Re: Windstar Head Gasket
To Jbryant, my first suggestion would be to make sure you pinpoint the leak, as i mentioned, timing chain covers on 3.8s leak coolant internally as well as headgaskets and possibly intake manifold gaskets. Take a small oil/antifreeze sample from the sump plug quickly when cold, if you see antifreeze then good chances you will have bearing problems soon. The timing chain cover leak can be seen externally as well, so do a visual on that. There is a newer updated gasket from ford.
Checking the head gasket can be as easy as i've already described in a earlier post, that was my easy method, ford suggests a compression test.
Also if you have access to a tailpipe 4 gas analyzer, using the probe in the overflow bottle or rad to check for hc is also a quick method.
Usually due the nature of this problem #4 might run rough for a few secs when started cold if it is the head gasket, the spark plug might also be cleaner than #5 or 6
If the intake is leaking internally, it also might be leaking externally, so do a visual on that, it will also cause rough running possibly, intake manifold cooling leaks are so big i've seen them twist a con rod (more popular on split port 3.8s), this will also possibly turn on the check engine light due to one bank running lean.
so pinpoint it first, then when you tell me whats leaking i'll let you know what your in for, my idea of what is easy might not be yours.
I must brag a bit and say i can remove and install a 3.8litre in a windstar in under 6 hours without it ever coming back for that problem again.
Headgaskets in 3.8s is a huge ford recall, the headgasket tightening procedure and gaskets have both been updated and changed twice, so any other manual will probley be incorrect.
The 3.8 was a hard engine to get used to. compaired to the 3.0 its a lot harder to work on. I've seen some mechanics have a tough time doing headgaskets on them for the first time. However you may be more skilled and informed than the mechanic at the shop you take it to. I know dozens of mechanics, mostly ford, and i wouldnt let half of them work on my car.