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I'm just wondering, since it sounds like the 3.8's like to go through head gaskets, how often do they go? I've put about 16,000 miles one the car since I've owned it, but don't know if the old owner has had to replace it. It's got 146,XXX miles. I guess I'm just wondering if my car is a ticking time bomb, or if I shouldn't worry. I ask because yesterday I was low on coolant, and I'm hoping it's just a "normal" thing.
 

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1997 Thunderbird 4.6, 1998 Mark VIII LSC
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My mom's 93 lasted until about 180,000 before it needed new gaskets.
 

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I've come to notice most go between 60K and 100K, but it all depends on how well the car was taken care of as master said. Mine went right around 73K and I haven't had a problem since.
 

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ON a 96+ I'd say no more frequent than any other, on a SC if not abused (yeah right) as long as 96+, pre 96 heads~60-100k.

Simple solution is get a set of 96+ heads or SC heads.
 

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Bowez, the 97 heads are almost identical to the SC heads. Same coolant pattern, etc. Look at the pictures on the Super Six Motorsports site.

SDavis, check your INTAKE gasket. I had to replace mine. Lost coolant just like head gaskets, but cheaper to fix if you have to take it to the shop.

For October 11, come on over to Iowa for our Super Coupe/GTP club clash. Thomas A comes from Lincoln. Melon has come from Omaha when he's not hitting deer on the highway. Details on www.sccoia.org.
 

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Bowez, the 97 heads are almost identical to the SC heads. Same coolant pattern, etc. Look at the pictures on the Super Six Motorsports site.

SDavis, check your INTAKE gasket. I had to replace mine. Lost coolant just like head gaskets, but cheaper to fix if you have to take it to the shop.

For October 11, come on over to Iowa for our Super Coupe/GTP club clash. Thomas A comes from Lincoln. Melon has come from Omaha when he's not hitting deer on the highway. Details on www.sccoia.org.

I know the cooling passages are identical, that why I said their HG last just as long--under normal conditions. If memory serves the only real difference is the valve stem diameter.
 

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I have a 92 and the headgaskets (both) went and it was fatal at 72,000. It's interesting to note that with no water the temp gage will not read hot. The wife was driving and came home and said the car was running rough.

ROUGH!!! it would barely run. No water at all and the temp gage was on the N. 15,000 on the new engine now and it's fine...so far. But the car is about used up. The upper control arms are bad again after 20,000 miles, the gas tank leaks when full and the AOD is getting iffy. It leaks out of the fill tube after it's hot and parked. The leather is all worn out as is the headliner and visors.

So, in my opinion there shouldn't be a discussion at all about "frequency" of head gasket failure for any car. The 3.8 is just another boat anchor. Worst Ford engine every made along with the 255 V8 in the 80's.
 

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tbirdsps,

I had a 90 Super Coupe. I had it independently checked out before I bought it, but they missed the fact that the radiator was rotted out and the cooling system did not hold any fluid. Like you, the temp gauge read normal.

I don't think the sensor works unless it is in actual contact with the cooling fluid.
 

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is it worth fixing the HG or replace the engine, my just blew the HG and i wasn't even driving the thing it's been parked for a month and when i went to crank it to warm it up nit started smoking like crazy and the iol looks like chocolate milk so what you think should do fix or replace engine?????:(
 

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89K went pop,and spun a rod bearing.Then it was given to me to get it out of their yard.
 

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To the person who's oil looks like chocolate milk ---

drain everything, take it all apart, and hopefully it didn't "rob" the engine main bearing completely of oil, maybe someone has more to add, I'd probably replace the head gaskets and try it...

My experience with my '90 3.8 was 145k, then head gaskets catastrophically went, new engine went almost 200k until I sold the car...
 

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hey machausta i was not driving the car at all it was parked for a month so i went to warm it up thats when i noticed the white smoke thats when i checked the oil and it look like chocolate frosty so i don't think it has any big damage to it so what you think? need opinions people so i'll know what to do
 

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i personally would pull the oil pan, then the heads, and (of course) have the heads checked & magnafluxed, then put it all back together w/ new head gaskets, and call it a day.
 

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how do i get all the water out the engine after a blown head gasket
 

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Drop the pan and remove the valve covers, or drain the oil refill it with new and change the oil filter, maybe run an oil system cleaner through it and change it again asap.
 
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