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Ford Ranger 4.0 Engine Problems



  • I had no problems with the transmission. But, I think the gearing and its application of gears was stressful on the engine. We live at high altitude and on more than one occasion, I would find myself on a long uphill climb running about 50 mph behind slower traffic. Once the traffic cleared, I would give the engine plenty of gas and most of the times learned to floorboard it, but the downshifts produced virtually no power. With the pedal on the floor, the transmission would eventually downshift far enough and only briefly to get us some momentum (with the rest of the traffic in my rear view mirror). All in all -not a smooth powertrain and I think the engine would rev too high. Never seriously towed anything with the truck. But, in my opinion, Ford is building this vehicle for in-town use, much like the Escort. It is quite peppy and powerful up to about 50 mph. On the highway, I would not recommend it, especially in high altitude New Mexico traffic that normally runs 83 mph on the rural interstates.
  • rsmtomrsmtom Posts: 28
    Thanks for the reply. Actually, you addressed another concern of mine--passing power and performance at higher speeds. While I live closer to sea level, I do have to contend with tackling short freeway on-ramps, trying to merge with high speed traffic. I also periodically make trips into the high deserts of So. Calif., where passing power can be important (trying to get out of the way of maniacs going to and from Las Vegas). I know well the challenge of an underpowered truck--my '90 Toyota has the 3.0L V6, which simply isn't enough engine for a vehicle of its weight (at least as passing power goes). In other respects it's been a stellar truck during it's 9 1/2 years of service--I'm just ready for much better performance over a wide range of speeds. While the torque rating of the 4.0L seems adequate, its horsepower is poor for its displacement--it's the hp working for you at higher (passing) speeds. Maybe the overhead cam version now in the Explorer will change the character of the Ranger when it finally is available. I am worried about that engine, however, due to many troubles cited by the Explorer types. Hope Ford gets serious and eliminates the weak spots.
  • Had time to diagnose the ticking this week. Turns out, by using an engine stethoscope, I was better able to hear the sound which was more of a ping. So I tried a higher octane gas and the pinging went away. My engine, which has always used 87 octane and ran fine, now gas developed a taste for higher octane. Kind of weird because you think after one year the computer has had time to optimize to 87 octane. Could be that the gas is just of bad quality. I usually fill up at the Shell by my house, but the last truck I had developed engine problems after filling up there. I found that there was water in the gas. Should have learned my lesson the first time. Last time I fill up there. One problem down. Now I have to tackle the CD player which is inoperable. Turns out there is a TSB for it. But that is for another discussion group.
  • The special flex fuel engine oil on the 3.0 is optional. The dealers won't tell you that though, but they will tell you that it will ruin the engine if you use regular oil. They will even tell you that the manual is suppose to have a supplement stating the use of FFV oil on the 3.0. I double checked with Ford owner connection and they even checked with the factory and said there is a slight different using the FFV oil ($9/qt), but not significant enough to state that in the manual. Stick with the manual recommendations, don't listen to scamming dealers or get second opinions.
  • Depending what you're going to use the truck for I think the ranger is too heavy for the 2.5 4cyl.
    The 3.0 is not the fastest, it's more torque than HP but it's adequate. That's only true with the 5 manual though. It will also be tougher on resale with the 4. Test drive it and see for yourself. My 3.0 still pings slightly on 87 octane but runs great on 89 and the dealer have no answers. Otherwise, it's decent.
  • Does anyone have any idea what the horsepower and torque rating is on the 4.0. I have a 99' 4.0 with the 5-speed automatic, and by the way I love the truck so far. I have about 6000 miles so far.
  • rsmtomrsmtom Posts: 28
    HP is 158, torque is 223. Often are listed as 160 and 225, respectively (rounding up, I think).
  • Does anyone know of any bolt on upgrades for the 4.0? I looked in the motorsport catalog but didn't find anything. Also, I'm curious as to what kind of gas mileage everyone is getting with the 4.0/5spd. auto combination? I'm getting 16city/18hwy.
  • I was hoping for reassurance and advice again. Some time ago I had asked about the choice of engines on a 1999 Ford Ranger Sport (flairside bed) with either a 2.5 4 cyl. or a 3.0 V6. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure that the 3.0 is great but I am looking at a 2.5 at a local dealership because I haven't seen a 3.0 at any local dealers. I also don't think I could find one in the color I want with the features I want at this late in the year. I also have to take into consideration two other factors: how long it would take me to sell my 95' Firebird, second, the higher sticker cost of the 3.0, and finally higher insurance rates for the higher engine. I thought the ride and power seemed fine in the 2.5. I could be wrong, but for my present situation of going back to school for teacher certification (and the tuition costs in that process), finances dictate that I get the best that I can afford. The original sticker price of the 2.5 was $16,080. The "sale" card hanging from the rearview mirror said: Was: $17,XXX Is: $13,144. Now I know from previous visits to this dealership that the original sticker price was as I quoted above. My next question is this: Can I get them down lower than $13,144? Give me some suggestions. I would appreciate all replies and advice to be posted on topic #1299 FORD RANGER 2.5 VS. CHEVY S-10 2200 VORTEC 4L.

    p.s. the S-10 is no longer an issue LOVED THE RANGER:)
  • I had a 98 ranger 3.0 auto that had a hitch at 35 mph, the dealer put on a "processor" whatever that is and said they could fix it in 10 min. but the epa would not allow it. It was runnig so lean it skipped and hitched at 35 mph. I tried 3 dealers and no one would fix it or coul'nt I unloaded it at 5k miles. I have had a lot of fords and never this problem. I guess they tried to increase the CFAE with these trucks.
  • scomoscomo Posts: 39
    I'm having a vibration problem with my 2000 Ranger XLT SC 4X4. It happens between 40-70 MPH. he dealer balanced the wheels and that's it so far. They are trying to tell me "It's 'cause it's a truck!". Well, my CJ-7 doesn't shake this bad! I heard there was a recall or something for the 4.0L with the 5spd having vibration probs in the '99s. Turned out to be a sleeve on the driveshaft. Anyone have similar problems with their 99 or 00 Rangers? I love the truck but the sHaKeS have to go!

  • scape2scape2 Posts: 4,119
    Man, I wish I could help you. Try a different dealer. Talk directly to the service manager and have them look up any recalls that may pertain to this. This is the first I have heard of this problem. I visit many other Ranger boards around the internet and will keep my ears open. Does the shaking happen in front only? or back or all 4 wheels?
  • JockoJocko Posts: 13
    Have a 99 Ranger with the 4.0 and 5spd. Engine range seems to be between 1500 and 2700 rpm. By 3000 rpm it is gasping for breath. Has no red-line on the tach. Don't think it can go fast enough tp hurt itself, no matter what.

    Also lots of piddling problems - windshield wipers quit sporadically,electric windows erratic, sometimes work sometimes not. Interior lights quit. 6 mos wait to get the proper cable for the cruise etc. A computer module has been replsced and the wiper, window and interior light problem appears to be OK now.

    6000 onj the machine - mileage is good at 19.9-21.5.

  • scape2scape2 Posts: 4,119
    Whoa, I have the 4.0 5spd. It should not "Gasp" for air. What gearing do you have? 3.73 or 4.10? Gearing plays a huge part in how and when you must shift. I put a K&N air charger kit on and there is a difference in throttle response. May want to try it. There are several kits available from different manufacturers.
  • But, I think you are experiencing most of what I really didn't like about this vehicle. Yes - if you drive like I do - 80+ mph on the interstate, granted we are high elevation (average about a mile high) - you are most definitely gasping for breath. What I don't understand - couldn't Ford make this thing breathe a little better? I guess they thought an extra gear in the automatic transmission would solve the problem. But, in my mind, the extra gear just gives it the grunt around tow. In other words, I think if you want to buy this vehicle, you should take it out on the highway and see how hard it struggles to keep up with traffic.

    OK - I am not the best person to talk with - my 1988 4.0 with 5-speed auto and 4X4 tried to die at 17,000 miles. Just go back and read my comments - I posted the original topic.

    Just can't help but think that my new F-150 is at least twice the vehicle that the Ranger was - and maybe even more. In my mind, if you want a small truck look further than the dollars. Ford knows that they can keep selling this vehicle if they keep the price right. Personally - I would rather pay a little more and buy a Dakota with the new V-8. But, then again - that is getting pretty close to my very nice F-150, 5.4 Triton with 4X4. I really love this truck - gets just about the same gas mileage as my unfortunate Ranger - at this altitude.
  • vince8,
    i have a 99 4.0l 5spdM with a 4.10 ls (off road package)rear end and man is she geared low. it is great in town, but i could use another gear on the highway or a Hi/Lo selector...

    i am interested in this K&N air charger kit. Was it easy to install?? Does it affect the warranty??
    Happy Holidays
  • scape2scape2 Posts: 4,119
    I may sound nieve, but I never checked on warranty issues. I have had mine in now for about 2 years and have had no problems. I now have about 22K on my Ranger so the warranty issue is starting to fade. Get online and ask K&N, they answer very quickly. If anything goes wrong I kept all my old parts so I could swap back. As far as prices they vary store to store. They can be ordered from K&N or from any perforamance/auto store. It was a snap to install, took me about 1 hour. CP got another type of aircharger kit, scroll back and see what it was, I believe it was called a KKR. Like I said, don't expect neck snapping response. I did however notice a difference in throttle response. Good luck!
  • I am also interested in this kit. Where would you find one of these, and do you know the part #? I have a 99' 4.0 5 speed automatic.
  • I have a 1994 Ranger XLT, 4 cyl and 5 speed, 98 horsepower. Is slow going uphill but I never go below 55 miles per hour, in the flatlands it has
    enough power for me to pass slow traffic.
    The best part is that this truck has over 135,000
    miles and the only thing I have replaced is the starter and I just replaced the front brakes for the first time. Other than that all I do is regular maintenance.
    The new 4 cyl Rangers are 119 horse power and with
    a 5 speed manual should be a decent truck to have.
    My Ranger is super, best truck I had so far.
    I had owned a Toyota 4 cyl and a Chevy full size
    with a V8, but in quality and the mechanics, I'm
    very happy with my Ranger.
  • unfortunately im sad to report that my 4.0 motor in my hot 1999 ranger xlt 4x4 supercab in autumn orange clearcoat metallic has to be replaced. at about 5000 miles i noticed that the antifreeze in the overflow tank was disappearing. right away i knew what it was. filled it up a few times but kept draining out. my dealer checked it out and ran a dye test and sure enough it is the head gasket leaking. a certain batch of engines had this problem in feb-march 1999. but ford has since resolved the problem. waiting for new 2000 motor to be installed. i was suprised but not really upset because of the great track record of the ranger. also i leased the truck did not buy it! but i have to agree with ckitchens my 1997 f150xlt supercab 4x4 off road 5.4l is with out a doubt the best truck on the road today. my friend has a 1999 chev silverado xcab with a 1000 miles on it. my 1997 has 34000 miles on it. my f150 rides smoother at 34000 miles than his silverado and is all around a better truck. cant wait until his tranny fails just like his 97 did at 29000 miles and traded it in for the 99. i will break his balls again.
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