head Gasket Taurus

Hi; Got a 97 Taurus [270K] and I,m pretty sure this is a head gasket.
-Runs a bit hot [high side of normal] -coolant level keeps droping [no obvious leaks]
-small trail of bubbles in the coolant resevoir when running. -Runs great
Questions -Would rad sealant [add to coolant] fix this or is this just for small leaks in the rad? -How would I know which head has the leak? Or do I just have to replace both? -Anyone know the approximate labor cost to replace? [# of hrs]
Thanks in Advance
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
WG wrote:

you ALWAYS replace BOTH head gakets. Approx. cost at an indy shop is at least $900 or more in my area. Lots of labor involved along with cylinder head inspection\recondition in addition to gaskets and parts. Warrantying the repair is also expensive, thus non existant, just in case the engine bearings were "washed" by coolant in the oil.(engine failure usually occurs shortly after) There's no definate way to verify bearing wash before or during a head gasket repair, much less after.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Well, i'm gonna step in it and take the heat, again.
If you have a blown head gasket, there's NO fix other than to replace them both, as Tom points out. And the heads MUST be tested for warp and properly finished
But you CAN measure the coolant found when you drain the oil as it will separate. If there's no coolant in oil, then you are pretty safe.
If there IS coolant of any volume over a few tablespoons then you might have had 'bearing wash' which is the wearing away of the finish surface of the bearing.
But it's still not all lost.
The engine failure Tom refers to is when the bearings SEIZE after the smooth surface is eroded way. That is due to high ridges in the bearings overheating due to load stresses, this causes the oil next to them to overheat and 'coke'. Like cooking oil does in an overheated frying pan
Once that 'coking' builds to a certain point it breaks free, sliding around until it jams the bearing, which then spins and seizes.
So what's the fix?
Use Mobil 1 or a FULL synthetic that has a significantly higher coking temp.
While it cant be guaranteed there wont be subsequent failure, there certainly wont be the same degree of coking buildup as with a standard rated oil.
Take it or leave it, that's my hypothesis, and I'm sticking to it... because I put over 70,000 miles on a 3.8 that had blown HG and had washed bearings. And becuase it makes sense!
Dont skimp on a cheaper synth! and your mileage may vary, but I'd go for it, if I were you. And after the first oil change you can extend the change mileage some, unless you only use the car on short trips.
.
--
Yeh, I'm a Krusty old Geezer, putting up with my 'smartass' is the price
you pay..DEAL with it!
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

meaning, of course,, results may vary.
--
Yeh, I'm a Krusty old Geezer, putting up with my 'smartass' is the price
you pay..DEAL with it!
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Coolant in the oil is a definite problem and if not corrected very soon will destroy an engine. But I would rather change the oil and filter 2 or 3 times getting the engine to operating temp for 5 or 10 minutes between changes to make sure all the coolant is flushed from the crankcase. In extreme cases I'll tell the customer to change oil again in 50 miles or so. Getting ALL the coolant out of the crankcase is what's really important. Bob
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
There was a TSB #01-11-6 that mentions these similar symptoms. Link:
http://blizzard.zmm.com/waterpump/BrownCoolant.pdf
I'd check to make sure that service was done previously. That could account for the running hot and the bubbles in the coolant reservoir.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

On a 3.8 Ford with original bearings, the chances of survival after coolant has gotten into the oil are quite low, and they decrease logarithmically with the amount of time the coolant has been in the crankcase. A good flush to remove ALL traces of glycol MAY prevent the "death rattle", but no guarantees. I know one guy swears by flushing (filling and draining several times) the engine thoroughly with HOT SOAPY WATER, then filling with cheap oil and an additive like Bardahl 1 or rislone or MMO, running the engine until warmed up, draining and refilling with good oil and Lucas oil stabilizer.He claims it is the only way to migrate the glycol out of the bearings as glycol has a VERY low soluability in oil.When heated and rubbed, it has very poor lubrication properties.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Given the high mileage on this engine, you would be better off to have a remanufactured engine installed- the other posters have a valid point about bearing damage, but with this mileage, you probably do not have any bearings left anyway. By the way, it is the water in the coolant that damages the bearings, not the glycol, which makes the claim of "washing" the engine out with soap and water pure BS. Hope this helps.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ted wrote:

I'd disagree, with the relatively LOW mileage of this engine, and with no signs of intermix, head gaskets will probably extend the the life at least another 160K. Have a competent tech do a pressure test & leak-down test to pinpoint the issue and git 'r done.
Rob
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

instead of glycol reduces the chance of damage when the head gasket goes.Also been told glycol without silica does less damage. Nobody has adequately explained why this is a relatively recent phenomenon - blown head gaskets did not cause bearing damage in years past. Also, Ford has changed the bearing composition on their replacement bearings, supposedly to reduce/eliminate the problem. Interesting observation - replacing all rod and crank bearings on an engine so damaged does not , very often, totally get rid of the "death rattle". Is piston damage also involved?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

No, you might have some points, there... depending on maintenance scheds... but in the end, there's significant 'bearing left' in ANY 160,000 mile engine.
--
Yeh, I'm a Krusty old Geezer, putting up with my 'smartass' is the price
you pay..DEAL with it!
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.