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Discussion Starter #1
The past few weeks, I have noticed that the temp gage has been moving more. When I stop at a light, the engine's temp shoots high and kicks the fan on. and then when the fan turns on, the temp shoots right back down. And the past week it has been around 20 or 30 degrees here in Cleveland, Ohio. I'm wondering if it's the head gaskets or not? Also when I start the car once the engine is hot, it shakes real bad, almost wanting to stall, and i have to rev if for a few secs and then it's ok, also when the engine is cold, the past few days the engine pings and knocks very badly till it gets warm. Also has a wine to the engine in time with the gas peddle, and has gotten louder every day now. If it's the head gaskets, how hard is it to do by myself? Thanks for reading my message. Eric
 

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Well I spose all the symptoms are there. It could have possibly blown a ring all the way to the outside of the gasket where it leaks and that could cause a hissing sound, but after it heats up it expands and seals it?

I'd start by replacing the thermostat and looking for vacuum leaks though. Cheapest first.

-Thomas
 

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That whine is more than likely your power steering pump, they are loud on most every Ford ive owned. I would closely monitor your coolant and oil levels, and make sure one is not getting to the other. Just to be safe, I would replace the thermostat and make sure you have no codes stored. Other than that, just drive it, when it really needs head gaskets, you will know in time to save your heads.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
It's not the power steering pump. I know what that sounds like. How will I know when the head gaskets are going? Could you tell me? My mom's 96 Windstar just shook really badly and then started to blow white smoke out the back. MIne is not yet, but I can smell coolant fluid being burt up somewhere, and I do have to add a little bit from time to time.
 

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the white steam is the tell tale sign, although not all see it, really rough running and overheating to the point that the fan cant cool it are good signs. You could just have low coolant pressure due to a leak somewhere in your system. 3.8's have a picky system. I would find that coolant leak.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I can't find a leak anywhere, nothing on the driveway or anything, I'm wondering if the engine is just burning it up or not? I found out that the hissing sound is from the PCV valve not sitting right into the valve cover.
 

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Might be the water pump bearings doing that whine... a small leak (or weak radiator cap) will allow air into the system and cause it to do what you're seeing and there are no visible drips, the coolant is disapperaing as steam. Try to find a shop that can put some dye in it and check with an UV lamp to find the leak or buy a diy kit. Advance sells a "pro" kit for around $80 with the lamp, dye for coolant, oil and AC system.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Well, I put a new raidator cap on as the old one looked like it might of been leaking. I also put a new thermastat in with a few deegrees cooler, and now the temp is staying by the low side of the N, and only going str8 up when sitting at idle for about 5 mins. I just hope that there is no damage to the head gaskets, as now the car is running cooler then when I bought it 2 years ago.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yesterday I just found out that now my A/C is acting up as well. When I turn the a/c on, it will run for about a min or so and then cycle off like normal. Then about a second later, you can hear a pop sound like the engine is back fireing and the a/c cluth trys to turn on. for about one full spin, and then turns right back off. This how cycle goes on for about 30seconds of on and off before the A/C cycles back on normal for about 30. and then it starts acting up again. but when the a/c is on, it is nice and cool, so I have no idea what's wrong. Someone help me please !!
 
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