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Old 11-06-2004, 10:22   #1 (permalink)
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thermostat or head gasket?

my 95 3.8 taurus wagon started emiting white smoke from the exhaust about 4 weeks ago. it smells like antifreeze so i thought head gasket. after driving for about 3-5min the smoke goes away. i was told that its because the engine heats up and the gasket expands filling whatever gap is there. i noticed that it will do it on and off after i have driven the car for a while but then stops and that does not happen every day, but the white smoke does happen every time i start the car. my oil is normal dark brown in color with no milky look to it.
i've also watched my temp gague go up and down sporatically and the time it stayed up in the middle normal range, the check engine light came on and i saw some smoke coming out from the hood and front wheel hulls. like it was overheating. that is why im thinking thermostat. i plan on getting a thermostat today and putting it in hoping this will cheaply solve my problem! only one other time did the check engine light come on and it was when the temp was up to the mid normal range but soon went off. since i've had the car, just over a year, the temp usually stayed down at the cold end of normal.

In turning on the heat in the car i small antifreeze. i also noticed that the coolant level fluctuate. once i had to put some in after 3 days of normal driving and another time it went over a week before i had to add some with the same amt of driving. I have not seen any antifreeze in my driveway nor have i seen any drips rt after turning the car off or while its in park running.

do any of you have an opinion as to what may be the problem. i really hate to think im going to have to put new gaskets on this thing.
Thank you!!
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Old 11-06-2004, 14:26   #2 (permalink)
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Re: thermostat or head gasket?

there is a posability u have the startings of a blowen head gasket.
go to a survo & ask then to do a head gasket test on it called a ( TK test )
if there is a small leak starting now would be a good time to drop in some chemi-weld.
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Old 11-07-2004, 23:16   #3 (permalink)
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Re: thermostat or head gasket?

Quote:
Originally Posted by oze50
there is a posability u have the startings of a blowen head gasket.
go to a survo & ask then to do a head gasket test on it called a ( TK test )
if there is a small leak starting now would be a good time to drop in some chemi-weld.
I agree completely!!! I want to say those engines are known to blow gaskets on the passenger side corner of the head.
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Old 11-08-2004, 13:45   #4 (permalink)
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Re: thermostat or head gasket?

thank you guys for your responses! when you say chemical weld do you mean something like stop leak?
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Old 11-08-2004, 17:04   #5 (permalink)
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Re: thermostat or head gasket?

They make tablets that you can drop into your radiator for leaks and what not. You can find them at any part store.
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Old 12-11-2004, 22:00   #6 (permalink)
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Re: thermostat or head gasket?

Greetings, I feel your pain, I just finished replacing the head gaskets on my ford taurus, and let me tell you, its not easy and it takes a LONG time.. I would say you probably have a blown gasket from what you are saying about the white smoke and overheating, mine did the same, and yes, passenger side of each head was blown.

Good Luck, sorry I couldn't help. :(
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Old 12-15-2004, 09:44   #7 (permalink)
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Re: thermostat or head gasket?

You have all the symptoms of a head gasket failure:
- white smoke from the coolant in exhaust
- temp gauage swings from exhaust super heating your coolant
- eating coolant
- legendary 3.8L "I need a head gasket engine".

For now it sounds like you can limp along, but eventually you'll damage the engine. I would get it done anywhere they provide a 12 month warranty. That way you can take it back if it fails again, and they didn't plane your heads.

BTW, my brother went thru 3 head gaskets from 50K to 75K in his 1995 Windstar.

Good luck!
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