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Michael Rossini
New CEG'er

Reged: 04/25/03
Posts: 23
Blown Head Gasket
#263570 - 04/25/03 06:27 PM

I'm new to this forum, but have ben reading the posts and think this may be the best place to get some unbiased advice.

I purchased a used '98 Ford Contour SE last August, and have loved its performance. Unfortunately, the thing overheated on me a couple days ago, and after having a local shop look at it, they said I have a blown head gasket. I'd really hate to spend the $$$ to have a shop perform the repairs, but I also do love the car, and would hate to have to get rid of a car I havn't even had for a year.

I've been toying around with the idea of doingthe repair myself. I've always done most of my own *minor* work on my cars (brakes, alternators, water pumps, etc.), but have never had a problem with the engine itself, and would like to know if this is the sort of thing that I should even attempt.

If so, do any of you have recommendations on where I can get info on the procedures, and also what I'd need to look for to tell if the heads need to be re-milled, or if the block needs to be re-surfaced?

Thanks!

--------------------
Michael Rossini
'98 Ford Contour SE

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RoadRunner
Hard-core CEG'er

Reged: 03/11/01
Posts: 1603
Loc: Westchester Co., NY, USA
Re: Blown Head Gasket new
#263640 (Re: Michael Rossini) 04/25/03 07:46 PM

Check your Water Pump first...

The Pump IMPELLERS are made of PLASTIC and are prone to breaking.

After replacing the pump, have it diagnosed again.

Pumps with METAL IMPELLERS are available from AutoZone and Pep Boys.

--------------------
Pete...

2004 Mercury Marauder 300A
Black Clearcoat/Dark Charcoal LEATHER
DOB 10/31/2003
DOP 1/2/2004
www.mercurymarauder.net

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ramon1809
CEG'er

Reged: 07/01/02
Posts: 89
Loc: Mexico
Re: Blown Head Gasket new
#263648 (Re: Michael Rossini) 04/25/03 07:50 PM

Yes,
first check the WP, if the tour didn't overheat a lot maybe there is no damage in the gasket,
Almost for sure at least you have to change the water pump.


--------------------
1998 Contour
V6 2.5L ATX

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Rogerm60
Hard-core CEG'er

Reged: 10/11/02
Posts: 2408
Re: Blown Head Gasket new
#263815 (Re: Michael Rossini) 04/25/03 11:42 PM

It's not hard to do a compression test yourself to verify the shops opinion.

--------------------
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" -George Santayana

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horseydugModerator
Hard-core CEG'er

Reged: 03/19/02
Posts: 2319
Loc: Pickering, Ontario, Canada
Re: Blown Head Gasket new
#263873 (Re: Michael Rossini) 04/26/03 01:03 AM

Originally posted by Michael Rossini:
.... I purchased a used '98 Ford Contour SE last August .... the thing overheated on me a couple days ago, and after having a local shop look at it, they said I have a blown head gasket.



Welcome onboard.

As you can see fron the replies so far, there is more than a little skepticism here re the diagnosis. Presumably you have the v6 engine which is prone to having waterpump impeller shatter which, within minutes, causes overheating. Continuing to drive a car in this condition can of course cause engine damage.

Perhaps more details of your actual overheat symptoms, circumstances thereafter and the tests, if any, performed by the mechanic would help us more fully understand your car's status. Your car's mileage?

Getting a Haynes manual for the car would be helpful to you regardless of current problem outcome.

--------------------
98 Mystique LS v6 atx 163,000km
97 Contour LX v6 atx 163,000km

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Michael Rossini
New CEG'er

Reged: 04/25/03
Posts: 23
Re: Blown Head Gasket new
#264143 (Re: horseydug) 04/26/03 12:22 PM

Thanks for the info! I'll definitely look at the water pump.

As far as more info about the failure, I didn't even notice I had overheated until I got off of the highway after a 20 mile commute - I didn't notice any drop in power. As soon as I came to a stop light, the oil light came on (I just changed the oil 2 weeks before), so I pulled over and popped the hood. I then immediately noticed the coolant reservoir was filled to the top, and *boiling*.

Luckily, I was 2 miles from my house and 1 mile from my local service station, so after letting the car cool for about an hour, I drove it to the service station and had them check it out.

They changed the thermostat and then put it on a scanner and determined that the head-gasket was blown.

The car has 65k miles on it. Thanks for any further information you can provide!

- Mike

--------------------
Michael Rossini
'98 Ford Contour SE

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horseydugModerator
Hard-core CEG'er

Reged: 03/19/02
Posts: 2319
Loc: Pickering, Ontario, Canada
Re: Blown Head Gasket new
#264151 (Re: Michael Rossini) 04/26/03 12:56 PM

Don't know how scanner can tell re head gasket failure, compression test or fluid/gas migration the usual checks. Thermostat a common miscall in these situations
I'd bet on wp and cross fingers nothing else damaged. If car starts watch temp gauge and see if it goes past the usual position and keeps on going, headed for the red, in probably less than 5 minutes at idle, then shut off.
If wp check the FAQ section on home page for a how-to, metal impeller relacement preferred.

--------------------
98 Mystique LS v6 atx 163,000km
97 Contour LX v6 atx 163,000km

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Lance KinleyAdministrator
Webmaster

Reged: 05/26/00
Posts: 1359
Loc: Mill Creek, WA
Re: Blown Head Gasket new
#264423 (Re: Michael Rossini) 04/26/03 10:18 PM

Definitely the waterpump! It will only overheat again, and in very short order.

Let's hope it didn't do major damage!

If the waterpump impeller is shattered, like many are, there could be pieces of it throughout the cooling system. If there are any pieces unaccounted for, you will have to backflush the cooling system.

It's likely that after a new waterpump, all will be ok.

-Lance

--------------------
Lance Kinley
CEG Webmaster
95 SE, "Cassandra"
10 years!

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