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2004 Ranger Engine Repair, Swap, or Scrap?

benoeb

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Hello friends,

I looking for advice on my 2004 Ford Ranger with a 3.0L V6 OHV 12V that has 147,740 miles on it.

The engine in the last few months started throwing error codes P0304 and P0316. This is preventing it from passing emissions so that I can renew the tags.

After a bit of googling I replaced what I could: ignition coil pack, spark plugs, spark plug wires, idle air controller, mass airflow sensor, all fuel injectors, and intake manifold gaskets. The errors kept popping up after clearing them. I took the truck into a local shop I had never used before yesterday morning. When they called to let me know what they thought, their opinion was cylinders 4 (P0304) & 6 (P0316) were in need of head jobs. In addition it was also suggested that the spark plugs, spark plug wires, and fuel injectors be replaced (even though I just replaced them a few months ago). The "out the door" cost to accomplish all this would be $4,400. I am going to take the truck to another shop for a 2nd opinion just based on being told I need to replace parts that I have already replaced recently.

Being honest in my assessment of the truck it would be in "fair" condition which is the same condition I bought the truck in 2 years ago, but looking at the kelly blue book estimate the trade-in worth was listed as $1,976-3,321.

If the second opinion from the second shop matches the first opinion what would you do?

01. Pay the repair fee of $4400
02. Swap with a remanufactured engine
03. Try to get my hands on a used engine from a local salvage yard
04. Scrap the truck and sell it for parts (hoping I can get another vehicle soon)

Thank you for taking the time to read the post :)
 


rubydist

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The 3.0 engines typically last pretty well, so your odds of getting a decent one from the scrap yard are good, and that will be a lot less money than rebuilding the one you have. My buddy has a mechanic shop and they rarely rebuild engines any more because the used ones are decent and much less expensive to the client.
 

superj

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its like 250 for a 6 cylinder from pull a part here, which would be what i would do if something needed a bunch of head work and internal stuff
 

RonD

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Welcome to TRS :)

2004 to 2006 Ranger 3.0l engine had Exhaust Valve Seat recession issue, there is a TSB on it

TSB seen here: https://www.therangerstation.com/ford-rangers-buyers-guide/ford-technical-service-bulletin-tsb-05-26-3/
This causes Burnt Exhaust valves

At only 150k miles its well worth replacing/rebuilding just the heads on this engine
Gasoline engines get burnt exhaust valves it's a fairly common engine issue, on ANY gasoline engine, even lawnmowers, lol, this repair is called "a valve job" most have heard of this repair, and that's what your engine needs
It is more common now to swap in rebuilt heads(had the valve job) and then yours are rebuilt and someone else buys them, just quicker to do it this way

$4,400 would be an unreasonably high price for this work, head swaps

V6 head swap labor is about $1,000, 6 to 8 hour job
$2,200 would be on high side, $1,700 low side including parts and labor
DIY would be $700-$900 for parts, gaskets, fluids, ect.........


Swapping in a used engine(NOT from a 2004-2006 Ranger!!!) would be OK but...............more work than needed and a roll of the dice since there would be no history for this engine

Swapping in a rebuilt engine, in my opinion, would be unnecessary expense since your current engine only has 150k miles
The 3.0l Vulcan can average 400k on lower end(crank, rods and pistons)


As for cost to repair any older vehicle, its never based on value of vehicle, its based on cost to drive vehicle
If you think your 2004 Ranger can be used for another 3 years(36 months) without another major repair then you can figure out your "cost to drive" over the next 36 months
If a repair cost $2,500, then $2,500 / 36month = $69/month extra to drive it for 3 years more
Not many used cars out there for $69/month, lol
After the 3 years you are back to regular cost to drive parts, tires, brakes, battery ect.................

Only you know the condition of your vehicle, so only you can make the call
 
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benoeb

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Thank you for the welcome and the feedback from everyone. Extremely helpful and reassuring.

In talking with my wife she was insistent we pay the $4400 to get the repair done considering the cost of used cars in the world right now as opposed to the $2700 limit I felt comfortable with. I guess my search begins to find a shop that will do the valve job for a reasonable price.
 

mc17eln

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2004 to 2006 Ranger 3.0l engine had Exhaust Valve Seat recession issue
I can attest to that. My Range is 2002, 3.0L, and I found 2 of my exhaust valve seats were badly indented. Then I spent hours in the junk yard taking off a pair of 2003 flex fuel 3.0L heads, only to find ALL exhaust valve seats were bad. There is no guarantee a junk yard engine is any better than your original. I ended up buying a pair of re-manufactured heads from auto-zone for $390 (after 20% discount and -$50 core return).

Take RonD's advice -- replace both cylinder heads and valves.
 

19Walt93

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Thank you for the welcome and the feedback from everyone. Extremely helpful and reassuring.

In talking with my wife she was insistent we pay the $4400 to get the repair done considering the cost of used cars in the world right now as opposed to the $2700 limit I felt comfortable with. I guess my search begins to find a shop that will do the valve job for a reasonable price.
Please, before spending big bucks, find a better shop or go to a dealer and get it diagnosed. A place telling you to replace the plugs, wires, and injectors is either guessing or dishonest. P0304 an 0316 are misfire codes and are the start of a diag path.
I don't remember the last valve job we did on a customer vehicle before I retired in 2017. When the dealership changed hands the new regime was going to throw away the valve seat grinding kit so one of my former techs snagged it and gave it to me.
 

benoeb

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Small update. If anyone would be so kind to take a look at the costs. If I add up the costs for removal/install of heads, new heads, cylinder head gaskets, & cylinder head bolts it comes out to $3115.96. This still seems a bit "high" to me. What do you guys think?

truckestimate02.png
 

RonD

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New head cost of $1,457.99 is silly, $350 per head is average so even $1,000 for two is a bit on the high side

I.E. a full rebuilt 3.0l Long Block is $1,595, seen here: https://unitedengine.com/product/ford-3-0l-181-ci-v6-long-block-engine/
$1,695 here: https://spprecision.com/products/ford-30-v6-183-long-block-crate-engine.html

And thats the whole engine, new, not just the heads

Head bolts are also a silly price, should be $60 total for 16 bolts

Rest of the stuff seems high but OK for a shop

Labor to R&R heads on a 3.0l OHV should be 6 to 8 hours, IN A SHOP, at $100/hour thats $800, at $120/hour thats $960
The point of taking vehicle to a shop is because they have the tools and skill to do the work faster than in your driveway or garage
Labor includes the time to change spark plugs thermostat, change fluids, don't see OIL CHANGE listed, maybe thats FREE, lol

AC is AC, $150 service is not unreasonable

All in all I would expect $2,000-$2,300 bill for head swap, parts and labor
 

stmitch

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They're killing you on the part prices! With a super quick search, I found you $1200 in savings in 3 parts alone. You might even find them cheaper with more extensive digging.

Autozone sells assembled, remanufactured heads for under $300 per side (and under $250 if you give them your old head):


You can get complete gasket kits online that will include every gasket you'd touch doing a head swap for under $50:


Genuine motorcraft plug wires are $83:



So that's $500 for 2 new cylinder heads + $50 for gaskets + $85 for plug wires = $635 compared to them charging you $1834 for those three line items. So buying those parts yourself you'd save $1200 (plus tax), which would put the total repair under your $2700 budget. See if they'll install parts you provide, and if they won't, then find another shop that won't rake you over the coals on part prices.
 
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Uncle Gump

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Lots of places don't really want to do some repair jobs. They inflate prices to the point they hope you just walk away. If you say do it... it makes it worth their time.
 

superj

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that is what i see a lot /\
 

dvdswan

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that is what i see a lot /\
Which is really sad. You chose the profession, you already get a decent pay by "flag hour". Suck it up buttercup. No offense to the Technicians on here.
 

superj

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when my son's car lost the headgasket we called some local places and the dealer ship for prices to get the car back on the road. one place, christian brothers, gave me an outrageous price. it sucked because they do excellent work. i asked why it was so much and told them what the dealer told me the cost was, versus theirs. they said they just don't like to work on those cars so they bid really high. than if someone chooses them, of course they will do it but they hope they won't get picked.

i understood why they hated working on them. i told my son pull it in the garage and we would tear it down that night and he said he didn't think we should and i should go to the forum and see what the guys are saying about that job. 2017 turbo hyundai veloster is a huge pain in the butt versus the bmws and other vehicles we have previously done. even a buddy who has a garage said he didn't want to do it
 

benoeb

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Thank you everyone for you input. This has really been eye opening & helpful.

This process has been really demoralizing. After RonD linked the crate engines I got a ton of hope due to the cost of the remanufactured engines. I called around and the lowest bid I got to swap the original engine with the remanufactured crate engine was $4200. Almost zero cost difference from the head job. I figured it would be easier to do a "gut" rather than a repair.

If I had the tools and a local mentor I would gladly put the work in & pay for the instruction, just seems the local repair shops don't want to do a valve job or a engine swap for what those who posted on this thread & I would consider a reasonable price. Maybe if I wait long enough for the used small truck inflation bubble to burst repair costs will come down. It is my hope that my boss will be patient enough to allow me to work remotely long enough until I find a mechanic willing to do the work without being predatory about it.
 

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