Could also be bad radiator cap.
No anti freeze first. There was a recall for a bypass hose if that wasn't done it maybe the recurring nightmare
I think the reaccuring nightmare may refer to headgaskets which are common on the 3.8 Ford motors. First get some coolant in it, run it and see if there are leaks. Also check you oil, is it milkshake colored? or way overfull? post your results
Agree that it could be a likely head gasket leak. I encountered the problem after buying a new radiator and cap which was also needed. However with the new radiator adding additional pressure to the system, the head gasket then failed. A sure sign is white exhaust smoke and blowing moisture (anti freeze) out of the tailpipe. Head gasket problems are notorius in high mileage 3.8 engines.
Another potential problem could be a clogged cooling system. If the anti freeze is brownish rust and has the odor of burnt rubber you can be sure your system is sluggish. Be aware that flushing could enchance the problem and cause leaks depending how long the system has been sluggish. The heater core is the worst enemy in this situation being that it is small and they are difficult to flush successfully and the problem can re-occur requiring more than one flush attempt.
This didn't happen to my taurus, but to my 93 caravan. maybe they're close. the engine overheated like you said, and the heater stopped working (not fun in the dead of winter) long story short, the coolant hose to/from (can't remember which) the heater had burst, check that by having someone turn the car on and off while you look in there. hope that helps
your engine's thermostat, when it goes bad, the engine take so long to warm up and also the system don't blow hot air anymore
Probably the thermostat.
This can also be caused by allowing the coolant level to get so low that air gets into the system causing a "vapor lock" condition. Solution: get rid of the air by refilling the radiator. Unfortunately many of today's cars don't have filler caps on the radiator itself, just on the reservoir. Might be able to use the top radiator hose.