My 1997 2.3L cracked it's head today. First fouled out the #2 cyl then started smoking like crazy. I ran to the store and grabbed a compression tester and it read 124-105-127-137. The low cyl was the one in question. The cyl head cracked between the sidewall and the cyl.
There was a crack between the valves on cyl #1, but it didn't cause any noticeable symptoms. When the crack on cyl #2 into the water jacket happened everything hit the fan.
Is this common? I've never had head issues with 13 rangers of this year model through the last 15 years, but I've always sold them before they miles got too high. I just rolled 160k.