Converting V-6 to V-4

I have a '99 Ford Taurus wagon with a bad engine. My #4 cylinder bit the dust-no compression. My mechanic mentioned possibility of converting engine to a V-4 for less money than fixing problem. I just need to get through nursing school with this car (another 6-8 mos.)What would this mean for my car? Is it a viable option? Anxious for input… Laurie

It is not a viable option. Your mechanic is a idiot.

It would be just as unbalanced to run on the remaining 5 cylinders. And the ECM will go nuts. The CEL will be on forever. But, it will run. Just be aware that it will be crippled, and other problems may pop up because of it.

To me, it’s not a viable option at all and should not even be considered. The wiring harness, ECM (computer), cables, hoses, etc. would all need to be changed.
(And I’m sure you mean an in-line 4, not a V-4. At least I hope the mechanic did not mention a V-4)

Taurus engines are usually solid, bullet-proof motors and good used motors (a V-6) can often be found cheaply. A Ford salvage near me has racks of them at 300-400 bucks. They’re cheap because few are sold.

Just curious here. What were the car’s symptoms? Is this a head gasket problem?

Willey’s and Bustedknuckles comments also got me thinking. Surely your mechanic is not talking about removing a spark plug on the opposing side along with the plug in the dead cylinder?
I was originally thinking of an early Taurus 4-cylinder engine but may have been on a different track than what your mechanic (?) is saying.

If this is what he is suggesting then I agree; he’s an idiot. Run.

The idea is way off the wall.

A V6 with 2 cylinders disabled could be called a V4. The more accurate term would be a V6 with two dead cylinders.

It sounds like a pretty bad idea. A V6 engine running only on four cylinders is going to be doing some serious bubble-bobble-weave action as it runs (whic it will do very poorly), likely wearing out the motor mounts pretty fast. As mentioned, the ECM isn’t going to know what the hell is going on or what to do about it, so the check engine light will never turn off. I also can’t imagine it’ll have any power worth a crap.

Either fix it properly or get another car. This mechanic needs to get a clue.

I agree with Budd that the motor mounts, and very likely the transmission mounts, will be broken in short order if you attempt to run this V-6 on only 4 cylinders. Within short order, the repair costs from this situation would likely wind up being higher than the cost of simply installing an engine from a junk yard.

Also, if your car is due for inspection within the next 6-8 months, it would NOT pass any emissions tests.

As has been implied by others, your mechanic is either not in touch with reality or needs to have his medication adjusted.

I saw a couple of college students try this who lived next door to me when I was in graduate school in the early 1960’s. In this case, the car was a 1957 Ford V-8 that had spun a rod bearing. They removed the whole piston assembly by dropping the oil pan and removing the cylinder head. They also removed the corresponding cylinder in the firing order. It didn’t work–the car vibrated so badly that it didn’t get out of the driveway.

As I remember, the 1957 Ford went to the junk yard and the students purchased a 1951 Kaiser with a broken rear leaf spring. They bought another spring that was a bit too long, but managed to force it to fit. The Kaiser leaned badly to one side, but they loaded it heavily on the opposite side and took off. I never saw them again, but I assume that they made their destination 300 miles away.

In your case, I would take the suggestions made by others and either have a used engine installed, or search for another car.

Graduate School possible…

Would going to Graduate School necessitate possibly going to a V-2?

What this would mean for your car is kind of a nice loping, Harley Davidson sound!

And think of the fuel savings!

This is an asinine idea. You need another mechanic. What he is suggesting will result in a horribly unbalanced engine. It could very well shake your car apart, assuming you even get it running. The ECU will not take it well. Your car will have little if any power. You fuel economy will be even worse since the ECU will be dumping fuel into non-firing cylinders. Funnily enough your catalytic converter will also be sacrificed, it won’t be able to deal with all the raw fuel being pumped into it. Also the car will never pass emissions testing. The good news is, that if you have the old 3.0L Vulcan V6 you can easily get a junkyard engine for cheap. If you have the Duratec engine, it’ll be a little pricier.

ok4440, taurus motors are cheap for good reason. There is no shortage of them due to the sheer volume of these cars sold. The more cars sold the more cars that are wrecked or junked.

It’s me again, the nursing student with the Taurus. Wanted to set the record straight for my mechanic. He also said it’s not a good idea, but had offered to look into cheaper options for repairs. I just didn’t know anything about it for myself, so decided to see what you guys thought. Now, thanks to your feedback, I KNOW it’s not a real solution. Thanks. Guess I’l figure something else out. Nurses are supposed to be resourceful, right?!

Think of a pie cut into six pieces with two missing…it would never balance…never…not an option.

RN student here RE: car’s symptoms. Started on the highway - was running fairly smooth, besides some long-standing shaking only when braking. All of a sudden, engine light was flashing, car started to run choppy, bouncing around esp. when giving gas, loss of power. At first, we heard a repetitive clanking sound from under car (not sure from where exactly) then that sound stopped. My friend said “Whatever was breaking, just broke!” The shaky, bumpy feeling continued, felt strongly through gas pedal, but also by my companion in passenger seat. That’s it. It felt WRONG and unsafe.

If it runs, drive it. The engine is about to quit completely and it may go up in a cloud of smoke, but basically, this engine probably cannot even be rebuild. Your description sounds like it shattered a piston, so there is no salvage value in this engine and no matter what happens, the cost will not go up, except for the tow to your mechanic from where ever it decides to go.

On the other hand, I saw a guy working on his V6 at the hobby shop when I was in the navy. It had been making a knocking sound since he bought it new. The dealer kept giving him the “its a new car, it will go away with time, its just breaking in” BS to blow him off. After 30,000 miles, he decided to pull the head to see what was making the noise.

What he found was a rod with no piston and two deep grooves in the cylinder wall from the piston pin. So it might go for time time like this, maybe even long enough to find a real good deal on another car that you can afford to buy.

Good luck.


A used engine, as suggested, is a possibility. I noticed that the hospitals also do transplants with used parts. They have it a little tougher, though. Their patients have to be kept “running” during the procedure.