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Recently got my '03 Mustang 3.8 Any Common problems I should look out for?

Discussion in 'Mustang Talk' started by Disintegrator, Jul 20, 2004.

  1. Disintegrator

    Disintegrator New Member

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    I'm new to the board and have done a little browsing around but was wondering if you Mustang gurus could help me out with any common problems I should look out for with this car.....This is the first Ford I have owned....I just went from a '96 Grand Am with the 3.1 V6....There is a decent increase in power over the older Gran Am, but not a HUGE difference, but definatly noticable increase in power all around....I did get an automatic, yea go ahead and make your jokes....Thats one of the first 2 things I get crap for..."Dude! Why get a Mustang if its not a GT?" Then its "Dude, why the heck would you get an automatic?" Geeez.....Sorry if I don't like switching gears.....Anyhow, had 7000 miles on it when I got it, and i've already got it up to 14,000.....No problems to report so far (crosses fingers).....Basicly I was wondering if there are any common problems with these cars that I should look out for at a certain mileage.....I've heard reports of the 3.8's blowing head gaskets, but then found out that was on the pre 99 models.....Any general info would be appreciated...
     
  2. 3.8MustangSteve

    3.8MustangSteve Secretary of Defense

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    There really aren't many common problems with the 99+ 3.8's. Maintain it properly and you shouldn't run into anything major.
     
  3. Disintegrator

    Disintegrator New Member

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    Thanks, I've been all GM until this car......That Grand Am left a bad taste in my mouth, problem after problem......However, I must say I like the Pontiac interior much better, but i'm getting used to the Mustang's....
     
  4. CODY2003

    CODY2003 Ya, I'm still here. ;)

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    Yep, go to a junk yard and all you see are grand ams.
    I don't think there are any problems you should look out for.
     
  5. Disintegrator

    Disintegrator New Member

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    :lol: Yea, the car seems to be plauged with problems, but I don't necesarrily think that you see so many Grand Ams in the junkyard for that reason...Its mainly because of how many of those suckers are on the road...I dunno...I had a Beretta GT before the Grand Am and that car gave me hardly any trouble at all.....Had to replace the igniton module a couple times, thats about it after 160,000 miles......I think GM builds good engines, but their cars seemed to be plauged with electrical problems....
     
  6. 3WheelerDude

    3WheelerDude Goat lover

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    The only problem I, and many others, have seen on 99+ is the TO bearing that squeals like a pig. It doesnt affect performance or reliability but its annoying as hell. Cant complain about the car so Ill shut my mouth now!!!!!
     
  7. Drawlin

    Drawlin Unknown, even to me

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    one problem that i found was the o2 sencer. may ask you sales person if there is an exctended warenty on them.
     
  8. CODY2003

    CODY2003 Ya, I'm still here. ;)

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    No seriously In one of the junkyards near me, their log book said they had 300+ grand ams and 0 mustangs :uhh: most of them didn't have a scratch on them but most said bad engine on the windshield. :crazy:
     
  9. Mr.Mustang

    Mr.Mustang New Member

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    Welcome!. Consumer's Report gave the 2003 Mustang a fairly good rating as far as reliability was concerned. I think most Mustangs from 99-04 have been given a pretty good rating. I've got a 2001 model (3.8L auto) which now has 23,000kms. I bought the car in January with only 9000kms (6000 miles). The only things I've had done (under warranty) was the hood replaced and the tie-rod ends replaced shortly after I bought it. You wouldn't expect something like that to need replacing at such low mileage but I guess there's always bugs in every car. My brake cable was also hanging a little low, so Ford fixed that too. The paint on the hood was cracking Ford thought it was a defect in the fiberglass.

    Don't feel bad about not having a GT or standard transmission. I don't really like standard trannys either and find them a pain in the ass, especially in traffic. You'll always get people asking why you didn't get the GT or standard transmission, but who really cares what they think. In my case, it all boiled down to money. I bought what I could afford and the car had such low mileage that I just had to buy it.

    As far as headgaskets are concerned, I think this problem was something that was common on the early Windstar vans (1995). I don't know whether any of the other Ford vehicles with the 3.8 shared the same problem. Ford (to my knowledge) fixed the problem and I haven't heard of any of the newer 3.8's having headgaskets go on them. So I wouldn't worry about it. My dad's 2000 Windstar has the 3.8L and it's still going strong (that's about the only thing that has actually held up on the van!).

    I'm surprised that you had so many problems with the GrandAm. I always thought they were pretty good cars. It doesn't matter what car brand you buy, you'll always have problems. My buddy thinks GM vehicles rule and wouldn't dare touch a Ford or Chrysler (which I think is stupid). He says Fords handle like crap and that was based on a 1986 Topaz with 200,000 miles. I doubt any car would handle the same after 18 years of abuse. Anyways, enjoy your Mustang!.
     
  10. Glacier1

    Glacier1 New Member

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    I agree with your friend Mr Mustang, not on the ford part but in not wanting to touch a Chrysler. The really suck as a car. Interior is like it's designed out of a childrens playgroup, while the engine and transmition leave a lot of be desiered. I drove a Chysler Neon over here (yes, Chrysler makes the Neon) and was I surprised with how bad it looked and performed! Chryslers in general over here depreciate by 45-50% in year 1, and then 22-25% in year 2, less for year 3. You could pick a 2 year old one for next to nothing, same for Jeep. Ford has a good reputation though.

    Dave
     
  11. Mr.Mustang

    Mr.Mustang New Member

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    I assume that you're referring to Chrysler's european vehicles and not the ones available in North America. I have always found Chrysler's interiors pretty good and well designed in past years. I've also found that the fabric used on their seats seem to hold up better then most (but that's just my experience). Overall I haven't had any major problems with Chrysler products and found them quite reliable. Of course there's certain models which were prone to problems (ie: Neon). Neons were prone to headgasket problems in the 1995 model year and Chrysler ended up paying out a lot of money to correct the problem.

    I agree that the Neon is just plain ugly. I never liked them when they first became available in 1994 (as 95 models) and still don't like the second generation Neons either. Chrysler has come out with some pretty good looking cars such as the Crossfire recently.
     
  12. ShadowGray

    ShadowGray Member

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    All of the ~89 to 95 T-Bird 3.8s had the blown headgasket problem to one degree or another, especially the SC. The Windstars had the problem into 1997-98, as well as all the Taurus' that used the 3.8 (station wagons only, I think). Failure was usually around 70 to 100000 miles, out of warranty naturally. There were several silent recalls that Ford did about this problem, but how many cars did they fix?

    If don't know about the 94-98 Mustangs with the 3.8, but a number of people on this forum seem to have had problems.

    We have a 98 Windstar with 106k on the dial, so our time may be coming. :cry:

    Stan
     
  13. Mr.Mustang

    Mr.Mustang New Member

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    It's possible the Windstars had problems in the 97-98 model year, but I'm very sure the 1995 models had the biggest problem with head gaskets. Ford came out with a new gasket to fix the problem. I have no idea whether it worked.
     
  14. V6 SSTANG

    V6 SSTANG Part Time Racecar Driver

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    ME:77,000 on a 00 Mustang 3.8=0 problems
    MOM: 135,000 miles on a 97 Expedition=0 problems
    BROTHER: 70,000 on a 98 F150=0 problems
    DAD: 160,000 on a 94 Grand Marquis=0 problems

    WELCOME TO FORD!
     
  15. StangDoo98

    StangDoo98 New Member

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  16. Mr.Mustang

    Mr.Mustang New Member

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    Like I said earlier, my dad's 2000 Windstar has been nothing but problems (with the exception of the actual motor). Since new, it's probably been in the shop 50 times for repairs. Most of those visits were during the first and second year he owned it. A brand new vehicle shouldn't start rusting out after 6 months of use. Tie rods should need replacing after only 1 year of driving (they've been replaced twice now). The tranny & brake cylinders should leak after only 9 month of use. The brake cylinders have been replaced 3 times. I could go on forever with problems. He can't wait to get rid of the damn van. He's spoken to many other Windstar owners who had similar problems. The internet is full of people complaining about them. Bottom line is that these vans are garbage.

    I wouldn't say that the quality of Ford is #1 because it's not. They've gone downhill in terms of their qualitylike the rest of the car companies. You're one of the very few lucky ones who hasn't had any problems with cars. I don't think it really matters what you buy these days. You're bound to have problems with any of them. I just try to find something that will have the "fewest" problems.
     
  17. Disintegrator

    Disintegrator New Member

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    It really does seem to come down to luck it would seem.....For instance, my dad had a Chevy Corsica, a '91 I think and I had a Beretta GT.....Basicly same cars, same chassis and engines.....He had problem after problem with his Corsica, I mean within one week of driving it off the lot it had a major electrical system failure......blew a piston at 50,000 miles, I could go on and on.....On the other hand I had NO problems with my Beretta hardly at all.....There are some lemons out there, thats for sure, and it sucks when you end up with one.....He gave up on GM too and has been a Nissan man ever since....Very reliable cars...I'm sorry, I know you guys are Ford people, but the quality of Nissans, Hondas etc... are superior....I love my Mustang though and as long as she's good to me i'll keep her around
     
  18. Disintegrator

    Disintegrator New Member

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    You get what you pay for, and they look pretty ;) The 3.8's are plenty fast enough for me....They will still take most of your average cars
     
  19. 3WheelerDude

    3WheelerDude Goat lover

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    and they will do it with major style!!!!!!!
     
  20. whipster24

    whipster24 I bent my wookie

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    He is being punished for buying a minivan :lol:

    ford fixed the head gasket problem in mustangs in the middle of 1996 I believe. I had a pontiac grand am a while back and it was the biggest pos I've ever owned. Yes it was high miles, but there was something new wrong with it every month.