'91 Ford Taurus:Can't figure out why it is smoking badly

Tiny
GIESEYGIRLY024M@AOL.COM
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  • 1991 FORD 500
I have replaced the alternator twice w/junkyard alternators, only to find that they were bad. So I put a new alternator in the car. The day before replacing the new alternator the car began smoking badly. After replacing the alternator the car is still smoking. Upon checking the oil I found that I was over 2 quarts low and what appeared to be rust in the oil. What could be wrong? I would make a small donation, however every single red penny I have has been put into my car. I can promise five dollars when my banking account goes from negative to positve, as I am starting a higher paying job Monday. Thanks to you all!
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Thursday, January 11th, 2007 AT 6:52 PM

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Tiny
INDYUKE
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What color does the smoke appear to be?
Black
White
Bluish

If its black, then your fuel system might be out of trim. If it's bluish, then you're probably burning oil. If there's nice clouds of white smoke, then you might have blown a head gasket. From what you wrote, the latter seems the most probable. Let us know for sure the smoke color though.
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Thursday, January 11th, 2007 AT 10:23 PM
Tiny
GIESEYGIRLY024M@AOL.COM
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I am very thankful for the reply. I think the smoke is puffy white; however I will be working on the car first thing tomorrow morning (Sat.) And will let you know for sure the coloring of the smoke. Am going to put new belt and maybe a new water pump on car because it sounds as if the water pump is making quite a bit of noise. New belt because the smoke smells like burning rubber.

Thanks!
-Heather-
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Friday, January 12th, 2007 AT 11:17 AM
Tiny
GIESEYGIRLY024M@AOL.COM
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The smoke is coming from near or under the alternator. I don't think any smoke is coming from the exhaust. I apologize for not being very clear about that. Thanks!
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Friday, January 12th, 2007 AT 11:37 AM
Tiny
GIESEYGIRLY024M@AOL.COM
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Hello. I finished working on the car. Installed a new water pump and new belts. To my disappointment the vehicle is still smoking and there does appear to be quite a bit of smoke coming from the exhaust-the white smoke you talked about. I am concerned that I have a cracked head or blown head gasket. By the way, are those the same two things? I have spent all of my rent money and even my bill money (my water will probably get shut off Tuesday) simply because I was supposed to start a high paying job this coming week but now it looks as if I'm in the pits. Life goes on huh? (Chuckle) Thanks for the advice and I swear to make a donation in the future!

Sincerely,
Heather
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Saturday, January 13th, 2007 AT 5:02 PM
Tiny
INDYUKE
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Unless you are operating in constant below freezing outside temperatures (in which case a certain amount of white steamy smoke is normal), I would suspect a cracked head or blown head gasket. A farther question. Does your vehicle have the 3.8L V6 in it? I think blown head gaskets were common on them in the early years. But just to make sure, you should check a few things. Do a compression check of all the cylinders and compare them, keep an eye on the oil, sometimes it can become a creamy white with blown head gaskets. And check the cooling system to see if any exhaust is escaping out of that. Sometimes pulling the spark plugs will give a clue. They can tell a lot about how the engine is doing. I hope this helps. Of course the only real way to know for sure is to take the heads off.
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Sunday, January 14th, 2007 AT 9:41 PM
Tiny
GIESEYGIRLY024M@AOL.COM
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It is a 3.0. The oil does have a creamy white substance built up around the opening of where the oil is put in. The car ran fine for a few minutes, but now the radiator fan won't come on, the heater is not producing heat (only blowing cold air), and the car just keeps stalling repeatedly, especially when trying to put into Drive or Reverse. Are these also symptoms of a cracked head or blown head gasket? My husband and I have not yet had time to perform the checks you talked about but at this point I am convinced it is either a cracked head or blown head gasket. Your reply will definitely help because now we know what to check. We read the manual about how to check the head for cracks, however it was very confusing and we are not even sure where the head is at.

Thank you,
Heather
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Monday, January 15th, 2007 AT 8:50 AM
Tiny
INDYUKE
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Pull the oil dipstick out, if the oil is creamy white, then that is a good indication of a blown head gasket or a cracked head. The creamy white oil is a result of water mixing with the oil, and in the case of a blown head gasket. Coolant from the coolant system. Often seeing creamy white oil around the oil filler port is just from condensation.

The heads are the "caps" that go over the tops of the cylinders. On your engine, the 3.0, has two heads and six cylinders. Each head is bolted down over the tops of three cylinders.

From your view standing in front of the engine compartment, one head will be in the back covering three cylinders, and one head will be in the front covering three cylinders. You can easily trace to where they are by following the spark plug wires to where they plug into the spark plug.

All six spark plugs, three in front and three in back, are bolted right into the heads, and if you unplug the wire and remove one of the spark plugs you can shine a flashlight right through the spark plug hole built into the head and into the cylinder. The good news is that they're so easy to find.

The bad news is that the heads take some doing to remove. You would need to remove EVERYTHING from the top of the engine to reach the heads. Fuel system, ignition system and emission components. As well as such things as the intake manifold, alternator, timing chains, etc. It's not difficult, just time consuming. That's why it costs so much to take to the shop.

I'm sorry this is so lengthy and detailed (I just read through it myself ? ). I hope this helps. I would imagine the repeated stalling could be caused by a cracked head or a blown head gasket, however before you put too much work into replacing those components, take some time to perform as many tests beforehand to make sure. I would even recommend getting a mechanic to look at the car since we are not able to. If it's something simpler to fix, you'll want to know about it before you tear the engine apart.
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Monday, January 15th, 2007 AT 10:48 PM
Tiny
GIESEYGIRLY024M@AOL.COM
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THANK YOU! I will let you guys know the results, but probably not until this weekend. I do know of some type of sealer or something that can be put into the engine if it is a blown head gasket or cracked head. If we find that is what it is we plan to try the sealer just to get a little more use out of the car until income tax time!

The oil looks o.K. Just a little brownish in color. I only put 2 gal. Of antifreeze in after changing water pump so maybe the stalling is because there isn't enough antifreeze however I'm not getting my hopes up (chuckle). And I know 2 gal. Of antifreeze certainly isn't enough if it's burning out the exhaust.

Thanks,
Heather
p.S.-I don't mind the lenthy reply. Lol
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Tuesday, January 16th, 2007 AT 7:55 AM
Tiny
INDYUKE
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Double check the sealer you plan to put into the engine. Just to make absolutely sure it's ok for the engine. Keep us posted and good luck!
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Tuesday, January 16th, 2007 AT 7:08 PM
Tiny
GIESEYGIRLY024M@AOL.COM
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We put the sealer in. My husband is currently at auto store getting battery checked because it doesn't seem to be holding a charge (alternator is brand new). I had to keep my foot on the gas for the half hour while the sealer was working its' way through the system because the car keeps stalling. That seems to be our only problem besides the exhaust still smoking. We are aware that this could be because the sealer has not completely sealed the crack yet. When my husband gets back w/the battery I plan to run the car around the block about 15 times. We just hope the sealer doesn't settle to the bottom of the engine before then. If it does I'll just get another tube and start over ;-) I will keep you posted as to what happens. Meantime, do you know of anything that might be making the car stall other than our assumptions?
Thank you for all of your help. We greatly appreciate it.
Sincerely,
Heather
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Saturday, January 20th, 2007 AT 3:01 PM
Tiny
GIESEYGIRLY024M@AOL.COM
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Hey guys! Car is running good now; finally! Now I can only have hope that it lasts! The problem with the stalling was a very dirty idler air control. We removed it, cleaned it, re-installed it and car started right up and ran fine. I'm not sure if the smoke has dissipated with that correction or not because it is very dark and we are tired. We decided we'll call it a day and check on the smoke tomorrow after the car warms up a bit.
I very much appreciate your help and thank you for taking time to read my questions. THANK YOU!

Sincerely,
Heather
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Saturday, January 20th, 2007 AT 5:32 PM
Tiny
INDYUKE
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Anytime! It's always nice when it turns out to be an easy repair.
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Sunday, January 21st, 2007 AT 5:17 PM

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