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I Gotta Admit I Really Like The Vulcan


8thTon

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I remember well laughing about this antique when it came out around '86. I couldn't believe they had designed such a throwback - iron block and heads, pushrods and 2 valves per cylinder. But I get it now - it was an inexpensive power source for mass produced vehicles, and even though the architecture was simple it was well done. Roller lifters and rockers, Ford's fulcrum rocker arms, aluminum (and now plastic) intake with port injection, properly balanced. In my 2004 it's a smooth and powerful engine, well matched to to the weight of the truck and the 4:10 gear. If the truck were heavier or the gears taller it would probably be a dog, but that's not the case.

Since my other car is in the shop I've been driving the Ranger again, and it's been running great after the timing cover work. I forgot just how well it goes, even with a bed full of packed snow.
 


Rock Auto 5% Discount Code: 7FA902352B4C01: April 5th, 2021

MikeG

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How much different is the Vulcan from the 2.9 / 4.0 OHV? For a long time I thought they were all basically the same thing, with different displacement. Obviously know (somewhat) better now but is there a list somewhere of how they differ, other than the bellhousing bolt pattern?
 

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I prefer Romulans personally.
 

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Been wondering about that, based on your avatar! :icon_rofl::icon_rofl::icon_rofl::icon_rofl::icon_rofl::icon_rofl::icon_rofl::icon_rofl:
 

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Yes, the 3.0l Vulcan was built to last
Needs the 4.10 to keep RPMs high

Not great for automatics unless shift points are set high enough

Makes best power/torque at 3,500rpms, most engines do that at 2,500rpms, so people would drive it and shift at 3,000rpms thinking this thing has no power
Be like shifting any other engine at 2,000rpms, never see the power band

Gotta get the RPMs up and keep them up if you want the power from this engine, but that's the DESIGN

Ranger 2.8l, 2.9l and 4.0l were Cologne designed engines, Ford Germany
3.0l Vulcan was strictly US Ford designed
 
Last edited:

8thTon

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How much different is the Vulcan from the 2.9 / 4.0 OHV? For a long time I thought they were all basically the same thing, with different displacement. Obviously know (somewhat) better now but is there a list somewhere of how they differ, other than the bellhousing bolt pattern?
Well, they are both 60deg V6s from Ford. I don't think they have any similarity otherwise. The Vulcan is a much newer design than the Cologne.

Yes, the 3.0l Vulcan was built to last
Needs the 4.10 to keep RPMs high

Not great for automatics unless shift points are set high enough

Makes best power/torque at 3,500rpms, most engines do that at 2,500rpms, so people would drive it and shift at 3,000rpms thinking this thing has no power
Be like shifting any other engine at 2,000rpms, never see the power band

Gotta get the RPMs up and keep them up if you want the power from this engine, but that's the DESIGN
That's what gears are for though. If I jump on mine hard enough the 5R44E will run it right to redline, just as I would if it were a manual. When I'm shifting I know what the power curve is, so I know where to shift.

It's not harsh or thrashy at all 5000+rpm, the engine is smooth.
 

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Nothing really interchangeable between them? Seems kinda silly that Ford didn't just change the bore/stroke on the 4.0 if they wanted a smaller displacement engine.
 

8thTon

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Nothing really interchangeable between them? Seems kinda silly that Ford didn't just change the bore/stroke on the 4.0 if they wanted a smaller displacement engine.
The 4.0 was introduced after the 3.0 Vulcan, but was based on the much older Cologne design. The Vulcan was a clean-sheet design, initially developed for the original Taurus sedan.
 

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well the 4.0 was a bored/stroked 2.9 , Ive never driven a manual 3.0 ranger, my ‘97 had a 3.45 rear end and no first (automatic) so it was indeed doggish. Had a 93 taurus with the 3.0 and it worked well with that chassis.
 

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Just makes you wonder what went through Ford's engneering....

"Let's see..... we have a 2.6, and a 2.8, and a 2.9.... and there's enough room to make that block into a 4.0...... but how the heck are we going to get a 3.0 engine?"

:confused:
:confused:
:confused:

"I know! We'll throw all that crap out and make a NEW engine that isn't compatible with anything else!" Ding ding ding ding ding.... winner!!!!!!

:rolleyes:

Seems crazy that Ford didn't at least keep the bellhousing pattern the same, would have made a few things simpler, at least with the trucks.
 

8thTon

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Just makes you wonder what went through Ford's engneering....

"Let's see..... we have a 2.6, and a 2.8, and a 2.9.... and there's enough room to make that block into a 4.0...... but how the heck are we going to get a 3.0 engine?"

:confused:
:confused:
:confused:

"I know! We'll throw all that crap out and make a NEW engine that isn't compatible with anything else!" Ding ding ding ding ding.... winner!!!!!!

:rolleyes:

Seems crazy that Ford didn't at least keep the bellhousing pattern the same, would have made a few things simpler, at least with the trucks.
A lot of that has to do with making use of different design and manufacturing resources. The Cologne engines were designed and manufactured in Germany, while the Vulcan was a US design. The biggest nightmare is the 4.0 SOHC, which for all the miles of timing chain achieved 2 valves per cylinder all in a line, all with parallel stems, and made exactly 4/3 the power of the pushrod 3.0 Vulcan (which at least had angled valves).
 

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I liked the 3.0 after we got all the piston slapping 86's and broken head bolt 87's fixed. They worked great in Taurus's, Tempos, and Probes but were underwhelming in Rangers because the torque peak is too high. I tried a 3.0, 5 speed, short box 4x4 before ordering a 4.0 sohc( that was overcomplicated) in my new 2004 and couldn't stand it, even with 4.10 gears. I thought they did better with an automatic because of the torque convertor. Ford was/is too compartmentalized, in my opinion. We had an engineer from the Ranger plant at a parts and service managers meeting around 2000 and I asked why they had created the pulse vacuum nightmare instead of just using the trouble free system that had been under Explorers since 95. He didn't know anything about Explorers. Rather than look at what already was produced they started with a clean sheet of paper.
 

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We had an engineer from the Ranger plant at a parts and service managers meeting around 2000 and I asked why they had created the pulse vacuum nightmare instead of just using the trouble free system that had been under Explorers since 95. He didn't know anything about Explorers. Rather than look at what already was produced they started with a clean sheet of paper.
When I did the V8 swap in my '99, I used a '99 Explorer donor. The airboxes are attached the same way - a metal bracket bolted to the fender, and a pattern of plastic bumps on the bottom of the airbox that secure it to the bracket. From three feet away you'd swear they were identical. But they're not.. in maddening ways, they're ever so slightly different. The two metal brackets attach differently to the fender, so they can't be swapped. The pattern of the airbox base to the brackets is different, so -they- can't be swapped. The MAF to filter housing pattern is just slightly different, so you can't use the 5.0's tube and MAF on the Ranger's airbox.

The whole thing comes across like all the engineers took the same classes and had the same design concepts in mind, and were given the same class project that wasn't quite specific enough to guarantee matching results. It makes no sense whatsoever.
 

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When I did the V8 swap in my '99, I used a '99 Explorer donor. The airboxes are attached the same way - a metal bracket bolted to the fender, and a pattern of plastic bumps on the bottom of the airbox that secure it to the bracket. From three feet away you'd swear they were identical. But they're not.. in maddening ways, they're ever so slightly different. The two metal brackets attach differently to the fender, so they can't be swapped. The pattern of the airbox base to the brackets is different, so -they- can't be swapped. The MAF to filter housing pattern is just slightly different, so you can't use the 5.0's tube and MAF on the Ranger's airbox.

The whole thing comes across like all the engineers took the same classes and had the same design concepts in mind, and were given the same class project that wasn't quite specific enough to guarantee matching results. It makes no sense whatsoever.
It is a weird system Ford has, I swear they get bored and change stuff just so they have something to do.
 

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It wouldn't have particularly surprised me if it had been a year to year change. But this crap was in the same model year, and looked identical until I got frustrated and tried to figure out why it just wouldn't fit.
 


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