Oil/ Antifreeze problem

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 tailpipe.
TIA Bob
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rebeck3 opined in

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.
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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.
Thanks Again
Bob

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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. Bob

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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 50,000 miles.
Your choice
rebeck3 opined in

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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.

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myblueoval.com is a dead link... has it moved?

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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.
Refinish King

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