8th Dec 2005, 20:44

I've been reading the comments here for a while and finally decided to come and post my opinion on the 2.9 V6.

I own a 1990 Ford Ranger with the 2.9 V6. I was given this truck from my Dad, who bought a new F150 and had no use for the Ranger anymore. It had 171,000 miles on it when I got it. It was a strong running truck, with no knocks, ticks, or rattles. It also didn't leak any oil or having any antifreeze related issues.

At about 179,000, I began to experience the infamous "Lifter Tick" that I've come to know well in my time of research. The truck would never tick in town, only after driving on the interstate at speeds above 60 MPH for 10 minutes or more. The sound of one lifter ticking could be heard for about 5-6 minutes after coming off the freeway.

Going to my Dad, who has been a mechanic for all his life, he suspected that worn main bearings was contributing to the engine's upper oiling problem. We prepared to pull out the engine for a fresher up around Halloween of this year. Once we had the engine out of the truck, we replaced the crankshaft, main bearings, rod bearings, oil pump & Screen, Cam & bearings, as well as the lifters.

After putting the engine back in. The truck ran smoother than ever, and the lifter tick, dubbed "incurable" by many, was gone. I ran this truck 70 MPH all the way to Charlottsville the week after and no tick whatsoever. I'm not sure if maybe we just got lucky, but by replacing all of the parts I listed, my ticking problem was cured. I hope this helps some, because if you can afford to replace all those parts, you might be able to save your 2.9 like I did. I love my truck and hope to have it for many more years.

31st Dec 2006, 11:38

If you are a Chevy man, stick to Chevy, or completely change over to Ford. If anyone is like me and owned a Ford and a Chevy at the same time, you will have nothing, but problems. Personally, I used to own a Chev pickup, when I bought my BII. Not less than a week later I was having problems with both vehicles. I ended up selling the Chevy, and bought an older F-150, and suddenly, my BII Ford started running great. Still has little "glitches" here and there, but the majority of the problems have ceased. I may be crazy, but that's the way it has always been with me. One other thing as well, you most likely will not find anyone on here who has said that any problem they had came without warning on a Ford. But you will on a Chevy.

28th Jan 2007, 15:41

OK. I’ve heard the lot. I have to agree with the scientist, though. Air in the lifters is what makes these things tick; however be careful as the fuel rail / regulator setup can also cause a similar noise. I’m an automotive journalist, and I own an ‘89 BII with the 2.9 engine. I’ve used my BII to pull water loads of greater than 2,000 pounds over the back axle, and agricultural produce for more miles than I care to remember. The 2.9 has great torque down low, and gives 400 miles on a tank of gas. But the engine’s oiling system does leave a little to be desired. There are fixes, however. I am yet to implement them; yet my BII has turned over the odometer so many times I’ve lost count. It does tick horribly, though. It goes and comes. Some one else on another post said that he’ll probably be buried in his BII. Likewise. But I am a great fan of the Internet, and here are some solutions that I’ve come across to improve valve train oiling.

There is a half moon thrust washer in front of the cam. Rotating this 180 degrees is said to improve the oil delivery to the top end. (Not verified)

Sven Pruett, a 2.9 fanatic, published a modification called “free floating rockers” which essentially removes the springs from the rocker shaft assembly and substitutes aluminium spacers. Pat Kunz, another aficionado from the ranger forum www.therangerstation.com, condensed it and put it on the bulletin board there.

See "Free Floating Rockers" at http://www.therangerstation.com/tech_library/Kunz_Korner.htm

Also not verified.

Sven also advocates using only synthetic oil in the engine, as there are known hot spots and mineral oil will ash it up. The oil drain from head to engine is not large enough, it seems, and the coke from the mineral oil will eventually restrict this flow, but not seal it up completely. This leads to a starving the engine of oil, and a low pressure reading throughout the rev range. The oil then fills up the rocker area, leading to leaks (sometimes) but lowering the level of oil in the sump to the point that when the engine is ticking a dipstick will not show anything on it. Changing oil/filter regularly should inhibit onset of this particular problem.

I however especially like the scientist’s solution of drilling the “adjusting bolts”. It seems plausible that the air cannot get out, thus making them perennial tickers. My BII has been parked for almost three years now, because of a fuel pump problem. And I’ve had something else to drive. But I miss it and it will become the subject of a rebuild article very soon, and all of the aforementioned tweaks will be added unto it. It’s a great combination! No 5.0 for me…

2nd May 2008, 12:13

Concerning the noise from the truck. do you still have the CV joint type drive shaft. it could be that your CV joint is coming apart. I have replaced mine 3 time and the last time I had a U-joint type made up to replace it. That was 50k ago and not problems. it has grease fittings built into it to grease it.

18th May 2008, 01:43

WOW this 2.9 sure needs a lot of attention. I too have been put to much expense and trouble over what seems to be one of Fords better ideas. Noisy top end, deep knock in lower end, finally water/steam out the tail pipe. Since my 89 Bronco 2 is in very nice shape,I made the costly mistake of putting a Ford re-man engine in it, as I could not find a used on that ran, and every junk yard I spoke with said no other engine would fit unless I was willing to put in a four cylinder, and that would require a doaner vehicle and plenty of extra time. My new motor is even louder at the top end, sounds like there is no oil at lifters at all, and has a self changing oil feature at the rear main seal that keeps my clutch lubed.

29th May 2008, 18:04

I own a '90 Bronco II, and it's got roughly 70 grand miles on it.

I bought it from a guy who didn't drive it a lot, and it was a really good, reliable truck.

Like everyone else, I had to get after it once and a while, and because it wasn't used to it, we ended up replacing the driveline and a few other suspension issues.

It was a great little runner, until I started hearing a deep, rod-like sound from the engine during high accelerations and freeway speeds. It was okay for a while, but it was short lived. I was heading up to Salt lake from Pleasant Grove, and if you are familiar, you have to take a big series of hills on the freeway to get there. The 2.9 isn't a powerful engine, and to make it up these hills, you have to punch it over into fourth to pull the hills. I had done this many times and had no serious problems, but this time, I noticed the engine had started over revving after the hills, and the transmission was acting confused when I let off the gas. I let it shift down into 3rd and it was making a terrible bang and a series of knocks.

I got off the freeway and stopped, got out thinking it was a rod. The engine was cool still, and the oil pressure was still stationary (is anyone surprised?) the bang sounded like a rod when it was in park idling, so I called my dad, shut it off and had him come tow it back to the house. It doesn't quite sound like a rod, but I am sure it is something bad. I love the truck to death, and I will probably end up keeping it forever. It's just sick.

Would putting a 4.0 or a 4.6 make it better? I don't want to keep shoveling money into it just to keep the 2.9 in running condition. So... I like the speed and power the engine gave me, and I NEVER abuse the truck. So is it worth it to fix up the 2.9 or put a bigger one in?