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A. Penland
A. Penland, Ford Senior Master Technician, ASE
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 6597
Experience:  ASE Master Certified, ASE Advanced Gasoline Engine Performance
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Step-daughter's 2003 Ford Mustang, automatic, 6 cylinder,

Customer Question

Step-daughter's 2003 Ford Mustang, automatic, 6 cylinder, 135,000 miles currently runs rough. The previous few weeks ran sometimes hot since fan wasn't working. Step-daughter would turn on heater until engine high temp light went off. She wouldn't run it too much like this. Previous 1-2 weeks car would have a hard time starting though. It would try to turn over and then finally would. Her father fiddled with it including fixing the radiator fan that didn't work and replacing high temperature switch. He replaced vacuum hoses and believing there was a leak, he took off the engine air manifold (not sure on reason) but when torquing down it, he didn't cross torque bolts. He figured it out after still experiencing rough idling. He just used wrench. Idled car and put gas to it for awhile in driveway. Catalytic converter turned red. I took car to shop. Only 60 psi on 3 cylinders according to shop. Shop doesn't do engine work though. Shop thinks engine blown. Other shop I called thinks it possibly could be fuel injectors. Her father thinks some sensor. Oil color is normal, not milky. That is where we stand. Any help would be appreciated so I can do next step. If engine blown, that is the end of it. This other shop is kind of far away so just gathering my information. Thanks.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Ford
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Engine light is on also now.
Expert:  A. Penland replied 1 year ago.

If one side of the engine has low compression, then more than likely it is a blow head gasket. You can have a block test done which will test for engine combustion gases in the cooling system. Since the engine was running hot with a bad cooling fan, more than likely the head gasket was damaged. The cylinder heads are aluminum and the engine block is cast steel. Also, coolant getting into the cylinders will cause a hard start problem and a rough idle.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks. Do you think the catalytic converter turning red is related? Both shops said that engine is likely running too lean or too rich.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
If coolant is in the cylinders, then it should mix with the oil and the oil color should change. I will check again the oil color.
Expert:  A. Penland replied 1 year ago.

Yes, the converter turning red could very well be related. A bad miss fire or coolant in the exhaust will clog up the converter and also when her father added gas to it to keep it running, could have also damaged the converter.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Coolant in the exhaust" meaning bad head gasket I am assuming. That is double the problem - bad head gasket and bad converter. I am hoping the symptoms I describe may mean likely stuck fuel injectors, bad sensor(s), or damaged catalytic converter in lieu of blown gasket., damaged engine rings, or damaged cylinders. Former stuff is fixable, latter engine stuff is game over for the car. This one shop is 28 miles away and am trying to decide if it is worth it.
Expert:  A. Penland replied 1 year ago.

I would have the testing done first. The block test is simple and nothing has to come apart but the radiator cap has to be removed.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok. Thanks for your time. Appreciate it. Hope for good luck.
Expert:  A. Penland replied 1 year ago.

Your welcome. I'll keep me fingers crossed for good luck for you.