The Truth About Cars » pcv The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sat, 26 Jul 2014 14:51:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » pcv Piston Slap: Mad Vulcan Powah? (Part II) Thu, 27 Dec 2012 12:00:45 +0000

TTAC commentator Felix Hoenikker writes:

Thanks for the post. At the end of March, I bit the bullet and replaced the right cylinder head with a rebuilt one from Advance Auto. With my on line discount and a new head gasket, the total parts cost was under $200 plus a day’s labor.

The rebuilt head solved the coolant leak problem. I have over 2500 miles on the Taurus with the new head, and the CEL light has not come on once. Also, the #1 spark plug no longer has a brownish deposit as before. I examined the old head with a light and magnifying glass but could not find the source of the coolant leak into the cylinder. My older soon said he found info on one of the internet forums that Ford had a problem with porous head casting around the time the car was made. So, I’m assuming that was the problem with the cylinder head. The odd thing was how slowly the problem developed. It took over 60K for it to get bad enough for me to get a handle on it.

My next and final repair will be to replace the leaking heater core and AC evaporator before I hand the car over to #2 son.

Sajeev answers:

Wow, that’s pretty cheap for a reconditioned head!  Good for you!

Your query definitely made me scratch my head. (Get it?) Vulcan’s aren’t known for casting problems because of that Neanderthal choice of material (cast iron) but shit happens over the course of production.  Especially from the beancounted era of Jac Nasser’s reign in Dearborn. Guess I’m not surprised.

Another non-surprise: since this IS a Vulcan, it took 60,000 miles out of over 200,000 TOTAL miles for this to happen. Which says a lot about the Vulcan’s bulletproof nature, casting mistakes and Jac Nasser be damned. Most Vulcan owners wouldn’t own the car long enough to see this!

Thanks for sharing, it’s nice to hear that someone with such mechanical acumen still exists in today’s throwaway society.


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Piston Slap: Mad Vulcan Powah? Wed, 26 Dec 2012 12:59:25 +0000 TTAC commentator Felix Hoenikker (yes, really) writes:

Dear Sajeev,

As a fellow Panther owner, I am seeking advice on the disposition of another Ford product. My 24 year old son just bought a new to him car and returned my 2000 Ford Taurus with the 3L Vulcan overhead valve engine to me. At 206K it runs great, but has one issue. Combustion gases are entering the cooling system and periodically venting through the coolant de-gassing tank.

Also, the OBDII system will ocasionally flag cylinder one for a misfire. This must be a very short lived event because the engine runs smoothly even when the CEL light is on. Two years ago, I had the car diagnosed by a AAA club recommend mechanic. He tested the coolant and found the combusion gases in the degass tank. He concluded that the engine had a head gasket leak in the vicinity of cylinder one. I should also mention that periodically, the spark plug on the cylinder number one gets coated with a white mineral. None of the other spark plugs have this type of deposit. So we know that coolant is getting into this cylinder. The car uses about one pint of coolant per thousand miles. Since there are no leaks, I assume it all ends up in cylinder one. At around 10K miles, the spark plug fouls with minerals, and I replace it. It’s a bear to get at since it is on the firewall side of the engine.

In March of 2010, I bit the bullet and replaced both head gaskets and resurfaced the valves. While the engine ran as smooth as silk, this job did not fix the coolant leak into number one cylinder. I believe that the cylinder head has a very small leak in this piston even though I could not find any evidence of it when I replaced the cylinder head gasket. It could also be a warped head. I am considering replacing the cylinder head with a rebuilt one from Advance Auto since I plan to give this car to #2 son who is a feshman in college.

Before I invest a $200 and a whole days work, I want to ask you and the B&B if you agree with my diagnosis. Has anyone heard of a cracked block doing this? When I replaced the head gasket, the block was shinny and smooth with no evidence of a coolant leak between it and the head gasket.

Sajeev answers:

Fellow Panther owner?  I only got Foxes, Panthers are just the logical extension of my madness!  My avatar don’t lie, son! But I digress…

Normally your OBD-II code and PCV (i.e. combustion gases) problem are the same concern. A bad PCV valve, worn out vacuum lines, etc can cause a code, but having these gases wind up in the coolant without it turning milky with oil contamination?

Maybe it isn’t the head, maybe the coolant expansion tank has an air leak…maybe at the cap?  That makes more sense than needing to change the head, do machine work, etc on a Vulcan V6 that otherwise drives perfectly. Of course that doesn’t explain the spark plug issue…or was that resolved after the new gaskets and machine work? Now I’m seriously confused.

Confused by one of the most basic engines in modern history!  Oh boy.

The other concern: how the hell did your son overheat/abuse a Vulcan V6 to the point it warped the head/block?  This all-iron motor is about as bulletproof as it gets. Maybe the Taurus forums can help, because I’m drawing at straws.

Get your Vulcan On, Best and Brightest.


Send your queries to Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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