Buying A Used Engine

I rather stiupidly bought as '95 Ford Windstar 3.8 without doing my homework on theis vehicle. About 1000 miles later, the engine self-destructed, and I learned too late that the 3.8 engine has a history of head gaskets
allowing coolant to leak into the engine oil.
I figure that selling the vehicle "as is" won't get me much more than junk price, although the Windstar is is good condition other than that wretched engine.
I'd like to replace the bad engine with a used one, but I'm afraid I'll get one not much better than the original. Wrecking yards generally offer a 30-60 day warranty, but I'd still be stuck for the labor involved in the engine swap.
Any suggestions?
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homework
get
Why not rebuild your present motor or buy a rebuilt motor?
Have you talked to the people who sold you the truck? Tell them you want either your money back or them to fix the truck.
Jeff
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gaskets
junk
wretched
I'm considering that. My original purpose had been to get myself home from Amarillo, Tx to San Antonio about 500 miles away . I planned to use the vehicle a while because I couldn't use my left leg very well to operate the clutch on my stick-shift truck, since I had broken my hip on the visit to Amarillo. Then I planned to sell the Windstar with the hope of recovering most of what I had spent.
It got me home with no trouble at all - no overheating, no problem with oil pressure, no oil consumption or any evidence of water in the oil. Then three days later, I got a godawful knocking in the engine that seems to be bearing trouble as far as I or anyone else can figure out.

They're 500 miles away and the vehicle was sold with no warranty ot gurantee.

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Well look on the bright side: If you get a rebuilt engine that is rebuilt properly, you should be able to use the van for about 50,000 mi without any major engine problems until it dies a happy death. I am guessing that there are lots of miles on this van (like 100,00), so you might run into electronic, electrical or transmission problems.
The other thing I would wonder is if you can write this off as a loss on your taxes You might be able to sell the van, subtract the depreciation for the age of the van (e.g., 10 years 4 weeks versus 10 year 3 weeks) and the thousand miles you put on the van. If you can do this, this might be the easiet way out. Then this would count as a capital loss. This would be easiest if you are a dealer (i.e, have a dealer's license). Then you could even sell it when you get a new or rebuilt engine, and deduct any loss from your taxes.
Or maybe if you "accidently" let it run down the hill behind your house into the woods (where there is no one around)... Oh nevermind.
Jeff
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than
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Thanks, Jeff. I've been considering all these things.
Steve
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You must have used K&N filter - lol. Sorry I couldn't resist.
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Buy a used engine and change the gaskets before installing it.
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Steven Botts wrote:

You did not heed the warnings signs did you? Sweet smell of exhaust? white vapor out of exhaust? Check engine light? Low coolant? temp gauge fluctuating? contaminated oil?
With a 3.8, these were the warning signs. Then you could have just got a head job rather than a different motor.
A junkyard motor is a crap shoot any way you look at it. Even if they start it and it runs, there is no guarantee that the head gaskets are 100%. Plus they have no past engine history when they buy them from the salvage pool. Assuming its a lower mileage unit, about all you can do is check the oil for contamination and check the plugs to see if any of them are clean from water leakage from a bad head gasket. Or look for a rebuilder tag and hope for the best.
Or do a preemptive strike and have new gaskets put on before your install it.
You could buy a crate motor, but with installation that would cost more than your van is worth.
Bob
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wrote:

Actually, on a 3.8 by the time you see, much less recognise the warning signs, it can already be too late. As little as a couple ounces of coolant inthe oil can destroy that engine.

And after replacing the head gaskets etc, the engine has a knock in it and you STILL need to replace it.
Or you find the front cover gasket is leaking, in which case there is NO sweet smelling exhaust, no steam, no check engine light, and no fluctuating temperature.
And so little antifreeze in the oil it is easy to miss - yet enough glycol to have damaged the bearings.

The only route that makes sense

Sometimes you just have to cut your losses and get out while the getting is good------.
As Phil Edmunston so elequently put the question - "Can Ford survive the WindStar??"

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snipped-for-privacy@sny.der.on.ca wrote:

Well, if it was knocking at the point you pulled the heads it would be a moot point. Bottom end failing. But if you caught the symptoms early enough and had no knock, its worth a shot. Guarantees? none.

All very possible

I like windstars. Its sad that the whole 3.8 issues trashes a lot if them. ITs too bas that there is not a antifreeze sensor that can be put in with the oil pressure sensor to give an instant indication of impending doom.
Bob

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wrote:

You are right - absolutely no guarantees, because the bearings can start knocking anytime from a couple hours to a couple weeks after the glycol contaminates them. Changing the oil, or flushing the engine does not seem to be an effective prevention. Once the glycol has hit the bearings there is a very high probability of engine failure - and replacing rod bearings and mains does not fix the knock - not sure if it takes out the wrist pin bushings as well, or cam bearings, - but once it starts to knock anything short of a total overhaul is just throwing good money after bad.
Apparently Ford has bearings available that are less succeptible to glycol damage - but I wouldn't put much stock in them either.
Possibly running synthetic oil would be advantageous, along with silicate free antifreeze. But putting it in after the fact is like locking the barn door after the horse has escaped.

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(1) Long block assembly from Ford. (2) Will a 3.0 fit? More reliable, though less peppy.
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Ol' Duffer wrote:

They did use 3.0's on some latter model windstars. But all the plumbing is different as well as the computer. Unfortunately, not a practical swap. If you had a complete donor windstar with all wiring, plumbing and computer it might be possible. You would have to be a glutton for punishment to do it.
Bob
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Somebody suggested a Taurus V-8 might work, but that's probably more trouble than it's worth.
Steve
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says...

trouble
The only Taurus V-8 was in the SHO. No that will not be an easy transplant!
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Just get a Jasper rebuilt engine.
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Hi I had the same problem. Just get the original rebuilt. You will get a 1 year warranty and peace of mind. These motors also like to leak antifreeze from the front timing cover. The motor from the wrekers will not tell untill you put it in. By tyhe time you do these you could of spent enough money for rebuild. Make sure when you put the motor in you have the trans main seal renewed. Also when your done the rebuid take out your Mass air unit and clean it. That will stop most of your pinging. Hope this helps. If you scrimp on money you pay later. These are a very good van other than the motor and trans. Also the trans has two sensors which can go bad when changing the motor get a new VSS sensor on trans replaced.
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