I was in a my Windstar towing 3000lbs. At about 80 miles down the road my A/C started blowing hot. Immediately I thought it was the A/C. Then a minute or so later I noticed loud squeaking from the engine bay and the water temp was climbing to the "H" on the gauge. Got off interstate as soon as could. Had to drive about a mile further up and down small grades to a truck stop to let it cool off. By the time I was there the engine was making sort of a dieseling sound when I pushed the accel and I would feather it along easily. Blew the water pump, cracked radiator; replaced those and thermostat and $1000 later I'm going down the road 20 miles towing (Ford and I thought the engine was ok cause it sounded so smooth and felt so smooth; though we suspected warped heads and/or blown head gasket) and I stop to check tires for pressure. WITHIN 1 MINUTE (NO MORE) of stopping the radiator fans kicked on HIGH and I immediately ran in the vehicle to cut it off and noticed it was again overheating though I stopped it before it got to the H. All the coolant was in the expansion reservoir and not in the radiator and the temp level on the road was extremely COOL for running on the interstate while towing. I have a tranny cooler too if that makes any difference. Let it cool off and drove it back to Ford. They suspect blown head gasket and this model/year is highly susceptible for it though I thought I was out of the park with this a long time ago. After FORD inspected it by revving it for about 10 or 15 minutes between 3500 and 4000 RPMs (which I don't even drive that hard on the road) the engine developed a Misfire on Cylinder 3 (computer code checked) and began to run like absolute crap, shaking, idling rough, etc. I left my trailer at Ford and they said I could make it back home the 88 miles without towing. I did so feathering the gas pedal the entire way and only pushing just enough to maintain 55 - 60 mph speed. There was definitely sounds of metal hitting metal and violent shaking at times especially UP grades, but would go away as I'd ease off the gas. And for some reason over the course of the 88 miles back home the van gradually started pulling harder to the LEFT (ODD). When I got home the rear bank precat (right off the headers) was GLOWING RED. I checked coolant and oil after cool down next morning. I do not see MILKLY oil. It was only changed 3 weeks prior. But over the last 100 miles definitely changed color to a DARKER oil color. The coolant is ALL in the expansion reservoir still. Being that the thermostat is new and rad cap LOOKS FINE (but could be original) Ford and my trusted shop think head gasket is cause but I'm trying to get as much info as I can before deciding to get a new engine vs resurfacing heads and replacing head gaskets. I mean is an engine at 157k mile worth resurfacing heads and fixing head gaskets or would you go with a whole new/used engine? If I go used I already know I'm replacing the head gaskets before its installed. Just would like some sound advice here. Also - plugs/wires are new within the past 2-3 years.
Saturday, October 27th, 2007 AT 8:06 AM