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Old 04-03-2011, 06:38 PM   #1
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HELP with 1995 3.8L

Hi everyone!
I'm new to the forums, and don't have hardly any knowledge on cars except for what I've learnt from my father and so on.

I just purchased a 1995 Ford Mustang 3.8L with 133,000 miles on it. I got it for $1,800 by the way.

At any rate, the previous owner did not care for it one bit, whatsoever! I don't think it's EVER had a tuneup of any kind. I know they changed the oil and that's pretty much it. The vehicle does need work, but I REALLY need to know about this one problem before I start sinking any kind of money in it.

When the car is idling, it just purrs. The motor kinda' jars a bit, but my Dad says that's the miss in it from the bad gas. It's never had injector cleaner or anything like that. But, when you give it gas it gets a knocking sound when the RPMs get to round 12 or 14 k. My uncle is usually pretty good with vehicles, and he claims it has to light and thin of oil and a crappy and possibly collapsed oil filter. My Dad agreed, and also said the PCV (I think) is messed up to.

My question is, do I have a chance with this vehicle? Or am I going to have to rebuild the motor?

P.S. The heat didn't work because the core was stopped up with rust. We flushed both it and the radiator at home but no acid dip pro job. We changed the water pump when it leaked to a brand new one. No leakage now and the heat works great. But that knock is a scary sound to hear. I really don't have much money so any simple suggestions, possible solutions, or anything of the nature will be greatly appreciated.

I'll check this thread often in hopes of a response. Thanks in advance guys!
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Old 04-03-2011, 09:11 PM   #2
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Re: HELP with 1995 3.8L

Trust me you have a chance. I had an over heating problem and a 5th cylinder miss fire in mine when I bought it. Ended up putting another motor in with less miles. You have a chance with the motor. You might have to tear the bottom end apart and see if any of the crankshaft bearings are bad. Possibly could be a wrist pin as well. If you do decide to drop another motor in it. Look for a 96 couger with the same motor. It drops righ in and the wiring harness is the same. I hope everything works out.
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Old 04-03-2011, 10:46 PM   #3
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Re: HELP with 1995 3.8L

You can run a little thicker oil like 10w 40 or even 15w 40 just don't rev the motor as soon as you start it. If you havent done the tune up yet do it first, the little knock won't hurt as long as you don't mistreat it. A little knock can last for years and years with no problems. Also go ahead and change the pcv valve and fuel filter.
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Old 04-04-2011, 09:37 AM   #4
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Re: HELP with 1995 3.8L

Thanks guys!
And as far as the revving it up, I don't give it gas but it does idle high for the firt few seconds when you start it. Especially on cold start.That bad as well?
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Old 04-04-2011, 09:41 AM   #5
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Re: HELP with 1995 3.8L

No that isn't bad. Mine does the same thing. It is just how the 3.8L are built. The high idle at start is fine. Mine idles down to about 1000 rpm after about 30 seconds.
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Old 04-04-2011, 09:42 AM   #6
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No that isn't bad. Mine does the same thing. It is just how the 3.8L are built. The high idle at start is fine. Mine idles down to about 1000 rpm after about 30 seconds.
Mine too
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Old 04-04-2011, 09:42 AM   #7
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Well before you change the oil I suggest a couple bottles of seafoam and give er a real good clean out so you are starting from a clean point. And if you are gonna go with oil that thick I suggest rottela. It will also clean all that gunk that's been building up over the years. And I discovered this stuff called lubro-moly or liqui-moly depends on the country your in. It actually works and for the 5 bucks it costs it will save you that in fuel.
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Old 04-04-2011, 10:00 AM   #8
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Re: HELP with 1995 3.8L

those cars are CHEAP and EASY to work on... so you should have no trouble fixing it up if you do it yourself and not have to spend a ton of money.

I would clean it up good, check compression (see if rings are good) before you go to far else no matter what you will need to get into the engine.
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Old 04-04-2011, 10:17 AM   #9
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those cars are CHEAP and EASY to work on... so you should have no trouble fixing it up if you do it yourself and not have to spend a ton of money.

I would clean it up good, check compression (see if rings are good) before you go to far else no matter what you will need to get into the engine.
Good call... A compression leakdown test will give you a good idea of what kind of shape the rings are in
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Old 04-04-2011, 11:28 AM   #10
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Re: HELP with 1995 3.8L

They aren't as cheap as you would think.
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Old 04-04-2011, 11:35 AM   #11
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They aren't as cheap as you would think.
If it has tits or wheels it's gonna cost you
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Old 04-04-2011, 11:44 AM   #12
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Re: HELP with 1995 3.8L

hahahaha Ya I hear ya man.
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Old 04-04-2011, 07:42 PM   #13
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Everett and the seafoam! He is right though, use it to get all that garbage out of it, amazing stuff really and should only set you back about 10 bucks a can
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Old 04-04-2011, 08:10 PM   #14
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Yup...love that stuff...I don't even bother with the small cans anymore. I buy er by the gallon. Hehehe. In an industry of snake oil its nice to find something that works as advertised.
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Old 04-04-2011, 08:41 PM   #15
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Re: HELP with 1995 3.8L

Ya it is. I just used it on my last fill up and it cleaned my system out a lot.
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Old 04-05-2011, 04:37 PM   #16
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Re: HELP with 1995 3.8L

Alright guys thanks for all the help. You all are wonderful!
But one more question.
It's a 3.8L, what thermostat should I be using? The previous owner had a 160 in it backwards. Lol. I put a 195 in and had temp problems overheating. It's got a brand new water pump, and radiator and stuff was finally flushed today. I figured I'd get the right temp thermostat while I'm putting it all together. I'll await you responses!
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Old 04-05-2011, 09:53 PM   #17
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The 195 is the orginal equipment
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Old 04-06-2011, 10:46 AM   #18
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Re: HELP with 1995 3.8L

It should make a fine ride good luck.
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Old 04-06-2011, 02:25 PM   #19
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Re: HELP with 1995 3.8L

I'd make sure the coolant is running correctly before thinking on changing the thermostat, cause that can be tricky, see if there's no internal or external leaks, check you are not "misteriosly" loosing coolant (that happened to me when I had another car).

Did you change filters and oil already? plugs?
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Old 04-06-2011, 08:16 PM   #20
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Re: HELP with 1995 3.8L

Just make sure to do your oil change shortly after seafoaming...you don't want all that gunk and buildup in the engine longer than it is has to be...I'd say no longer than 75-100 miles after running seafoam thru the engine.
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Old 04-07-2011, 01:26 AM   #21
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Just make sure to do your oil change shortly after seafoaming...you don't want all that gunk and buildup in the engine longer than it is has to be...I'd say no longer than 75-100 miles after running seafoam thru the engine.
K. The instruction don't say anything about changing the oil after seafoaming and honestly 100 miles really isn't long enough to really clean anything. It is a petroleum based product so it's not doing any harm being in there however this is a good point for an abused motor. Seafoam will loosten and remove chunks of sludge and that will clog the oil filter causing it to go into bypass mode. By-pass mode is when the oil doesn't get filtered at all and just flows right thru. If the engine is suspect and of unknown maintenance it may be a good idea to change the oil and filter with cheap oil but use a good filter,then seafoam the crankcase and just watch closely for a few hundred miles. If the oil gets black really quick that means the seafoam is cleaning years of sludge and gunge. If the oil doesn't get dirty quickly that would indicate that it's not that dirty. 75 miles tho really isn't long enough to clean anything tho. When I seafoam the crankcase is about 1500 miles before my next oil change. On the label of seafoam nowhere does it state that it needs to be changed out quickly. On the contrary it states that it can stay in for the entire oil change interval. Go to the website and read all their info before doing anything so you can be familiar with the application of the product.
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Old 04-07-2011, 07:30 PM   #22
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Re: HELP with 1995 3.8L

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K. The instruction don't say anything about changing the oil after seafoaming and honestly 100 miles really isn't long enough to really clean anything. It is a petroleum based product so it's not doing any harm being in there however this is a good point for an abused motor. Seafoam will loosten and remove chunks of sludge and that will clog the oil filter causing it to go into bypass mode. By-pass mode is when the oil doesn't get filtered at all and just flows right thru. If the engine is suspect and of unknown maintenance it may be a good idea to change the oil and filter with cheap oil but use a good filter,then seafoam the crankcase and just watch closely for a few hundred miles. If the oil gets black really quick that means the seafoam is cleaning years of sludge and gunge. If the oil doesn't get dirty quickly that would indicate that it's not that dirty. 75 miles tho really isn't long enough to clean anything tho. When I seafoam the crankcase is about 1500 miles before my next oil change. On the label of seafoam nowhere does it state that it needs to be changed out quickly. On the contrary it states that it can stay in for the entire oil change interval. Go to the website and read all their info before doing anything so you can be familiar with the application of the product.
Yes very true, thank you...I was basing it off a neglected engine with high miles, but that isn't always the case...I had a friend who did it to his 3.8 camaro with 135k and he changed his oil ~150 miles after the seafoam and it was nasty.
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