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2023-06-14 19:11:25

Worst Engines of All Time - Ford

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Well , hello again and welcome to Rare Classic Cars .

Today we continue our best of worst of series .

Seems like a lot of you enjoy that .

So today we're gonna talk about Ford the blue oval and at least what I feel in my personal opinion are Ford's worst engines that they put out over the years at least .

And we'll call it the modern day era .

So as opposed to General Motors Ford doesn't have , I would say as many bad engines on the list , I think G M as I talked about in the transmission video , has this wide distribution of execution where some things are absolutely stellar and some things just are abysmal .

Ford .

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I would say in general , the execution was more middle and they had good reliable power trains , but sometimes saddled with unreliable components , which we're going to discuss in this first engine in a minute on balance .

I would say when G M was at its best , its power trains were probably a little bit better than Ford , but at its worst , they certainly were worse again .

My , you know , my personal view Ford put out a number of spectacular engines , everything from the F E M E L V eight S , the 4 29 S 4 60 etcetera .

Those are excellent uh excellent engines , but there are a few stinkers that they made over the years .

So here's my brief list and it actually has a couple modern engines on it .

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The first is the S X V six , the 3.8 liter V six that was introduced in 1982 in the Ford Granada and continued on until the late actually all the way into the 2000 s era .

Now , this V six was a 90 degree V six .

It used the same buick philosophy of the even firing by staggering the crank pins to try to make this inherently imbalanced engine a bit more smooth .

And when it came out , it was not an overly powerful engine , it made about 110 115 horsepower .

Thereabouts had a two barrel carburetor and it had first issue at least in the first couple of years .

Ford's wonderful , wonderful variable venturi carburetor which deserves a video all on its own .

Now , that carburetor operated on a good principle that you want to have the venturi size or the size of the air inlet where the air passes through for the carburetor and mixes with the fuel .

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You want that to be a variable size depending upon how much air you're trying to pass through it .

If it's a low speed operation , you ideally want a small opening because a small opening is going to promote faster airflow , which will enable better mixing with the fuel .

And if you're , you're trying to get a lot of air into the engine like a wide open throttle , you want to have a bigger , a bigger opening because the engine can take that and ingest it and you're going to get good fuel mixing because you have wide open throttle and the motor needs a lot of air .

But at part throttle operation or small throttle operation , you just don't , you don't want that amount of air to really get good fuel mixing .

And this was a similar philosophy to the quadrajet spread bore carburetor where the primaries are really small and the secondaries I think are two and a quarter inches .

The primaries are something like one and 5 16 in that zip code .

So the primaries on a quadri jet are really small .

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The secondaries are really big .

It's because of the same principle .

Why Ford went to the variable venturi car .

So that was strike one kind of against this S X V six from the beginning .

But I would say the the biggest issue with this engine was its voracious appetite for head gaskets and it liked head gaskets like cookie cookie monster likes cookies .

Uh It was they all blow head gaskets whether or not you have the standard one that's relatively low horsepower , as I said or Ford even had in the late eighties , a supercharged version that went into the Thunderbirds .

I can't imagine dumping a supercharger on this motor that already has high levels of head gasket failure .

But kind of till the end , they had these issues , albeit it got better in the nineties era as these got sequential port injection .

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The unfortunate thing is this engine was made for so many years and went in so many applications from cars , regular everyday cars including the Thunderbirds , the Grenada to the Mustangs , to the wind stars .

It went all over in Ford's lineup and it just was not a great engine unfortunately .

And it was so bad that I know having worked with people who were Ford engineers at the time when they were coming out with its subsequent versions of 3.9 and 4.2 liter versions of this S V six .

Ford actually made sure they wanted to change the base displacement from 3.8 to 3.9 liters to get away from this thought of or the the lack of brand equity that the motor had in the marketplace because people knew that it was , it was quite troublesome .

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So that makes I would say the one item not necessarily the top of the list in worst Ford engines of all time , but certainly not a great one .

And like I said , it proliferated a lot of their lineup for many , many years .

Let's go on to the next one here .

This I think is arguably the worst engine of all time .

Ford has put out in the worst diesel engine in pickups .

Maybe aside from in the late seventies , the Oldsmobile diesel that went in the G M pickups , the six liter power stroke diesel du du du from 2003 to 2007 .

What doesn't go wrong on this engine ?

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It has everything from oil cooler issues to , er , issues , to injector issues , to head gasket issues , to electronical issues with the PC MS .

Best advice is just stay away .

Now , some people will claim that this engine is not totally at fault that there are some maybe inherent weaknesses in the design , but it's not bad .

Overall , I don't know , I think that's kind of justifying what really is a engine and why do I say that a lot of , a lot of the issues kind of pinpoint to the fact that the oil cooling passages and the oil coolers are relatively small in order to promote better flow and heat transfer and because they're small , they tend to clog and then when that clogs , it really has this domino effect where the E G R system will overheat .

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And when the E G R system overheats , it leaks coolant into the intake .

And then when the coolant leaks into the intake , the engine tries to compress liquid which is not great and it drives the cylinder pressures up and blows the head gaskets .

So there are different groups .

So there's actually , I think a forum even called bullet proofing the six liter power stroke diesel , but you shouldn't have to bulletproof an engine like this .

Especially when at the time , Ram or Dodge Ram at the time had the cummins diesel that was very reliable .

And G M diesels of that era were relatively reliable to certainly more so than the six liter .

And my best advice on it is to just stay away .

They did have a subsequent version , a 6.4 liter that came out after that .

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And these were used by the way in pickups , excursions , the E series van , they were used in a lot of different things , but they had a subsequent version that came out , there was 6.4 liters that cured some of the issues but not all of the issues .

So it's really not a great series of engines .

And it's so unfortunate because it came on the heels of the 7.3 liter power stroke diesel , which was very reliable , very durable used in school buses , pick ups a many different things because it was a avast star engine and people loved that one .

It was very reliable .

And then here you go from that to the six liter power stroke .

And I believe the reason why Ford had to go to the six liters because the 7.3 couldn't pass .

It wasn't actually emission standards .

It was the noise pollution standards in particular , for California it was too noisy .

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And if you hear the 7.3 s you'll hear they clatter quite a bit but they clatter a lot .

People kind of like it .

If you're a diesel enthusiast , for whatever reason , people seem to like the clatter and they certainly were reliable .

These six leaders stay away last .

This one's going to spark a little debate .

The 5.4 modulator V eight modular V eight , the three valve version that was used in 2004 to 2008 , there was two valve versions as well and the modular displacement series of engines had among other things , the 4.6 liter V eight , the 5.42 valve , the triton V 10 S as well .

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So it's basically spawned a series of engines and there's some debate in terms of the overall reliability of those they do have including the three valve spark plug issues where they , if the spark plugs are not installed correctly , they'll push the spark plugs out and eject them , which is interesting and they have some other issues with the timing chains and guides .

But this three valve eight in particular has those .

And it also has issues if the previous owners didn't rigidly adhere to the oil change maintenance schedule , they tend to build up sludge particularly in the upper end of the motor and then that sludge clogs what are arguably too small of passages .

And once that happens , you get a lot of valve train issues .

The cam phasers start clacking , uh in some cases , the rock arm , the needle bearings and the rocker arms start wearing out .

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And the unfortunate part is that you generally can't just replace the cam phasers or those top end components and expect the engine to live for a long time after that because the root cause of them failing is a lack of oil pressure and oil starvation because of the sludge that is now inside of the engine from not having adhered to the maintenance schedule rigidly .

So you can replace all that , but the noise comes back , you're not solving the oil pressure issue .

And in that case , really , the only remedy is to get a new engine put in the vehicle .

So they tend to be ok if you adhere to that schedule rigidly or in this case , I would suggest change your engine oil every three or 4000 miles .

Even if the dashboard computer says go 7000 , don't do it just be on the safe side and change it more frequently along with the filter .

And you're probably going to be ok .

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I mean , after all the modular V eights , taxicab companies , police police departments all used the 4.6 liter two valve versions many , many years , I've seen tons of them with 400,000 miles on them and they're generally quite reliable .

I would just say in particular , the three valve because of that Sludge issue presents its own unique challenges .

And that's really the short list for the Ford engines in terms of which ones are really at the bottom of the list .

At least in my mind again .

And I'm sure people have had good luck with some , but I think these certainly the power stroke diesel is one that a lot of people have had challenges with the six liter powers stroke diesel .

And I think there are a few honorable mentions .

One could say the 2.3 liter four cylinder , particularly the turbocharged version , that one also enjoyed munching on head gaskets .

But I think that these are probably , these are a bit worse .

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And again , a lot of the V eights that Ford made over time , the classic V eight s are really quite good , whether it's the Windsor V eight S , the Cleveland V eight S , the 335 series 4 29 4 60 the M E L S E , those are all really good engines .

Maybe the one other honorable mention I'll give is to the 351 M V eight M as in Mary and the 400 cubic inch V eight in a similar time frame , they had relatively weak bottom ends and would tend to lose oil pressure .

Not after too many miles and the 351 in particular , in the big full size vehicles just really couldn't move it that well .

Not only because of the engine itself not being all that powerful , but it was choked down with emissions really jetted very lean .

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I had a 75 LTD Brome with one and I had to upsize the jets and the carburetor , I think , by about 6000 to really get it to run .

Right , because you'd step on the accelerator and it would have good initial response .

But then if you pushed more and more , it had nothing really , it was just running too lean .

And when I put those oversized jets in it , it made a world of difference .

I started out and just went up in two thousands increments .

So I went up by 2000 versus the factory spec four and then six when the returns were diminishing at each point and I stopped at the six and it ran really well .

It still wasn't very powerful , but they did have bottom end issues and the four hundreds had casting porosity issues as well during that time frame .

So you do have to watch out a little bit with those .

I have no idea why Ford in particular had 33 51 engines at one point .

They had the Windsor , the Cleveland and the modified , the modified is not the same as the Cleveland .

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So they're different .

But in any case , that's my list of worst Ford engines .

I hope you enjoyed .

Stay tuned for the best ones and for others take care .

Thanks for watching this .

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