4.6l high mileage reliability and maintenance? | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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4.6l high mileage reliability and maintenance?

Harley McIntyre

Well-Known Member
March 31, 2019
Reaction score
City, State
Lake Geneva, WI
Year, Model & Trim Level
2006 Explorer EB 4.6l
I have a 06 eb v8. Just wondering considering all the vvt issues these modular engines have, such as phasers, tensioners, guides, solenoids etc. How reliable are these 3v engines realistically. Mine has about 185k on it right now. Timing has never been done. No ticks or anything like that. I of course have the exhaust manifold leak like everyone does. So I'm just wondering if anyone has had their explorer 4.6 over 200k? Or 300k? This is my first car and I don't exactly have alot of money so I'd rather not have a random catastrophic engine failure and be without a vehicle. What kinds of issues have you guys had or seen? Id like to keep this truck until at least 250k Thanks!

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I am at 291 right now.
Still original tranny
At 200k I replaced a perfectly running 4.6 but it was still going strong like new.
I just had a bad torque converter and it was misdiagnosed as bad engine.

There is a lot of negatives going around about 4.6 and 5.4
I have changed my oil every 3-4k miles and it worked for me. The replacement motor has 140k now and it's just fine.
If you can turn wrenches yourself, you should be ok.
Otherwise, little things get expensive but they are nothing out of ordinary IMHO

We like the trucks very much.

If the truck is running well, like was said, keep taking good care of it with regular oil changes and tuneups. But things will happen, so start saving money every month:
a. For normal repairs on high-mileage vehicles (suspension, exhaust, etc).
b. To lesson the blow if something big does go wrong.

Mine's just at 190, bought it with 175K. Replaced plugs, coils, water pump, T stat, fan clutch, and cylinder head temp sensor (which the sensor was the issue..)

Mine's of course the V8. Love the power...the mileage is the ***** though LOL.

I have a 06 eb v8. Just wondering considering all the vvt issues these modular engines have, such as phasers, tensioners, guides, solenoids etc. How reliable are these 3v engines realistically.
Mine (a 2007) is only at 115K right now - but the one thing I have learned over the years both by experience and by hanging out here is that the VVT issues are probably overblown. I've had several scares over the years because of that reputation but I was always able to diagnose it as something else. Now that they have that reputation, most mechanics will automatically go there first.
I had a tap/knock about two years ago. I couldn't figure it out so I took it to a mechanic and his recommendation was to replace the engine. He blamed the timing components and the VVT system. Stated it was easier and cheaper to replace the engine with a rebuilt than to fix mine.
I didn't like that answer so I took it home and doubled down on the diagnostics. Discovered a follower on one of the intake valves on cylinder one with a locked up roller. $7 later I was back in business rather than being another person complaining about how VVT killed my engine.
Most recent one was noise from the front (again, where those dastardly timing chains are) - discovered that my belt was laying rubber on the idler pulleys. Replaced them, noise gone.
Granted - I've owned mine since it was only a year old and only had 19K miles. Regular oil changes are critical considering the VVT components are hydraulic and mine has gotten them. It's a crap shoot with an older used one about maintenance.
That was a bit long winded - but my main point is that the 4.6 is not a doomed engine despite what you read on the internet.

I have heard that synthetic oil is very helpful in preventing VVT issues, as well as timing chain issues. I have 260000 km on an 08 and it seems to be going strong still.

If you can do your own repairs, that reduces repair costs a lot.

Thanks alot everyone, really appreciate all the input. I know the previous owner decided to use conventional oil (smh) but I've since switched it to Mobil 1 full synthetic with a motorcraft filter. I've only had one oil change and I'm planning doing them every 5k. I do definitely need new rotors, pads, probably calipers, brake fluid (looks like the original fluid) power steering fluid, and also the transfer and differential fluids have never been changed which I'm Also planning on doing and have already bought all the oil. That damn rear differential bolt is seized on there though so I've been soaking it for a few days. Love the suv though that v8 hauls ass haha. Definitely an amazing first vehicle. Thanks again!