2000 Windstar sounds like a Diesel

Ok, I am stumped, lots of ideas, but dont want to throw parts and see what sticks. 2000 Windstar 3.8L douns like a diesel engine (exactly like and old diesel) when it warms up. My girlfriend noticed the problem and checked oil and it was low, she added, and then when she started it the next day, sound was gone. While she was driving it came back and would stall out. When she got it home I checked and the coolant overflow was empty, I added water and it poured out on the front (passenger) side of the engine. I immediately assumed head gasket. Once it cooled I started pulling the stuff out. Down to the head on the Right hand bank (front of car). There is oil in the coolant, but no coolant in oil, (or very very little). Found the coolant is leaking from water pump itself it looks like. where the lower rad hose goes into pipe for water pump. or on the flange seal for waterpump. It is so tough to actually see where. It also looks like the intake gaskets were bad because of the dirty oily wet condition under the intake manifold.

The car only makes the noise when warm, when it is cold it runs just fine.

Would just the waterpump being bad and leaking coolant cause this problem, is it a bad head gasket, something else?

If it is the head gasket, I cannot get the head bolts to break free. I didnt have a 15mm 1/2 drive, so used a 3/8 drive and the 1/2-3/8 adapter spun right off.

I know this is alot, but please any help at all.

If the oil level was very low, that could cause your “diesel” sound. If the water pump bearings had gone bad, that could also cause quite a sound. Depending on how much disassembly you have accomplished so far, you may want to investigate further into the source of the leak before doing anything else too drastic. Have you removed the accessory drive belt yet? If not, slide that off and check for play in the water pump pulley. It would be unusual (though not unheard of) for a blown head gasket to cause coolant to pour out all over the floor as you try to add it to the engine. This has me thinking a split hose or trashed water pump. Why did you immediately think the head gaskets were blown? Does the engine run poorly and overheat very rapidly or anything like that?

Well the temp gauge never moved, I think that was because there was not water in the system to trip the temp sensor. The van has been burning oil at the rate of 2 quarts between oil changes. The oil was at the low mark when she saw it. As far as disassembly, I have the intake manifold off, right bank exhaust, and right valve cover off. I know for a fact the coolant is not leaking from the head block joint on either head, I am leaning away from blown head gasket and towards trashed pump and possible leak in the intake manifold gaskets causing the loss of oil over time. Also, never started losing oil until I took it into a shop to replace the coolant line that runs between the intake manifold and intake plenum.

I found leak! The metal tube between lower rad hose and water pump. Determined actually no oil in coolant, just really rusty. No coolant in oil. And pulled spark plugs from front side bank, look ok, a little ash deposits on front most plug but not bad. I am starting to think no blown head gasket and just out of coolant caused noise. Let’s hope