25th Feb 2006, 11:30

For laymen: Think of a V-6 as two 3-cylinder (inline three) engines, and think of a V-8 as two 4-cylinder engines (inline fours).

Alright, first off (with exception of a very limited few) V-6 engines just weren’t meant to be. First to understand engine science, a modern combustion engine (the kind used in most cars and trucks) has four cycles (an even number) and in most engines (I-4, I-6,and even V-8) 2 cylinders move to the top of the cylinder bank at the same time (first the outside 2 then the inside 2, etc).

In a V-8, four cylinders are up at the same time (2 in each bank). What this does is equalizes the pressure within the cylinder bank, therefore having the effect of trying to “push” the cylinder heads “off” the engine.

Now to a V-6 engine, although 2 cylinders are up at the same time (like every other engine) only one cylinder in each bank is up (at top) at a time. The center cylinder in each bank poses no problem as the pressure is equal around this cylinder. It is the end cylinders in each bank that cause the trouble as (because only one cylinder is up, in a bank at a time) their pressure is not equalized, so it has a sort of teeter-totter effect on the cylinder head, something’s got to give, usually the head gasket, as it is designed to be somewhat soft and flexible to offset casting irregularities.

In short inline engines with a even number of cylinders, and V pattern engines with an even number of cylinders in each bank, will far outlast engines with an odd number of cylinders in each bank, based solely on science alone.

For those of you that hear a “bang” or “thud” when you start your engine, MAYBE it would be smart to turn off the engine, raise the hood and investigate further, rather than saying hmm… what was that, and driving off.

And if you aren’t already stuck with one DO NOT BUY A V-6 equipped vehicle!!! Stick with I-4s, I-6s, and V-8s as I’ve seen very few people have engine trouble with these.

For those of you who are going to write comments about how “V-6s are great and wonderful” how they’re “V-8 power closer to 4 banger economy” all I’ve got to say is the V-6 “reaper” just hasn’t found you yet (as I‘m sure most of the writers on this forum will attest). Remember I’m not just bashing V-6s based on opinion and experience, I’ve also listed the science behind behind it.

22nd Jul 2006, 07:10

I have a 1997 with the 4.2 motor. It went out at 107,000 miles. Now the timing is bad.

So far I have spent 3,400 dollars on repairs. I plan to sell it to a junk yard as soon as I have a down payment. I do not want anyone else to own it, is only problems. FORD needs to recall the 4.2 motor.


22nd Dec 2006, 22:15

I have the 1997 Ford F-150 with the 4.2L engine. It went out at 124K miles. It's been a total lemon since the day we've owned it. It has spent more time at the garage than it has in our yard, and now (we are still paying for it) we have a nice large lawn ornament that we're going to have to fork over who-knows how much money to fix. 4.2L Ford engines NEED TO BE RECALLED. What will it take???

23rd May 2007, 13:02

I bought my 1997 Ford f-150 4.2 L new. I have replaced the O2 sensor, water pump, t-stat, coil and wires and have capped off the bad heater core. I am 400 miles short of 200K. I have driven this truck hard, but faithfully changed the oil, oil filter, air filter and coolant. This is the best truck I have ever owned. When this baby croaks, I'll shed a tear and go out and buy another Ford truck.

23rd May 2007, 15:56

Ditto on the commentor of the v-6 engine nightmares. I own a wonderful 1991 In Line 4.0 Jeep Commanche, 178K trouble free miles (just a water pump and regular maintenence). The I-4 and I-6 are the way to go if you don't want a v-8. Otherwise you maybe saying, "Oh, I could have had a V-8!" Sorry, happy motoring.

26th May 2008, 18:32

I also am in the middle of replacing my 97 F150 4.2 motor, because of the faulty intake gasket. The number 1 cylinder filled up with coolant, causing it 2 bend the rod and creating a horrible knock. I am a Ford fan, but I am aggravated that they will not remedy a fault that they are responsible for. Why won't you stand behind your product? What will it take?

7th Feb 2009, 16:42

Hey, what do you know, I also bought a 97 F-150 with 93000 miles on it from a dealership in Texas.

Ran great for awhile (about 15000 miles), then noticed I was using a lot of antifreeze and couldn't find where it was leaking. Took it in to get radiator pulled and dipped to check for leaks. NOTHING!!!

So one day I came out to start it and it wouldn't. Tried to jump it - NOTHING!!! So I pull started it and then came the sound that now everybody is talking about. Number one rod bent because of faulty and bad bad bad building and designing of the 97, 98 4.2 liter V6 motor by Ford. So luckily found another one rebuilt (same thing happened to it, never would have guessed) put it in myself and has ran fine since. Has 135000 on it now just waiting to see if it happens again.

I have never really liked Fords, but I guess if I want to spend a lot of money, I will buy another.

20th Jul 2010, 14:50

I have a 97 F-150. I went out and started it, and it was chattering, and then it went away, but if I listen good, I can hear something in the bottom end rattle now. It must just be the 4.2 way. They are junk.

10th Apr 2011, 02:35

What ended up happening? I've put a deposit on a 97 F-150 with the 4.2 V6, and I'm thinking it was a mistake...

27th Jul 2012, 21:34

No way, don't waste your hard earned money!