How reliable is the 3.0L engine? | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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How reliable is the 3.0L engine?


Explorer Addict
July 20, 2002
Reaction score
City, State
Southeast USA
Year, Model & Trim Level
2000 Sport
Hi guys. I'm considering buying an 02 Ranger with the 3.0 engine. I know it's a different design from my Explorer 4.0 ohv, and I'm wondering about the reliability and stuff to watch out for.

Is the Ranger 3.0 the same engine used in the older Taurus, and what about the Escape, it's also a 3.0.....?

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It should be the same engine, and it's a design which has been in use for many years. I've heard about the head gaskets being a problem on the Windstar, but haven't noticed any issues with them in vehicles like the Aerostar, Taurus or Sable.

I have a '99 Ranger with a 3.0 engine. bought it new. has about 146k miles on it now. never turned a tap on the engine. gas, tires, and fluids are the only expenses I've had.

when I was test driving, the 3.0 flex fuel was a bargain/discount package, so I bought one. also, I was not impressed by any great difference in power from a similar 4.0 Ranger. I've been getting 20+ mpg for 9 years now and I do have a very heavy foot.

my nephew has a repair shop and to my knowledge has never replaced a 3.0 engine in anything. he has replaced one 4.0 already in a vehicle this year and several last year.

maybe I'm just lucky....................jjf

The Escape is supposedly an entirely new engine. My 3.0 has run like a top until recently when it looks like the water pump is going and overheated the head gasket. You can buy a reman long block for the price of a head gasket job. So I dumped in some thermogasket and if it holds great if not i'll get a new one. Other than that it starts every time for me and goes where I need it to.

Umm yea i dont know about anyone else but i have a 2001 ranger 3.0 and 2005 ranger 4.0 now from the year differences the egines havent gained that much more hp but i can def tell a difference in power and torque for sure with the 4.0 its just so much more responsive and the 3.0 was sitting at like 143 or something like that in hp like 15 more the 2.3 and the 4.0 is sitting at 207 and i can def feel it when i jump back and forth in them from time to time

Someone has said "if you can break a Vulcan that has oil and coolant, you should not be authorized to operate anything more complex than a refrigerator".
My sable just turned 239K, and still going strong. Never removed the heads or worked on the bottom end.
I have read that the 4.0 gets almost the same mpg and is a lot stronger, while the 3.0 seems to have been geared such that it does not get real good mileage, FWIW.

Yea i want to say my gas mileage has been about the same in the two trucks and dont get me worng the 3.0 is a good engine and i loved my 01 but i was def looking for that 4x4 and i wanted the 4.0 for the fact that when i do pull or go up the mountian in the 2001 i can def tell

the 3.0 is not that bad of a motor. i have 229K on my 2000 xlt. i have had no major issues with it at all. not bring worry but from what i have read there "can" be an issue with the cam gear. don't know if it is a batch of motors that was produced or not but the cam gear to the cam position gear can shear. one of the guys had this issue at only 45k and locked his motor up.

["I'm hearing more and more about 3.0L vulcan CMP synchro failures these days. I realize that part of the reason is probably just due to wear and tear after X amount of miles. But I'm also wondering if maybe the problem has something to do with lubrication.

More specifically, I'm wondering if it's possible that maybe some of the CMP failures can be associated with Ford's decision several years back to specify the "thinner" 5W-20 weight oil in the vulcan crankcase. It's interesting that Ford does not recommend 5W-20 for the 4.0L OHV, while at the same time you never hear about a CMP synchro failing on the 4.0L OHV in such a manner as to destroy the engine.

Or maybe it has something to do with the fact that today's motor oils contain less of the vitally important zinc additive (ZDDP), which has already started causing problems with camshaft wear, especially during break in. See:"]