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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have the opportunity to pick up a winter vehicle to drive back and forth to work. Its a late (?) 80's little Bronco and has a 2.9L V6. I have no exposure to this engine what so ever. Can anyone give me any opinions on the reliability and/or common maintenance issues with this engine?

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I had an 86' 4x4 Ranger with the 2.9 auto, I bought it with 52,000 mile and sold it 8 years later with 148,000 miles and the co-worker I sold it to drove it past 200,000 till the trans went and decided to sell it. Who knows it might still be out there. If it is it'll be awfull rusty, I'm in Michigan.
 

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Well, then, it should probably last through the winter!! It does need valve cover gaskets and is low on power, but sounds good. Power seems to be timing or maybe even catalytic issue. Guess I'll go make an offer.

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They are a pretty good motor. The major problem with them was cracked heads. My Grandpa's ranger did that at 123,000 miles. I just got it rebuilt last month. Trust me, unless the valve cover gaskets are leaking BAD don't touch them. They are a pain to get the covers out. Trust me, I've done it on two of those motors. If you can just tighten them up, try that first.
 

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my 88 BII has 195,000mi on it and still sees 5 to 5500rpm's frequently.Yes the VC's leak,they have been leaking for 6yrs now(good undercoating).The engine is stock except for a 86 2.9 54mm TB and a 2.25 in and out turbo muff.I get 23.6 MPG back and fourth to work(20mi round trip).Its got 3.73 gears with 255/70/15 tires and a 5spd.I have a tow dolly and even towed a couple of 1/2 ton pickups with it.The 2.9 will smoke a 2.8 GM, at least mine will.We need a Ranger/BII page in here

look in here and you deside

http://www.therangerstation.com/yabbgold/cgi-bin/YaBB.pl?board=2_9;action=display;num=1046566909

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<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: 64 TBOLT on 9/11/03 6:41am ]</font>
 

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I've got 170,000 miles on my '90 bronco 2...burns a half quart between oil changes,has had a new radiator and heater core, a new waterpump and a new fuel pump,I aint complainin'...oh yeah the alternator is kinda scaring me-its original,
 

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holly s**t batman

I have 490,000 miles on my original engine only doing minor maintenace plugs and wires, water pump, and clutches. I think it helped that I was religous about my oil changes and using full synthetic oil. Its only now that things are catching up to me and my wiring harness is decaying, causing me all sorts of problems but the engine is still strong well as strong as it ever was
 

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They are a pretty good motor. The major problem with them was cracked heads. My Grandpa's ranger did that at 123,000 miles. I just got it rebuilt last month. Trust me, unless the valve cover gaskets are leaking BAD don't touch them. They are a pain to get the covers out. Trust me, I've done it on two of those motors. If you can just tighten them up, try that first.
I have a 90 Ranger with the 2.9 and it's starting to drive me insane. I replaced both valve cover gaskets, (Which isn't to much of a pain) and am still getting "snot" on my oil cap. And every time I fill the overflow it's empty the next day. I'm starting to think it's the heads because randomly today I kept losing all oil pressure at every stop light. My truck only has 58K original miles too.
 

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Yeah, those are the general signs of a head failure. On the ones I've done, there are two common failure points - between cylinders through the water jackets, and in the exhaust port. My last two were one of each. Depending on the failure, the coolant goes in the crankcase, out the tailpipe, or out the radiator overflow.

If you pull the oil dipstick and you see water or milky oil, it's usually the first one. If you leave the radiator cap off with a full radiator, and crank it to start, compression will blow coolant out the radiator neck even before the engine starts if it's really bad. It will gently push water out if it's cracked but seems to run OK.

If you get almost no water on the dipstick check, and you notice a lot of morning startup steam from your tailpipe, it's usually the second one. If it's either failure, you're into a pair of heads. You can do a final verification by having a radiator shop (or some parts stores loan testers) do a pressure test on your cooling system to locate the leakdown.

Fortunately they are fairly inexpensive, and improved over the originals so it shouldn't happen again. Stuff to watch for after fixing that are the lifters (bad design catches crap , then releases it all at once to clog flow), the rocker arms (some were not very well hardened and wear at the valve tip), and high temps. Keep your oil and filter changed to help the first two, and avoid the last one with regular cooling system and component checks and maintenance. Finally, when assembling engine parts, follow the factory directions exactly, and use a torque wrench to get all fasteners to their proper spec. These engines do not like "it's close enough" assembly.

Every engine design has it's issues. Most of the Cologne V6 engine designs and manufacturing quality are pretty good. Some are not.

David
 
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