Rough Idle, White smoke, and a CheckEngine light! - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


4.0L OHV & SOHC V6 Tech General discussion of 4.0L OHV and SOHC V6 Ford Ranger engines.

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Old 05-12-2010
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Rough Idle, White smoke, and a CheckEngine light!

So my 03 4.0 is having some problems. First, I had a slow coolant leak, i refilled with water every weak. Then it got worse, I could not find the leak so i figured what the hell and i replaced the radiator. Then it got worse. Last weak when I left work i filled it up with water. 10 Minutes down the road and i was overheating. I pulled over and refilled with water (2 gallons) and started driving (decided I was going to take it to a shop). Another 5 minute drive and my temp needle is spiking again. I continued to drive about 15minutes to a auto shop in my town, pulling over twice more since it kept over heating, althoug the radiator and resevoir were full.
So the shop replaced the thermostat housing and gasket and hose and such. $480! They told me when I left i had a rough idle. I had the rough idle the day i took it to them, but not before then. I figured it was from overheating.

Now, my truck does not over heat, but idles like crap occasionally stalls. When I start my truck after its been sitting for a couple hours or more, the exhaust gives out a ****load of white smoke. It seams to decrease as i drive. My check engine light came on, and when Im sitting at a stop light it flashes, then turns solid when I drive again.

WTF? whats the issue guys? What do you think?
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Old 05-12-2010
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Blown head gasket.
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Old 05-12-2010
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damn. How long can I drive like this? I have finals next week and this week im trying to catch up on essays and projects, + working 40 hour week. I won't have time until finals are over to replace it, you think it will be ok until the end of next week?
How long is it for replacing the head gasket? It cant be that hard...just alot of crap to take off
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Old 05-12-2010
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Alldata says 12 hours to do both sides.
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Old 05-12-2010
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holy ****!! i guess i have to do it myself... how can i be positive that the head gasket is the problem?
And is it safe to drive for two more weeks?
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Old 05-12-2010
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Pressure test the cooling system, pull the spark plugs out and see who is getting wet. I personally wouldn't run it, but that is up to you. It sounds pretty bad it's misfiring and filling up a cylinder when parks.
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Old 05-12-2010
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Most of the time when white smoke is comming out of the exhaust that is a good sign for coolent getting into the cylinders and turning into steam. Its not safe to drive it with a blown headgasket if coolent gets into the oil it will start to foam up and loose all of its viscosity and possibly freeze up the motor. Doing the head gaskets will require to remove the engine from the truck.
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Old 05-12-2010
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Yeah, I wouldn't drive it. Make sure you check your cylinder heads for cracks, and resurface them when you reinstall them. You do not have to remove the engine from the truck, but it is a hassle. The longer you drive around like that, the worse your oil will get. It is a mess to clean up, and the whole process is very time consuming.
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Old 05-12-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rolsmojave3 View Post
Pressure test the cooling system, pull the spark plugs out and see who is getting wet.
X2

Also check your oil, if it is thick and has a milky color then plenty of coolant has mixed with your oil.
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Old 05-12-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 03 DEMON 4X4 SOHC View Post
Doing the head gaskets will require to remove the engine from the truck.
Only when you're charging by the hour.
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Old 05-12-2010
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Well I went to autozone and got the codes checked its a cylinder 2 misfire. There is tons of white smoke pouring out my exhaust its getting worse and when I took the oil cap off smoke pours out the top. The cap is milky white I attached a picture. I'm going to try and do it myself cas I got quoted over a grand. Is there a write up somewhere and do you think I could do it? I have done radiator spark plugs suspension and body lift on this truck but I have never done engine work on any vehicle. And how do I know which side it is and how do i know if its a bad gasket or a cracked head?

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Old 05-12-2010
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head gasket
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Old 05-12-2010
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how do I know though wether its the gasket or a cracked head, i read they have the same symptoms
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Old 05-12-2010
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find out which side the gasket is bad on,then take the heads to get cleaned and all and while there gettin cleaned the shop will tell you if the heads are cracked or not
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Old 05-12-2010
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so I need some help on this one. My buddy said he would help me take the heads off and replace the gaskets. I told him how i drove it about 15 minutes with the temp needle almost all the way up (stopping resting the motor and starting again) so he said the block might have warped and it might be worth it to just get a used motor from a junkyard. I have 140,000miles on the motor. What do you think? He said there is no way to know for sure if we replace the gaskets and resurface the heads that it will fix the problem.
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Old 05-12-2010
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I personally would take both heads off take them to a machine shop or some place nearby that will clean them up and inspect for cracks. Then while they are being cleaned I would pray that the block isn't warped. Then put the heads back on after they have been cleaned and are not cracked. make sure you torque the bolts in the proper sequence. Also make sure you drain both the oil and cooling system before you take the heads off.
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Old 05-12-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rizoss16 View Post
Well I went to autozone and got the codes checked its a cylinder 2 misfire.... ....And how do I know which side it is and how do i know if its a bad gasket or a cracked head?

i would guess your leak is on the side of cylinder #2 from what you said unless i missed something about both sides having misfires.

however, since you are in there allready. you might as well do both. who knows how long the other one will last.


on a side note, milky oil like that also could be a sign of the engine not being brought up to operating temps. short trips in the winter made my oil look like that in my dub. it is common in all vehicles foreign and domestic.
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Old 05-13-2010
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Does the dipstick have milk. I'd still Pressure check it anyway. You'll have to replace the headbolts as they are torque to yield fasteners. I would take the heads to the machine shop and let them check for cracks and warps. Also have someone with a machined straight edge check the block deck for warpage. If you don't, you're basically crossing your fingers and could be up **** creek without a paddle in a hurry.

Pay special attention to the cam timing and don't let the cam chain drop, hold it up with a bunge cord.
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Old 05-14-2010
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Cole the dipstick doesn't look white like the cap does. Can you check alldata for time to replace the thermostat housing. I'm pretty sure the local shop screwed me it was 480 I found the part today in the engine bay it looks real easy to access.
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Old 05-14-2010
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Alldata says Upper 1.1 Lower 1.5 hrs. Maybe they took flatrate x5. I'd pull the plugs and check them to be sure.
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Old 05-16-2010
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So im thinking Im just going to sell the truck, all the mechanics here I talked to said its most likely a cracked head at the least, since i drove it for so long with it overheating. I have been getting quoted around $2000 for the repair. What do you think I could get for the truck as is? I will post some pics tomorrow. The truck:
03 Ranger Edge, 4.0, 4WD,
5spd manual (new clutch less than a year ago),
4.10 gears, 3" bl, 2" AAL in the rear and
2" Tbar crank in the front, CAI,
dumped flowmaster, 32" MTs,
aftermarket tails, headlights, and corners
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Old 05-16-2010
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why not look for a used motor and do a swap? there are some members that have done this and i'm pretty sure you can get 4.0Ls for cheep..

with a cracked head or block, you'd get less. no one is willing to do the work unless they know how and those types will lowball you and know that they would most likely get the truck cheep
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Old 05-16-2010
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where you find them used motors? just call around junkyards or is there websites that got rebuilt motors?
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Old 05-16-2010
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i'm pretty sure JYs would have them. shane from oregon has done a swap that i know of for sure. another guy who comes to mind is sig name: vwcat.
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  #25  
Old 10-01-2013
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Well, I joined this site tonight because out of no where, my 3.0 ltr did the same thing tonight. im taking my baby to see her mechanic....praying for the best but im preparing for the worst. joyous times...thank goodness The Lord invented whisky......

Thanks for the good reads/info people....I hope the gent who started this has a sound resolve!
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