29th Sep 2002, 15:11


I am Garrett, and I read your article regarding the Bronco II, I noticed the same thing about the oil pressure. When I got my 90 Bronco II with automatic transmission, I noticed that the oil pressure indicator rarely moved and when it did I didn't notice it. I really appreciate that, but I have already killed my truck. I go off-road a lot and I went too deep and sucked water into the engine and froze it up tight. Another problem you will want to watch out for is the electric fuel pump in the tank, If it goes, you have a $250 dollar problem, they don't sell it at your local auto parts store, you must go to the dealership. You can easily test it by getting someone to turn on the ignition and you listen in the fuel tank and see if you can hear a humming sound, if you hear it, you are fine. One other thing, I am putting a 302 in my truck and I will now need to change that indicator or what do I need to do? Email Me: pofessa@yahoo.com.

16th Nov 2002, 23:16

Hi, I have an 89 Bronco II with the infamous 2.9L. I must say after 167,000 miles I have adjusted my rattling valves once. My oil pressure seemed to fluctuate on me until I realized that the pressure created in the oil journals was the problem. The oil sending unit was the same unit used for the 2.8L engines and not casted to match the 2.9 oil journal. I changed the sending unit and had no problem with an aftermarket one. After this many miles, I have no oil leaks either. With 33.12.5 Super Swamper Boggers, 4.56 gears, a 1977 Dana 44 swapped into replace the weak Dana 28, Ford has a great truck they should have continued to improve and redesign.

22nd Dec 2002, 20:01

I have a '90 ranger 2.9L with 145000 miles. I have only owned this truck for the past year. My trucks oil pressure factory oil pressure gauge always reads in the normal range while running. I installed a mechanical oil pressure gauge and the actual oil pressure ranges from 10PSI at idle to 40PSI. The factory gauge is totally not to be believed, as the needle seldom moves at all. The truck runs great, although it does have the incurable lifter tick that is pretty common on this engine.

16th Feb 2003, 12:37

I own a 1989 BroncoII with the famous 2.9 engine, and like many of your other readers, have discovered the famous factory gauge cover up. only after replacing the lifters twice at great expense, did the manual gauge I installed show that my oil pressure would drop back to 10 psi at idle and climb quickly to 40 psi at 2000 rpm plus. The new lifters started making noise after about 2 weeks and now are hit and miss on is this going to me a noisy day or not. Still not sure on the question of low oil pressure and is any damage being done my engine at idle. Until I recently had the lifters changed checks of my oil pressure with the manual gauge showed strong oil pressure, but now I see my in dash gauge bouncing from strong normal to "low" range and back again. Wondering if some dirt go dropped into the engine during last lifter job and garage and now my bearings are paying the price.

19th May 2003, 23:30

Oh, great! I have just posted a rave review on my 1989 Bronco II and now I find out the oil pressure gauge is "make believe". I think that's what you are saying. I have had my truck 14 years and 156,+++ miles with very few repairs. I have no mechanical skills, but I am a gauge watcher because I was under the impression that gauge changes might fortell impending doom (which would be "car trouble, or rather, "truck trouble" in my case). My normal gauge readings always make me feel safe and secure in my old beloved truck. This is very troubling to find out that the gauge is not accurate. My truck doesn't burn or leak any oil. I would be devastated if my engine's life was snuffed out by a bogus gauge and now realize that may very well happen some day. Thanks anyway. At least I won't be totally shocked if it does--devastated--but not shocked thanks to you!

18th Jun 2003, 12:18

I've got an '87 Ranger with a 2.9L V-6. I just discovered about a gallon of anti-freeze in the oil and am sure it's the infamous cracked head problem. Also my oil light has been on for the past year or so, but since the engine never died I figured it was just the sending unit (haven't gotten around to replacing it yet). It actually still runs fine despite the water in the oil (or at least it did until I discovered it - haven't started it since).

I had an '83 Ranger previously, with the 2.8 V-6, and it also died of cracked heads. I'm going to donate this thing to a good cause and never buy another Ford again!!

26th Aug 2003, 10:29

Lucky day for all of you. I am a scientist engineer with over twenty years with NASA. I own a Bronco II with a 2.9 (second one in it). The Ford 2.9 engine is a oil feed mess. The fact that some have major engine problems and others do not is what is known as random failure due to tolerance variance. But all will fail at some point or another, and sooner than normal for any engine. There is no question that the head design has led to this problem, among other things. The poor design of the head cooling and oiling circuits (oil and water flow patterns) not only causes cracking due to inadequate (leave material). But it also passes more oil rather than water over hot spots to the heads causing excessive oil viscosity breakdown.

In addition, the design of the valve lifter assembly does not provide for pump flow of oil Thru the push rods lubricating the rocker assembly's or upper valve assembly. It also inhibits lifter air pump out. This combination of things places the cam, lifters, and rod assembly's at a starved oil situation. The starving is borderline at best at idle. As a result, the lifters, cam bearings and rod bearings will wear dependent upon the random tolerance stackup in the assembly's. That tolerance is not limited to just the spacing, It is also inclusive of the makeup of material. What I mean is that the actual metal composition of the parts themselves. This composition varies from production lot to production lot. There are hundreds of lots made per calender year. If you have a Motor built with parts of a better production lot, your motor will last a little longer than others. There is no way to tell, at this point other than detailed failure analysis of a specific engine. Very expensive.

Rebuilding a 2.9 with high grade parts will not resolve the issue of poor design. If you like the 2.9 The only upgrade or improvement I am aware of is aftermarket design heads. This will reduce the chances of cracking, but does not address the poor design flow issues.

Ford did change oil indication (pressure gage) setups and more on 2.9 engines. What the purpose of that was is only known to those who did it. But if they did it to cover up. They messed up there to. They should have made a new design pressure reading circuit (sending unit and gage) that read oil pressure as higher than it really was, Not lower or erratic as the one they have does.

There are a few things you can do to improve the 2.9 if you like it. 1.) replace the gage with a mechanical one. There is no substitute for a actual reading of oil pressure.

2.) replace the oil pump with a high volume one, heavy duty.

3.) Replace the push rods and lifters with hollow rods and super duty lifters. The rockers need to have the adjusting bolts drilled for pump Thru. This will increase the upper train oiling and allow the lifters to pump out air. Yes air!!! Air that gets trapped with no way out of the lifter. This is why they tick! Trapped air inside the lifter. And as it heats up it expands, but it also compresses more. This is why they tap.

If you don't have a love for the 2.9 My advise is to replace it as fast as you can.