How screwed am I? My engine may be blown. - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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  #1  
Old 11-01-2015
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How screwed am I? My engine may be blown.

My 2004 Ford Ranger, automatic, 120,000 miles was towed to an autoshop but because its Sunday I have to wait till Monday for a full report. Im stressed out and cant wait till tomorrow.

So this is what happened:

I was driving my Ranger that I bought 2 months ago and got onto the High-way. After 5 miles I started to hear small rattling noises (like a coin taping on metal) and slight vibration from the pedal every time I accelerated. My truck was struggling to keep 70mph and than it started to struggle at 60 mph. Because there was a slight incline, I just thought it was just the ranger naturally struggling. I pressed the acceleration even harder until it couldn't even keep a 55 mph and pulled over.

From the time I started hearing the rattling noises to the time I pulled over to the side was around 6-10minutes. As I parked I noticed my temp guage at max and walked up to the front of the car and saw a small bit of white smoke coming out from the under the bonet.

I than stupidly locked myself out of the car, so I couldn't open the bonnet until the a city highway tow car showed up 10 minutes later. The mechanic saw that my coolant reservoir was still 2/5s full and decided to open the radiator and only like 2 cups of coolant shot out. He waited 2 minutes and started to add around 2 gallons of water in increments to my radiator. The mechanic told me that my radiator pump may not be working cause I still had coolant in my reservoir and that everytime he added water to my radiator it would leak out at the bottom somewhere. He towed my car out of the highway which I then called AAA to tow me to a car shop.

The AAA mechanic turned on my engine to align my car to his tow car and from the sound my ranger made he told me that my engine was a goner and the best case scenario is that a gasket was blown. I forgot to check the oil to see if it was milky or not.

Im not good with cars but I'm assuming that the gasket blew which made the rattling noise coming from my engine and the coolant from my radiator drained into my engine. The radiator pump wasn't working so there was still coolant in the reservoir. Again I dont know much about cars except how to change the engine and transmission oil and other that I have no Idea if my assumption is right or not.

what do you guys think?

Is my car engine totally gone?
Do I have to rebuild it? is it worth it? i bought it 2 months ago for 5.5k
Is it just the gasket???

I'm so stressed out and cant sleep on it.
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  #2  
Old 11-02-2015
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Blown head gasket won't make any noise, it will cause overheating, but I would expect overflow reservoir to be full, over flowing.

The noise only when accelerating could have been pinging, when any gas engine is over heating the cylinder temps get very hot and the new fuel coming in pre-ignites before spark plug can ignite it, this causes the pinging noise, pinging causes even more heat.
Pinging can melt pistons and valves if it lasts long enough, yours didn't if pinging is what you heard.

Is the engine blown?
Well if it was run very long above 3/4 on the temp gauge then you will be looking at getting new head gaskets and perhaps new heads.
When the head gets very hot(overheated) the metal expands, like all metal does, but head bolts hold it in place from above so it expands down and crushes the head gasket against the block.
And if expanded to much the head metal can crack, so new head is needed.

Ford's 3.0l Vulcan engine was made from 1986 to 2008, so there were literally millions made.
They were used in these vehicles, so not just Rangers:
1987–1997 Ford Aerostar
1986–2007 Ford Taurus
1986–2005 Mercury Sable
1990–1992 Ford Probe
1991–2008 Ford Ranger
1992–1994 Ford Tempo
1992–1994 Mercury Topaz
1994–2007 Mazda B3000
1995–2000 Ford Windstar

You do need to fix it because without a working engine it isn't worth more than $1,500 if that.
Wrecking yards will have used 3.0l Vulcan engines, you should call around before going to see mechnic so you can get a general idea of that cost, or you can have yours rebuilt
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  #3  
Old 11-02-2015
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Thanks Ron! Just talked to my mechanic. He hasn't opened my engine yet but he told me he can tell that the head gasket is melted.
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  #4  
Old 11-02-2015
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Well head gaskets don't "melt", the metal rings that seal each cylinder on that bank can be crushed if head metal expands too much.
When one or more of these rings fail the explosive pressure for a cylinder firing, 1,200+psi, will push out past the damaged ring.
Each cylinder is surrounded by a cooling jacket, head and block, so this 1,200+psi pressure usually encounters a coolant passage between head and block first.
Cooling system at most has 16psi of pressure(radiator cap rating), so 1,200+psi pushes "air" from the cylinder into the cooling system, this extra pressure pushes coolant in the rad out to the overflow tank, which is why overflow tank gets full.
The "air" rises to the head and causes even more overheating because it doesn't absorb heat like coolant does and air can block regular coolant flow.
The effected cylinder(s) can also suck some coolant in on the intake stroke causing white exhaust smoke and more loss of coolant.
If the head gasket leak goes on long enough it will breach an oil passage between block and head, or gallery under intake, only then would you see coolant in the oil pan.

Coolant in the oil was quite common 40 years ago when a head gasket started leaking, with the new material and designs it still happens but head gasket failure without coolant in the oil is more common now.

Glove test (do a search here), or Block Test(if you still have coolant in engine), can tell you if a head gasket has failed.

And just as a heads up, there is a Ford TSB for '04-'06 Ranger 3.0l engines, a recessed valve seat issue, this won't be your problem but if heads come off that should be checked and dealt with.
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  #5  
Old 11-06-2015
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Just curious, with that much pressure entering the cooling system, should someone get their radiator replaced? Could that much pressure mess it up?
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  #6  
Old 11-06-2015
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No, the rad cap releases the pressure above 16psi, thats why the overflow tank gets full and coolant runs out over the top.

The rubber hoses will blow if pressure gets too high and before rad would be effected.

Rads rust from the inside out, usually at the bottom because that's where debris settles and coolant protection is lost because it is no longer flowing past exposed metal covered in debris.
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  #7  
Old 11-14-2015
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Yea... ended up buying a rebuilt engine from jasper with warranty. So around 2.9k without labor. My mechanic said that my engine was long from saving and that the some damage could have been because i placed water in the radiator. The radiator didn't need to be replaced.
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