Join the Car Talk Community!

Discussion Rules

Welcome to the Car Talk Community!

Want to ask a question or join the discussion? Great! Join now.

Sign In Register

Is the Ford V6, 4.2 Engine a dog ?????

Just curious how others feel on this subject. I was told by a trusted mechanic that my F150 V6, 4.2 engine was one of the worst Ford makes and he felt that I'd have nothing but problems with it. It does have 136K miles and the engine is definitely "worn". But I'm wondering if Ford does have a bad history with this engine ??

Comments

  • edited November 2009
    That does not change your future in any important way at all. I have slightly high blood pressure so the doctor thinks I should take a pill that could destroy my liver. Should I worry about the one or the other? I chose neither one. Your choice should be easier than that.
  • edited November 2009
    There are many happy owners with Ford 4.2 liter V6 engines. However, I have also heard about head gasket problems with this engine.

    Consulting the Consumer reports history, I find that the Ford V6 as used in the Explorer has a better than average rating and only 2006 had cooling system problems. It could be that F150 owners overtax this engine , while other Ford product drivers treat is less severely.

    In other words, I'm somewhat confused why your trusted mechanic calls this a dog. There are plenty of engines on the market that are real dogs and many posters can tell you about them.
  • edited November 2009
    My father in law now has over 250k on the same engine in his F150 without any internal problems. Mechanics of opinions about this and that. They see lots of them only because the sheer volume sold.
  • edited November 2009
    Fleets which had operated for years with 4.9L Ford trucks seem disappointed with the 4.2L. The 4.2L falls far short in reliability and logevity. Long time Ford fleets are trying alternatives for several reasons, the 4.2L is at the top.
  • edited November 2009
    That's a good example, folks try to go with a smaller motor where a bigger one is needed, and are then dissatisfied. I had a good talk with a tow truck driver, his company tried to 'down size' the trucks, had nothing but problems with engines and transmissions.
  • edited November 2009

    Depends on what vehicle it's in.

    Back in the 80's GM made a 2.8l V6. In the S-10/15 pickup or the S-10/15 Blazer it was a DOOOGGGGG. But in the Pontiac Fiero...it was fine.
  • edited November 2009
    The 4.2L is basically stroked out 3.8L. The 3.8L has storied history of head gasket failures. Early 4.2L's suffer from this issue, it's less of problem with the later ones though. My mother and step-father have a 1997 F-150 4x4 with the 4.6L and 3.55 gears. My dad and step mom just bought a 2003 F-50 2WD with the 4.2L and 3.31 gears. The 97 has a bit more power and returns 2 MPG better mileage overall. The 5.4L is good as well, but it had problems with spark plug ejection in the 97-98 models. The 99-03 models have the P.I heads and intake (on the 4.6L and 5.4L) which improves power and fixes most of the spark plug issues.

    Our family has had pretty bad luck with the Ford 3.8L, having suffered blown head gaskets with a 1995 Windstar, a 1995.5 Windstar, and a 1998 Windstar. All failures happened before the 60k mile mark. The only Ford 3.8L that we had that didn't give us any problem was the one in my old 1992 T-Bird SC, I chalk that up to the fact that heads on the SC were a different (low compression) design.

    But if I were looking for an F-150 I'd steer clear of the 4.2L.
This discussion has been closed.