Wednesday, November 23, 2005

4.0 vs 4.0 , question for my readers.

Here's a question maybe some of you can help me with. I have a 4.0L OHV V6 in my Ranger. Now I know that this engine owes it life to the humble 1.7L V4 from Germany, the engine that was in cars like the Taunus and even used by Saab when they went to 4 stroke engines from 2 stroke. But the new Ranger 4.0 SOHC V6, also used in the Mustang, where did that come from?

The 1.7 was enlarge, two extra cylinders to make the 2.8L V6, which became 2.9, then 3.0 before being "punched out" to 4.0L. But all of these are OverHeadValve engines, where did the SingleOverHeadCam 4.0L V6 come from? Is it just a modification of the Cologne V6, or was it a new design?

Interesting trivia for those who didn't know, the 1.7L V4 was the engine for the original Mustang concept, the mid engine two seater.

I'm hoping someone will know and either email me at or leave a comment here.

Answer at link in title, hell I couldn't actually wait, I just went to Wikepedia.


Mike said...

Well here's what I know: I believe you're right about the lineage from of the 1.7L Essex V4 to 2.8L V6, which was used extensively in Europe before coming to the US in cars like the Pinto. Then the evolution continued in the Ranger from 2.8L to 2.9L and eventually the 3.0L V6 that we all know today.

The 4.0L V6 [OHC] is a Cologne (Germany) built, and highly modified version of the Essex (England) built family. It's a maxed-out [large siamese bore and stroked crank] 3.0L V6.

The SOHC 4.0L V6 is a slightly modified OHC 4.0L V6 block with the addition of new heads and ancillary gear. The break it down to basics, take the OHC 4.0, swap a balance shaft in place of the cam - still using the regular timing chain setup, then on either end of the balance shaft add and external cam chain drive cassettes which connect to the cams in the new heads.

This isn't a very sophisticated or refined design. The early versions of the SOHC motor suffered sever oiling problems. Revisions seemed to have fixed the problem for tye most part. While not a sophisticated design, thanks to better valve angles afforded by over head cams - the engine puts out decent HP & TQ numbers, and thanks to the balance shaft - is a very smooth running 60° V6.

Mike said...

Sorry about the typos...

Anonymous said...

Yes, the 4-liter SOHC is a simple evolution of the OHV V-6 engine family. Not so hard to put overhead cams on that engine family, in fact it's been done before in a very limited production DOHC engine for the Capri.

And, there is no such thing as a 3 liter SOHC engine. The SOHC exists in 4 liter form only.

Interestingly, the Land Rover SUV, with very slightly better tuning. It comes off the same production line and everything. It would be hard to get them to admit their use of such a lowly dated engine, and they don't even put a detailed picture of the engine on their media site. But, other Ford and union sites reveal this to be the case.

And, it's all but identical to the Explorer/Ranger engine, differing only slightly in throttle body placement. This peice of news was in all the Ford press when the S197 was launched.

My site has dozens of detailed pics of all the Ford Duratec V-6 and "modular" family engines, although I've been behind on getting 4 liter engine pics up there. I'll work on that in the next few days.


Big Ford Fan said...

Mike, thanks, I hadn't seen your site before, will check it in more detail soon. Thanks for the link. You seem to know a lot about this, that's great.

Jeff, I can always count on you for the details too, some day I'm going to stump you, don't know how, but there's got to be something about Ford you don't know.

I looked it up on Wikipedia and the link is in the title.

Anonymous said...

Ford Cologne V6 4.0 in a ranger how fast will it go? mph?

Kim said...


I currently have a 1993 Aerostar with either the 3.0 or 3.3 V-6. It's getting tired and I'd like to upgrade to the 4.0 Cologne. Would the 4.0 bolt right in or is the mounting different? Kim

Anonymous said...

Ford's 3.0 V6 is not part of this engine family. It's part of the "Vulcan" family of V6 engines. It's an American design, using some elements from Ford's "Essex" family of V6 engines.

Anonymous said...

The 1.7L was "enlarged" to make teh 2.6L v6, which later became the 2.8L, 2.9L, and 4.0L's...

No 3.slow v6 in that lineage, as noted.

As for teh question of putting a 4.0L in a 3.0L-equipped Aerostar...doable, but you'd need the 4.0L trans, engine harness, computer, and mounts to make it work.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how to get power down-low out of the SOHC engine? I used to have a 98 4 liter with OHV, and have since moved "up" to an 03. It seems to me that the 98 could beat it off the line until the rpms went up. Any thoughts?

Gramo said...


there are a couple of minor errors here. The British Essex and the German Cologne (both named after where they were made) are entirely different engines though both are 60 degree v6's or v4's. They have similarities but are not based on the same design. The V4 engine used in the SAABs 96 etc is based on the Cologne v4 engine not the Essex V4. The Essex was phased out by Ford in the UK as part of the drive towards rationalisation and metrication in Europe (amongst other things). The English essex engine is also not the same as the Canadian Essex which is a 90 degree v6.

The Essex engine was also designed to be a diesel but it never happened. Because of this its rotating assembly is very robust and the engine is also very heavy.

The V6 Cologne in Europe exists in to two major forms. The siamesed exhaust v6 2.8litre which is poor on power and torque. This engine runs a gear driven camshaft. The other variation is based on the 2.9 which has three port exhausts and the camshaft is chain driven. It is on this version that your OHV 4litre Explorer Ranger motor is based. Later this same engine was ugraded with SOHC alloy heads as used in the Mustang, Explorer and Landy. Over here in the UK there is also a Cosworth version of the 2.9 engine that has DOHC heads with 24 valves.

Question for you guys....does anybody do tuning parts for the 4litre OHV??


Anonymous said...

You probably won't find anything to increase your low end power that's just a bolt on, except perhaps a programmer (lots of money though). Since you're 03 is OBD II equipped you could use just about any type of programmer to change your fuel curves for more delivery. Or you could swap out your injectors to larger ones (dropping your fuel economy) to increase your power output. One other thing to add though is that the catalytic converter setup on the later versions usually are more restrictive, so perhaps looking into a high flow cat and exhaust system would be your best bet... it would sound better too.

Anonymous said...


TheHandyman said...

Yes the OHC 4.0 can probably get a little better fuel economy. It has a little more efficient cylinder heads.

I'm glad someone straightened it out about the Ford small V6 engine families. The author seemed to be misinformed above.

In the 1970s it was simple with only the German Ford Cologne V4s and V6s and the British Ford Essex V4s and V6s.

I really haven't figured out why Ford engineered a totally new "Vulcan V6" but it's sure a great engine!

The real Essex engines are no longer made. A chopped off Ford V8 is now called the Essex V6 and made in Canada.

Yes the OHC 4.0 is mainly new cylinder heads on the older 4.0 Cologne block. The Europeans have their neat Cosworth heads on the Cologne engine. (Lucky!!)

Ford also uses various other V6s of various DOHC (double over head cam) designs. May even have a SOHC too, I've lost track. These may be Mazda joint designs. The Taurus SHO was a Yamaha design. It's confusing now all the engines they've used.