1995 Ford Taurus Engine overheats and smoking

Tiny
NATTY_
  • MEMBER
  • 1995 FORD TAURUS
Engine Cooling problem
1995 Ford Taurus 6 cyl Front Wheel Drive Automatic

Greetings.

Couple of days ago, it got very cold, and the engine started smoking heavily. It was night-time. There was a little anti-freeze under the hood, but there wasn't any major leakage. Following day, I noticed that the car started fine, and upon driving about three miles, temp gauge went to max hot, and the car started smoking again.

I suspect thermostat problems, but I would like an expert's observation based on my scenario. I would also like to hear how to replace thermostat. I believe I can do it myself, and I am hoping that is my issue. I wish I can donate, but I have been looking for a job for 6 mos now since my former company folded. Thanks in advance.
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Wednesday, December 10th, 2008 AT 9:08 AM

12 Replies

Tiny
DAVE H
  • EXPERT
I suspect your head gasket may have blown. Is it white smoke. Is there slime in overflow tank. Is there chocolatey slime on oil filler cap?
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Wednesday, December 10th, 2008 AT 9:35 AM
Tiny
DAVE H
  • EXPERT
Hello natty.

Thanks for the points. You could just reply by using reply box at bottom of posting? I didn't get all your message please could you re-send through this posting?
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Wednesday, December 10th, 2008 AT 10:18 AM
Tiny
NATTY_
  • MEMBER
Thanks for your promptiness.

I didn't notice any slime in overflow tank, not sure if you meant oil filter cap, but oil cap (where I add oil) does not have chocolatey slime. The smoke looked to me to be a bluish, greenish, little whitish. Not just white smoke. I hope it isn't head gasket, I understand it is major expensive work. Would even driving to garage destroy the engine? Thanks in advance.
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Wednesday, December 10th, 2008 AT 10:27 AM
Tiny
DAVE H
  • EXPERT
When you start the car now. Are you getting smoke from exhaust? Has coolant level dropped? . When you said you noticed anti-freeze under hood was it coming from overflow.
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Wednesday, December 10th, 2008 AT 10:41 AM
Tiny
NATTY_
  • MEMBER
On the night of first occurence, I had noticed some small amount of fluid under the hood on the right side, exactly diagonally across from the overflow tank on the left side. So it definitely wasn't coming from the overflow tank. Yesterday, during the day, I drove about 3 - 4 miles, and the overheating and smoking problem re-occured after a while (after starting - all was fine including the temp gauge). There wasn't any leakage of any kind.

I have just started the car now - temp gauge is on C (cold), and no extra / unusual amount of smoke is coming out of exhaust. I suspect the antifreeze overflow tank doesn't show any decrease or increase. Should I add antifreeze directly to the radiator?

PS: If I recall correctly, once the car overheats and smokes out of the engine hood, there might have been extra smoke coming out of exhaust as well. Just now not sure whether to drive few miles and re-duplicate problem because I am not sure what that would do the engine.

Many thanks for your assistance so far.
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Wednesday, December 10th, 2008 AT 11:23 AM
Tiny
DAVE H
  • EXPERT
Check coolant level now, make sure it's at correct level. Start engine and allow to tick over untill it reaches usual operating temp (where the gauge usually sit's). Then leave it ticking over watching temp gauge and radiator fan the fan should come on not long after it reaches usual temp on gauge. And also keep a check on the exhaust for smoke
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Wednesday, December 10th, 2008 AT 12:06 PM
Tiny
NATTY_
  • MEMBER
I started the car, and let it run for a while. All seemed normal, and temp gauge stayed on cold side. I noted the fan coming on after few minutes. It has snowed, so I decided to turn on the air-defroster inside. Noted little heat, but not usual strength. I watched to see if temp gauge will rise to Hot with turning the heater on (defroster). Temp rose just a little from cold to 1/3. I then decided to actually drive it. As soon as I engaged in drive gear, the temp gauge rose steadily to Hot, and within a mile, engine light flashed on, and smoke started coming from under the hood. Opened the hood, and noticed smoke was coming out of, in general, a spot where radiator connects to a hose [right side of radiator under metal panel that covers the radiator and allows seating of hood]. From a distance, smoke looks like is coming out of right side of radiator (when facing the car), but on closer inspection, it is coming out of seemingly where radiator meets the gadget that might be thermostat, a gadget that connects to the hose that goes into the engine block.
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Wednesday, December 10th, 2008 AT 3:23 PM
Tiny
DAVE H
  • EXPERT
So we now know we have a leak. So the coolant level must be going down. When you say "gadget" where exactly on the engine is the "gadget". What color is it. Is it metal/plastic. Near the belt's. Near the raditior. Has it got hoses coming off it? Could you supply a picture? From your description. It is under the crossbeam that the hood shut's onto?
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Wednesday, December 10th, 2008 AT 8:09 PM
Tiny
NATTY_
  • MEMBER
Hi Dave,

There might be a slight drop in coolant level in overflow, but then again I didn't get to drive far. Unlike my older cars, this car's radiator cap isn't meant to be removed, is it?

You are correct for the location being under the cross-beam. It is, facing the car, to the right top end of radiator where there is a circular component (looking like a thermostat) seemingly inserted in a metal L-tube which connects to a hose that goes into the engine block. It is on the top of this circular component on radiator that smoke was coming out like it was a chimney. I would try to take a picture if it still necessary.

Again, thanks for your help.
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Thursday, December 11th, 2008 AT 9:49 AM
Tiny
DAVE H
  • EXPERT
You can remove the readiator cap to check the coolant in radiator. When cold. By the sounds of what your describing the "chimney" should have a pipe/hose on it. It sounds like a release/return pipe. It is steam coming out not smoke. If you could supply a picture that would be good. I have no diagrams of the coolant system?
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Thursday, December 11th, 2008 AT 1:43 PM
Tiny
NATTY_
  • MEMBER
Hi Dave,
Couldn't get my camera from my GF on time anyway.

The 'smoke' was coming out of the release valve on top of radiator's left top corner (when facing the car). I have managed to change the thermostat, and now I am noticing some smoke (maybe) coming from under the vicinity where thermostat is housed. It seems like the exhaust now has white smoke (probably not good news). I am running the car with radiator cap off to bubble air up, and will let u know what happens next.

You've been great with your feedback.

If it is head-gasket issue, is it an easy task? What will it involve?
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Tuesday, December 16th, 2008 AT 12:12 PM
Tiny
DAVE H
  • EXPERT
I suspect if your getting a constant bubbling your head gasket is gone i'm afraid? Let me know if the bubbling stops or is constant?
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Tuesday, December 16th, 2008 AT 12:20 PM

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