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Old 10-14-2009, 15:51   #1 (permalink)
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Question 1993 Ford Taurus - HVAC and Exhaust issues

The car:

- 1993 Ford Taurus sedan
- 3.0L GL
- 110k miles
- Auto trans
- A/C

Issue #1:

Very low heat inside cabin, even with windows up and heat on high. While some heat does come into the car, it feels like it does it in waves. For a couple of mins it will feel mildly warm, and then it will get much colder for a couple of mins. I thought this was the cycling of the thermostat, but I've never felt it like this before. Even when the air coming in is "warm" it's still very cool compared to what it should be.


What I've done:

- Thermostat has been replaced less than a year ago.

- These tests were done from a cold start, and with the HVAC controls all turned to "Off" - I first checked the feed lines going into and from the heater core. After letting the car run for 5mins, the passenger-side line felt warmer than the driver's side line. After another 5mins, the drivers side was *very* warm, and the passenger's side didn't feel much warmer than the first time I checked. After another 5mins, the passenger side caught up with the driver's side, and they were both *very* warm and about the same temperature - the driver's side felt about the same temp as it did the second time I felt them.

- To see that the doors for the HVAC were working properly, I turned the car to Acc. and turned the HVAC knob all the way from hot to cold several times. I was able to hear the motor (on the HVAC door) working, and it sounded like foam was being seated when set to completely hot or cold.


Issue #2:

White smoke from exhaust, and *lots* of moisture leaking from muffler and other parts of the exhaust. After letting the car idle in one place for a couple of minutes, there was already a puddle the size of a dinner-plate from whatever is leaking from the muffler.

Car at times also runs rough, and sometimes bogs down during acceleration (not sure if this is related).


What I've done:

After running the car for 5mins, I moved the car to another spot on the driveway, I looked over all leak spots, but it seems like anything coming from the car was from the exhaust.

I checked the engine coolant, and the reservoir is nearly empty. I could not see any other leaks on my driveway (note: this was only for a couple mins, so it doesn't mean there are no other leaks, I may have just not seen them) so this leads me to think one issue. I'm hoping not to say anything, to see if you guys come to the same conclusion as well.


Any input, advice, or things to look for would be GREATLY appreciated! Thank you all in advance!
- Woody
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Old 10-14-2009, 20:16   #2 (permalink)
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Re: 1993 Ford Taurus - HVAC and Exhaust issues

So what is your problem ? Issue #1 is you need a heater core. It's plugged.
Issue # 2 is normal. Keep your coolant reservoir at the proper level and see what happends. Running rough and bogging down is another problem. Not related. One other thing. Do you have the proper thermostat for that engine ? Not O.E.M. crap but the one
from Ford ? That engine calls for a 198.
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Old 10-14-2009, 20:30   #3 (permalink)
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Re: 1993 Ford Taurus - HVAC and Exhaust issues

How long have you had the car? Has it ever overheated? Has it always steamed like that? Head gaskets and cracked heads can do that.

For the heater you could try taking the hoses off of the heater core and run the water hose in one and see how well it flows. They are also hard to bleed at times. Raise the front with the cap off when filling it to ensure there's no air pocket. Running water through the heater core and running some in the hoses to the engine will help to see if there's blockage in the core and that most of the air is out of the system.
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Old 10-26-2009, 06:59   #4 (permalink)
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Re: 1993 Ford Taurus - HVAC and Exhaust issues

Dang, I forgot to check the coolant level before I made this post. I topped it off (it was 2 gallons short of full :o ) and the heat now works great! That issue seems to be solved, however, I checked the coolant level again after a couple days, and had to add another 1/2 gallon to top it off again. For a car that has no visable leaks, this makes me think more and more that it's a head-gasket that's gone bad. Especially when losing so much coolant over just a couple of days of normal use, and not seeing any puddles other than the exhaust. I also took a look at the dipstick, and it looks pretty normal - not thick or foggy like a milkshake. However, this was just the dipstick, I haven't actually drained the oil to get a good look at it.

My fiancee often complains that the car smells like 'burning chemicals' so maybe that's the anti-freeze she's smelling? I noticed the exhaust has cleared up a bit, and isn't as 'foggy' as it was, but it's still got quite a bit of white smoke and moisture coming out of the muffler. Any other ideas? Does this sound like a head-gasket to you guys? I don't mind doing the work, but if there's any possibility it could be some other issue, I'd love to try those fixes before having to replace the gasket :/

Thanks again for the help everybody!
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Old 10-26-2009, 09:10   #5 (permalink)
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Re: 1993 Ford Taurus - HVAC and Exhaust issues

The 3.8 were more prone to have a blown headgasket but 3.0 can also. I can usually smell the coolant through the fill hole and tell if they're blown pretty bad. If it's not to bad you can't smell it. You can get a block test kit at a parts store for about $25. If it is, have the heads checked for cracks when you take them off.
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Old 10-26-2009, 09:12   #6 (permalink)
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Re: 1993 Ford Taurus - HVAC and Exhaust issues

It sound like your gona have t get your hands dirty! If your loosing coolant like you say in just a couple of days it is a head gasket. SORRY DUDE!!!
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