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I am new here. I hope I am doing this right. I started my van wednesday and there was a pop and white smoke came out the exhaust, smelling like antifreeze and the motor was running rough. there are 3 codes : 401,171,174. I have taken the intake off but am worried that the leak may be in the heads. Is there a way to check this out? Thanks for any help you can give me.
 

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Sounds like the head gasket let go.You can try putting each cyl at TDC and apply air into the spark plug hole and watch for bubbles in the radiator.Or you can get a kit that checks for combustion gases in the coolant.but seeing that your intake is off it's a moot point because the engine needs to be running.
 

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Head gasket for sure. Usually #3 or #4 cylinder goes like. Bad news is when it blows the coolant out the exhaust you have probably damaged the bottom end too. The rods bend very slightly when coolant goes into the cylinder like that and will cause uneven compression and a rough idle after the head gaskets are replaced. Shortly after that the bottom end will start to knock. Any working Ford techs on here that went through the head gasket period with the 3.8 will agree I think.
 

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Oh I don't envy you doing the head gaskets on that beast... I just got done doing them on my windstar... Take many photo's of where everything goes & use many plastic sandwich bags... If you tackle this project. You will have to drop your exhaust system to remove your oil pan... Hopefully the bolts that connect to the catalytic to the exhaust pipe won't be welded on like they were on mine. If they are you'll have to drill them out.. I cut mine out with a dremel & cutting wheel. grinded what was left flush with the flange. Then drilled the rest out. You'll need a power steering pulley puller to remove your P/S pump. You'll need to at least pull rad fan. But would suggest pulling radiator. Condenser is attached to the rad with 2 bolts. You'll be hard pressed getting the radiator out without pulling out the condenser. You'll have to pull out your headlight assemblies to remove your radiator. Clips holding headlights are in tight.be careful pulling them out or you will break the plastic molding that holds the headlight assm. You should have your upper & lower cowl removed already seeing that you have your intake removed. If not remove it. You'll find you'll have a lot more room to work with. there's a link on how to remove it if you need it. If your weather strip for your ducts is damaged under the lower cowl. You can use some very small weather stripping from Ace hardware. When you're removing your exhaust manifold bolts that connect to the catalytic. Soak with WD 40 for a couple of hours. I had to use 2 extra long extensions to remove the back nuts. Also soak all manifold bolts. You will have to loosen all rocker arms to remove the head bolts. Tensioner pulley will have to be removed. If your engine is as dirty as mine was. You might want to take this time to clean out some of that carbon. I used diesel fuel & a wire brush on the drill. The amount of engine cleaner you'll need to clean all these parts would be ridiculous. A Gal a diesel will do the same thing. You will also need 2 torque wrenches. One that reads foot pounds & the other reading inch pounds. Make absolutely sure you follow the torque sequences for the heads, intake manifold & upper plenum. deviating from this procedure may make you want to use a hand grenade on this beast.
 
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