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Ford 3.0L Vulcan V-6

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The Ford Vulcan V6 is a 3.0L, 60° V6 engine, first introduced for the 1986 model year and originally designed to be the optional engine in the Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable. In 1991 it became available in the Ford Ranger where it replaced the Cologne 2.9 engine (which it is not related to) as the base V6 in the Ranger

The Vulcan was a clean-sheet design using the metric system. The engine block is built by Sherwood Metal Products, the intake comes from Ford's Essex Casting, and the engine is assembled at Ford's Lima Engine plant in Lima, Ohio.

The Vulcan is a straightforward pushrod design, with 2 valves per cylinder. Bore is 3.504 in and stroke is 3.15 in. The engine was designed to use electronic fuel injection from the start (there was never a carburetor-equipped version), and was also sold in a "flexible fuel" configuration that could burn normal gasoline, E85 (a blend of 15% gasoline and 85% ethanol) or any mixture of these two fuels.

In 1991, it was updated with lower-friction pistons, a strengthened block, roller camshaft and other changes that resulted in a power rating of 145 hp and a torque rating of 160 ft·lbs. In 1998 further improvements were made, with a new intake manifold, changes in engine management and cam timing; output was further increased to 155 hp (115 kW) and 185 ft·lbs. A plastic upper intake was added in 2001.

This engine has become very well-known for its durability, and is common to find engines running strong at 300,000 miles and beyond.

Engine Specifications

Engine Displacement (Cubic Inches) 183 CID
Block Cast Iron 60º V-6
Type Over-head Valve Engine
Bore x Stroke 3.50 x 3.14
Compression Ratio 9.3:1
Valve Lifters
Hydraulic (1986 - 1993)
Hydraulic Roller Tappets (1994 - 2001)(Same as 5.0L)
Fuel System Fuel Injection
Fuel Pressure 30 - 40 PSI
145hp @ 4800 RPM (1991 - 1995)
147hp @ 5000 RPM (1996 - 1997)
145hp @ 5000 RPM (1999)
150hp @ 4750 RPM (2000 - 2001)
146hp @ 5050 RPM (2002)
154hp @ 5200 RPM (2003 - 2004)
148hp @ 4900 RPM (2005-2007)
165 @ 3600 RPM (1991 - 1995)
162 @ 3250 RPM (1996 - 1997)
178 @ 3750 RPM (1999)
190 @ 3650 RPM (2000 - 2001)
180 @ 3500 RPM (2002)
180 @ 3900 RPM (2003 - 2004)
180 @ 3950 RPM (2005 - 2007)
Oil Pressure 40 - 60 PSI @ 2500 RPM

Tune Up

Spark Plug AWSF-32PP
Spark Plug Gap 0.044 inch
Ignition Timing 10 degrees BTDC
Firing Order 1-4-2-5-3-6
Distributor Rotation
Clockwise (1991 - 1994)
Distributorless (1995 - Later)


Oil Capacity With Filter Change 4.5 Quarts
Cooling System Capacity (Quarts) W/AC- 10.2 /  W/O AC 9.5

Torque Specifications

Cylinder Head
Torque in 2 steps [1st (33-41 ft-lbs), 2nd (63-73 ft-lbs)] (1991 - 1998)
Torque in 4 steps [1st (59ft-lbs), 2nd (loosen 1-full turn), 3rd (34-40ft-lbs) 4th (63-73ft-lbs)] (1999 - Later)
Main Bearing Bolts 60 ft-lbs
Rod Bearing Bolts 26 ft-lbs
Crankshaft Pulley Bolts 107 ft-lbs
Flywheel to Crankshaft Bolts 59 ft-lbs
Upper Intake Manifold / Throttle Body 19 ft-lbs
Exhaust Manifold 19 ft-lbs

Miscellaneous Specifications

Bore Spacing 4.33 inches
Connecting Rod Length 5.53145 inches
Block Height 8.661 inches
Piston Compression Height 1.5354 inches
Main Bearing Journal Diameter 2.5194 inches
Connecting Rod Journal Diameter 2.1257 inches

Firing Order

1991 - 1994

Firing Order 1-4-2-5-3-6

1995 - Later

Firing Order 1-4-2-5-3-6

Performance Parts:

Offers stroker kits, intakes, throttle bodies, cylinder heads, camshafts, roller rockers, and a supercharger intake for the 3.0.

Click HERE for details.


3.0 Stroker Kit


The most common problem reported with the 3.0L is the camshaft position sensor. Learn more about it HERE.

Head gasket failures are also common when the cooling system is neglected. 

An issue to watch out for is air in the coolant system when you refill it. One of the hoses has a point that is actually higher than the radiator and can allow an air pocket if not filled properly.



A compsite intake swap from a newer (2002+?) later Ranger 3.0 is good for a few horses and had a removable throttle body. This allows you to swap on a slightly larger and less restrictive throttle body. It can be adapted to fit earlier models with a one-piece aluminum plenum / throttle body.

The stock throttle body is 50MM. BBK makes a 56MM one that works, but requires you to reuse your current throttle shaft. a 60MM unit off a 3.0 Duratec Ford Escape works but requires filler to make it seal.

With the stock throttle body being so small and the 3.0 being such a revver, going to a larger throttle body should show some improvements. You probably shouldn't go any larger than 60MM though...unless your making over 250HP.

Kurtz Kustomz  offers a True-Rev Sport induction kit. It replaces your stock airbox with an S&B Powerstack filter, billet mass air adapter, mounting bracket, and comes with necessary hardware and instructions.

K&N offers an AirCharger replacement air intake for 1998+ 3.0 Rangers.

Or, Create your own air induction setup with a K&N cone filter.

Camcraft produces camshafts for the 3.0.

Tom Morana Racing offers upgraded intakes along with a larger throttle body.

Tom Morana also offers an intake to bolt on an Eaton supercharger.

Head Porting:

Port your upper and lower intake.  The intakes don't line up diameter to diameter.  Porting opens this up and allows better flow.  Knife edge the intake side of the throttle body to remove the front lip.  You can use a Dremel tool to grind, sand and buff this area to obtain a smooth airflow in to the engine.  You can also mill down the butterfly to blend in to the shaft for a smoother air flow.

For details on how to port your heads, click HERE.


MSD - Manufactures a DIS ignition system along with wiring harnesses.  Find their parts at Summit Racing.

JetChip - Makes a module to reprogram the engines computer. Click HERE.


Dynomax and Gibson make cat-back exhaust systems for the Ranger.  Magnaflow makes a cat-back kit for the 1998 and newer V-6's.

JBA offers headers for the 3.0L Ranger.

Roller Rocker Arms:

From 'Mutant Pony' - You can use 5.0 pedestal mount rockers. The bolts are different, you have to have metric bolts. The 3.0 is m8x1.25 and the 302 is 5/16. The stock ratio is 1.6, The 1.7 rockers will increase cam lift/duration a little. The roller rockers (1.6) didn't give me a noticeable increase in power but, They did decrease the RPM at which the motor can accelerate which is probably the biggest complaint about the 3.0. Excellent improvement! I can shift at 2500 and accelerate just fine with 3.73s! Also, I have nearly 4000 miles on my oil change and the oil looks like new!

Tom Morana also offers roller rockers.


Whipple made a supercharger for the 3.0 but stopped production.  Thomas Knight offers a kit for the 3.0L at boosthead.com.

We've seen some 3.0L's with an Eaton supercharger adapted to them but haven't found any tech articles on the mod yet.  We did find this Ranger on CarDomain that has this setup.


Consider changing your gear ratio to improve low end performance (Example 3.73's to 4.10's)

Cylinder Head Diagrams (Click To Enlarge):


Cylinder Head Gasket Placement



Cylinder Head Installation and Torque Sequence



Valve rocker Arm Installation




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