We've got a '97 Windstar 3.8L, that we're told, has a problem with
antifreeze and oil mixing. It's oil getting into the antifreeze and
antifreeze getting into the oil. I'm familiar with antifreeze blowing past a
bad head gasket but the part about oil getting into the antifreeze is a new
one on me. Tomorrow night I'm going to drain the oil and maybe the
antifreeze too if it shows up in the pan. Nothing is coming out the back
And you mean you dont SEE any coming out the tailpipe.
Have someone with a keen sense of smell try sniffing that pipe.
MIght as well resign yourself to replace both Headgaskets... and dont cheap
out, have the heads trued.
Thanks for your reply. The mechanic is talking in terms of replacing the
engine! I much prefer replacing the gaskets. Keep on wondering if the guy is
on the up and up. I like to hear what others think before such drastic
action. I go over the engine in my head trying to imagine where oil could be
getting into the water jackets or water pump. It's a dealership but then
that's never been a guarantee.
I'd be more inclined to think there is a problem with the timing cover
gasket. I've replaced a lot of 3.8 head gaskets and have never seen one that
would leak oil into the coolant. Since there is no pressurized oil to the
heads I wouldn't think it even possible. On the other hand the oil pump is
part of the timing cover.
The reason he wants to replace your engine is because of bearing damage due
to glycol contamination.
Depending on how long the coolant has been in the oil, the damage varies.
If you dont hear any knock as you first start it, it is probably minimal.
Here's the problem, though. There are no guarantees.. though I can tell you
that if you run Mobil1 from now on, the engine wont seize as it usually does
running dino oil after contamination.
The reason for that is that the bearing has eroded and has ridges in it..
these ridges heat up and bake the oil turning it to carbon.. insulating the
ridges which makes it worse.. then suddenly the carbon will break loose and
jam the bearing.
Since Mobil1 has a higher heat tolerance, the carbon doesnt occur before the
ridges wear to smooth state/.
I ran a 3.8 with bearing damage and a pronounced main bearing knock over
rebeck3 opined in
I had my gaskets replaced by Ford after the warranty extension on my '95 -
i don't know if that still applies in your case, but check it out. Ford
faced a class action suit over the head gaskets in the 95~98 Windstars so
extended the warranty instead. They cracked a head in the process but
replaced it with a new one. Make darn sure that whoever does it also
refills your AC since they will likely be removing some hoses for access.
If you hear a loud knock from the lower half you may have turned a crank
bearing - if not, avoid driving it at all costs or you might as well put
another motor in it - and Ford may not cover the warranty if you drive it
with a known problem.
The problem with the gaskets was the galvanic reaction taking place between
the head gasket metal at the head-bolt hole and the head and block. This
caused swelling, warping the head enough to allow fluids to pass in either
direction - hence oil in the water and water in the oil (the nasty one).
Ford changed the manufacturer of the gasket to solve the problem in the last
half of '98. Go to www.myblueoval.com for the low-down on secret
warranties, extensions and the complete head gasket fiasco. I'm sure it's
still on the site.
Does your 3.8 have the plastic upper intake?
Also, your mechanic is justified in wanting to replace the engine because:
1: the natural grenade like nature of the 3.8.
2:Anti-freeze has an acidic effect on the babbit material on the main and
connecting bearings. So if he replaces the head gaskets and the bearings go
two weeks later, who will you blame?
3: If it isn't the plastic plenum, as is most cases in the symptom you
describe, it's the block.
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