2000 Ford Taurus Wagon V 6 Engine Problem

  • 2000 FORD TAURUS
My husband and I have a 2000 Ford Taurus Wagon V6 with 80,000 miles. We have been experiencing engine problems for months. The check engine light came on about 3 months ago, went off, came back on, went off, came back on blinking, and so on. The air conditioner wasn't working well either, though we have had similar problems with it before (it has been diagnosed with a small leak but the leak has never been found so we get it recharged about once a year). We made an appointment with our local Ford dealer and took the car in to be checked out. The mechanic told us that all it seemed to need was a tune up and another air conditioner recharging. We did that then brought the car home. Within 3 days the check engine light was back on and the car was beginning to start roughly, shaking slightly and idling low, slightly high, low slightly high then evening out after about a minute. We took the car back to the Ford dealership. They took a look at the engine again and said that since the diagnostic computer was reporting a misfire on cylinder 1 that they had to take the engine apart to look at that cylinder.

When they took the engine apart, they found a lot of coolant on top of the piston in cylinder 1. So, they replaced the injector in cylinder 1, fixed a small leak in the coolant system (didn't say where), replaced the water pump because of the age of the car, replaced the wiring harness for cylinder 1 and did another tune up. The mechanic assured us that the coolant leak had been the problem and now that it was fixed that the car would be fine.

A few days later the check engine light came back on and the car began starting more roughly than it did before the work. We took the car back to the Ford dealer and were told, after the took the engine apart again, that we might have a cracked head gasket but that they were not sure of that and couldn't be sure unless they took the entire engine apart because as it was they could not see the gaskets. The mechanic recommended that we replace the head gasket or get a rebuilt engine. We could not afford to do either, so we asked them to put the engine back together and let us have it back. The mechanic told us that the car should work decently for 10,000 more miles, and then it would die.

That was 2 months ago. Since then we have tried not to drive the car more than necessary (though it does get driven everyday since it is our only car) and have tried to drive at moderate speeds. We did have to make a trip to Richmond, Virginia (about 4 hours each way from our house) and the car acted like it normally does for the entire weekend that we were out and about with it up there. The car starts roughly still, getting a little worse each week. Sometimes it takes 2-3 tries to get the car started. The exhaust smells rich, very much like gasoline or paint thinner. The car is not leaking any fluid on the ground.

The car has never overheated, and the thermostat always stays halfway between H and C (which baffles the mechanically inclined people that we know who say that if it is a cracked or busted head gasket it would constantly overheat). The gas mileage has improved somewhat since the last time we had the car in the shop. The car makes a strange knocking sound when we go up hills, being quite loud when the hill is steep and acting like it doesn't want to climb the hill at all if the hill is really steep. The air conditioner does not want to cool in the daytime if it is really hot outside but does fine if it is moderately hot or nighttime (again I am not sure that this is even related since the air conditioner has always given us trouble). The compressor also makes a hard thump sound once in a while when we turn the air conditioner on. Sometimes we smell what we assume are gas fumes when we turn air on after starting the car in our driveway, though we assume this is because we have the car backed up against a wall and this might be causing the exhaust to envelope the car somewhat.

We bought this car used a year and 3 months ago. The Carfax report said that the car was previously used as a leased car to a corporation in New York. The Carfax report said that the car had never been in an accident or damaged in any way, nor had it ever been stolen.

We do not have another car and I am a paraplegic that requires a wheelchair for all of my mobility, so making this car work well is really important to us for financial reasons and the safety of my health. Can you tell us what is wrong with our car?
Do you
have the same problem?
Tuesday, July 10th, 2007 AT 11:01 PM

1 Reply

It is possible to have a blown head gasket, and not overheat, or not have the typical symptoms.

I have an 85 Olds Cutlass that had a very strange problem. I would drive it for about 10 minutes, and the coolant reservoir would have the antifreeze boiling over. The only problem is, that the engine temperature was only 180 degrees, which is what the thermostat is set to. Both radiator hoses were also 180. I touched the boiling water in the reservoir, and it was WARM! Antifreeze boils at around 240 in atm. Pressure, so how does warm water boil?

I did some research, and found the answer. The theory is, that it is possible to have such a small head gasket leak, that some of the exhaust gases mix with the coolant. When this happens, even though the coolant is only 180 deg, the exhaust gas is about 500 degrees, and it boils off the coolant.

I then replaced the head gasket, and I haven't had any problems with the cooling system. I haven't so much as lost any coolant in the past two years.

I don't trust the mechanic you went to. He doesn't need to tear the engine apart to determine if there is a blown head gasket. There are kits that can tell him that while the engine is whole.

Also, when he saw antifreeze in the cylinder, that immediately tells him that the head gasket was blown. He didn't take into account that head gaskets don't have to be physically cracked to be bad.

Another point: The fuel injector is never the cause of coolant leaking on the cylinder. At worst, it would cause a fuel leak.

The last problem is, once you remove the head, you have to replace the head gasket anyway, even if it wasn't previously bad!

I hate to tell you this, but I think your mechanic is a fraud. I am willing to bet that the money you spent so far, could have bought a good used engine, complete with labor.
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Wednesday, September 26th, 2007 AT 9:23 PM

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