In June, 1998 Ford Motor Corporation notified customers of premature failure of the head gasket on 94-95 Taurus, Sable & '95 Windstar vehicles equipped with a 3.8 L FWD engine (notice attached). On July 7, 1998, I presented my '95 Taurus for this service at Matthews Ford of Asheville with 57,847 miles on the car. The service department determined that I didn't need any work performed. I was very concerned due to the fact that the car engine had had a history of smelling hot and running hot, with one occurrence of the overflow container being completely empty. And we had to stop normal driving on steeper grades in the mountain terrain we live in when the car was almost new to us. Additionally we had noticed frequently a pinging noise in the engine, which was not solved with higher-octane gas, and was subsequently informed this was related to the gasket problem.
This gasket repair is obviously not a rare occurrence. The same day I brought my car in, a '95 Windstar needed the same replacement. Conversation with Service Manager B.H. about my displeasure to be responsible for this expense resulted in his sympathy only as he stated all I can do is put your repair in a file with the all the others to present the to the Ford rep when he comes. Conversation with several area Ford and Mercury service centers confirmed the frequency of repairs in their shops to at least one weekly with this issue.
Three weeks after Matthews Ford chose to replace the head gasket, my car overheated again, completely stopping and stranding me on a business trip. It should be noted at the time of this $1800 repair, I was told the cost could be up to $3500 if an engine replacement was determined necessary, but it was not determined to be needed. Yet 3 weeks later I had to have the car towed to the Ford dealer in Forest City who smiled and said he was just finishing writing up one of them. In fact, the service manager added I would have replaced the gasket at the time you brought it in from the notice, had you brought it in to me. Perhaps further action is needed against both Ford Motor and Matthews Ford.
I had to initially spend $1800.00 for the head gasket replacement (supposedly with a 12 month or 12,000 miles warranty), yet three weeks later, I was told I needed a short block. Why wasn't this covered by the warranty? Let it be known that Matthews Ford absorbed the $125.00 towing charge AND allowed me to use a brand-new 2000 Taurus for the fifteen days the car was in their shop at no charge. Could this be an admission or indication of responsibility or obligation for this issue?
Ford admits this is a defective part and has had to reengineer it. Therefore, I should have received a remanufactured engine at the first sign of trouble, before the car left me stranded and I incurred over $4,000 of expense. Almost at the onset of the car purchase we had to avoid driving in the mountains in which we live due to the car getting hot. We had taken the car in several times for this, and mentioned it also at regular service check-ups, but nothing was done. Additionally on several occasions we found an empty overflow container. Matthews Ford has stated to me they have had to repair additional 200 similar engines during the past two years. This is not a fluke or rare instance; it is simply poor workmanship and Ford Motor Corporation should make restitution of my expenses.