Do i have a blown head/intake on my '96 mustang gt? - Mustang Evolution

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Old 03-17-2010, 12:00 PM   #1
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Do i have a blown head/intake on my '96 mustang gt?

hello. i checked the radiator and the "water" was a coffee brown color with a sheen to it. everything i read on the internet points to the intake/head gaskets. i have never had issues with overheating so i am not sure what could have caused the problem.
I also spoke my the mechanic who has done most all of the work on my car the past 4 years. Speaking from experience he said it is extremely rare for a 4.6L to blow a head gasket. Intake manifold leaks, yes. Now if an intake is leaking on that car it cannot mix oil and coolant.
also, the car was not overheated when i checked it. i have had the car since 2002 and never had any cooling problems. i checked the oil (via dipstick level marking) and it looked normal. no sign of water, the oil is a little dark but based on my records i had not reached the 3000 mile mark since my last change and the car does not seem to run ok. i noticed a drop in power. i got home and the next morning when i checked the water level i noticed the problem in the radiator. i did not notice any white smoke from the exhaust that morning i check it.


Obviously, further in person diagnosis is required but can anyone confirm if he is on the right track? it is expensive to have the car towed back and forth just for estimates. how much would you think to repair?

i have 153K miles on it and everything else on the car functions so i need to decide if it is worth repairing

thanks.
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Old 03-17-2010, 12:47 PM   #2
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Do i have a blown head/intake on my '96 mustang gt?

fill the cooling system and leave the cap off the radiator, start vehicle, than let it warm up to operating temp, if you see lots of bubbles it will mean a bad head gasket or a crack in the heads or block, do a compression test, im guessing you have a crack i one of the heads, you can have a mix of oil/gas/water if the intake is leaking at the right /wrong place, there is oil right under the intake and water runs thru it
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Old 03-17-2010, 01:15 PM   #3
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Do i have a blown head/intake on my '96 mustang gt?

ive been a ford mechanic for 35 years, build 200 mph cars ( station wagons ) not little pony cars, right now i have a 94 e150 conversion van that had all the rearseats and spare tire removed, it gets 17 mpg in the city and 22 onthe highway, it has a msd ignition,k&n air filter,dual flowmastrs
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Old 03-17-2010, 02:05 PM   #4
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Do i have a blown head/intake on my '96 mustang gt?

If I'm right it has an automatic transmission; if so you just need a new radiator. The trans cooler is in the bottom of the radiator. If it was engine oil it would be lighter in color and you said"coffee brown" Change the radiator and flush everything. If it's a manual trans have the cooling system pressure tested.
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Old 03-17-2010, 02:31 PM   #5
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Do i have a blown head/intake on my '96 mustang gt?

You just need a new intake manifolf, The factory 4.6 manifold is made of plastic and it can crack. This manifold have a inlet that is conected to the radiator. This explains the lost of power and brown water on the radiator
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Old 03-17-2010, 03:28 PM   #6
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Do i have a blown head/intake on my '96 mustang gt?

When was the last time you flushed and refilled the cooling system? it could be as simple as having that done. It can cause it to get dirty brown. I would do this first and see what happens.
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Old 03-17-2010, 03:33 PM   #7
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Do i have a blown head/intake on my '96 mustang gt?

he's definitely right, flush cooling system. and Monitor fluid levels, if fluid levels are ok after a few hundred miles. it's just old coolant and may not be cause of performance concern. as for oil being dark, it will darken from old oil still in eng and depending on eng wear, can get dark soon after oil is changed. the same is true for cooling system, depending on how it is flushed. good luck!
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Old 03-17-2010, 03:46 PM   #8
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Do i have a blown head/intake on my '96 mustang gt?

I would either get a compression gauge (you might be able to rent one from autozone or someplace), or get someone to check the compression for you.

Just because dude says it is 'rare' for a head gasket to blow doesn't mean yours didn't. It is almost entirely dependent on how it is driven, maintained, etc. (if you aren't the original owner, then god only knows).

And, of course, there is just the random failure factor inherent in all mechanical devices.

If you check compression and it is good on all 8, then the only other thing I could think of (off the top of my head) would be that the transmission cooler (sometimes part of the radiator - but not always) is leaking transmission fluid into the coolant).

You might want to check with some other mechanics - ask friends or family if they suggest anyone.
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Old 03-17-2010, 03:49 PM   #9
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Do i have a blown head/intake on my '96 mustang gt?

DO THE COMPRESSION TEST !!! AND THE COOLING SYSTEM FLUSH !!! SMELL YOUR XHAUST, IF U SMELL ANTIFREEZE, ITS A HEAD GASKET, OR IF THERES AN ANTIFREEZE IN YOUR OIL PAN...
IF ANTIFREEZE IS JUST VANISHED, WITH NO XHAUST OR OIL PAN, ITS AN INTAKE... A LOT OF TIMES AT THE HI RPM, U HAVE AN ENGINE TWIST, AND BECAUSE THE INTAKE IS PLASTIC IT BRAKES...
ALL V8s AT 4K RPMs OR HIGHER HAVE AN ENGINE TWIST...
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Old 09-09-2013, 01:47 PM   #10
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Okay, so if you have a bad intake... Do you change the whole thing or the gasket?
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