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Knocking is most likely piston slap, as these certain GM engines were known too have. Sounds as though car was not maintained very well.
Blowby., 1st check your PVC valve. Alot of people over look this valve. 2nd, with the engine hot and running, take the oil cap off. If smoke or air is flowing outward this is an indication of blowby which a leak down test should be done. 3rd, it could be worn piston rings.
Is the oil a milky white? Is it condensation from temperature change? If the vehicle wasn't driven long enough too reach full operating temperature for very long may not purge out moisture, same if vehicle isn't driven enough. Yes, change the oil (I don't think a flush is needed)and watch. If you see beads of moisture on the dipstick and white smoke from the exhaust of a warm engine, then you most likely got a head gasket problem. I agree with pushrod if your not sure.
Sounds like a bad contact in the turn signal/ wiper switch.
I agree with answer's #1 and #2. OEM all the way, the more the platinum, the more $ out of your pocket. Save your money. I've seen people who think they will get more H.P. or better gas mileage if they buy over hyped plugs.
I would check the PCV system to see if it's clogged up. On this engine, they have what is called an oil separator housing unit. If your not the mechanical type, it's best to take it to a shop. Also,3.0 engines have had had troubles with rear main seals.
You can clean it, but use ONLY CRC throttle body and air intake cleaner. Ford uses a Teflon based coating in which CRC makes a cleaner for that purpose. I had two Ford Taurus's in the past and I cleaned the Throttle body's with CRC and an old toothbrush with good results. Also used CRC mass air flow sensor cleaner too.
Had the same problem with my G6. It was the battery. But, don't count out the starter as Pushrod say's. I had a bad cell which was enough too cause a no start.
Nowadays it's plugs, wires, air filter, fuel filter. Bad gas mileage? Possible O2 sensor(s).
Assuming you have a Northstar engine,try checking the purge line. It's the small hose near the top of the coolant tank. Engine at idle, pull the line from the tank, if no coolant flow is coming from this hose, then it's blocked and can cause overheating. Hopefully this will be your easy fix, otherwise it could be a head gasket problem.