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Ron, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 35832
Experience:  23 years with Ford specializing in drivability and electrical and AC. Ford certs and ASE Certs
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Ford Taurus: My girlfriends 2002 ford taurus overheated

Customer Question

My girlfriends 2002 ford taurus overheated yesterday while driving on the highway. She said is seemed like it lost power and she slowed to the side of the road and shut if off. By the time I got there is was hot and tight, but not seized. As it cooled it began to turn easier. Now a day later it turns over freely but won't fire. I know it needs a radiator and ironically the new one was delivered last Friday and was supposed to go in this week. What could be keeping it from restarting? I have no questions on the radiator and I will be installing that today.

My guess is that it blew a head gasket or caused damage to the heads. She is EXTREMELY tight for money and subsequently has to get this car fixed. Is it worth putting on a different head? Should I tear it down in hopes that it is a head gasket? If I replace the head is my best option a junk yard for a used/rebuilt/new? Could it be as simple as a $20 head gasket?

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Ford
Expert:  Ron replied 2 years ago.
Hello and thank you for your question, My name is ***** ***** I will assist you today.
I would have to agree with you, it does sound like you likely blew a head gasket or even possibly cracked the heads. I would start with pulling the spark plugs and see if there are any signs of coolant in the cylinders. If so then yes the heads will need to come off and you can install used one as long as they are okay or you can send your out and have them checked to be sure there not warped and or cracked. This engine does not like to be overheated and usually once this happens the head gasket will blow. At either rate it sounds like the heads are going to have to come off.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I just pulled the plugs and across the back the pressures are 0, 30, 60 psi and in front 60, 30, and 100 psi. In the rear the electrodes were burned off the plugs at 0 and 30 psi with water in the center cylinder (30 psi). In front there is water coming out of the right cylinder at 100 psi. Is this thing worth fixing? or would I be best to swap engines? If it is just going to be head gaskets I am not too concerned, but beyond that I would be concerned about the cost. How likely will it be that it's just gaskets? When going in for them and I best just buying a gasket set and replacing everything up top?

Expert:  Ron replied 2 years ago.
Ken, at best you have blown head gasket and at worst its the engine, It may be wise to not bother trying to fix it those kind of compression reading. If it got that hot the engine is very likely toast. Usually if its just a blown gasket it will not effect all the cylinder. Im afraid this engine is smoked and replacing the gaskets will be a waste of time and money.