Ford V10 years to avoid — most common problems
Before the release of the 6.8L V10 Triton engine in 1997, Ford offered a 7.5L V8 engine that had been on the market since 1968. The 7.5 V8 was a thriving commercial truck space innovation and a popular gas option considering the International/Powerstroke diesel engines. Notwithstanding the significant demand for the V8, the engine had to be produced on a separate assembly line which wasn’t cost-efficient, leading to the discontinuation of the 7.5L V8 gas engine.
After the demise of the 7.5, the only non-diesel engine options for truck drivers were the 4.6 Triton and the 5.4 Triton. Unfortunately, these engines needed more power for commercial applications and the hauling requirements for Super Duty trucks.
The 6.8L Triton V10 engine rolled in and was more cost-efficient and offered more horsepower than the Powerstroke engine, with high towing capacity and more affordable pricing. However, there are some downsides to this engine that we will be discussing in this article, along with the Ford V10 years to avoid and the best years you could consider.
Most common Ford V10 problems
Several common issues you could experience on a Ford V10 engine are worth noting. These include problems with the PCV hose, exhaust manifold, spark plugs, and gas mileage.
Spark plug issues
A prevalent engine-related issue with the Ford V10 is with spark plugs. Pre-2002 Ford V10 engines have a design flaw within their spark plug and cylinder head designs that causes the plugs to either weld themselves to the cylinder head or eject out of the cylinder head.
The V10 engines used a cast iron engine block and aluminum cylinder heads with centrally mounted spark plugs. In comparison to the aluminum cylinder head, the spark plugs were produced from steel, whose heat tolerance differs from aluminum.
The most significant design flaw was the spark plug holes in the cylinder head. At a depth of just 5 inches, the spark plugs had to be remarkably short to fit within their respective walls in the cylinder head. Ford decided to accommodate the short depth by shortening the threads’ length, allowing only about four threads on the spark plugs in contrast to traditional spark plugs with 10+. This means there was little to hold the spark plugs in place.
As a result of the heat properties, the threads get welded into the cylinder head, weakening the material and the hold. In the process, one of these two things happens:
- The plugs blow out of the cylinder head because the material weakens and breaks
- You are unable to get the spark plugs out when making replacements because they are welded in place
Cracked PCV hose
Modern gas engines are equipped with a recirculating system called Positive Crankcase Ventilation, or PCV. A car’s engine burns gasoline and releases waste gasses as a byproduct. While most of these gasses go to the exhaust system for further burning, some get stuck in the engine.
When these waste gasses get trapped, they go down to the crankcase, which holds oil below the engine. If the gasses sit in the crankcase for too long, they can ruin the oil, causing critical engine issues. As a result, the PCV system is equipped with a valve within the crankcase that releases these gasses, recirculating them back into the intake manifold for re-burning.
The PCV valves release the gasses into the intake manifold through the PCV hose. This hose is connected to the intake manifold from the PCV valve. The PCV hose is made from plastic and is prone to cracking. When it cracks, the intake manifold loses pressure, causing air to leak out of the intake system, leading to various performance-related issues.
Exhaust manifold failure
Exhaust manifolds are bolted up to the exhaust system and engine cylinders, and they transfer used engine air to the vehicle’s exhaust system, where it is released into the atmosphere. On the Ford V10, the studs or bolts that fasten the manifold to the engine block are susceptible to rust and failure.
This generally happens after several years and is more common in areas with salty air. When these bolts fail, it doesn’t lead to any catastrophic outcome. Your manifold won’t fall out beneath your vehicle when you drive. However, the bolts will loosen, thus creating an exhaust leak. When this happens, your car loses all back pressure, causing a handful of issues concerning performance.
Gas mileage problem
All owners of the Ford V10 engines arrive at the same conclusion -do not drive a V10 if you are concerned about fuel economy. The engine is highly fuel-thirsty and can do just about 15 miles to a gallon on the highway and around 10-13 MPG in the city. If you are using your truck for towing, this even worsens -the fuel economy goes down to about 8-10 MPG.
Another significant problem is corrosion. The bolts that fasten the exhaust manifold can become rusty with time, making them incapable of holding it in place, especially in areas like the midwest, where salt is common on the roads.
As with the PCV hose, buying and attaching more durable bolts should address this problem. A significant problem you want to avoid is the lack of support from the original bolts resulting in cracks and leaks in the exhaust manifold.
Which Ford V10 years to avoid?
Some of the problems in these Ford V10 years to avoid include spark plug issues, cracked PVC hose, and rust.
As we mentioned, the Ford V10 and many other vehicle engines have a PCV system that recirculates engine exhaust gasses. The problem here is straightforward. While the V10 uses a valve that is efficient at taking out these waste gasses, the hose is made of plastic, making it prone to breakage.
When this hose breaks, a path to the manifold loses pressure, causing power loss and poor fuel economy. Fortunately, this is an easy fix. An average at-home mechanic could easily replace this hose with a sturdier one before the issue escalates to a more significant problem.
1997-2002 model years
As you know, a vehicle’s spark plugs are screwed below the cylinder head, often with a spark plugs wrench, and are held in by metal threads. In the pre-2002 Ford V10’s case, the spark plugs would get extremely hot to the extent that they would somehow jump out of the metal thread and shoot out.
Most drivers complain that they would hear a pop and a sudden loss of power because one of their vehicle’s cylinders was deactivated by the absence of spark plugs.
We’ll begin by saying that the Ford V10 is a reasonably good engine, although It doesn’t have the typical onboard diagnostics system on modern vehicles, partly due to the lack of need. The onboard diagnostics system lets you connect a code reader that detects why your car is showing a check engine light.
Although these diagnostics aren’t always accurate, the check engine light gives you a clue that you must take your vehicle to a mechanic who would perform proper diagnostics.
Best Ford V10 years
The Ford Triton V10 legendary unit is perhaps the most underestimated among high-performance gas engines. It is a truck engine that has also been used in several vans, project cars, RVs, etc. You can get a great performance experience from this engine, but that’s only possible if you stick to any of the many trusty year models of the V10 engine.
We recommend the following reliable Ford V10 year models as safe to purchase without worrying about any significant cause for concern.
- 2005 Ford V10
- 2006 Ford V10
- 2007 Ford V10
- 2008 Ford V10
Ford V10 engines from 2005 to 2008 are reliable, with just a few complaints about its factory install spark plugs. 2005 to mid-year 2008 Ford V10 engines had the infamous breakaway spark plugs. You can quickly resolve this by replacing the spark plugs (on your routine maintenance intervals) with an improved design.
2008 and later V10 engines (with 2008 build dates) mostly use the improved design spark plugs from the factory, so they hardly ever have any issues. However, be careful, as some 2008 trucks have 2007-built engines that might have the old design plugs. Nevertheless, any 2005 or later V10 that has had the current design plugs installed and has had regular maintenance should be fine.
Is the Ford V10 worth buying?
The Ford V10 engine has an excellent reputation for reliability. Assuming the engine is operated in optimal maintenance conditions throughout its life, it can last at least 200,00 miles before requiring significant repairs. This means that you shouldn’t be scared of the Ford V10 unless you are frightened about getting 10 MPG from your vehicle.
What is the life expectancy of a Ford V10 engine?
The Ford V10 engine is considered fairly reliable, lasting upwards of 300,000 miles; however, problems start creeping in after about 200,000 miles.
What year did Ford V10 go to 3 valves?
Ford introduced a 3-valve variant in 2005, with a power boost of about 362 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque.