By on February 13, 2013

Dan writes:

Dear Sajeev,

A recent post on the CX-9 users forum (at caught my eye. An stalwart owner tore down his 3.5 (Ford) engine to clean up a sludging problem and broke a rod bolt in the process. He then discovered much to his dismay that replacement rod bolts are not considered “serviceable parts” by Mazda. In fact, it turns out that most of the internal engine components you would want to replace in a rebuild are not available from Mazda. (This is true for both the 3.5 and the more recent 3.7 litre versions.) Unavailable items include pistons, rings, bearings, etc. Searching on-line one can find the typical factory exploded parts diagrams with all these internal components listed, but in lieu of part numbers there is the notation, “This part is not serviced.” (Here’s an example)

These parts also don’t seem to be available from Ford for the Ford versions of the same 3.5 or 3.7 litre (Duratec) engines. Equally strange, there don’t seem to be any after-market sources either. How is that possible? Have we finally entered the era of the sealed-for-life, black box engine, with no serviceable parts inside? Is engine rebuilding going to go the way of lamp-lighting, blacksmithing, doctor house calls and the like? Fortunately long and short blocks are available from Mazda, but at the kind of prices ($2800 and $6400 respectively) that always made rebuilding an attractive alternative. I know many independent mechanics often prefer to use salvage engines, but some problems still require actually tearing into an engine. How can you rebuild an engine if you can’t get the parts?

Sajeev answers:

Two things: torque-to-yield bolts and other replacement parts nightmares are a sad new reality, but engine building is here to stay. It just won’t be for everyone.

Actually, who in their right mind wants to do it now? Thanks to advances in Inventory Management and the Internet, you can easily throw away your old motor and get a replacement with a warranty from a host of on-line junkyards.  For the price of replacing those torque-to-yield bolts, you’ll cover the shipping on a junkyard motor. Actually probably more than just the shipping. And while the motor is used, today’s engines are far more trustworthy than they were 20-30+ years ago.  If the junkyard motor is bad, the warranty will cover it.  So who cares about actually rebuilding a motor?

For the nut jobs that want to build one, you can get the parts. Not from a manufacturer, but from places that cater to engine builders.  Then engine builders like Nautilus Performance can go above and beyond**…if that’s what you really want. And that’s just for the Ford Duratec V6: there is a late-model performance engine builder for damn near any make out there. I suspect the Duratec gets such love because of the Noble M12 supercar.

**This is not an endorsement for that engine builder, or any aftermarket builder.  I just Googled this to prove the point: you can rebuild an engine with readily available parts, but you don’t really want to. Unless you are nuts enough to be a modern-day hot rodder.


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54 Comments on “Piston Slap: The Truth about “Throwaway” Motors...”

  • avatar

    When our 1992 Chrysler LeBaron convertible’s 2.5L engine went bye-bye in Sept. 2007 at 148k miles, I decided it just wasn’t worth putting anymore money into that car after owning it almost 8½ years, as a Jasper-rebuilt engine would’ve set me back $3,500 including labor. No, I was not even thinking of doing it myself for many reasons, so we sold the car and still got $500.00 for it.

    Junkyard engines for those may not have even been available, as those motors were already years obsolete by then. In any event, I never bothered to check, as we had already sunk more into the car than it was worth, and I had other priorities.

    IF I had unlimited funds, I would have fully restored that car because we really enjoyed it and it was a beautiful ride. It was bright red, of course!

  • avatar

    This list of non-serviceable parts really can be surprising. For example, try to find a simple air filter for a 2006 Ford Focus 2.0. If it isn’t for an aftermarket cold air induction kit, it ain’t happenin’.

    When I pointed that out to a friend, he was excited that he’d never have to replace it. Call me skeptical, but this seems nuts considering what we pull from disposable air filters around here.

    • 0 avatar

      If memory serves that was when the Focus attained the PZEV (partial zero emissions vehicle) status. The air filter was part of an assembly that incorporated activated charcoal and was an evaporative emissions component. The “zero” was in reference to zero evaporative emissions, anything coming from the engine after shutdown would be captured by the charcoal in the air cleaner assembly and would be burned off once the engine was restarted while anything from the fuel system would dealt with by the typical evap canister and purge valve setup. Nothing of the air cleaner assembly could be serviced separately. It was supposedly good for 100k if I recall, I left Ford in 2007 and never ran into one that needed replacement. It might have incorporated a service indicator like a diesel air cleaner but I’m not positive about that. I can’t say how reliable these were, but tthis setup along with the advent of “lifetime” fuel filters incorporated as part of the in tank fuel pump didn’t strike me as the best of ideas.

  • avatar

    When I did the 1FZ-FE in the Land Cruiser I did a new Toyota short block with a reman head. The motor is very much rebuildable though, but the cost and the headache wasnt worth it to me. No one local had them rebuilt and shops that see this particular motor in my area are not plentiful. Also generally the cost of shipping is only half the equation as you usually have to ship the core back or pay the fee. This can be quite high if we are not talking about a motor like a Chevy 350.

    My Miata on the other hand is sitting at 190k so a motor could be a reality any day now. It will likely get a junkyard 1.8 with some refreshing or a JDM take out. My wife’s Hyundai on the other hand will get a trip to the junk yard should it suffer a post 100k engine failure as the above poster’s Lebaron did. The route taken here depends on the car.

    I will say that I have no desire to tear into a motor for a rebuild that was designed to not be rebuilt. Sounds like a lot of frustration. It they don’t make rebuild parts for this I wonder if the blocks can even be over bored?

    • 0 avatar

      did you manage to kill a 1UZ? mine is just crossing 105k and it barely feels broken in. its way overdue for the belt change, though.

      • 0 avatar

        It is a 93 so it is the 1FZ 4.5L inline 6 and it was at 250k which is by all accounts still a premature death. 105k is barely broken in on either of those motors though.

      • 0 avatar

        right, ok.. i read LandCruiser and I guess my eyes read it as 1UZ. i’m totally off-base, though. the 2UZFE is what I’m thinking of (4.7 V8).. not enough coffee this morning I think..

      • 0 avatar

        I love my 93 but every time I hook a trailer up to it I wish I had gotten a 100 series cruiser with that V8 (or done an LS series swap when I replaced the motor). Still, when I’m not pulling it is a great truck.

  • avatar

    A lot of manufacturers don’t want their dealer technicians rebuilding short blocks anymore because of the high rate of comebacks. If the bearings aren’t clearanced properly, and everything torqued to specification in a *clean* environment, repeat failures tend to occur.

    So many manufacturers don’t make the individual parts available, and have remanufactured short blocks available. They send the cores to a remanufacturing operation where they are reconditioned in a controlled environment.

    Now, in the case of this engine, since the aftermarket doesn’t appear to have fully embraced rebuilding this engine, CX-9 guy may have to dig a little deeper. ARP may have a fastener of the same specification that will meet his needs if he really can’t source one from the dealer, even though they don’t show it listed for his engine in their catalog.

    He may have to search with another supplier to find what he needs. What’s interesting is that Ford will sell you a piston, wrist pin, rings and bearings, but not a rod or rod bolts.

    • 0 avatar

      The same is true for transmissions. The car maker will take bad ones & rebuild them in their own factory. They also will not give you back the same serial number, as they have some rebuilt ones ready to go, and yours will just take its spot on the shelf.

      • 0 avatar

        Many manufacturers use the 70% rule for transmissions. If the transmission can’t be repaired for less than 70% of the cost of replacement, the whole thing is replaced.

        This allows relatively small repairs, like hydraulic seal leaks, single clutch failures and solenoid pack/mechatronic/valve body repairs to be done, but averts repeat repairs often associated with major overhauls with extensive debris and multiple failures.

  • avatar

    I’ve rebult many engines, but whether you do depends on the relative value of the car at the time.

    I would definitely attempt the rebuild of a young CX-9 to save money, but this article is discouraging if parts are really that hard to find.

    • 0 avatar

      Is this the same 3.5 in the Taurus/Sable in 08/09? I hadn’t heard of any sludge problems with those.

    • 0 avatar

      Inspection For Damage and Cleaning Procedure  
      The overall straightness of the cylinder head and block face is held within very tight specification. Defects known as “waviness” or “depressions” cannot be surface machined out with ordinary equipment. Machining must meet manufacturer’s specification on surface finish quality and be less than 0.001″ inch (0.025 mm) level as measured under a known quality straightedge using a feeler gauge. If the engine has been overheated the cylinder head may have been damaged or warped. Re-surfacing will not correct this damage.
      The head must not contain any impressions on its sealing surface deeper than 0.001″ (0.025 mm). There must not be any scratches or gouges present, especially those which track to another sealing cavity or to the atmosphere.
      Ensure that the mating cylinder block surface is completely free of solid contamination, corrosion, and fluids. Use Motorcraft Metal Surface Cleaner, F4AZ-19A536-RA or equivalent, to rid the surface of any material, which could later interfere with the gasket’s sealing ability.
      The original head bolts are to be discarded. Only new head bolts are acceptable for use in a head gasket repair. Use of old bolts can cause clamp load failure because they were stretched from the last torquing procedure either from the plant or a previous field repair. The new head bolt shanks and threads should be thoroughly cleaned, dried, and lightly lubricated. Oil the bolts and let oil drip for a minimum of 5 minutes. Use of too much oil may cause hydraulic lockup in the bolt hole.
      The corresponding bolt holes in the cylinder block must be free of contamination consisting of dirt particles, coolant, and oil. Bolts can mechanically or hydraulically lock on top of these materials and cause for poor clamping of the cylinder head gasket. Use very lightly compressed air to blow out the bolt holes. Use care to prevent debris from scattering over the internal engine surfaces.
      To clean the cylinder block gasket surface, a plastic or wood scraper in combination with Motorcraft Metal Surface Cleaner, F4AZ-19A536-RA, or equivalent solvent can be used with a portable shop vacuum. Move the scraper toward the vacuum nozzle to direct loosened material quickly away from the block surface.
      It is not necessary to expect aluminum head surfaces to be shiny and bright after the vehicle has been in service. Sanding, scraping, or polishing will create surface depressions that cause leaks. The surface is expected to be flat within 0.001″ (0.025 mm) and free of dirt, metal chips, and liquid contaminants. Any staining of the metal surface is considered normal.
      Machining of aluminum heads and blocks is an unacceptable field practice for quality control purposes of flatness and surface finish standards. Removing material will also raise the risk of internal reciprocating components striking each other, as well as changing the emissions calibration of the engine. Machining practices of aluminum blocks and heads are not reimbursable. Ford Remanufacturers are authorized to perform this procedure and have the necessary equipment to put the specified surface finish on the head within original factory limits.Another issue with rebuilding is surface finish of head/deck due to the use of multi-layer steel gaskets.

      Engine – Aluminum Block/Head Machining  
      Article No.
      1992-1997 THUNDERBIRD
      1995-2000 CONTOUR
      2000-2002 FOCUS
      1995-2002 WINDSTAR
      1997-2002 E SERIES, EXPEDITION, EXPLORER, F-150
      1999-2002 SUPER DUTY F SERIES
      2000-2002 EXCURSION
      2001-2002 ESCAPE
      1992-2002 CONTINENTAL, TOWN CAR
      2000-2002 LS
      1998-2002 NAVIGATOR
      2002 BLACKWOOD
      1992-1997 COUGAR
      1992-1999 TRACER
      1992-2002 GRAND MARQUIS, SABLE
      1995-2000 MYSTIQUE
      1999-2002 COUGAR
      1993-2002 VILLAGER
      1997-2002 MOUNTAINEER
      Effective immediately, labor for the machining of head gasket surfaces on any engine fitted with aluminum heads will no longer be reimbursable under the provisions of the Warranty and Policy Manual (page 345 of the Oct. 2001 edition) of the Warranty and Policy Manual.
      Engineering has determined that the surface finish quality standard cannot be met to specification by field-sourced machine shop facilities. Cylinder head assemblies/short and longblock assemblies are available through your facing FAD (Ford Authorized Distributor). The 2002 Warranty and Policy Manual and Service literature used to perform service has been updated to reflect this change. This message covers all engines with aluminum heads and blocks except for 3.8L engines built prior to model year 1997 using composite head gaskets. Refer to the appropriate Workshop Manual for detailed servicing procedures.
      OASIS CODES: 401000, 402000, 497000, 499000Another issue with rebuilding modern engines is head/deck surface refinishing. No abrasives can be used to clean the surfaces or leaks will develop due to the use of multi-layer steel gaskets.

      • 0 avatar

        Edit function is a little glitchy. The above TSBs illustrate the major issues with rebuilding modern engines. Tolerances are on the order of ten thousands of an inch and essentially require a clean room type of environment.

      • 0 avatar
        Ron B.

        I served my Apprenticeship a very long time ago. What is written there is basically what has been taught to time served automotive engineers since 1900. The fact that ‘mechanics’ are no longer taught much in many countries is why Ford et al have to explain everything in service bulletins so that cockups are not too frequent. Even the smallest shop in my area only does engine changeovers now. No more ring and bearing jobs,it is the same as no one gets there car decoked every thousand or so miles as they did up till the 60’s.

    • 0 avatar

      I think he might be running into problems because the 3.5 MZI version (if there are any differences) of this engine was only offered by Mazda for one year, in one model … the 2007 Mazda CX-9

      The CX-9 switched to the 3.7 for 2008 and the second generation Mazda 6 only had the 3.7. I know they’re the two engines aren’t fundamentally different but there might be enough different to cause problems like this.

      I think the real question now is … if you have to replace the engine do you spring for the 3.7?

  • avatar

    I cannot say that I had a positive experience with a reman engine. After I blew the stock 2.5L duratec in my Contour SVT (a relatively common problem – weak con rods or oiling issue, depending on who you listen to), I put in a 3.0L duratec from a taurus/sable with under 50k on the engine. That engine blew after only 10k (over a year and a half) – rod knock then tossed the rod within 15 miles of knock developing – no track time or general abuse to the engine besides some zinging up towards redline (ok, maybe daily). The guys who replaced the engine have done over 60 duratec replacements and this was the first one that blew (without some sort of abuse).

    Since the old engine punched a hole in the side of the block, a full up rebuild was not feasible. However, there was some inherent problem with that replacement engine that failed not far outside the warranty period (IIRC 3 months, 3K miles). It is quite possible I am the anomaly, but I’d be real hard pressed to just take an engine from another rebuilder.

    • 0 avatar

      If you are hitting the redline on your engine daily that may explain two engines in less than two years. A high performance car (or import engineered to run at high RPM’s like Honda) may tolerate frequent redlines, but the Contour was definitely not a sports car.

      The 3.0 Duratec was designed for commuter sedans like the Taurus; most of these engines never saw redline more than a handful of times in their entire service life.

      Hate to say it but the cars and the engines were throwaways. Rebuilding a duratec makes about as much sense as putting marble floors in a single wide trailer.

      • 0 avatar

        If you are hitting the redline on your engine daily that may explain two engines in less than two years.

        Wow. Even on a manual trans vehicle I’ve only hit the rev limiter once when I missed a 4 to 5 shift on a freeway on ramp trying to get my butt moving to merge with traffic. And that was back when I was still learning how to drive a manual trans.

      • 0 avatar

        I often have to move the tach into the upper regions driving my 90 Miata when trying to merge or get out of the way of whomever didn’t see me and cut me off on the highway. Not once a day but certainly a whole lot more than 12 times in its lifetime and that is a motor built to propel around an 80’s econo-box.

      • 0 avatar

        I beg to differ.

        Duratec 25 SVT

        An SVT version produced 195 hp (145 kW) and 165 lb·ft (224 N·m) in 1998. It included a larger throttle body from the Duratec 30, a new cone-shaped air filter, and abrasive flow machining processing on the intake manifold. SVT specific cams, a lighter flywheel and low-restriction exhaust complete the picture. Further improvements were made in 1999 that raised power output to 200 hp (149 kW) and 169 lb·ft (229 N·m) and were carried over in the 2000 model. The SVT engine was used in the 1998 to 2000 European Ford Mondeo and called the ST200, it also appeared in the American Ford Contour SVT.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick 2012

      I don’t think merely taking the car to the redline and immediately shifting would cause premature engine failure. My Honda sees the redline probably every other day (115hp + insane rush hour traffic = regular calls for max thrust) and I haven’t had a problem yet in 70k mi.

      Police Cars/Taxis/Rental Cars are mercilessly flogged on a daily basis and some survive to 300k+. Heck, even the old Volvo Red Block ran at close to redline to claim a 24 hours of LeMons trophy. Ford put the 3.5L Duratec in its new police interceptor – I would assume the 3.5L can tolerate hard use but am shocked Ford wants governments to buy new engines when one fails rather than have maintenance rebuild the engine.

      • 0 avatar

        Nick, you’re right, but your car is a Honda and they thrive at redline; all the fun is at the top end. Same with mkirk’s Miata.

        Police cars and taxis have upgraded cooling systems and external oil coolers to allow them to handle longer term high speed use; the rest of the car also has heavy duty upgrades. Plus the motor is a 4.6l that produces less than 250hp, so it is not really overworked. Much different than your average commuter car.

        Rental cars do get run up to redline (and suffer other abuse), but the rental companies normally unload them at well under 50k miles. The next owner gets to deal with the consequences.

    • 0 avatar

      I will clarify. I drove the stock engine to 131k in the same manner – from new – for 12 years, plus I tracked the car which left the engine spinning up in the top of its range. And I did not do it to a cold engine – only after it warmed up properly (that is, driving, not idling).

      I did not hit the rev limiter (6750 RPM) frequently but took it up to 6000-6500 RPM oftentimes when traffic (lack thereof) would allow, although the stock engine with SVT cams was much more satisfying to listen wind out than the torquier 3.0L.

    • 0 avatar

      If an engine can’t handle hitting the redline on a regular basis, then the manufacturer set the rev limiter too high.

      The big question is whether you physically confirmed the odometer reading of the used engine. If not, it could have had 200k for all you know.

      The standard Ford test for engine durability is 300 hours at full throttle cycling between peak torque and peak power. Other manufacturers would do similar tests. So that would be full power between 4500 rpm and 6500 rpm for over 14 days straight for a typical modern 4-banger. Unless there’s a defect in the engine, any modern design can handle it.

      The 2.3L in my Mazda has been over 6500 rpm hundreds of times. 7100 rpm is the rev limiter. I baby it until it’s warmed up.

      • 0 avatar

        I’ve thrashed the tired pushrod 4.0 v6 in my ’95 Explorer many many many times over its 300,000 miles, did it last night even.. It’s starting to sound a bit ragged at high rpm though.

        Even my decidedly low-tech ’77 Chevelle’s 305 that’s never ever been apart aside from pan gasket and valve cover gaskets and has 180,000 miles on it, is quite happy to wring all 145hp out of it regularly – 35 years after it was built.

        Granted both engines have a decidedly low redline of about 5,000 rpm, and both when left their devices in D/OD will shift at around 4500rpm at WOT.

      • 0 avatar

        Reminds me of the Iron Duke in the ’87 Grand Am I had. I don’t know if it actually had a rev limiter, but if you got much over 5000 rpm it was very obvious that it didn’t want to go any higher. It still saw 5000 rpm multiple times per day. The engine was running great at 200k miles when someone kamikazed the car, though I suspect the engine may not have been original when we purchased it at 120k miles because it had a Targetmaster sticker on it.

  • avatar

    I looked in Fords parts catalog, and oddly enough for early model 3.5 engines you can’t get pistons, but you can get con-rods(which come with the bolt), and rod and main bearings. On later models, all those parts show as available, even oversize pistons for the ecoboost motor are available, but they’re over a hundred bucks a piece.

    • 0 avatar

      That is not correct. 2007 Edge 3.5 standard piston is p/n 9T4Z-9108-B, ring set is p/n AT4Z-6148-C. Connecting rods and bolts come with the short block, bearings are available separately.

      • 0 avatar

        I was looking at an 08 Taurus. The conrod is a 9t4z6200a. I’m not sure anyone else cares about this, though…….

      • 0 avatar

        Interestingly enough (well, to you and me maybe) is that you can get pistons AND rods for a 2008 Taurus-X, but not pistons for a regular Taurus. Thing is, the Taurus-X takes the same 9T4Z-6200-A rod as the Taurus, so there’s really no reason why the 9T4Z-9108-B piston wouldn’t work in a regular Taurus as well. Even the reman engine assembly is the same p/n for the Taurus and the Taurus-X, so obviously they have the same guts.

        That’s Ford parts for ya though!

  • avatar

    Articles like these are great to see because they expose the people who have worked at the dealership level and who have not.

    As a parts and service guy I love reading these comments

    • 0 avatar

      Thanks for pointing out how stupid everyone here is. Care to share some constructive comments?

      • 0 avatar

        I think D524 is attempting to say, is theres a lot more parts out there in the aftermarket than at dealer parts levels.

        This case is like going to Walmart to buy a custom tailored Brooks Brothers suit. That’s not the best place to shop for what you are wanting. In this case, going to the dealer for engine parts is just silly – the machine shop is the best place to buy engine parts or your quality FLAPS. When I blew up my 2.8 in my 6000, I didn’t go to GM for a new crank and rod, I went to the machine shop and got out of there for cheap and total cost to completely overhaul the engine was less than $300.

        I too was a parts counterman in a former life. My friends still call me to find obscure stuff for them because they can’t find it or to ask what interchanges with what.

  • avatar

    Was that car in the picture a Mercury Sable? But it had a Ford badge, and I think Ford Tauruses of that vintage uses round headlights. Plus I don’t remember those little turn signal/parking lights in the bumper either. What the hell is that?

    • 0 avatar

      It’s a Taurus for places outside of North America. IIRC, that one died in Australia.

      • 0 avatar

        I think its pretty awesome you have junkyard pics *from other countries* laying around.

      • 0 avatar
        Ron B.

        Died alright ! ,the taurus is such an ugly car that most are refered to as the klytaurus. They look like a large flattened out fish so it was no wonder they tanked in the sales .

      • 0 avatar

        Ah, I thought it looked a little odd…. that explains it. The Aussie Taurus was a little different from the American Taurus (still hideous however)

        I’m a parts guy myself, Toyota. I’ve seen this myself, though not major components such as pistons and such, but from what I’ve seen in my work are certain things that you can’t get by itself. For example, let’s say you have an ’04 Camry with a 2AZFE 4 cylinder engine. On the bottom of the air cleaner box are screws, they hold the box together… let’s suppose for whatever reason you remove the box from the car to do some work on it. You lose one of those screws, normally not a big deal, I’ve lost/broken plenty of clips on my previous Mustang GT, it happens. You head down to your local Toyota dealership’s parts counter to get a replacement screw. Here’s the bad news; you can’t get the screws! On the microfische, you can see them, but there is no part #, just a * or a ‘N04’ and a note explaining that it’s a non-service part, usually Toyota has an explaination stating that installing the part is difficult or taking it apart affects the quality of the part as a whole. Going back to the airbox, to get the screw, you have to buy the whole complete airbox, the bottom (which you can’t get by itself either), the top WITH the mass airflow sensor included…. it ain’t cheap. They also do it with the sensor on the accelerator pedal, it only comes with the complete pedal assembly. Same deal with late model Tacoma A/C knobs- they only come with the complete control unit. As to be expected, most customers aren’t too thrilled with those kind of scenarios.

  • avatar

    In the old days anyone could rebuild a motor while a local machine shop could do the block and head machining.

    These motors also made 40hp per liter.

    Today, Accord engines are pushing 80+ hp per liter. Improved parts and construction practices are part of the increase. It’s a worthwhile trade to get 444 trouble free hp in a Mustang (instead of 225) if the only sacrifice is not being able to rebuild it in your garage.

    • 0 avatar

      Cue the obligatory “But that 225hp only had to move half the mass thanks to all the government crap on today’s cars”.

      Anyway, the gearheads will find a way and besides, the fun of garage rebuilds went away somewhat when your average motor began to be placed in the engine compartment sideways and the bulk of the job became getting it out of the car. Cue the obligatory “old fogey” comments.

      • 0 avatar
        Ron B.

        old fogey comment:Remember Dream Car garage on the tube? The two guys ran a pair of mustangs,one 1980 something with all the later bits,the other ran a genny Shelby from the 60’s… the later car got whipped.
        Car manufacturers rely on one simple thing…the actual muscle cars from the late 60’s will never be experienced from those who think their rice car is the hottest thing to slide off a shovel. Torque is king on the street…etc .

  • avatar

    Dan is incorrect.

    Pistons, piston rings, and bearings are available from Ford for the 3.5 and 3.7 litre engines in Ford applications. Connecting rods and bolts are indeed only serviced in the short block for vehicles prior to 2011, but you can get them separately for anything newer.

  • avatar

    Sajeev – your junkyard warranty may cover another (used) engine if the first one is junk but will it cover the labor to remove and replace it AGAIN?

  • avatar

    My Taurus with the 3.0 Vulcan SOHC engine blew a head gasket and cracked a cylinder head five years ago. When I decided to have it rebuilt at this time last year; the first question I was asked was did it have the Vulcan engine, or the Duratec engine. Had I said the Duratec engine, all bets were off; but when I told them the Vulcan engine, no problem.

    The Vulcan engine with that “mad Vulcan powah” may not have the power the Duratec engine did; but it’s cast iron technology is easily and cheaply repaired. They eventually had to replace one cylinder head, gas tank, pump and filter; three fuel injectors, and radiator; along with labor and towing; it came to about the same $2,500.

  • avatar

    Welcome to the world of aluminum. As the engines age the constant temperature cycling causes everything to warp. Every part becomes custom to that particular engine. Everything will have to be remachined back into spec to replace a part and it’s easier to replace the whole thing.

  • avatar

    Calls to mind the story of a local dual clutch owner… tranny blew and Ford blamed himm for not replacing the transmission fluid.

    The LIFETIME transmission fluid.

    And as this was the older wet-clutch Powershift rather than the new dry-clutch, which has replacement clutch packs available, the dealer wanted to replace the whole thing. $8,000 to import it from Europe. After discounts. And it was out of warranty.

    Fortunately, Ford eventually agreed to shoulder the cost of replacement, right before things got legal.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    You car guys have confirmed a suspicion festering since I rescued the Rat, a 94 Ranger with the 4.0 OHV . The newest car I’ve owned to date, my first V6 , and the first manual trans in 25 yrs. I bought it 600$ and slowly, and expensively cured its major ills. A slave cylinder failure requires a tranny R+R, may as well replace everything, whilst you are there. Ka-ching. And I was shopping the inter-net for best deals. I was doing the work, Its a hobby/mania/ vocation with me. In ’94, that car was engineered to be assembled as fast and as idiot proofed as possible for the least cost.Little, if any regard is given to maintenance and repair. Extrapolate that trend 20 years, and I can well imagine that engines became unserviceable.

  • avatar

    Hey Ron B. Isn’t that the fugly teardrop design that MB reiterated to the streched E Class which they now call the CLS?

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