RevRico PowerDork
8/10/19 12:08 a.m.

Tell me everything?

Including but not limited to: making it run outside of a vehicle, power adders, weak points.

I have a head full of bad ideas and a running one, attached to a 4R44E. 


Oh, only Tom Maran for performance parts and they are $stupid. Getting it out of a heavy truck and onto something lighter will be the best performance upgrade then. 

Dootz Reader
8/10/19 6:30 a.m.

I had one in a Taurus that weighed much less than your truck, and it was still a pile of trash then.

alfadriver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/10/19 7:04 a.m.

IMHO, if you want a good Ford 3.0l engine, get a Duratec from a Taurus.  Way better engine.

STM317 UltraDork
8/10/19 7:32 a.m.

There are better engines, but if you've got one sitting there, might as well have some fun.

They're very reliable engines. The only weak point in stock form is the cam synchro. It's got a bushing that doesn't really get lubricated and if it seizes, the cam synchro locks up. The real issue with that is that the synchro drives the oil pump, so no synchro means no oil. Thats the only real killer, and they tend to squeak or chirp pretty loudly before they fail. If you're going to replace the synchro, don't bother with anything but the Motorcraft part. Adding a dab of oil to the base of the cam synchro as regular maintenance can only help keep the existing synchro happier.

Besides that, they're pretty robust engines. Non-interference. Timing chain. Basic 2 valve, pushrod design. If you look at a 3.0 and the older 5.0, you can tell they were designed by the same people around the same time but lifters are the only interchangeable parts unfortunately.

An electric cooling fan and underdrive crank pulley are the best bang-for your buck mods. 10-15whp gains in a Ranger when combined and can be done for under $200. The heads and intake manifolds are rough castings and have a ton of meat that can be removed if you're patient and have a die grinder. They take Boost fairly well in stock form. Ford Racing sold a Whipple supercharger that did 10psi with a warranty. I've seen claims of up to 20psi on stock bottom ends. Head studs and fresh head gaskets are a good idea if you're boosting. Stock head bolts are torque to yield and should not be reused. Valve springs are weak, and will cause valve float if you plan on spinning it very fast.

Ive got one that's pretty heavily modified, flex fuel, and running 9-10psi. It's a way different animal than stock. If interested, I'll post pics when I get to my computer. Otherwise ask away.

Knurled. MegaDork
8/10/19 7:43 a.m.

You can't kill them.  At all.  It's a better cockroach than the 2.3 HSC.


I've contemplated them as RX-7 swaps simply for this unkillability.  When it's over 100F out and nobody showed up to the rallycross because they're smart and you are not, so therefore your runs happen as frequently as you can finish your last one, you want something that laughs at coolant temps that make the gauge go "TILT".  This engine is that engine.



Antihero GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
8/10/19 9:22 a.m.

The 3.slow? 

RevRico PowerDork
8/10/19 10:08 a.m.

Good to hear. I like reliable. I also have a TD05 sitting around looking for a home. 

I haven't decided yet if I'm keeping the motor and trans or not. I don't expect more than $100-200 for them, and really like the idea of making a buggy out of the parts truck. The truck it's living in will never see "street legal" status again, so I feel like I ought to do something with it. 

slowbird Reader
8/10/19 10:25 a.m.

I had one in a 1998 Taurus, my second car and first one that I actually drove a lot. That was the car that taught me that in a Ford, when the "oil" light flickers during hard braking, that it's time to add a bunch of oil, lol. FWIW the engine continued to run fine for years after that. I eventually sold the car to a friend and at some point they had a freeze plug come out of the block or something so they scrapped it.

I've often entertained the idea of building one up, just to be different and weird. Maybe in a Tempo or Topaz.

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
8/10/19 5:10 p.m.

Got any boats that need anchoring?

Mndsm MegaDork
8/10/19 7:14 p.m.

The one I had in the 95 Taurus I got for 100$ was the most freakishly reliable motor I've ever owned. And I like corollas. 

Knurled. MegaDork
8/10/19 7:27 p.m.

Some more tidbits I've remembered.


The cam sensor, as noted, will start making an awful chirping noise after a decade or two.


The coil packs tend to rust and split.  You'll know it when the thing starts misfiring under a snap throttle, or all the time if it's humid.


The timing cover gasket will eventually blow out and start heaving coolant.  Not that big of a deal to change in any chassis.  Probably should replace the chain set while you are in there.


I did have the heads off of one once after some determined soul did manage to cook one.  The chambers are straight out of the 1950s, and to make matters even better, they overlap the cylinders.  This in an engine that Ford announced that they were able to cut hydrocarbon emissions a significant amount by removing the "this end forward" arrow from the top of the piston.



RevRico PowerDork
8/10/19 8:43 p.m.

So how "smart" is it? 

Maybe this is one of those things where "if you have to ask you shouldn't do it", but what all sensors and crap does it want to see to run on a stand?

It's got a horrible stumble right now, but also has no exhaust past where the manifolds come together, so no 02 sensors or cats.

Knurled. MegaDork
8/10/19 8:53 p.m.

In reply to RevRico :

"Smart" depends on what it came out of.  Remember this engine was used from 1986 to the mid-00s (maybe later), in Tauruses, Tempos, Probes (and what a bastardization THAT was to make it fit), Aerostars, and Rangers.  Possibly also Windstars, if the person buying it was a masochist.


AFAIK the most important thing is if it has an immobilizer key or not.  That's not terribly difficult to spoof, or even make work correctly.

RevRico PowerDork
8/10/19 9:03 p.m.

In reply to Knurled. :

2000 ranger in this case. 

There isn't enough frame left to build off of unless I move the rear wheels to where the back "seats" are, even then the cab has no floor left, so I'm thinking tube buggy or super tractor. 

STM317 UltraDork
8/11/19 8:09 a.m.

2000 will have PATS. The ignition key, PCM, and a module in the steering column are all programmed together. If any of those parts is missing, or not programmed together it won't start. PATS can be deleted with an aftermarket tuning device, but those are usually $400-500. Seems pretty easy to just reuse those things in your case, but it needed to be mentioned.

The rest of the stuff is pretty standard, turn of the millennium tech. No CAN networks or anything that need to be in place. As long as you've got the MAF, O2s, and everything in between, it will run in a radio flyer. I'm assuming you'd just run the stock fuel tank, and could keep the factory evap system. If that's not there, you'll get a CEL, but I'm not sure if it would have any effect on driveability.




Knurled. MegaDork
8/11/19 8:16 a.m.

In reply to STM317 :

IIRC, that PATS can be "defeated" by ziptying a key to the steering column.


This is the way people defeat PATS so remote starts will work.  Makes it fun when you try to initialize a new PCM and you don't know that there's another key hiding in the car.

CyberEric HalfDork
8/11/19 12:50 p.m.

I am amazed by how much you guys know about this engine. I love GRM!

Knurled. MegaDork
8/11/19 1:25 p.m.

In reply to CyberEric :

Some of us work on cars for a living, and the 3.0 was the base model engine in the highest production car in the US for decades (fleet sales! fleet sales!), and was also seemingly in 90% of Rangers (fleet sales! fleet sales!) too.  It's common as dirt.  About as fast as dirt, but also about as reliable as dirt. 

If I was forced to have a truck, it'd probably be a B3000 with a manual trans, because for some unfathomable reason it seems like the B3000s rusted less.  (Yes, I know they were made on the same line.  Toyota Matrixes are usually in better shape than Pontiac Vibes, too.  Definitely a case of nurture over nature)

alfadriver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/11/19 2:09 p.m.
RevRico said:

So how "smart" is it? 

Maybe this is one of those things where "if you have to ask you shouldn't do it", but what all sensors and crap does it want to see to run on a stand?

It's got a horrible stumble right now, but also has no exhaust past where the manifolds come together, so no 02 sensors or cats.

Other than PATS- crank sensor, cam sensor, TP sensor, engine coolant temp, and MAF (which includes the air temp) sensor are very required, and you need to make sure there's just over 39psi of fuel delivered to the rail.  The front O2 sensor will be used somewhere around 15-20 seconds. rear sensor around 100sec.  

I'd suggest keeping the front sensor, as it's used pretty heavily for feedback.  The second on is used, but only for a small amount of trim.  I can't remember what the fault action is for a missing second sensor...  

This is a full OBDII system, so it will detect problems.  You are best off keeping as much as you can.

thudbucket New Reader
4/7/21 7:31 p.m.

Does anyone know if there is a compatible gear drive timing kit for the vulcan and if all of them were non interference?


STM317 UberDork
4/8/21 4:21 a.m.
thudbucket said:

Does anyone know if there is a compatible gear drive timing kit for the vulcan and if all of them were non interference?


I've never seen a gear drive. They're all non-interference.

jimbbski SuperDork
4/8/21 12:02 p.m.

My mother had a 1994 Taurus with this engine and I have to agree it was a trouble free engine as there ever was.  My sister bought the same year Taurus with the 3.8 V6. Now there's a krap engine, or at least the heads are.  Breath on them with hot air and they warp! The engine requires twice the amount of care just to remain running. My mothers car was only "retired" due to a rusted out front subframe mount on the body. The rest of the car was solid, just that one spot. 

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