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RaabTheSaab
RaabTheSaab Reader
3/22/24 12:03 p.m.

Ok, I'm sure that this answer has been asked to death, but I'll put another nail into it: are the early 4.0s really that bad? I feel like a lot of the objections I read are because they're not a v8 or a 3.7. I've seen several 05-09 with stick and 4.0 in the sub 4K category and even a few near challenge price. Seems to me like it's not a bad way to hoon about some mountain roads or dodge cones. 

LukeGT
LukeGT GRM+ Memberand New Reader
3/22/24 12:25 p.m.

The 4.0s are great from a reliability standpoint. They're essentially a truck motor, I believe same motor that was put in the Explorers of those days. They just don't make a ton of power, 210hp for the later 4.0s IIRC. The older 3.8s,however, I don't feel the least bit bad saying they're only good as a boat anchor. 

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/22/24 12:28 p.m.
ddavidv said:

My V6 stick Pony Pack was my daily for several years in PA winters. 4 snow tires and a bag of water softener salt in the trunk made it pretty unstoppable. It was vastly superior to the E36 M3box Focus it replaced which was too light to gain traction.

i will tell my slip control calibration team that you appreciate them. ;-)

Ranger50
Ranger50 MegaDork
3/22/24 1:17 p.m.

And yet everybody disses the solid axle everytime.... 🤔

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
3/22/24 3:22 p.m.

We have a local competitor that wins at autocross quite frequently with his 4.8 powered car. I'm frequently announcing, and I love reminding everyone that it's not a coyote with an IRS, but a 4.8 mod motor with a stick axle. 

ddavidv
ddavidv UltimaDork
3/23/24 9:08 a.m.
RaabTheSaab said:

Ok, I'm sure that this answer has been asked to death, but I'll put another nail into it: are the early 4.0s really that bad? I feel like a lot of the objections I read are because they're not a v8 or a 3.7. I've seen several 05-09 with stick and 4.0 in the sub 4K category and even a few near challenge price. Seems to me like it's not a bad way to hoon about some mountain roads or dodge cones. 

You hit the nail on the head. Most objections are simply because the V8 option exists. I questioned my own thought process when I bought mine in this blog entry . I read a lot about the development of S197 and Ford spent a lot of time making sure the V6 version didn't suck, figuring it would make a large chunk of Mustang sales just like the original I-6 models did in 1965. Especially now, as cheap used cars, a V6 stick is a black sheep few people want but is really a hidden gem.

The 4.0 only has a few problems. It is mostly the same engine used in Explorers and Rangers. Most common is the craptastic plastic thermostat housing that will erupt at the most inopportune time. Mine let go on the track day where the photo on the last page was taken. The aftermarket makes a metal replacement. The other issue is the timing chain tensioners. Ford chose to engineer one of the stupidest timing chain arrangements that has chains on both the front and the back of the engine. If you search the YouTube channel "I do cars" you'll find a teardown of one that illustrates it better than I can describe it. When the tensioners wear out it's a engine out job, which for the average owner is going to cost probably what the car is worth. The good news is pulling the 4.0 isn't hard, and decently maintained cars can go 200,000 before it ever becomes an issue. There is usually ample warning as things will start to 'rattle'. 

The V6 never got a limited slip rear but you can swap the V8 one in with the purchase of a matching yoke. Unfortunately, the computer speed limits the car to something like 117 mph because the V6 driveshaft is made of glass or something. Hand held tuners can remove the limiter. There are expensive driveshafts you can get. The V8 shaft won't mate up to the T-5 in the V6. Unless you are doing a lot of track days, though, it probably isn't necessary.

I describe the live axle as "never letting you forget it is back there" over rough surfaces. Other than that, I have no complaint with it.

I did drive a New Edge 3.8/stick Mustang for a weekend and it wasn't awful, but it may be because I was expecting it to be awful. The 3.8 suffers from way more reliability issues, though.

BlindPirate
BlindPirate Reader
3/23/24 10:32 p.m.
ddavidv said:
RaabTheSaab said:

Ok, I'm sure that this answer has been asked to death, but I'll put another nail into it: are the early 4.0s really that bad? I feel like a lot of the objections I read are because they're not a v8 or a 3.7. I've seen several 05-09 with stick and 4.0 in the sub 4K category and even a few near challenge price. Seems to me like it's not a bad way to hoon about some mountain roads or dodge cones. 

You hit the nail on the head. Most objections are simply because the V8 option exists. I questioned my own thought process when I bought mine in this blog entry . I read a lot about the development of S197 and Ford spent a lot of time making sure the V6 version didn't suck, figuring it would make a large chunk of Mustang sales just like the original I-6 models did in 1965. Especially now, as cheap used cars, a V6 stick is a black sheep few people want but is really a hidden gem.

The 4.0 only has a few problems. It is mostly the same engine used in Explorers and Rangers. Most common is the craptastic plastic thermostat housing that will erupt at the most inopportune time. Mine let go on the track day where the photo on the last page was taken. The aftermarket makes a metal replacement. The other issue is the timing chain tensioners. Ford chose to engineer one of the stupidest timing chain arrangements that has chains on both the front and the back of the engine. If you search the YouTube channel "I do cars" you'll find a teardown of one that illustrates it better than I can describe it. When the tensioners wear out it's a engine out job, which for the average owner is going to cost probably what the car is worth. The good news is pulling the 4.0 isn't hard, and decently maintained cars can go 200,000 before it ever becomes an issue. There is usually ample warning as things will start to 'rattle'. 

The V6 never got a limited slip rear but you can swap the V8 one in with the purchase of a matching yoke. Unfortunately, the computer speed limits the car to something like 117 mph because the V6 driveshaft is made of glass or something. Hand held tuners can remove the limiter. There are expensive driveshafts you can get. The V8 shaft won't mate up to the T-5 in the V6. Unless you are doing a lot of track days, though, it probably isn't necessary.

I describe the live axle as "never letting you forget it is back there" over rough surfaces. Other than that, I have no complaint with it.

I did drive a New Edge 3.8/stick Mustang for a weekend and it wasn't awful, but it may be because I was expecting it to be awful. The 3.8 suffers from way more reliability issues, though.

I had a 2011 V6 Mustang with optional 3:31 gears and a limited slip. And yes, if there wasn't a V8 available it would in my mind been awesome. 300 hp, 29 mpg, low 30s if you tried. 

Dootz
Dootz Reader
3/23/24 10:42 p.m.

In reply to RaabTheSaab :

I wouldn't touch any 4.0 unless the previous owner recently did the timing chain tensioner/casette work. That's an engine-out job.

ddavidv
ddavidv UltimaDork
3/24/24 7:38 a.m.

I think I covered that. It's a high mileage problem. I was leery of it a bit myself initially but have read so many reports of those engines going 200,000+ miles with no trouble I think it may be overblown somewhat. If someone is buying a 4.0 over the other choices the car will likely be really cheap, so it's a calculated risk, probably far less worrisome than buying a used Subaru and wondering if the head gaskets will last (they won't; DAMHIK).

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