Ford Ranger III

meredithmeredith Member Posts: 575
edited March 2014 in Ford
This topic is a continuation of Topic 1165....

Ford Frontier II. Please continue these
discussions here. Thanks!

Front Porch Philosopher
SUV, Pickups, & Aftermarket and Accessories Host


  • xena1axena1a Member Posts: 286
    Let's get this one started on a positive note... I've had my Mazda B3000 for exactly one year now. Approaching 14K miles and have been very satisfied with the truck so far. No problems to report. It is a 4WD 3.0L ex-cab (4 door) with a manual tranny. I will be leaving for a road trip from AZ to CO on July 1st and expect to get about 23MPG during the hiway portion of the trip. I will be taking the truck out for some aggressive off-road activity while I'm in CO. I'm very much looking forward to my trip and don't expect any problems. I'll let you know how it all turns out...
  • onegraniteonegranite Member Posts: 9
    You do not have to agree with me. But allow me to quote the portion of the article from IS JOB 1 - RECALLS, June 15, 2000, verbatim "4.0 liter Explorers and Rangers NOW use plastic intake manifolds, rather than aluminum. The results are amplified engine noise, hissing, and rough idle due to manifold warpage. Lighter and cheaper? Yes. Better? Hardly." This is in response to your opinion on Ford Ranger II #526. "Quality is Job 1" it noway states that Ford 3.0 or 4.0 manifolds are plastic. Its states that steel is being replaced by aluminum in some cases and aluminum is being replaced by plastics."

    It is very clear that it says NOW. Even the author disputes that it is better. I agree with you that plastics are preferable in some applications but I do not believe that in this instance Ford is driven by 'better' but by manufacturing cost. In paragraph 10, it states "Japanese and German auto manufacturers design parts with the life of the vehicle in mind, not the life of the warranty." I am sure it cost them money to lure me to their products, but IMHO Ford have failed to sustain their effort with tangible quality product and responsive franchised dealer service. If you are comfortable and satisfied with their product and services, more power to you. For myself, it is difficult to give second chances when Ford have not demonstrated the ability to provide a quality product, at least during the factory warranty phase. It is just a consumer opinion, I am sure your understanding of plastics is remarkable, but you do not have to brag about your knowledge with plastics, I could care less. I hope you are receiving a fat check from Ford Motor Company for vigorously defending their manufacturing judgment. Ford do not have any noble gesture other than lining their pockets so you can happily write them checks after checks.
    That is, if you do not eventually sue or if they do not face another class action suit because of a defective product (1999 Mustang Cobra). Have you driven OVER a Ford lately?
  • xena1axena1a Member Posts: 286
    Sorry to hear about the pinging problems with your 3.0L. I have the same engine in my '99 B3000 and did develop some moderate pinging during uphill acceleration at about 4500mi. Fortunately, the pinging in my 3.0L subsided when I switched to a higher octane fuel. It now has 14,000mi and the engine runs strong. I wish you would have had the same experience...
  • superjim2000superjim2000 Member Posts: 314
    23 highway? Wow. I dont know if your truck is 2 or 4wd but my reg cab S10 with 4.3 and auto gets 22mpg with my lead foot and 26mpg on long trips. Its 2wd.
  • cpousnrcpousnr Member Posts: 1,611
    "It is very clear that it says NOW. Even the author
    disputes that it is better. I agree with you that
    plastics are preferable in some applications but I
    do not believe that in this instance Ford is driven by 'better' but by manufacturing cost. In
    paragraph 10, it states "Japanese and German auto
    manufacturers design parts with the life of the
    vehicle in mind, not the life of the warranty."

    The Ford 4.0 and 3.0 60 degree V6 engines are a German engineered engine.

  • cpousnrcpousnr Member Posts: 1,611
    My 99 4.0 4X4 supercab, when totally stock, got 22-23 mpg and once 25 on the highway. One 550 mile trip with about 30 miles of 4X4 off-roading averaged 21.5 mpg. Changing to 31 inch tires dropped my mpg maybe by 2-3 mpg.

    Do not forget to bring a camera. When we go 4 wheeling up Medano will get some nice shots. Perhaps we will swap cameras. I would choose ASA 400 film as the light is sometimes low due to tree cover.
  • xena1axena1a Member Posts: 286
    Thanks CP. I'm ready to roll. I'll be on the road by 4AM Saturday morning. It's a solid 12hr drive, plus I loose 1hr due to the timezone change. Westcliffe, here I come!!!
  • blyndgesser1blyndgesser1 Member Posts: 17
    A friend from the office insisted that if I bought a Ranger, I "have to have the 4.0." I drove the 4.0 and it seemed very harsh and noisy. Knowing that I would probably pull nothing larger than a U-Haul trailer, and even that only rarely, I tried the 3.0. It's much smoother, and I think it'll be easier to live with in the daily (mostly rural two-lane) commute.

    Against the advice of the office know-it-all, I just bought my new 4x2 Supercab 3.0 yesterday. It's an automatic with power pkg and cruise/tilt. Drove it 300 miles to visit my folks (over rolling north Georgia hills) and got 21.6 mpg. Already it looks like a good choice. It's a bit slower than my 97 Civic, but it cruises well and really seems to run better the faster I push it. My back didn't even hurt afterward.

    I had to back-order an under-the-rail liner from the dealer (as part of the deal, btw) since they usually do over-the-rail only. I'll end up installing either a cap or a hard tonneau cover within a few months.

    Thanks to everyone for your comments on the 3.0 engine--I'm looking forward to a couple hundred thousand miles on this one! And no, mine doesn't appear to have a plastic intake manifold--it looks like anodized aluminum to this (untrained) eye.

  • onegraniteonegranite Member Posts: 9
    It said Japanese and German manufacturers, it did not say "engineered". So what if the Ford 4.0 and 3.0 60 degree V6 are German engineered, Ford was never German. Oops! You know you are nitpicking just to make a point even if it is a bad one at that. Plastic intake manifolds are on the 4.0 not the 3.0. The Vulcan 3.0L will continue through the 2002 model year Ranger, although some production might spill over into early 2003 models. 2000 will be the last year for the 3.0L FFV Ranger. You drive whatever you want to drive, I could care less but please argue a better point and get your facts straight--considering you know where Ford, the domestic manufacturer engineered their geriatric OHV engines. If these engines where great, Ford would have put a bigger version of these engines on their best selling F150s, not Tritons.
  • barlitzbarlitz Member Posts: 752
    Whats wrong with the plastic intake manifold.I replaced mine with a K&N fipk and guess what thats plastic,the reason K&N goes with plastic is for reduced heat,I have the 5.4 triton and there's not a thing wrong with it,as a matter of fact rates it one of the worlds best 10 engines.
  • modvptnlmodvptnl Member Posts: 1,352
    I think your confusing the air intake with an intake manifold. If you hurry up and scribble your post no one will see it!! LOL.
  • barlitzbarlitz Member Posts: 752
    sorry you are right,for some reason I was thinking about something else.Thanks though, maybe I'll stay out of this topic for a while.:)
  • jcc6jcc6 Member Posts: 8
    I have had my 2000 Ranger 3.0L for about a month now and haven't had too much of a problem. I do have a few questions about it for those who care to respond:
    1. I have noticed that ~3 to 3.5rpm is the powerband for the 3.0L. I can get sufficient power when passing on single lane highways when I run 3rd gear up to ~4 to 4.5rpm. Will that hurt my engine, even if it is only for a few moments?
  • jcc6jcc6 Member Posts: 8
    Two other things I have noticed:

    1. When my windshield wipers are on, my engine really loses power. Does this happen to all 3.0L or is my engine faulty?

    2. The safety-belt alarm is driving me nuts! My dealer says that it can't be disconnected....Is he telling the truth?
  • blyndgesser1blyndgesser1 Member Posts: 17
    The best way to keep that pesky alarm from dinging all the time is to WEAR THE SEAT BELT. It also does an excellent job of keeping you farther away from those high explosives in the airbag mechanism. So unless you want a punctured aorta next time you hit something, just wear the belt. (It saved my life in 1995.)

  • blyndgesser1blyndgesser1 Member Posts: 17
    It shouldn't matter much so long as it's not all the time. My automatic 3.0 kicks down on hills at ca. 60 mph, so I can't see that there's anything wrong with running the manual version at the same rpm for short periods.

    Top-end wear (valves, valve guides, camshaft bearings) would be the major long-term concern, and as long as your oil passages are reasonably clean (from regular oil changes every 3000-5000 miles) there shouldn't be any real danger (assuming the engine is put together properly to begin with. . .)

  • blyndgesser1blyndgesser1 Member Posts: 17
    My first guess would be that when your wipers are on, you're also running the defogger, which automatically engages the a/c compressor to dry the air inside the truck. If that's true, then I'd expect a little "drag" on the engine. (I haven't noticed it on mine, but here in Georgia I haven't run it without the a/c since I bought it :-) )

    Other than that, it could be that there's some sort of electrical problem that causes the alternator to run full-time when the wipers are on--maybe a faulty voltage regulator???

  • derekshawnderekshawn Member Posts: 10
    I currently own a 2000 Ranger ext. cab with the 3.0 but will be selling it to my dad so that I can get something cheaper to take to school with me here in Georgia. I have a friend that is selling a 98 Ranger with 70k miles on it. I know that the mileage is very high but he is offering it for a really good price. What problems should I look for? Is there anything I should be concerning about? Thanks for any info.

  • derekshawnderekshawn Member Posts: 10
    The '98 Ranger has the 2.5L with the automatic tranny. It looks to be in very good shape and the guy who owns it is a mechanic.
  • brewster3brewster3 Member Posts: 10
    I just changed the fluid in the 5-speed manual transmission in my '99 Ranger 4x4 with 3.0 litre engine. It is the first change since I got the vehicle new. The mileage is 29,930. The vehicle is mostly driven at highway speeds of 65-85 mph for about 45 mile stretches.

    The fluid was BLACK, not brown, or red, but black. It was very thin in consistency, almost watery and had a funny odor. Also there were a lot of metal filings on the magnetic drain plug.

    The fluid in the transfer case was nice and red.

    Anway I put new valvoline ATF in both the tranny and transfer case.

    Any ideas as to why the fluid was BLACK ??? The trans has always shifted fine and is very quiet. The only thing that has me a bit concerned is why was the fluid so BLACK.

    It was so dirty and black that I am going to change the fluid out to sort of flush it again soon. Is there any better fluid that I could be using ???
  • davidb72davidb72 Member Posts: 174
    I've decided to get the timing belt replaced and keep the truck another 96,000 miles. If you've had this done, how much did you pay and where did you get it done. My local mechanic (who is a pretty good mechanic) had the truck apart at 60,000 but couldn't get the bottom pulley off to pull the belt. I've put it off until now, but if I'm going to keep the truck I figure I better get it done soon. I'm thinking I may have to bite the bullet and take it to the Ford dealer to get it done. Any ideas??? When will the 2001's be in? Maybe it's time for a new truck?
  • mtnrangermtnranger Member Posts: 2
    Hello out there!
    I recently bought a new 1999 Ranger Extend cab, 4x4 "Off Road" package last year. I really love the truck and its convenient 4 doors, but have heard what I think is a disturbing noise. When going from Park to Reverse, or while in Drive and shift to Reverse, a loud clunk noise is coming from what I think is the rear axle area. Has anyone else out there had this problem? I only have 7k on the 4.0L, and don't have too much faith in our "local" dealership, and wanted some input from you savvy Ford owners..
  • cpousnrcpousnr Member Posts: 1,611
    Well the Ranger 5 speed manual, at least on the 4.0 uses


    Make sure you do not use MERCON IV, it has to be MERCON III.

    I do not know if the 3.0 tranny is the same but seriously you need to check. Because if you put the wrong oil in your tranny, it will ruin it.

    Well black would indicate, I think, that it was overheated at one time.
  • cpousnrcpousnr Member Posts: 1,611
    The Ranger is prone to give a noise called the "Cow Bell" ding but a clunk? Do not own any automatics now but do recall that many clunk a bit when put in gear.

    Do you have the limited slip differential, the 4.10 rear end? Perhaps that is a comon noise.

    You might try posting over here:

    Go to the 4X4 off-road section and just post the question, better Ranger sages over there. Plus that is a good place for info.
  • mtnrangermtnranger Member Posts: 2
    Thanks for the help cp..It does have limited slip, 4.10, and it may be what you spoke of. I will try the site you gave and see what pops up..
    thanks again..
  • danny25danny25 Member Posts: 119
    I found some new pictures of the 2001 truck. There 2 of the Edge, this time in yellow. And some of the 4x4 XLT.
    Just type Ranger in the search box.
  • gmcsierragmcsierra Member Posts: 40
    There was a service bulletin on the 4x4 and ext cab rangers with the two piece rear driveshaft. If I'm not mistaken, they were replacing the rear driveshaft. You can go to the nhtsa website and find out alot of info on recalls and service bulletins by searching for your vehicle. This way you are more prepared to deal with the service department.

    Address is

    Friend of mine had one and as I recall they did replace the rear driveshaft on his 4.0 auto extcab 4x4.
  • xena1axena1a Member Posts: 286
    Thanks for the link on the 2001 Ranger XLTs. Good
  • hciaffahciaffa Member Posts: 454
    I had the TSB done on my 98 Ranger XLT. There is a service bulletin on the problem. Its a clank or cow bell sound when engaging into gear. They do either of two things. Repack the drive shaft extension or replace the whole drive shaft as in my case, my Ranger has a shuddering feeling as well when taking off from a stop. Fixed and all is well. At the site the the listing For Ford Trucks under 1998 for TSB's shows the TSB # as 98-11-9 because it was issued in 98 and affects any Ranger with the Super cab.
  • nethknethk Member Posts: 1
    Help/Hints needed:
    I've got a 98 XLT 4.0L V-6 got about 14k on the engine and now it's making a sound like a diesel engine like marbles in a tin can type.
    The dealer says it's part of the usual engine noise("that's normal" they say).
    Does anyone else have this problem? ... I've read on othersites about the 'wristpin' working loose on the pistons. I'm not sure what to make of this.
    Any advice/feedback??
  • blyndgesser1blyndgesser1 Member Posts: 17
    There were several posts on this topic in the earlier Ranger discussion groups (I and II). I don't have the numbers handy, but you will definitely want to review them.

    As I recall, the problem that causes the noise is failure of one or more of the wrist pins. Left untreated, it will result in engine failure (thrown connecting rod).

    Have you been able to demonstrate the noise to your service manager? It sounds like the folks at your dealership are either misinformed or deliberately lying to you about this being "normal." Since you have only 14k on this engine, you may have some recourse (assuming it is a new factory engine and not rebuilt by a third party).

    Keep up the pressure and don't let them BS you.

  • blyndgesser1blyndgesser1 Member Posts: 17
    You might also look into topic #688 on the Edmunds board, entitled Ford Ranger 4.0 Engine Problems. There's quite a bit of info there.

  • jfowlerjrjfowlerjr Member Posts: 20
    Ok I was at the dealer today ready to buy myself a new 4x2 3.0 liter 4 door 5 speed ranger. I have 2 questions though.

    1) What is limited slip and do I need it.

    2) How much differents does 4 wheel ABS make.

  • scape2scape2 Member Posts: 4,123
    For any Ranger owners with the clunk or cow bell sound.. There is a TSB for this. Have your dealer look it up. There is a fix. And for the engine ping issue. Try higher octane, worked for me. I own a 1998 Ranger XLT 4.0 SC stepside 5spd with over 30K miles and love it!
  • kit1404kit1404 Member Posts: 124
    The dealer ignored me at first, by the time the truck had 17,000 miles on it, they decided it had a problem - they couldn't even get the diagnostic program to run. But, they still thought it was minor - bring it back whenever. I brought it right back and left it. They said 2 days tops - we need to work on the engine. It turned out to be 2 weeks (waiting on parts?). Anyway, after the repairs - the engine made the same "marbles" noise that I had started to hear and try to ignore from 5,000 miles on. I had a little fit at this point - was told to just drive it, don't bother us, it'll be OK? Ford had some bad 4.0 engines - I have done a lot of research on this and it does seem that the wristpins are the culprit. Frankly, make them replace the engine. I unloaded mine and bought a new F-150 - so much more truck/power and almost the same gas mileage for not that much more.
  • jdr944turbojdr944turbo Member Posts: 15
    Anybody had any experience running their 3.0L Rangers on E-85 (Ethanol) fuel? If so, how does it do?
  • danny25danny25 Member Posts: 119
    Here's an article I found about the new Rangers. It's a first test drive from It's also got some nice pictures.
  • hmerglerhmergler Member Posts: 85
    Just wanted to say hello again. It's been a while since I've been here, but things have been pretty hectic the last half year or so. My 2000 Ranger is running great. I've had it since Nov 99 and I have 11,200 miles on it, plus I am getting ready to head to NH from VA for vacation.

    I have one question about a part I have been trying to find. When I got my Ranger, they left that little white door guard on my truck. Stupid me did not notice that it was sliding up and down on the door and the door near the edge got scratched up. I would like to get a good door guard/bumper that will slide onto the door edge and the bumper part would hide the scratches that are on the 1/2 inch near the door edge. Does anyone know where I can find these? I've looked in the JC Whitney catalogs and a few others to no avail. The closest I found was one that sticks onto the door, but requires the door to be flat, but the Ranger door has that hump in the middle.

    The Merg
  • mickcmickc Member Posts: 2
    I have a '99 3.0L that I just bought and it is about out of Ford warranty. Is there anything I should have looked at before its too late?
  • scape2scape2 Member Posts: 4,123
    Yes! Check to make sure all the recalls have been taken care of if there are any. And, make sure you don't have the cow bell sound when going into gear, there is a TSB for this also.
    Great review of 2001 Ranger! Thanks...
  • steve237steve237 Member Posts: 6
    Wow, you put on 36k on a 99!
  • mickcmickc Member Posts: 2
    36k first owner bought in 98' I got it last week approx 18k/ year. Where do I find out about recalls? Also AC seems not to get cold when I turn it on for a few minutes sometimes, others cold immediately. Also my roomates 98 mazda has a wind whistle and mine does too is this typical what can I do about that. its not in the windows, maybe it could be the windsheild or antenna?
  • lmtodd1lmtodd1 Member Posts: 6
    I'm considering trading tomorrow for a 2000 ranger supercab auto with a 3.0 liter with a 3.73 axle ratio. I really don't haul anything heavy or tow anything. Can I expect to get the 17 city and 22 highway miles posted on the sticker. I do not drive my vehicles real hard. There were no other trucks available at the end of year close-out with a 3.55 axle ratio. I would like to hear from some who have the 3 liter with 3.73 axle and get some idea of the gas mileage you are getting. Also, the previous ranger that I owned was a four banger that always had a little spark knock. Does the 3 liter have a history of spark knock with regular fuel?
  • scape2scape2 Member Posts: 4,123
    My friend owns a 1998 Ford Ranger 3.0 5spd 3.73 rearend XLT 4x4 Ranger. His has been fine, no problems whatsoever. He does however run 89 octane in his 3.0. When he first bought it it would ping sometimes on up hill climbs. Since he switched never pings anymore. It sounds like you have the right truck with engine combo picked for your needs. I would however highly recommend a limited slip rearend and the tow pkg. If you do any type of offroading, get rid of those Fire junkers immediatly!! They are garbage for offroading, I believe they are a 4ply [email protected]! Get some P265x75xR16's all terrains if you have 16" rims. They fit fine, bumpstops ok too... This will make your RAnger look much better, give it a more agressive and nicer stance, not to mention the vastly improved offroad grab and the good extra inch of clearance that is needed. Good luck!
  • lmtodd1lmtodd1 Member Posts: 6
    Vince, Thanks for replying back to me. I drove the truck about fifty miles on a test run today and noticed no ping. I am not an off-road man and I must have an automatic transmission because of a physical disability. This would be my third ranger in four years if I decide to get it. The first two were regular cab four bangers. This would be my first supercab. Ranger seats are the most comfortable of any truck I have ever driven. I would have an f-150 if it were not for their uncomfortable seats.(I do have some back problems.) The 15 inch wheels also make the truck more appealing than the 98 ranger I owned although I would prefer aluminum alloy to chrome over steel.
  • anonymousanonymous Member Posts: 314
    I have the exact combo you describe--3.0 (FFV) automatic with the 3.73 rear end. Are you looking at 4x4 or 4x2? I bought my 4x2 a month ago and now have almost 3000 miles on it. I run 87 octane regular in it--no pinging yet, but several have posted that their 3.0 engines do run better on 89 octane.

    As for gas mileage, my driving is a mix of suburban stop-and-go and rural 55mph roads through the hills of central Georgia. My best tank so far is 21.x mpg, and I've never gotten below 19. Usually it's right around 20 overall. So the mileage listed on the EPA sticker seems like a reasonable estimate to me. Interestingly, it doesn't seem to vary much from tank to tank, regardless of how much stop-and-go vs. how much rural driving.

    So the truck you describe is a good compromise between power and economy. Hope you can work things out with the dealer!

  • steve237steve237 Member Posts: 6
    Just bought a 4x4 3.0 Supercab this week. This is my second Ranger but first 4x4.

    First tank of gas got 21 MPG, which surprised me in a good way. Half the tank was used driving locally in the city and I also got stopped in a traffic jam for an hour and a half. The other half of the tank was rural state highways, but no interstate. Never went over 60 MPH so far.

    I have an XL though, with smaller tires, 215/75/R15, than the XLT. This actually was my preference as smaller tires improve gas mileage. If MPG is a major concern be wary of putting on larger aftermarket tires, as they will degrade your MPG.

    Also, if you put a flat hard lid (I do not have as of yet) bed cover on you will also improve highway MPG a mile or two.

    Someone mentioned the rear slip. It is great for off road but if you live in northern climates this can be a mixed bag. The slip will improve your traction in snow conditions but it also makes the car unstable in sheer ice conditions (both wheels can simultaneously slip which is likely to put you in a ditch).
  • steve237steve237 Member Posts: 6
    My Ranger is manual, not automatic.
  • cpousnrcpousnr Member Posts: 1,611
    Well you did not say if you wanted a guard to go up the whole edge or accross, front to back, in the middle of the door.

    PepBoys has an edge guard, runs from the bottom rear corner to the top right on the edge. Sticks on with some type of glue in the guard.

    It is flexable, comes clear or colored but only does the edge, maybe 1/8 inch or so. Is in maybe a 36 inch length times 2 for about 4 bucks.

    Well finished the front reciever hitch and winch installation. Have my 99 Ranger with a Ramsey REP8000, front mounted reciever. Looks nice but is low, wish it was higer. Will design a carrier for the winch in the bed and install only when needed. The front reciever gives me the advantage of moving the winch from front to back as needed.
  • fredfred3fredfred3 Member Posts: 73
    I bought door guard molding from Pep Boys that comes in a big roll for about 10 or 15 bucks. I put it on the doors of my 2000 Ranger, top to bottom and it works great. It is flexible and ahears to all the contours. There is enough in the roll for a couple more applications, should you ever decided to replace it or want to use some for another vehicle.
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