Matt of Molalla OR writes (7/28/03): Like the legions of mystified Taurus owners I too have had my share of head gasket problems. I'm having a svc. tech. actually come to my house and repair the problem for around $300. It's a new system that I've never heard of before, called ThermalWeld). If it doesn't fix the problem there's no charge.

A few days later, Matt wrote:

The technician from ThermalWeld stopped by the other day and the whole process was fairly painless. It took about an hour of prep work on my part. Nothing more really than doing a common radiator "flush". If you're not handy you might want to have someone help you here.

After only a few minutes and some simple questions the tech was ready to proceed and within moments of the treatment the plume of steam that came out of my exhaust pipe ceased and normal compression and performance resumed. There is something of a "break-in" period but the directions are clear and most anybody should be able to follow them. Make no mistake, my Taurus has plenty of other problems but leaky head gaskets is no longer one of them.

When I called a different dealer here in my local area he suggested I have an entirely new engine put in for around $5,000. All I could think is, I'll be back to square one with this same problem within 20,000 miles! I'll keep you posted as to longevity of the repair.

Automan replies:

There is a lot of magic stuff being advertised in even respectable trade magazines. The bottom line is if the head or gasket is slightly porous, or has a very small leak, it is possible to seal it if you are lucky. Bottom line is its easier to seal a drip than a flow.

I would be inclined to put this product in the same catagory as Motor Up, Tornado airflow gizmo, Fuel Magnet mpg optimizer.

As far as any "quick" repairs to a really blown head gasket, nothing will correct it short of gasket replacement/overhaul.

All the head gasket failures I have seen are from:

  1. Lack of maintenance;
  2. Clogged radiator, overheating cooling system, engine;
  3. water only, no coolant;
  4. wrong coolant;
  5. bad gas, low octane gas, pinging, detonation;
  6. engine in poor state of tune;
  7. excessive hard usage, towing, mountain driving, teenage driving.

Some do have engineering defects but I have yet to really see them.

Small engines run hot and have less of a tolerance for the above-mentioned issues.