What would you say it is?

I have a car. It starts real well, is getting about 20 miles to the gallon in the city, is 11 years old with 130,000 miles. It is a 6 cylinder 3.0 ohv engine. A leak down test was done on the number 1 cylinder and air came out the tail pipe and the radiator overflow jug. There is no white smoke coming from the tailpipe nor any rattle from the engine. You have very low compression in cylinder no. 1 and low compression in the other 5.

The car has very good get up and go does not burn oil or leak anything. If you listen to the engine you can hear what sounds like it is not running just right, but it’s not off by much.

With this info, what would you say is causing the air to come up via the radiator overflow jug? I am having to replace about half a gallon a week in antifreeze loss from being “blown” out the overflow jug.

haven’t we been through this one before? This is your $450 Taurus you’re trying to keep going for a year or two - right?

You obviously have a leaking head gasket and bad valves. Are you using this car to educate yourself on motor mechanics?

As pointed out by many, not worth fixing, worth 3 cents a pound at the scrap yard. Just drive it into the ground if the police will let you.

You have a head gasket leak that doesn’t touch the oil. It’s common in the 3.0 Vulcan of a certain vintage. Your cooling system may suffer corrosion side effects of combustion gasses mixing with it until the engine heats up (usually providing some seal). It’s a great engine, but if you don’t fix the head gasket and the cooling system continues to degrade, you’ll be replacing a heater core ($$$$) and the freeze plugs beyond that ($$$$$ since they’re all over the place and there are many of them in hard to reach places).

How do I know this? I had to junk my daughter’s 91 for these reasons. She had gotten 30k+ out of it over the last 2 years of college and beyond. That was enough for a $350 car.

Get a junkyard engine from virtually any Taurus for cheap (another Vulcan 3.0). All the stuff from your year will cross fit to the newer engine, so fitment isn’t too much of an issue. There are enough of them in the junkyards due to collisions that total hundreds of thousands of Taurus’s due to there being so many of them out there to get hit.

It is, but my question is because I was told that if it was a bad headgasket that given the amount of milage I have put on the car since I got it (over 3100) that if it was a head gasket I would now be seeing reduced gas milage, white smoke out of the tailpipe and gunk showing up on the oil dip stick. None of that is happening. If it was a burnt exhuast valve I would be seeing driving issues as the cat converters would be failing and it would be harder to get the car going, gas milage would be dropping and such. Again non of that has happend. So I am baffled at this point of what it might be.

I seriously would not bother trying to fix anything. Just keep a close eye on ALL fluids, guages and keep motoring till it dies. These type of cars have a case of antifreeze and engine oil as standard equipment in the trunk. I remember these cars well in college.

Good luck, a head in the sand approach is best.

The only possible path for compressed air to get from the cylinder to the radiator fill hole is through a breech in the headgasket. There is no other path from the cylinder to the water jacket.

Since you’re just trying to squeeze some extra life of of this ol’ buggy, I’d follow Andrew’s advice. Perhaps this would be a good application to try an additive…but don’t be too disappointed if it doesn’t do much.

Sincere best.

I am just surprised that the signs have not gotten worse, especially now with cold weather here. No smoke, no gunk on the oil stick, no decline in gas milage. I just figured I would see some change in the overall performance and how the engine acted.

Not to pry here, but Tester, didn’t you say something once about some liquid glass stuff that you buy at the pharmacy and put in the radiator as a temporary fix for just this type of situation?
Maybe it wasn’t Tester, but I know it was one of the “major” guys on this forum.

One product is called Block Seal. Those who have used it say to follow the instructions closely for the best results.
Wouln’t a cracked cylinder wall allow gases into the coolant?

There is a product called steel seal, and a place here in the town I live who will do teh procedure. Once I get the $150 I am going to give it a try.

Looks like you’ve already received some expert advise here so I don’t like to say much.I thought I might have a leaking head gasket on my Monte Carlo last winter,but it was the upper radiator hose would colapse when I was driving down the road causeing it to get hot.It will suck in air through the overflow air vent.The hose always looks new on the outside because it deteriorates gradually on the inside.The system had to be not just bled but burped.It’s not safe to burp them using the radiator cap.I replaced the cap too since the seal looked alot thinner than a new one.The water pump cant’ pump very good with a colapsed hose.Later I saw it colapsed after shutting it off.

Yes, you probably have a bad head gasket but since it is not causing much trouble, I agree that you shold drive it until it gets worse.

Elly, Hellokit isn’t the OP, he’s a respected regular. I think he’s pointing out in response to my post that there is another possible path from the cylinder to the water jacket besides the headgasket.

Kit, you’re absolutely right. But I’ve never heard of a cracked cylinder wall on a stock engine and, frankly, if the cylinder wall were cracked coolant would have been drawn into the cylinder and washed the walls, and the piston probably would have bound up and broke a connecting rod. And then there would have been the noise. I doubt that the engine would still be running basically pretty well if a cylinder wall were cracked. A headgasket, on the other hand, would unfortunately not be uncommon as a path for the air to get to the water jacket.

What surprise me the most is how smooth sounding the engine is. I mean if you start it up it sounds pretty much normal. There is no back fire, it starts right up (even in temps in the single diget I am finding out) and will rev at about 1000 rpms for about a minute or two the idle down to about 600-700. There is the normal smoke out the tail pipe I see from other cars when you start them up. If it wasn’t for the antifreeze coming out the overflow jug at about half a gallon a week you wouldn’t really sense anything was wrong. I even had to sit in parking garage going to get out for over 30 minutes at very low/idle speed and the car never got hot.

US cars can fade into the sunset running smoothly. I would just drive it till it gives up the ghost.

It is still time for a “real car”. Better luck next car. They’re not all bad. Your Taurus will reach my “disposal mileage” in 10,000 miles anyway. That’s when I say “scrap the Taurus Clyde” whether it is running or not. At that mileage I don’t believe the Taurus, Sable, Tempo or Topaz is worth keeping. YOU might want to keep it and it might run a lot longer, but I would not.

Can we please stay away from knocking brands? Judging by your name, we know you like Dodges.

My 1996 Ford Taurus has 161,000 miles and still runs AND looks great. I do have a mysterious coolant disappearing so I know a head job is in future. I absolutely enjoy this car and NO car payments.

We all like what we like. The term “real car” can be demeaning to a person. Even if I got another car, I’d still hang on to the taurus just to have a 3rd car to keep mileage off newer car or just for backup and not borrow someone else’s car.

Keep on with the advice, just not brand wars. (I’m a Ford man but I respect all)

Have a great day


If a car is still running, why would you get rid of it? This is the first car I have had in over 15 years that I am not having to shell out 300-400 a month in car payments. Sure I have to spend a little here and a little there on repairs, it’s still better then what I was paying. A car for me is just transportation to and from work and around town. So no car payment is great. If I can get the heat working and keep this car going for another 6-8 months then I feel I got my $450 worth eaisly.

I had a Toyota 4 cyl truck with what I thought was a blown head gasket. Sent the head to a shop to have some valve work done while it was off for the gasket repair. The head shop found a pin hole in the head itself…after investing $$$ on the valve work. They didn’t charge me for the labor because they thought that it should have been caught up front. The owner told me that they had never seen this before in a Toyota. He described it as a thin casting and a mfg defect. The truck was way beyond warranty, so the Toyota regional Rep would not compensate me for the head that I had to purchase. I assumed that it was a head gasket, so they had no reason to suspect anything else…