what is the secret warranty on the 3.8L for my 92 t-bird that just got new head gasket installed at

pjyoungpjyoung Member Posts: 885
edited March 2014 in Ford
It's disappointing that a car should have head gaskets blow with less than 200K miles on them, but the 3.8 blew them regularly. Ford eventually offered an extended warranty of 7 years or 100K miles for 1994 and up vehicles with the 3.8. I took them to small claims court (and won) for the blown head gaskets in my 1993 T-bird, which blew when the car was 6 years old and had 72K miles. Therefore, it was within the limits of the extended warranty that Ford offered to owners of 1994 models, and the judge checked it out and found that there were no differences in the engines of 1993 and 1994 T-birds.

Now for the bad news. If your gaskets just blew, your car would have been 9 years old. You can try small claims court, but IMHO, your chances of winning are slim because it happened at 9 years, and even if Ford offered the same extended warranty they did for the 94's, you'd be beyond that warranty period. But, you never know. It'll cost you about 50 bucks to file a case - if you win, you get your repair money back. If you lose...well, then you're out fifty bucks.


  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    When you went to court, whom do you sue...the dealer? And did you get a "judgment", or actually collect the money (yet)?
  • pjyoungpjyoung Member Posts: 885
    I sued Ford Motor Company - Dearborn MI. Ford has a zone office in my city, so a representative from Ford was in court.

    I got a judgement in my favor. For those who like legal stuff - here is an excerpt from my judgement:

    "...The plaintiff presented documentary evidence which indicated that 1993 and 1995 were years of significant numbers of 3.8 liter V-6 head gasket failures when all applications of the engine type were considered. 1994 did not appear to be a year with large numbers of head gasket failure. The defendant testified that the heat gasket repair program was directly related to an overbore model of the 3.8 liter V-6 which was not used in the 1993 Thunderbird and therefore the repair program related to a different configuration of the engine which was not the one in the plaintiffs vehicle. The court understood the term to mean that this particular variant of the 3.8 liter V-6 used a larger cylinder diameter and correspondingly shorter stroke to arrive at the 3.8 liter displacement that would be found on a non-overbore model. The court undertook to examine repair manuals published by Chilton and Mitchell for the 1993 and 1994 model years. The engine specifications in both manuals for the 3.8 liter V-6 indicates that the engine supplied in all models using the 3.8 liter V-6 has a bore of 3.81 inches and a stroke of 3.39 inches. No other bore and stoke combination is offered

    The court can find no substantial difference between the engine produced in 1993 which is not covered under the repair program and the engine which would have been installed in a 1994 thunderbird which is covered except that the 1994 model year has a lower incidence of head gasket failure than 1993. The data presented by the plaintiff clearly indicates that 1993 is a head gasket problem year, second only to 1995. The head gasket failure of the plaintiffs automobile would seem to meet the definition of premature..."

    I was awarded $1,800, the maximum for small claims in my state - my total cost for repairs $1,920. I recieved a check from Ford in two weeks in the amount of $1,950 for the judgement, court costs and interest.

    All in all, I would say it was $50 well spent.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Man, that was pretty slick.....and lucky for you, too (I don't mean "lucky" like you didn't deserve it...you OBVIOUSLY did your homework)..but I mean that the Ford Motor Co. was in your jurisdiction. It's usually impossible to sue an auto company directly without undergoing great hassles....well done! I wouldn't have bet on you!
  • pjyoungpjyoung Member Posts: 885
    The biggest hassle of all was getting the phone number for the Wayne County Sheriff's department to find out what their fee was for serving the papers.

    I was never contacted by Ford prior to the court date. I have been in contact with one other person who settled out of court with Ford for head gaskets on his 92 Sable. He did the same thing I did (file against Ford and have Wayne County Sheriff serve them). I'm in Kansas and he's in Tennessee. There's no Ford zone office in his area, and attorneys representing Ford contacted him and offered a settlement of $500. HE told them "No" and they called again (a week before the court date) and asked him what he would be willing to settle for. He said $1,200 and they agreed.

    My court date was in August 2000, and the gentleman I was speaking with settled in late July 2000. In both of our cases, however, the gaskets failed within 7 years. Mine failed in August 1999 and after a year of getting nowhere dealing with Ford, I decided to file. Same with the other guy...we both messed around with Ford for a year. That's why I doubt that someone with a 92 would prevail if the head gaskets failed recently.

    The odd part of the whole thing is that in my original letter to Ford, I was willing to settle for half ($900). They dismissed it out of hand. I'm kind of glad they did ;>)
  • mike348mike348 Member Posts: 9
    You did some great work here.

    The case seems to hinge on documentary evidence that the '93 had a equal or worse incidence of the failure than the '94. What evidence did you use and where could I get it.

  • pjyoungpjyoung Member Posts: 885
    I used data I gathered from the NHTSA database (www.nhtsa.gov). I put it into a couple of Excel spreadsheets. One was a chart showing the number of 3.8 head gasket complaints from 1989 - 1998 and the other was a spreadsheet comparing 1993 production numbers to head gasket complaints. I'd be happy to send you what I have, although the data is as of July 2000. Send me an e-mail to [email protected] and I'll send you what I've got.
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