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Topic: 3.8L mild refresh. Where to stop. Am I missing anything? (Read 301 times) previous topic - next topic

3.8L mild refresh. Where to stop. Am I missing anything?

As I posted in the racing forum, the head gasket in my '87 3.8L Thunderbird took it's ball and went home during the first event of the day - skidpad. :(

At a minimum, the head gaskets need replacing. Engine has 262k miles on it. Timing cover also needs a reseal -leaking coolant. While I'm at it, might as well throw in a oil pump repair kit. Valve seals? Anything else I should probably do while I'm in there?

3.8L mild refresh. Where to stop. Am I missing anything?

Reply #1
If I was going to pull an engine personally I would throw in a 5.0. It may be out of budget for what you want to spend but if you are going to pull an engine why not? Idk just what I would personally do. But if you wanna keep the 3.8 I would rebuild the engine. The rings have to be worn out and all the bearing are probably shot just because of the high mileage. It would be well worth your while and very beneficial.

3.8L mild refresh. Where to stop. Am I missing anything?

Reply #2
Sounds like a good excuse to finish the split port swap...
2015 Mustang GT Premium - 5.0, 6-speed, Guard Green - too much awesome for one car

1988 5.0 Thunderbird :birdsmily: SOLD SEPT 11 2010: TC front clip/hood ♣ Body & paint completed Oct 2007 ♣ 3.55 TC rear end and front brakes ♣ TC interior ♣ CHE rear control arms (adjustable lowers) ♣ 2001 Bullitt springs ♣ Energy suspension poly busings ♣ Kenne Brown subframe connectors ♣ CWE engine mounts ♣ Thundercat sequential turn signals ♣ Explorer overhead console (temp/compass display) ♣ 2.25" off-road dual exhaust ♣ T-5 transmission swap completed Jan 2009 ♣

3.8L mild refresh. Where to stop. Am I missing anything?

Reply #3
Quote from: Thunder Chicken;412150
Sounds like a good excuse to finish the split port swap...

This, plus a good rebuild, and possibly some manner of working the heads to help stop future HG failures? Newer heads an option? I know you did/are doing a new engine swap (I think that it was you..???) but would the newer heads be better? O ringing them even?

Not sharp on the 3.8 stuff, despite having three cars with the 6 motor.
'84 and '87 Mustangs
'98 Explorer 5.0
'06 Lexus
'06 Explorer EB 4.6

3.8L mild refresh. Where to stop. Am I missing anything?

Reply #4
Multi-Layer steel head gaskets and new TTY bolts.  End of problem.
1988 Thunderbird 5.0
GT40P, TFS-1, KB domes, 30#, MAF conversion, Explorer GT40 Upper/Lower, Smog delete, Wide Ratio AOD Mod, Unlocked Speedo, 3G Charging System Upgrade, Hi-Torque Mini Starter, Full 2003 SN-95 brake conversion with Cobra fronts, BBK 1 5/8 unequal headers, H-Pipe.  Moates Quarterhorse tuning.

88 Thunderbird/Cougar EVTM
  (Thanks to EricCoolCats for hosting)

3.8L mild refresh. Where to stop. Am I missing anything?

Reply #5
I've thought about throwing in a 5.0. At this point, I sorta want to see how far the 3.8 can make it before she grenades. 300k would be nice. :hick:

My original upgrade plan for the T-bird was to install a T5, then a 5.0, then a built 347. My new plan is to install a T5, but wait a big longer (for funds to accumulate) and swap in a Coyote +T56 (with my current rate of progress, 2035 ;)) New HGs, timing chain reseal, oil pump repair is <$100 and not too big of a project compared to a 5.0 swap. If the 3.8 gives up the ghost before the Coyote is ready, I'll throw in a 5.0.

The Split Port and 4R70W are in my '85 Cougar. Still sitting neglected in my garage. :(

I don't think newer heads are an option, as 88+ heads have injector holes in them. My '87 has CFI. Hopefully my heads don't have any cracks in them. Don't want to deal with used heads since they're so prone to cracking. Would need to rebuild the engine to make rebuilt heads make any sense. At that point, would just go ahead with a 5.0.

Not sure MLS gaskets are available for '87 3.8s. I think Ford started using them in 1999 for the 3.8L. But even if they were available, I'd have to have the head/block resurfaced to a very smooth finish to keep the MLS from 'tearing' on the rough factory finish. If the block is coming out, something is going in. ;)