The Ford Ranger is one of the most popular Ford trucks ever because it is large enough for most people, but isn’t gargantuan as some of the Ford’s F-Series trucks are. Overall, the Ford Ranger is a good car as it offers a really versatile midsize truck experience with excellent towing and performance. For a Ranger to be able to do that, it needs a potent and reliable engine, so what are the common Ford Ranger 3.2 motor problems?
The most common Ford Ranger 3.2 motor problems include faulty oil pump drains, dual-mass flywheel problems, issues with the fuel injection system, intercooler leaks, hose degradation, and EGR problems. These problems are relatively common with many generations of Ford trucks and the Mazda BT-50 which also uses this engine.
Overall, the 3.2L engine is robust and fairly reliable which means that you can expect it to last a really long time if you take proper care of it. With that being said, we do need to mention that many owners of this engine aren’t particularly timely with its maintenance which is why it may have gotten a bad reputation in some Ford inner circles.
We are now going to go in-depth about all of these common Ford Ranger 3.2 motor problems which includes telling you what causes these and how you can fix them.
Faulty Oil Pump Drains
The 3.2L unit is equipped with a variable-flow oil pump that utilizes a specially-designed vane-style system which is a lot different from a normal pump design characterized by a gear drive. The reason why Ford did this was to make the engine more efficient, but the drawback is that this system suffers from an inherent fault.
These systems can’t prime themselves which is why an oil change can be a huge risk for those who aren’t aware of this. If you decide to drive the Ranger without a primed oil pump, that can cause the entire system to go haywire and cause immense damage.
Dual Mass Flywheel Problems
One of the aspects many 3.2L owners love is the fact that this engine comes with a manual transmission which many deem better than the automatic. This transmission is equipped with a dual mass flywheel designed to protect the driveline from all the vibrations a diesel powertrain usually emits while also making the transmission smoother.
However, with all the friction these systems endure, they tend to wear out relatively quickly, and if that isn’t taken care of immediately, it is also going to put additional strain on the clutch. The easiest way to tell if your dual mass flywheel is to blame is if you hear rattling noises while pressing down on the pedal.
Issues With The Injection System
Diesel Ford engines and fuel injection system issues are really common. The 3.2L engine here is prone to the P1280 fault code which is also common across Ford’s larger Heavy Duty engines. These problems are followed by a check engine light and sluggish engine performance. More often than not, the problem is linked to a faulty Injection Control Pressure (ICP) sensor.
In order to fix this problem, you will have to inspect the car’s entire fuel system and likely replace a few deteriorated hoses, potentially even the ICP sensor itself. All in all, it’s best not to ignore issues such as these as they tend to become worse over time.
Bad-quality hoses are not uncommon with some of Ford’s engines which means that they can wear out over time, become brittle, and eventually break. This causes a whole load of trouble with some of the car’s systems, especially the intercooler system which is going to leak if that truly does take place.
If your Ranger starts suffering from impaired performance even in normal driving conditions or even goes into full Limp Mode, there is a good bit of chance that the problem is related to an intercooler leak. You can repair this by using heat-resistant tape and closing the leak, but it’s best to replace the hose.
The exhaust gas recirculation valve is tasked with increasing the car’s efficiency, helping with fuel economy, and cooling down the exhaust gasses. The EGR system on the 3.2L engine is cooled via water which means that it is the same as the engine itself.
The problem happens when a leak occurs somewhere and causes all that water to leak out. If you don’t notice this early enough, there is a good deal of chance you’ll end up with a blown head gasket or even a coolant leak. It’s best to replace the EGR valve when this happens as you don’t want to risk any additional damage to the system.
How Long Can the Ford 3.2 Ranger Last?
If you maintain it well enough, this 3.2L Ranger should be able to last 20 years or even longer than that. Ford is proud to advertise that its trucks are designed and built tough in order to be able to withstand all the abuse that comes with truck life while also being able to last a really long time.
The Ranger is very much the same, but only if you do everything that needs doing. If not, problems will start accumulating and will eventually lead to life-threatening issues which are sure to kill your Ranger prematurely.
Is The Mazda BT-50 A Ford Ranger?
The Mazda BT-50 shares this very engine with the Ford Ranger, but we do need to mention that Ford and Mazda did these separately. This means that even though they do share quite a few parts with each other, they are different enough for them to feel differently on the road.
However, older Mazda B-Series trucks are actually Ford Rangers with Mazda badges which means that they are almost identical.
Should I Buy A Used Ford Ranger?
Buying a used Ford Ranger comes with some benefits and a few drawbacks as well. First of all, buying a Ranger used is going to save you quite a lot of money as Rangers aren’t immune to depreciation while not changing drastically over the years.
If you manage to find one in decent condition and if you don’t mind not having the very latest technology, a used Ranger is a really good idea.