Ford 5.0L 6cyl good or bad?

pjbiondopjbiondo Member Posts: 1
edited March 2014 in Ford
I am looking into purchasing a used F-150. For
some reason, I think that I would enjoy having the
inline 6 that Ford used to offer with a 5-speed.
Anyone have any comments, negative or positive?

Thanks for any input!


  • RoclesRocles Member Posts: 982
    That in-line six was the best six ever made for a truck. Period. Lots of torque that would rival most small-block eights. We still have one in my fleet and it is a favorite. I highly recommend that motor.
  • scape2scape2 Member Posts: 4,123
    Fords straight 6 is one of Fords best. I Know a person who has a 1983 Ford with one in it and almost 180K! Runs like a champ still.
  • markbuckmarkbuck Member Posts: 1,021
    Ah, the good old 300 inline 6. Pretty good low rpm horsepower, not much on top. Know lots of guys running em around TX with 200,000 miles on em. Mostly people use them as cars or light hauling. Not too good for heavy towing as they just don't make alot of horsepower.

    Nothing wrong, but my new chevy 4.8 V8 has more power, gets better fuel econ. Just hope it turns out to be as reliable as the old 4.9 ford.
  • sellmeatrucksellmeatruck Member Posts: 20
    I have a '78 F-250 with the straight 6. 185k miles & it runs great. Has never used oil, replaced one water pump & one starter. The 4-speed OD tranny really sucked as the shifter constantly jams, and the input shaft bearing has gone out twice. I also have a LS diff., so when (or if) this truck ever pukes, I'm taking the engine & diff. out to keep. It's a real TANK of an engine..Get one if you can!
  • mksalemmksalem Member Posts: 42
    '93 F-150, 4.9 liter, 2wd with 5 speed ( A mazda tranny BTW . . .) Put 180,000 on it - original everything. Never replaced the clutch - needed 20-50w at about 150,000 - Torque is at the low end BIG TIME - watch out for low rear ends (> 3.55) - you won't like that combo. Got rear ended and the frame bent - insurance totaled it out :( otherwise I would probably still have it . . .
  • fordtough1fordtough1 Member Posts: 14
    My dad had 240,000 miles on his 87 when he traded it in. It ran perfect and used about 1/2 quart of oil between oil changes.
  • trucklady1trucklady1 Member Posts: 10
    I drive this truck engine daily. I have a 3 speed automatic though. I've had very good service from this engine! I've got 125K on it and its getting noisy, but it starts and runs well...I tow a 2 horse trailer with it (1 horse) and it does okay. I would recommend you only get this if you plan to do light hauling (<3000 lbs). Over 3500 and its getting a bit doggy. My truck has an obscenely low rear end, which kills the torque (bought it without knowing the risks). However, like I've said, I've had it since '92 and its still running. The only thing I've heard is that these engines fail at the main bearing, most often. Mine has a bit of valve slap now...sometimes louder than others. I've had trans problems, but they've been fixed.
  • pbb98pbb98 Member Posts: 19
    I agree with Rocles that the 300 is the best 6 in any truck. My dad has a '95 F-150 4x4 5 spd and my cousin has had 2 of them, one had almost 200,000 miles on it when he sold it and the other needed rings, but was reliable and had about 130,000 on it. This was a BADLY abused truck though. My dad's has about 70,000 and has not had any problems. The only complaints I have about it are the shifter and clutch are just not user friendly (shifter is rough and clutch has long travel) and drag racing anything short of a moped and winning is almost impossible.
  • rasharasha Member Posts: 7
    I wish they still had this motor. I am a Mopar man. have had Mopar for years but loved the 4.9IL Ford. Had one in my only non Mopar truck till it was totalled, but my brother still has his. Going strong with 166K on it. beats the 225 slant six even though I am a Mopar guy. Yes, I bought a 2000 Dodge!

    BTW the 225 will run forever, truly bulletproof with appopriate maintenance, but truly gutless.
  • gobeangobean Member Posts: 8
    I have an 88 Bronco that has the 300 and has 178564 miles on it. Never had the valve cover off of it and it had towed all over the country. If you want to give one of these motors a bit more horsepower and torque get hold of Clifford Performance in Cal, he only deals in 6s and 4s and can vastly improve the performance with (from what I have been told by product users) good dependability. I have always stayed close to the 3000mi oil change and have always used Valvoline, at the present using the Dura Blend. Good reliable motors.
  • hudson5hudson5 Member Posts: 28
    I have a '92 f150 S/C 4.9, auto. It has almost 200K miles(199,399 or so). Runs like a top. Never had to add oil between oil changes. I'm gonna be trading it in next week on a 2000 F250 SuperDuty crew cab. Those SD make you feel 10' tall and bullet proof.

    Bottom line, the 4.9 engine is a very good engine.
  • gloria9157gloria9157 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 1990 F-150, 4spd auto, I6. !30,000 miles on it and it runs great. Feels like it will go on forever. Burns no oil between 3000mi oil changes, and still using 87 octane...

    There is a little knocking on first start-up, but it goes away when it warms up.

    I highly recommend this engine.
  • chevyck1chevyck1 Member Posts: 37
    I'm not Ford guy, but my uncle has an old Ford 300, and it's great, not too powerful, but good for light work, good torque for crawling, my uncle bought the truck somewhere in the early 80's, it's a 79 4x4 .5 ton and about 10 years ago, he sold it to his brother, and he still drives it, and it's never been overhauled just a clutch, and a few radiators, he said it's always run hot, other than that, it's still quiet, at somewhere near 200k miles. Can't say I've had that kinda luck with 60's Chevy straight sixes, then again, I'm hard on engines.
  • rodandyrodandy Member Posts: 7
    We used to have a couple of F250's with the 300 six and stake beds at a lumber yard I worked at. Probably the best engine Ford ever built. It routinely went 200K or so in fleet use, and was probably flogged pretty hard. It's also probably the best engine for a 4x4 pickup around as long as you aren't trying to haul a couple tons of junk along. That smooth low rpm torque makes it very easy to claw up hills. I'd take it over the V-8 for that application any day.
  • bmaigebmaige Member Posts: 140
    I still have an '82 F-150 4x4 with a 300 cubic inch inline six and 4 speed manual tranny with a granny low in it. The body is getting in bad shape, but if you need to pull a load the granny low will pull almost anything off. Any load other than a big one, however, it will pull off fine in 2nd gear.

    My brother-in-law had a 2 wd with the same engine and tranny he used to pull a heavy trailer loaded with a grain bin to be assembled, as well as acetylene and oxygen torches, welders, tools, and three men in the cab. He said it would pull anything he could load on the trailer, it just wouldn't stop it.

    I wish Ford would go back to that engine. If they did I would be inclined to trade trucks. Otherwise, I'll probably just keep going with the one I have.
  • shantyshanty Member Posts: 3
    The lumber yard i used to work at had one that they used for a light delivery truck. Always overloaded with plywood, doors, windows, etc. Some of those drivers really beat on it. I bought it from them 6 years ago for $500. every body panel was faded, some dents from forklift collisions, minor rust. It now has 175,000 mi. on it. Original Clutch, tranny, engine. that 300 combined with the 4 spd. was one of the best combos ever. That was definitely the best $500. I've spent on a vehicle.
  • ford30ford30 Member Posts: 11
  • RoclesRocles Member Posts: 982
    Kill? It was a good motor but.....kill? Rather extreme word usuage, eh?
  • ford30ford30 Member Posts: 11
  • RoclesRocles Member Posts: 982
    Front cover gasket?? Where did you hear that? Have you even owned a 4.2?

    I get critical because I've owned both. Actually--I still own them. I have two 90 I-6s and bought two 98s with the 4.2 for light shingling. Have yet to notice any "Blowing up motors". LOL!!
    Don't get me wrong, the straight six was a great motor--probably better than the 305 and 302 for small eights but the 4.2 is newer and benefits from better tech. Sometimes change is needed.
  • ford30ford30 Member Posts: 11
  • RoclesRocles Member Posts: 982
    That made no sense......Are you stating that the 4.2 is a "stroked and bored" version of the 3.8? And if it is, where is the history of the "front cover gasket"?

    The problem with this board is that no one seems to quote any facts and instead project myths.
  • ford30ford30 Member Posts: 11
  • ford30ford30 Member Posts: 11
  • 81chevy81chevy Member Posts: 37
    The 300 six is a awesome motor

    Torque numbers almost identical of the 5.0 V8

    90' Bronco, 140,000 miles, used for towing, hard work, daily driver, HAVEN"T SPENT ANY MONEY ON NONE ROUTINE MAINTNENCE!!!, doesnt' burn any oil or anything, have heard similiar stories

    guy I know had 230,000 before it started burning oil!
  • ignorant1ignorant1 Member Posts: 4
    I just want to know what´s the mpg average on this engine and if there is a ex-cab version whit it, say from 1988 to 1991.
  • 81chevy81chevy Member Posts: 37
    well I don't know about a pickup but in a 90 Bronco with FI 300-6 get 18-20, worst was 17, with camping supplies for 2 weeks, 4 people, and the siskyous in southern oregon and california.

    IT gets great gas milege
  • mike9630mike9630 Member Posts: 10
    ford's 4.9 inline 6 cylinder is bullet proof. you can run this engine with 1.5 quarts of oil in it and it will not break. although, the older you go with it this less emissions were added. the newer you go the more piping for emmisions you had and more problems. the only reson ford stoped building it was they couldn't get it to pass emmisions anymore.
  • ford250ford250 Member Posts: 25
    The only reason Ford quit producing the 4.9 is because they could not fit it in their new design trucks. This why they went to a sorry design 4.2 V-6 that is not worth anything. Ford has been having alot of problem with 4.2 V-6 rods or rod
    bearing. These motors will go to knocking like crazy if you pull the front timing chain cover.
  • mike9630mike9630 Member Posts: 10
    your right but if your having problems with the front timing chain cover then you should see your dealer. the recall # is 99b29 this is to replace the timing chain cover at no charge. i do alot of these. i also do alot of motors because it's too late and the gasket has deterierated and caused the front cover to crack. keep in mind that this is the same block as the 3.8 litre and look what a winner that has been. although i have paid my house off with that motor.
  • spokanespokane Member Posts: 514
    It's interesting to note that all the above comments are favorable toward the Ford 300 CID Six engine. I agree. These engines have been available since the mid-sixties. A friend had a ~1967 F-600 so equipped and was very pleased with it's ability to haul cattle in rugged mountainous areas.
  • bobs5bobs5 Member Posts: 557
    When was the last year that the in-line 6 cly engine was used?
  • dodgeram7dodgeram7 Member Posts: 55
    WAS IN THE 96 F-150
  • bobs5bobs5 Member Posts: 557
    Thanks dodgeram7
  • dschemdschem Member Posts: 4
    I have found a '90 f250 with 4.9 and 5spd trans. Tagged at 6600 GVRW. Hoping to put, when fully loaded, a full size truck camper on. Any ideas on how well engine might handle the load. If it makes any difference its 4x2. And know idea what it,s geared at--guess about 3.73. Test drive showed about 1800rpm at appr. 60mph. Any and all ideas appreciated.
  • dschemdschem Member Posts: 4
    Forgot to say fully loaded camper weighs appr. 2000 and possible pull 16 foot boat in midwest.
    Thanks dshem
  • rrichfrrichf Member Posts: 211
    I would say don't do it! Your truck is not the heavy duty model (GAVWAR 8600-8800) and with the weight that you're talking about, you heading for Over-loads-ville.
  • markbuckmarkbuck Member Posts: 1,021
    The 300 cubic inch motor has at most maybe 130 HP, about the same as my old ford escort.

    Great motor to run around empty, poor motor to tow with.
  • RoclesRocles Member Posts: 982

    Torque tows-not hp. The I-6 is a decent tower comparable to the 302 and 305 in torque. Same as Escort? Hardly. Your Escort was probably closer to 80hp.
  • markbuckmarkbuck Member Posts: 1,021
    HP is what does work per unit time. If you decide to tow at low rpms, then lots of torque at low rpms = good low end HP. But, in order to tow a large load, one needs lots of HP. My dinky little 4.8L chevy (255hp)pulls far better than my old HIGH torque, low horsepower 7.3L diesel.

    And my diesel always pulled better close to its HP peak, not near its torque peak.

    The twin cam Escort motor makes about the same HP as a 300 I-6, albiet at a much higher rpm.

    This whole torque thing has confused folks for years. HP = Torque * rpm/~5200. Can't have one without the other.

    How broad an rpm range the engine makes a specific HP can give a good measure of towing capacity, and undoubtedly, the 300 would out-tow the escort motor, but still pales in comparison to any modern V8.

    Final point - 300 makes a good run around empty motor, as a pickup truck running down the interstate needs only 60hp to maintain speed. If one tows, and needs to either accelerate or maintain a large load, you need lots of HP.
  • RoclesRocles Member Posts: 982
    Your 4.8 pulls "far better" than your "old" 7.3 diesel? Rather vague,eh? Would you therefore state that the 4.8 can outpull the 7.3??

    The twin-cam motor of the Escort may have a "statistical" equivalent of the 300 but could probably pull half as much. By the time the Escort reached it's hp height, the rpms would be killing the little motor. The Escort lacks the low power to even begin to pull any significant weight that the 300 could. (Unless you blew the clutch) Sometimes, there is no substitute for cubic inches.

    Did I claim the I-6 was a great tower? No. However, it can do more than "running empty". I yanked 4,500 lbs back in the 80's on trips to my childhoos home in Luck, NC. Camper being towed with motorcycle in the bed and going up the smoky mountains. It didn't shift much--now would the then-current 351 be better? Sure-but the I-6 performed a little better than any twin-cam Escort motor could.
  • markbuckmarkbuck Member Posts: 1,021
    The short stroke 4.8 is happy spinning away at 4,000 rpm all day long. My old 7.3L diesel, while supposedly rated for higher two weight, simply wouldn't pull a heavy load up any inclines regardless of RPM.
    The 4.8L has a slower peak piston speed at 4 grand than the diesel at 2800 rpm.

    HP is the right measure, it's how they rate OTR diesels, ships, .... The peak torque reading just gives one another point along the HP curve, best to compare actual plots of the entire HP curve.

    Sorry about my fervor, but one of our local female motorcycle racers has a f150 with the 300 and simply can't climb the 7% grades coming up the hill into Flagstaff (7,000') worth a dang.
  • RoclesRocles Member Posts: 982
    Not trying to beat a dead horse but you have confused me with one of your statements.

    "The 4.8L has a slower peak piston speed at 4 grand than the diesel at 2800 rpm."

    The rpm is the measure of the speed the engine is turning the crankshaft so how does the 4.8 have a slower piston speed? Isn't the piston an integral part of the rpm speed of the overall motor? Or is it that way because the 7.3 you list is a six while the 4.8 is an eight?
    Needless to say any further, but you have confused me. I need answers!! ;)
  • modvptnlmodvptnl Member Posts: 1,352
    It's all in the stroke. At any given RPM a shorter stroke motor will have less piston speed then a longer stroke motor. Higher piston speed can equate to more wear.
  • bmaigebmaige Member Posts: 140
    Boys, crunch the numbers all you want, but what counts is what a truck will do in actual use. I have had real life experience with two F-150's with the 300 cubic inch inline six, one of which I still own. The other was owned by my brother-in-law. He erected grain bins all over this part of the country and had an F-150, manual tranny with granny low that he used to tow a trailer loaded with the grain bin to be erected and all the necessities for doing that, including two welders, acetylene and O2 tanks, tool box full of tools, and three men in the cab. He said he never had any problem pulling any load he put on it, the only problem he ever had was stopping it, as the trailer didn't have electric brakes. He also said that truck would pull anything he had ever hitched to it, and my father-in-law commented it was the pullingest truck he had ever seen. I have an F-150 4 x 4 with the same configuration, and we tow a cow trailer that weights 2,700 pounds empty. Empty, or partially loaded the truck will pull it off with no problem in second, and with a full load in granny low the six doesn't even break a sweat. Once it is rolling I have no problem keeping it going.

    I bought this truck used, and it has a chrome step bumper on the rear that I thought was probably for show, so I was about to buy a receiver hitch to go on it, when my oldest son, who drove it through high school, told me before I did that to take a look at the towing capacity stamped in that bumper. I did, and it is rated at 10,000 pounds, so obviously the mechanic that owned it before I did planned to use it like a truck.

    Keep in mind this engine was built as a truck engine and used in a variety of trucks, from the F-150 up, including trucks used for hauling some pretty good loads. I believe someone in an earlier post mentioned he worked for a lumber yard or something, and they had several with it in them. The secret of towing capacity is the gearing. I once heard it said you can move a freight train with a washing machine motor with the proper gearing. Now it may not move it fast, but it would move it.

    Personally, I wish Ford would produce more of the old inline sixes for their trucks. My truck is an '82 with a lot of miles on it, but I will drive it until the wheels fall off because of that engine and the fact I can't get another one.
  • tula771tula771 Member Posts: 1
    I bought a 96 E150 conversion new in 97. I had concerns about driving from Michigan to Mexico City, Mexico in a large, heavy van loaded with 3-kids and all the things they need to travel. Well, that 4.9 L climbed every hill and mountain all the way to the pacific ocean in south west mexico, and the 3-speed transmission rarely downshifted. Now if Ford could only make the front brakes last more than 1-year.
  • wsoglo2wsoglo2 Member Posts: 6
    I work for a large government agency that had tons of these motors in pickups and Broncos and they were great. We have boats and other equipment that we tow and never had a problem. I don't know if it's been mentioned but these motors are used in a lot of stationary industrial applications as well as tractors and stand up very well. Not sure I'd want to spend a day on the desert pulling a 5,000 pound trailer with an Escort but to to each their own. Wayne.
  • markbuckmarkbuck Member Posts: 1,021
    on up hills in the west towing my 5,000lb trailer at the speed limit with my 4.8L.

    Yah, my lawn mower would probably pull any of your trailers, geared properly, but I'd be in the way of everybody.

    HP at the RPM you are running is what measures towing capacity.
  • meredithmeredith Member Posts: 575
    After 30 or more days of inactivity....

    this topic is being "frozen." It will be archived or deleted in the next 10 days or so.

    Front Porch Philosopher
    SUV, Pickups, & Aftermarket and Accessories Host
  • pocahontaspocahontas Member Posts: 802
    and would like to continue this subject, here are some active Ford pickups topics you can participate in:

    Pickups Topic 2465, Ford Super Duty forum.

    Pickups Topic 2511, Ford F-Series, pre-99 models questions/concerns).

    In addition, use the Topic Search, find other Ford pickup topics throughout Town Hall.... Thanks for your participation. ;-)

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