long run, you will save enough money on
antifreeze to cover the front engine gasket repair.
I appreciate your concern regarding the environment and for the most
part, I am equally concerned. In this case, the leak is so slight that
it actually slides down the engine cover and drips on a heat shield
over the exhaust manifold - immediately evaporating on contact. As
such, none (or next to none) of it ever hits Texas ground (air is
As far as the economics, I have done extensive research regarding my
situation and it is clearly NOT a good (financial) idea to repair the
engine cover gasket. I'm guessing that you never worked on a '95
Windstar? The engine cover gasket, like many engine-related repairs on
this vehicle, requires an engine pull - and I have had it quoted at
$1000+ (I do not have the equipment for an engine pull). A gallon of
coolant costs ~$7 and at the current leak rate, I will generously say
it would require 1 gallon a month. That's $72 per year and even after
10 years, I'd be hundreds of dollars ahead. '95 Windstars go for around
1K tops on eBay based on their lemon reputation - it would make NO
sense pouring money into this vehicle. I'm better off driving it until
it drops and buying a used Honda Odyssey for 6K post mortum.
On 3 Dec 2006 09:14:58 -0800, email@example.com wrote:
You can get pre-mixed coolant at any car store. I would get that if I
were you. I once had an old taurus and did the same thing. KEpt adding
tap water. at one point the radiator was complety clogged due to all
the minerals form the tap water I kept adding.
Do yourself a favor and get a gallon of pre-mixed stuff.
Buying the pre-mixed Antifreeze Coolant doesn't in any way guarantee
they used distilled water in making the mix...
Go buy a case or two of distilled water and keep it in the garage.
Then you can be 100% sure of what you have.
--<< Bruce >>--
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