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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
'99 Windstar check engine light showing intake manifold gasket failing just enough to trigger lean codes - recommends new gasket and bolts.
My question: is there a sealant product that will work to help solve this problem?
The van runs good.Thanks
 

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A lean code (and there are multiple codes) does not necessarily mean the intake gasket is leaking.
I am going to assume you did further diagnosis and that gasket is indeed leaking and needs to be replaced.

Using a sealer, you want to use one that is compatible with engine controls. Some of the chemicals in silicone sealer has a bad reaction to sensors. Not recommending Permatex and they have been around for a while. Here is link to FAQ. Click on Optimum Black. You want to see a statement that the sealer is sensor safe. FAQs – Permatex

Too much sealer is not a good thing either.
Use the Correct Gasket Sealant on Auto Engines Please! - YouTube

And some more if you like to read about stuff.
Tech 101 - How to use the right gasket sealants | Hemmings

And I like using engine oil for paper/cork or fiber gaskets. Metal and rubber gaskets do not get that kind of treatment.

As far as leak prevention for the future. It is all in the surface preparation and the installation. The surfaces have to be absolutely clean and dry. The installation of the manifold has to be squared up to the mating surface. Then torque fasteners in sequence and to the spec. Too many installations the torque is not correct and is not methodical. The shop manual comes in handy here. Without that (I would not do engine work without the shop manual) starting from the center and working the way out to edges in steps is generally what I do when I am lacking direction.

Action
 

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+1 to Action's advice, especially for gaskets; At the risk of straying off-topic of the original post, may want to take note of this paragraph in an old Engine Builder article in this link:
These engines tend to blow head gaskets because the gasket is very narrow adjacent to the fire ring on the back cylinders. The problem is aggravated by the coolant that slowly wicks into the edge of the gasket and causes it to deteriorate over time. Rebuilders should use only the head gaskets that have been approved by Ford to help avoid warranty problems.

I don't know the specific component that failed on our 2000 3.8 Windstar (at about 178k miles/15 years); never threw a code, but a $30 oil sample analysis alerted me to an impending failure; started to monitor the coolant reservoir when cold sure enough its level increased. So we terminated the relationship. And, that ride was a replacement for a '95 which failed before I could catch it (chilling clatter of rods getting tossed about). Local dealer gave us a good price for the 2000, insisting the design issue was fixed by that year. Bummer 'cuz my wife and I enjoyed the fundamental utility of both of them and was holding out to hit the 200K mark.

WRT Permatex: FWIW, I have had good luck with email on their support site, receiving and useful replies within a day or so.
Kevin
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
A lean code (and there are multiple codes) does not necessarily mean the intake gasket is leaking.
I am going to assume you did further diagnosis and that gasket is indeed leaking and needs to be replaced.

Using a sealer, you want to use one that is compatible with engine controls. Some of the chemicals in silicone sealer has a bad reaction to sensors. Not recommending Permatex and they have been around for a while. Here is link to FAQ. Click on Optimum Black. You want to see a statement that the sealer is sensor safe. FAQs – Permatex

Too much sealer is not a good thing either.
Use the Correct Gasket Sealant on Auto Engines Please! - YouTube

And some more if you like to read about stuff.
Tech 101 - How to use the right gasket sealants | Hemmings

And I like using engine oil for paper/cork or fiber gaskets. Metal and rubber gaskets do not get that kind of treatment.

As far as leak prevention for the future. It is all in the surface preparation and the installation. The surfaces have to be absolutely clean and dry. The installation of the manifold has to be squared up to the mating surface. Then torque fasteners in sequence and to the spec. Too many installations the torque is not correct and is not methodical. The shop manual comes in handy here. Without that (I would not do engine work without the shop manual) starting from the center and working the way out to edges in steps is generally what I do when I am lacking direction.

Action
Thanks. I totally get all that you said but is there an additive (Barr's etc...) that works at all to help restore an existing gasket or are they all a complete joke and waste of money? Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
+1 to Action's advice, especially for gaskets; At the risk of straying off-topic of the original post, may want to take note of this paragraph in an old Engine Builder article in this link:
These engines tend to blow head gaskets because the gasket is very narrow adjacent to the fire ring on the back cylinders. The problem is aggravated by the coolant that slowly wicks into the edge of the gasket and causes it to deteriorate over time. Rebuilders should use only the head gaskets that have been approved by Ford to help avoid warranty problems.

I don't know the specific component that failed on our 2000 3.8 Windstar (at about 178k miles/15 years); never threw a code, but a $30 oil sample analysis alerted me to an impending failure; started to monitor the coolant reservoir when cold sure enough its level increased. So we terminated the relationship. And, that ride was a replacement for a '95 which failed before I could catch it (chilling clatter of rods getting tossed about). Local dealer gave us a good price for the 2000, insisting the design issue was fixed by that year. Bummer 'cuz my wife and I enjoyed the fundamental utility of both of them and was holding out to hit the 200K mark.

WRT Permatex: FWIW, I have had good luck with email on their support site, receiving and useful replies within a day or so.
Kevin
Thanks. Is there an additive (Barr's etc...) that works at all to help restore an existing gasket or are they all a complete joke and waste of money? Thanks
 

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I would not use coolant additive to fix gasket situations. IMO that is a waste of $.

The best thing for coolant is frequent replacement. My personal practice is 3 to 4 years.
My owner's manual says 6 or 7 years to replace coolant for my daily driver. Coolant is no longer cheap, but a replacement 5.4l engine is worse.

Action
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I would not use coolant additive to fix gasket situations. IMO that is a waste of $.

The best thing for coolant is frequent replacement. My personal practice is 3 to 4 years.
My owner's manual says 6 or 7 years to replace coolant for my daily driver. Coolant is no longer cheap, but a replacement 5.4l engine is worse.

Action
That's what I'm thinking too. I appreciate the time you took to answer my questions. Thanks
 

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That's what I'm thinking too. I appreciate the time you took to answer my questions. Thanks
I'm not much for engine additives (most are snake oil, IMO) BUT. . . Scotty Kilmer recommends AT-205 Reseal. I've got a 2001 Ranger with a leaking rear main seal that I intend to replace when I put in a new clutch. I tried the AT-205 when I did an oil change and, instead of using a quart of oil per tank of gas, it is down to about 2-4 oz. per fill-up, and that's probably not from the rear main seal but around the rings and possibly valve seals. (2.3L with 188K miles)

The little truck no longer makes a puddle on the driveway.

Another thing to do, IF you replace the intake gasket on the 3.8L. is to replace the lower intake bolt grommets while you are in there. The original ones tend to break down and cause lean codes and other problems. The newer (green) ones hold up much better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I would not use coolant additive to fix gasket situations. IMO that is a waste of $.

The best thing for coolant is frequent replacement. My personal practice is 3 to 4 years.
My owner's manual says 6 or 7 years to replace coolant for my daily driver. Coolant is no longer cheap, but a replacement 5.4l engine is worse.

Action
[/QUOTE Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'm not much for engine additives (most are snake oil, IMO) BUT. . . Scotty Kilmer recommends AT-205 Reseal. I've got a 2001 Ranger with a leaking rear main seal that I intend to replace when I put in a new clutch. I tried the AT-205 when I did an oil change and, instead of using a quart of oil per tank of gas, it is down to about 2-4 oz. per fill-up, and that's probably not from the rear main seal but around the rings and possibly valve seals. (2.3L with 188K miles)

The little truck no longer makes a puddle on the driveway.

Another thing to do, IF you replace the intake gasket on the 3.8L. is to replace the lower intake bolt grommets while you are in there. The original ones tend to break down and cause lean codes and other problems. The newer (green) ones hold up much better.
I'll look into that - thanks very much
 

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hi, maybe the reason is a malfunction of the indicator itself? But if this is not the case, I would advise you to use Oil Additives for Diesels when changing the oil in the engine, they do a great job with their functions, tested on my Ford Mustang, my second car for street racing. Since the load on the engine is much higher, the additives satisfy me 100 percent
 
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