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Discussion Starter #1
Well...a buddy of mine has a 91 Cougar, showning a few sympoms of headgasket failure, we're going to further investigate tomorrow, but so far

-ran a bit funny
-engine didnt warm up
-blowing smoke (didnt smell like coolant, but still alot of smoke)
-making a gurgling noise under the hood
-coolant system was hardcore pressurized

no coolant/oil mixing that i can tell yet

any other things we should look at? coolant will make a sparkplug look pretty much spotless wont it?
 

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Color of smoke?

White - coolant
Black - too rich
Grey - oil

Pink - find a new friend

Yes, coolant will pretty much clean the plug's porceling tip spotlessly. On cold and humid days it is normal for the tail pipe to emit white smoke (it's really steam) till it's fully warmed up.

Steve
 

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Discussion Starter #3
smoke was white

well, its definatly a head gasket, since we have snow on the ground, you can actually see the snow turning green from the coolant, i put my hand under the tailpipe and i had actual coolant on my hand from it

we're planning on doing it ourselves...anyone have a rough idea or the cost of doing both headgaskets, new bolts and the rest of the gaskets?
 

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No, not really, but at minimum you absolutely have to have the heads resurfaced or you will be wasting your time, and you might as well get a valve job while you are at it.
 

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Who said anything was strange? I think its just sort of what happens with 3.8 headgaskets sometimes, poor design or something, its really more of a head design problem I hear than a gasket design problem.
 

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You may want to see if Ford has a TSB on this problem with a resolution to it, such as better headgaskets, revised headbolt torque value/tightening pattern, etc.

My wife had a Neon that had similar issues. The resolution ended up being a redesigned headgasket, from composite to multilayer steel, new torque values and proper prep. I did the job myself and it took me an afternoon, being real anal about the job.

I'd expect it to take longer for you. The key is proper prep. Clean all the old gasket off the surfaces or it will leak again. Resurfacing the head is a good idea, but you can measure the deck and check for warp. I advise egtting a repair manual, it'll tell you how to measure it.

Steve
 

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Discussion Starter #9
with the neons, you could also get away with just retorquing the head if the gasket wasnt blown, similar problem with the 3.8L, aluminum head on an iron block, and after a certain amount of miles, the head bolts need to be retourqued

i dont see head warpage being a problem, seeing as it never overheated, but its still getting checked, and heads most likely getting milled a bit

Ford had a recall a few years back, kind of an "underground recall", and they used graphite headgaskets instead of what they were using, but either way, from the research ive done, felpro is probably the best way to go, along with ARP head bolts
 

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felpro is probably the best way to go, along with ARP head bolts
:headbang:

My friend's truck has a blown headgasket. His dad refuses to believe it. So he put a new water pump on it. :rolleyes:

Showing all the signs. Overheats, uses coolant, water on plugs, exhaust blowing up through radiator. :no:
 

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OEM Ford 99+ headgaskets are just as good if not better than the fel-pros.
 
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