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Ford Ranger 4.0 Engine Problems



  • I own a 99 Mazda B4000 which is built by Ford. Just after buying the truck in August I noticed a vibration from the gas pedal on acceleration and also at highway speeds. Then the shortly after that when the truck was idle and in gear I noticed a knocking noise from the bottom of the engine near the oil pan. It also would sound like a diesel. I took it to the dealer they said it was normal. I would not except that and continued to return it for the same problem. Finally they called me and said there was a problem with all Ford 98 and 99 4.0 liter engines and that they where ordering a new Engine to be installed on my truck per Mazda. They called it piston slap. What that is I don't know. There is a service bulletin recently posted stating this problem. If you have a 98 or 99 4.0 Liter Ford Engine in your vehicle have your dealer check this service bulletin.
  • My dealer insisted on trying to rebuild this engine - it still made the same noise. According to them - just drive it? I didn't have that much warranty left to just drive it. Ford should have started replacing these engines long ago - I would have kept my Ranger if they had fixed the problem with a new engine. I really kind of liked the truck.
  • scape2scape2 Posts: 4,119
    It is not ALL Ford 4.0 engines built in 98/99, its only a certain lot#. I have a 1998 4.0 with about 20K on it and have had no problems, no slap, no vibrations at all. I have worked the engine pretty good to with the trailing I do in the Cascade range.
    Sorry to hear about your engines. You should be able to get them replaced under warranty with no hassle.
  • trenttrent Posts: 86
    I have had no problems with my 4.0 in 8K but wonder if any further info is available on identifying which engines are a potential problem? I would hate to find out after my warranty runs out. Seems like Ford would make this info available.
  • My problem happened early on - the truck was built March, 1998. I heard the noise at about 5,000 miles, but was not familiar with the vehicle yet - it was under warranty for a long time, tried not to worry. By the time the truck had 18,000 miles on it, the engine sounded like a diesel when in park - no load on the engine. Actually, I was finding it embarassing - ran the A/C even when I didn't need it to put a load on the engine and keep people from wondering what all that noise was about. My dealer - even when I stated I wanted a new engine - insisted on trying to rebuild the engine. After two weeks - that were supposed to be 2 or 3 days - the engine made the same noise that I remembered at about 5,000 miles. The response from my long-time dealer: don't bother us, just drive it. I figured I didn't have enough time left on warranty to "just drive it". I have a new F-150 that has shown no signs of any problems - yet at 10,000 miles.
  • My 1993 4.0 V-6 just passed 207,000 miles with almost nothing ever done to the engine except to replace the air/fuel sensor. It pings on regular, so I have to run mid-grade or premium for hilly driving. Rather than get rid of it, just had the transmission overhauled. I was pleased with how lucky I had been with this engine when the Ford mechanic told me the 4.0 Ranger before me had 194,000 miles, and was just in for its first tune-up without any engine work whatsoever in its whole life. If there is a chronic problem with the engine, I've never experienced it. It still has good power/acceleration, and I bet the doors will fall off before the engine quits.
  • These problems with the 4.0 engine have just started. I think they started when Ford started building the overheard cam version for the Explorer. And, ironically - they also started installing the Explorer's 5-speed auto transmission. If it really is a piston/slap problem - what really does that mean? Maybe for the overhead cam version they went with a heavier piston - lots more revs and did not properly consider the old block, and well - we need new engines. Not my problem anymore. Just spent about 30 minutes reading about the new Silverados - again. Sure am happy with my 5.4 F-150 (4X4). Personally a truck needs to drive very nice and smooth up to about 90 mph - I would just truly hate that vibration problem with the 1999 and now looks like the 2000 Silverados.
  • a6chrisa6chris Posts: 15
    I'm thinking of purchasing a 2000 Ford Ranger XLT, I'm ordering it and I'm not sure whether I should get the 3.0 or the 4.0 V6. I do a lot of highway driving and like power to merge and pass through traffic. Any thoughts would help alot
  • In the same situations - my 1998 Ranger 4X4 with 5-speed auto - had the same problems with keeping up with the highway traffic. In NM, the average speed is 80+ mph and we have some significant grades and some really significant semi-truck clogs on these grades. On more than one occasion, my Ranger just simply had no power after trying to accelerate up a grade from the rear of a slow semi. I never thought this when I bought the truck - but, if I had to do it all over again? I would look seriously at the 3.0 - if for no other reason than gas mileage. Both engines are underpowered - at least the 3.0 will get some nice numbers on occasion.
  • I have a 96 Mazda B3000 and a 99 Ford Ranger 4.0L Extended Cab 2 wheel drive with the 5 spd auto. I have noticed a big difference on the stopping performance of the Ranger and any other truck I've driven including my Mazda. The breaks on the Ranger have seemed a bit mushy from day one and it seems to take it a really long time to slow down from highway speeds. I've taken it to the dealership, but they said it performed as it should. Is anyone else seeing this or is it just me?
  • scape2scape2 Posts: 4,119
    Don't forget folks, your driving trucks not cars. The gearing on a truck is so all your Torque comes in the lower band area.
    Try a K&N or KKM air charger kit and a chip. I have these on my 4.0 5spd 4x4 with a limited slip 3.73 rearend. Don't expect gut wrenching, neck snapping response, but you will notice a difference.
  • xena1axena1a Posts: 286
    Vince -

    I know that you sometimes run a superchip in your Ranger. My ignorant question is where is this chip physically located? Engine compartment? Under the dash? I'd like to be able to find it. Thanks...
  • I just bought a 1999 Mazda with a 4.0 engine and I wish I had looked at this WEB sight before I did. I thought the engine sounded noisy, I even remarked to the dealer that it sounded a little like a diesel. Is it possible that #102 or troy 100 correspondent could find out what service bulletin the dealer replaced the engine under or maybe someone else out there can help us so we can go to the dealer with more ammunition.
  • kit1404kit1404 Posts: 128
    I am the one that posted the original problem - over 100 replies ago. My engine was a definite problem, not fully recognized and/or fixed by the dealer. I think response #102 may be correct - there may be some bad engines out there. From talking with the long-time dealer - not real resonsive to the problem - I have decided that Ford has some quality-control problems here - either the pistons or the block. Good luck - like I said, you'll probably need it. Ford insisted that the dealer rebuild my bad engine at 17,000 miles - the only answer that would have been proper was a new engine....... Does just seem like a bad lot of possibly blocks?
  • I was lucky enough to pick up a 1999 Ford Ranger XLT, A/T and 4.0,for $12,000 with only 290 miles on it and I haven't heard the loud engine noise everyone's talking about - I just keep getting stopped for speeding because it has such good pick up from a stop!
  • I have a 3.0 Auto 2000 Ranger Supercab XLT. I live on Long Island in NY. Just went Upstate to the mountains I thought the truck had plenty of power. If I was ordering over again I would still get the 3.0. I guess it all according to what works for you. I was driving 80 Mph. still had power to pass, no problem on hills. a6chris I recommend the 3.0.
  • kit1404kit1404 Posts: 128
    The post and most replies are regarding the 4.0 engine - an old engine, derived from the 2.9 engine originally brought over from Europe in the mid to late 80's. The engines have always had some problems. Now, the current 4.0 seems to have even more. The 3.0 that you refer to is the Taurus Vulcan engine - reliable with minor and/or extended maintenance to at least 100,000 miles. It is an original Ford design and was developed more for durability than power.
  • When I sat down with the salesperson and ordered my 97 Ranger I threw out the question: "What can I get for free?". He said, "let's look and see.". He pulled out this 5 inch thick binder and found that with the 4.0L and 5spd automatic that a rear stabilizer can be had at no charge. If you're special-ordering a vehicle - ask. They won't volunteer such info.

    Brakes: Fed Gov mandates that truck brakes do not have to be as good as car brakes. Translation: trucks need more distance to stop than cars. On the highway, I hang back at least 4 car lengths from whatever is in front of me.

    5 speed automatic transmission: I was told by a ford mechanic that the 5 spd in the 4 spd with added electronics that make use of the torque converter to reduce RPM by 200 to 300. How true this is...I don't know.
  • I have a 2000 Ranger Supercab and it stops as as good or better then most cars.
  • Someone is telling me the 4.0 Ford engine, which is in the Rangers, Explorers, Mazda Pickups, & etc., will have to be rebuilt or replaced by 100,000 miles. I'm thinking about buying a '93 Explorer with 85,000 miles which I've known since the current owners purchased it new and it's never had any major problems engine or otherwise. What kind of luck are you 4.0 Ford engine owners having?
This discussion has been closed.