Overheating Mustang.

Tiny
TIGGA1369
  • MEMBER
  • FORD MUSTANG
96 Ford mustang 6cyl. Approx 149,000 miles----
i have had problems in past year with the radiator hoses "clamping down" when on throttle. I have put in a "performance" thermostat ( the old one I found out was stuck open), replaced the heater hoses on the firewall, and replaced upper and lower radiator hoses. She also has new tensioner pulley, power steering pump, and belt. She has recently started running "warm" but no chuggin, or stuttering or any other signs of problems. It never went to red, just hung at high part of gauge. Today I saw either white smoke or steam pouring o;ut in my rearview mirror. It lasted maybe a minute at most then was fine. Then on the next highway I saw the same but realized it was coming from under the hood. I pulled over at my exit hoping I could make it to autozone to put in coolant etc. She died and right before there was a sound like a mix between a slipping belt, and lifter ticking. Sounds weird I know. She sat for approx 30 min while I was trying to fig out a ride. Then she started and made it down street to gas station. I put in two gallons of premixed 50/50 coolant. Because she was very low. Then she ran like a champ and didnt get hot as I went home. Then left about 10 min later and as I was entering the highway smoke again. I stopped and let her cool for about 20 minutes or more. Then tried again and it made it 2 miles. Shes sitting at a gas station there now. There was a lil bit of spray on my cold air intake as well as some coolant on the "panel" below it. Nothing apparently wrong when looking at the engine itself. I have in november ran a bottle of bars leaks through it to make sure there were no cracks in radiator. Could another blown thermostat cause this or is it more likely my water pump. I have resided in fact that if it is a cracked head or anything more expensive I am going to find a way to dump it. But then would be stuck without car. Any ideas or advice?
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Wednesday, January 17th, 2007 AT 1:01 AM

18 Replies

Tiny
TIMBOKING
  • MEMBER
This sounds too simple to be true, but have you replaced the radiator cap? Sometimes if it fails to seal you will loose your coolant and overheat.
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Wednesday, January 17th, 2007 AT 10:23 AM
Tiny
ABADAY
  • MEMBER
The white smoke out the tailpipe worries me. Have you had your veicle checked for hydrocarbons out the tailpipe and or out the cooling system. Possible you might have a cracked head or a slight pinhole in a head gasket causing the car to overheat. Ford has recall on the 3.8 engines for head gaskets for almost all makes and models that have the 3.8 motor in it. Good luck
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Wednesday, January 17th, 2007 AT 11:57 AM
Tiny
TIGGA1369
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I noticed the first time it started smoking I saw it out my rearview. I believe the smoke was actually from engine and passing under car since it was not towards one side or the other.
I got her into shop today but they cant look at it til tomorrow morning.
I am hoping its something as cheap as a cap or thermostat but not that simple so I dont feel like an idiot
:(
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Wednesday, January 17th, 2007 AT 9:03 PM
Tiny
TIGGA1369
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I got it out of shop. They replaced the radiator, upper and lower intake manifold gaskets, thermostat and flushed it. They charged me $819.50 with tax.
It is running fine now except now my accelerator is soft. I dont know if its because its running right, because I am sick and my sense of touch is off or what. The pedal has always had a lil sideways wobble so to speak but there was always pressure when I stepped on the pedal. Now it feels like there is no pressure pushing back when I hit the gas.
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Friday, January 19th, 2007 AT 4:03 PM
Tiny
TIGGA1369
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I had an issue 2 days ago after the repair where it started to overheat. I turned on air and it settled down immediately. Now tonight as I pulled into work it went super hot again and started smoking.
From the same area. Any ideas? This is going to really mess with my work schedule.
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Wednesday, January 24th, 2007 AT 12:32 AM
Tiny
TIGGA1369
  • MEMBER
I took it back into shop and now they say I need new heads and head gaskets
the head that was on there has stripped out bolts and was "jerry rigged" in there
anyone know if its possible to sue the stop leak company that made the additive that caused this?
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Wednesday, January 24th, 2007 AT 7:50 PM
Tiny
SERVICE WRITER
  • EXPERT
I'm truely sick for you. Was it explained by the shop that did the manifolds and radiator that headgaskets or heads were possible?

Stop leak is a bad thing-caveat emptor.

When were the heads last off?
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Wednesday, January 24th, 2007 AT 7:59 PM
Tiny
TIGGA1369
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When it was in last week they said they pressure tested and everything was fine. Then today he said while it had passed their test then. After driving it for couple days the "newfound" pressure caused by a working cooling system made the head gaskets go.
I have had the car since august of 05 and never had the heads off. Before that I am not sure.
The cop I bought it from had said it had cold air intake and alluminum heads. But didnt say when the heads were last worked on.
And to think I thought I could trust an officer of the law. Sorry am just really upset right now. And its costing me $160 to have a rental for the weekend so I don't miss work.
In a 96 stang with approx 140,000 miles is it worth doing head work? Or replacing engine? Or finding a new car?
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Wednesday, January 24th, 2007 AT 8:04 PM
Tiny
SERVICE WRITER
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There are a lot of thoughts.

-When did you put in the stop leak and how much. It can plug up the heater core or other areas.

-I don't want to accuse the shop that did the rad and intake of wrong doings, however I'll pass this on. 1-When headgasket go the can pressurize the cooling system and blow out a radiator. 2- There are chemical tests that can be done to check for potential headgasket leaks, before condemning the intake. 3- Pressure testing will expose EXTERNAL leaks. Having said that, it can aid in finding an internal leak. In this case removing the spark plugs and checking for coolant entering the cylinders while the cooling system is under pressure can reveal a headgasket or head leak.

At what state is the engine now? Has it been torn down or still runnable?

Don't make a quick decision, take the rental car for a week if you have to.

I am inclined to think this may have been a mis-diagnosis. First the radiatior, and then the mention of the head bolt problem. If the "jerry-rigged" problem headbolts could have contributed to it in their opinion, it supports mis-diagnosis in the first place.
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Wednesday, January 24th, 2007 AT 8:22 PM
Tiny
TIGGA1369
  • MEMBER
I put in stop leak approx in late nov early dec. I had had a problem with the upper rad. Hose clenching down when on throttle. Stayed cool but I knew the hose wasnt supposed to be sucked closed like that. So I replaced thermostat which I found was stuck, upper and lower radiator hoses within the last few months.
The stop leak was put in about the same time as lower hose. Upper hose and thermo a couple weeks earlier. The guy said if I continued to drive it even though the leak wasnt nearly as bad as the first time I could risk antifreeze in my oil. I am not a newbie nor a master mechanic but of course I know thats definately not good.
When they did the cooling work the first time he did mention about issue with the bolts for lower and upper intake. But said he would be able to get it on fine and sealed properly.
I knew then for a fact that someone had doen some kind of work on the heads before I bought it.
Today he said the bolts snapped off in there is the way he put it.
When originally it was an issue with them being a lil stripped
if that makes any sense.
I will admit I am loving the rental since its an 07 Ram but feel like its money out the window.
Wish I knew someone who had a 302 or sumthin and would put it in for me for a case of beer and a pizza and an I.O.U.
;P
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Wednesday, January 24th, 2007 AT 8:44 PM
Tiny
SERVICE WRITER
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Stripped and snapped off are opposites. Based on what I have read, I would say it was mis-diagnoised the first time.

Setting that aside, The IOU would be the critical part of your equation :wink:

I would guess head job is going to run about $1500? Reman engine about $4000? New car $15,000?
Used car $4000 + unknown headaches. If the car isn't bad other wise, I might consider the reman motor.

I'd like to get a couple other pretty smart guys on th e forum to give their 2 cents.

About the novel-I think it went to you on PM-dunno what happened.
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Wednesday, January 24th, 2007 AT 8:55 PM
Tiny
TIGGA1369
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Well when they did work first time they said the bolts and the holes didnt match in size so someone had put some other stuff in there to seal them
he wanted to charge me 2 hrs more labor to retap the holes
then he said he could seal it back up fine without retapping
and then this morning ( I believe I heard him right but I am going on almost no sleep) he said they were broken I think is the term he used
i am gonna call him in morning and clarify.
What I dont get is if retapping was an option before then why couldnt he do that now? Would much rather pay 300-400 for retapping and a new gasket then pay over a grand for new head and gasket.
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Wednesday, January 24th, 2007 AT 9:33 PM
Tiny
INDYUKE
  • MEMBER
Wow! It sounds like you've had quite the ordeal. The issue with the head bolts sounds fishy. On and engine of unkown (somewhat? ) Condition and with 149,000 miles, I would at least have a head job done, because the first thing I would feel compelled to do would be to take the heads off and do some examining if I found the head bolts to be stripped.
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Wednesday, January 24th, 2007 AT 10:01 PM
Tiny
TIGGA1369
  • MEMBER
Yeah. My dad talked about selling me his car at reasonable price with payments.
But hes got a slight gasket leak as well.
But he doesnt have problem with bolts on the head though.
Damned if I do damned if I dont I guess.
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Wednesday, January 24th, 2007 AT 10:07 PM
Tiny
SERVICE WRITER
  • EXPERT
General concensus With the other Moderators I spoke to also feel this was a mis-diagnosis. I would press the shop owner a little on that possibility in a calm manner.
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Thursday, January 25th, 2007 AT 5:17 AM
Tiny
RASMATAZ
  • MEMBER
After my review on this matter-it was misdiagnosed and problem got exagerated. Dunno if these guys are real techs or partchangers. One thing I know it was not tested properly along with the dirty Harry-he should have giving you the vehicle history. My best advice is to get rid of it, sooner or later something else gonna happen, put it behind you and move on with dads car till you figure out how to get a new car.

In conclusion I recommend you check with us before you buy, that way you won't get zipped again.I felt bad for you on this ordeal and also it degrades the industry that am involved with for 37yrs in the military and civilian life. The burden of proof is yours to prove on this matter.

Good Luck!
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Thursday, January 25th, 2007 AT 3:30 PM
Tiny
TIGGA1369
  • MEMBER
Well I found out my brother in law and his neighbor would put on a new head and gasket for a case of beer
so thats like 300$ or less.
My only concern is f the heads were replaced to accomodate a high lift cam then a stock head wouldnt fit
i am going to get it up there this week and have them pull the head. Is there an easy way to tell if the cam and lifters are stock or not just by looking at them?
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Thursday, January 25th, 2007 AT 7:50 PM
Tiny
RASMATAZ
  • MEMBER
Make sure you have the head magnaflux before your BIL and his drinking buddy slap it on. As for determing its lift-you must mic the lobes to figure it out-and also degreed in with a timing scale.

And No am not into Hi Performance stuff I left that back in the 60's when I went to Nam to fight for our freedom and now, waiting for my 3 sons to comeback from Iraq. God Bless Wide America's Freedom Fighters.
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Friday, January 26th, 2007 AT 4:19 AM

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