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Discussion Starter #1
Hello again, First off I have a 1991 Cougar LS 3.8. This morning when I drove to work about 10 minutes away going 75 mph. I parked and noticed that the engine was kind of shaky so i checked my temp and it was pretty hot. my car has never had problems with temp it has always been below where it says normal on the gauge. I waited about an hour for it to cool so I could check the coolant. It was missing some so I filled it up. After work I drove home and the car felt realy shaky and when I pressed the accelerator it would choke and want to die. I drove home slowly about another 10 minutes going 35 mph and the temp got realy hot on me again so I stopped it and had my Dad pull it home with his truck (affraid of blowing the engine) When we got home we noticed that when it gets hot all the coolant goes to the other little tank on the left (I forgot what its called but you guys should know what im talking about and it starts to overflow and spills all over the left side of the car (by the air intake). The only thing I could think of is the Thermostat isnt working. As for the car losing power and blowing out what seems to be coolant out the mufler I dont know???? Any ideas on what could be going on?? Oh ya and we checked the oil and its clean, just changed it about 3 weeks ago. The oil doesnt look like chocolate. Well I think i explained everything any help would be appreciated and i would be glad to explain my self better if misunterstood thank you
 

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sounds like a head gasket has failed... sorry
 

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Yup. Now you're an 'experienced' cougar owner. So what are you going to do? If you try and get a professional to replace your headgaskets it'll cost more than the car is worth. I hope you'll rescue your cougar by getting a few of your friends/relatives together and doing it yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
That sucks if it is a HG, I hope not, im gona replace the Thermostat and see how it goes. The good thing is that my cuzzin and my uncle are mechanics. Well thanks for the imput. You know what sucks, i had just bought it new rims and tires and filled up the tank with gas lol. Im all depressed oh well, now I get to drive my dads new 4runner. Thanks guyz im gona go istall that damm thermo and pray it works (I doubt it though now that I heard from the experts)
 

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Sorry, but if you have accurately described the symptoms to us (and I believe you have) then you have blown your hg. I wouldn't drive it at all, not even around the block. Get your cuz and uncle to take the heads off and get a valve job and put them back on. And one more thing, the consensus on this board is that antifreeze ruins oxygen sensors. So a blown hg also means replacing the O2 sensors after you're done.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well I only had about 1 hour of daylight we replaced the thermostat but we forgot to by one of the gasgets so it wont leak, so im gona finish tomarow. I did check everything again. The oil still looks good clean, and the spark plugs are not wet or turning colors. Is that a good sign? Also it still had coolant almost all the way up. Thanks for the info perch ill remember that if we have to replace the HG's
 

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Full Metal
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another vote for the hg's, sorry. really, instead of throwing money at it you should try to get a compression test done to be absolutely sure, but by the symptoms you described, it's an almost sure bet that your hg's are toast.
 

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I'm another vote saying blown Head Gaskets.
 

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When my HGs went, I had two plugs that were carbon free, and 4 that had 30k worth of carbon, that was one of the many clues I had that I was taking the top end of my 3.8 off and replacing head gaskets.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Bangster said:
When my HGs went, I had two plugs that were carbon free, and 4 that had 30k worth of carbon, that was one of the many clues I had that I was taking the top end of my 3.8 off and replacing head gaskets.
I didnt check them all, I havnt had time to work on it. I dont get out of work untill 4:00 pm and it gets dark around 5:20 pm over here so I dont have much time. Ill have to wait till this weekend. This lady at my work has a 93 cougar xr7 im not sure if its a 5.0 but it says v8 on the side. Im gona try to get her to sell it to me because she says she dont like it, its not in great condition (body) but she said it runs great except something with the tranny. She got it for free so she might sell it to me for cheap. We'll see, damb I miss my car.
 

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A 93 should still be a 5.0, also an AOD for the transmission.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
UPDATE: Ok we installed the thermostat today and I took it for a spin for a good 15 minutes and it ran ok. White smoke was still coming out but stopped around 5 minutes into the drive. No more white smoke but the temp is still above normal and still kind of shaky. It seemed to gained that loss of power. Any ideas what could be causing it to overheat? Some kind of sencor maybe?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Oh and another note, I called my uncle this morning (hes the one who owned it before) I told him what was going on with the car. He said the Head gasgets have already been replaced around 140,000 miles. It has 205,000 miles right now.
 

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BLOWN HEAD GASKET! Even if your thermostat was bad, overheating a 3.8 is a sure-fire way to blow the head gasket. Top of that motor needs to come apart or you could destroy the bottom end.

Mike
 

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MadMikeyL said:
BLOWN HEAD GASKET! Even if your thermostat was bad, overheating a 3.8 is a sure-fire way to blow the head gasket. Top of that motor needs to come apart or you could destroy the bottom end.

Mike
ditto. it definitely sounds like the head gaskets are GONE.
 

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Yeah dude, blown hg. better watch out or you could crack one of your cylinders, which is what happened to my 3.8
 

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Full Metal
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CadenaCougar91 said:
Oh and another note, I called my uncle this morning (hes the one who owned it before) I told him what was going on with the car. He said the Head gasgets have already been replaced around 140,000 miles. It has 205,000 miles right now.
it doesn't matter if the hg's have already been replaced x number of miles ago, the 3.8 is a head gasket eater if not replaced properly, if the heads had even been alittle warped, or there was maybe just a little bit of debris on the hg mounting surface it would cause it to blow again, i think i saw on the board that somebody had done the hg's and it lasted less than a month or thereabouts.

so like i said before, do a compression test to find out for sure, or don't and continue to drive around and think it's a sensor or something that makes it shake, heat up and run funny and lunch your motor in the process, your choice.
 

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The SCCoIA group lost a member because of repeated blown headgaskets on his SC. The shop warrantied the work kept replacting the gaskets but not decking the block or milling the heads to stop the problem. The guy just gave up and sold the SC to buy an Impala SS.
 

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even if the head gaskets arent bad or showing any signs of failing, would it be a good idea to replace them before a long highway run?
 
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