Close



Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. #1
    New User
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Lawrence Swamp. Amherst, MA
    Posts
    19

    Default 1st v6 3.8L ('83 - '86)

    I never hada v6.
    I have heard the later ('90s) ford v6 were problematic.

    I've had station wagons for 40 yrs. Past 4 or 6 yrs I've had sedans and am getting tired of them. May B near a purchase of the above a
    LTD/Marquis fox waggy.

    * Can folks tell me abt the earlier one (motor). I may put a bent8 in but wanna get alota mi out of it 1st (has 'supposedly' 70k on it now). My garage does not want me to bring it in as "that's junk, don't get it". I guess it's got a TBI, * is a carb better (can't afford a Sniper or other induction tight now either). Lastly, * this is not an 'interfearence engine' is it?

    Thanks for fielding my Qs. I appreciate it~
    Chad
    Seek: fox station wagon (esp LTD/Marquis)
    Maintain, upgrade ol Bronk
    chrlsful@aol.com

  2. #2

    Default

    Most 3.8's were optioned with a non-overdrive 3 speed. Not a fan of them in that particular setup. 83 were carved, 84 were fuel injected "tbi" (cfi is the ford version) until 1987 when they went to "sefi". The 85-87 were the better ones in my opinion, they work just like any other 86 up fuel injected motor. You can run codes with a paper clip.

    I've had 4 87 3.8's with an aod. They ran good. Had decent power for what they were and got decent gas mileage. I wouldn't call them any less reliable then any other ford car of the same vintage. Some parts are kinda tricky to get, but most interchange with other motors of the same age.

    I'd rather have a v-8, but the 3.8 really isn't as bad as most people make it out to be.
    2 1986 cougars (both 4 eyed and 5.0)
    1 1987 cougar

  3. #3
    FEP Super Member xctasy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Dunedin 9011, New Zealand, South Pacific
    Posts
    3,221

    Default

    Im a guy, with a huge Ego that has to be kept in check.

    Im gonna loop thru to some Womens Intuition I learned from my wife over the last 30 years, and it pertains ti everyone who wants to understand how to get the best from the 83 to 86's with 3.8s.

    If you arent into using the often ropey factory Ford diagnosis processes and cannot abide reading through othet posts on the many problems with 2.3, 3.8 and 5.0's with MCU's or EECIV, then go 5 liter or 3.3 liter six, and dont F with the 3.8.

    Take your shops advice.


    Things like clogged cat converters,
    the inabilty to easily service the fuel tank
    flytongue fuel tank pickup,
    the ignition pickup and
    the raft of wires and
    the really bad decision to withold the excellent AOD/ 2350 rpm stall converter and the 3.45 axle option for the very poor lockup clutch C5

    The aluminum heads lack of temper and the tendancy for the water pump, EGR, and water in oil to turn this excellent lightweight engine into a wasteland of wire, stripped AF and metric bolts with every offer of help resulting in extra questions and no real solutions...Id advise against it.

    The issue isnt that the 3.8 is bad...its not. The issue is its success as a reliable entity is based on having excellent followup and mechanical empathy and intuition when any of the normal service issues present.

    Im used to the crap fest that happens when my RB 25 engined Nissan stands me up 600 miles from home, or the RAV4 or Suzuki Vitara V6 needs a new set of head gaskets. The CFi 3.8 is then childs play.


    See http://vb.foureyedpride.com/showthre...A-3-8-CFI-woes.

    Any other links on the subject.

    I personally like the 3.8. Id get one in a hearbeat, but I have a huge ego, and I wont be mastered by anything mechanical, and never have. All things you can say yes too, but not everything is benificial.

    My advice. Take your shops advice. And perhaps buy a 3.8 but fit a 5.0/A0D with the non electronic 500 Holley 4412 conversion with a stock 2bbl Ford alloy intake. And a set of 3.45s or 3.73s.

    The 3.8 was a stop gap, and Ford eventually got it fixed real good. But they did lots of little changes tgat can get you unstuck.

  4. #4
    FEP Senior Member OX1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Jackson, NJ 08527
    Posts
    592

    Default

    Parents had 84 (still have it) and 86 LTD's with 3.8's (no overdrives).
    Both went over 140K with nothing crazy done to them.
    (TFI's, 1 MAP, etc....)


    They were not driven hard though, just normal "family"
    driving and commuting.
    86 Capri, 5.0, 5Spd, A9L QH/BE, 47 lb Inj PMAS 3" MAF, Single T44 Turbo, Front Mount IC, TW170,
    Stock Cam, Explr Intake/TB, 1.7 Rockers, CF dual friction clutch, 3" DP, 2.5" full Exh, 3.27, 11.932 @ 115.78
    84 LTD, 331-10:1, TW170/Exprl Intake, 47 lbs inj/80 mm LMAF, Full Duals, Quarterhorse, Vortech 7PSI, Lentech AOD, 5 lug Mk VII brakes/rear, Eibach Sway bars, Cobra HB (dads ride, but I fix it )

  5. #5
    New User
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Lawrence Swamp. Amherst, MA
    Posts
    19

    Default Thanks guys

    Quote Originally Posted by OX1 View Post
    Parents had 84 (still have it) and 86 LTD's with 3.8's (no overdrives).
    Both went over 140K with nothing crazy done to them.
    (TFI's, 1 MAP, etc....)
    They were not driven hard though, just normal "family" driving and commuting.
    That may B the worse driving - stop'n go, short trips...


    "...Take your shops advice. And perhaps buy a 3.8 but fit a 5.0/A0D with the non electronic 500 Holley 4412 conversion with a stock 2bbl Ford alloy intake. And a set of 3.45s or 3.73s...."

    AND that advice will stick w/me as this will B different than the bronk rest0mod....
    If/when bought the street mo'chine mods will develop (see John Hidley @ www.maximummotorsports.com
    (805) 316-0820) &/or Bilsien Street or Track goodies.

    So X - ur thinkin even w/the 3.8L in the vehicle a carb wins over the FI they have on there (TB or sfi didn't know the 83/6 hada sfi)?
    Chad
    Seek: fox station wagon (esp LTD/Marquis)
    Maintain, upgrade ol Bronk
    chrlsful@aol.com

  6. #6
    FEP Super Member xctasy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Dunedin 9011, New Zealand, South Pacific
    Posts
    3,221

    Default

    If its a 5 liter, ad a 4412 500 Holley. If 3.8, use whatever it came with and deal with the serivce matters. Youve got answers to any problem that confronts any year 3.8. The big Fox wagons dont have well supported fuel tank and fuel pump parts, and adding or subtracting parts causes a raft of other matters to deal with.

    I was always told. Buy what you can afford and then improve it as circumstsnces allow. 83 to 86s had a raft of technical service bulletens on the TFi and the 2bbl CFi gasket, which mesns you have to check a lot of stuff if a later one is purchased. WalkingTalls information is very helpfull, but Id personally not do a carb swap on a 3.8 if it was born CFi. On a pV8, almost anything goes. The 3.8 is a nice engine swap in, say, a Toyota SR5 truck, where its light weight and cubic inches help make a all car go well.


    On a 3500 pound LTD, it needs all the good factory bits to be a good package. Mikes experience with a 3.8 Mustang Convert is typical. The EGR has to work.It didnt for WalkingTall, so he reverted to an eatlier carb and distributor.

    Im a Crash Avoidance advocate, a Fix it before it breaks guy.

  7. #7
    FEP Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Posts
    416

    Default

    I'm a pretty big fan of the 3.8. It isn't flashy or overly powerful, but it is a pretty reliable engine capable of decent mileage. They did have some head gasket problems and had a recall for some of the late 80's and 90's engines, but other than that they are pretty solid. The CFI 3.8 is a little sluggish in my opinion, but it does okay. I like the '88 to '98 MPFI version, but changing to that induction requires changing to the later heads as well.

    It is an interference engine, but it has a timing chain. I haven't heard of many timing chain issues on these engines. My old '92 T-Bird with the V6 had 260k miles when the rear shock mounts rusted out and it was still running strong and didn't burn any oil. While the AOD still had overdrive I could get 29-30mpg on the highway. My '95 Supercoupe used to get 31mpg all highway when it still had the 2.73 rear gears.

    Also, CFI is Ford speak for TBI.
    '89 XR-7 5 Speed
    '95 SC 5 Speed
    '91 Crown Vic P72 351W
    '97 Thunderbird
    '85 Ford LTD Squire

  8. #8
    FEP Senior Member OX1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Jackson, NJ 08527
    Posts
    592

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by chrlsful View Post
    That may B the worse driving - stop'n go, short trips...


    "...Take your shops advice. And perhaps buy a 3.8 but fit a 5.0/A0D with the non electronic 500 Holley 4412 conversion with a stock 2bbl Ford alloy intake. And a set of 3.45s or 3.73s...."

    AND that advice will stick w/me as this will B different than the bronk rest0mod....
    If/when bought the street mo'chine mods will develop (see John Hidley @ www.maximummotorsports.com
    (805) 316-0820) &/or Bilsien Street or Track goodies.

    So X - ur thinkin even w/the 3.8L in the vehicle a carb wins over the FI they have on there (TB or sfi didn't know the 83/6 hada sfi)?
    Wasn't that short, as the next new car they got was an 04 Grand Marq, so 140K in 10 years.

    Anyway, I agree on the 5.0 swap if you can't find something easy with the 3.8. That's what we did, originally
    with a Mk VII 5.0 HO/AOD. Not because the 3.8 had issues, just for the performance and then it snowballed over the years
    into the blown stroker that's in it now. I guess keeping the 3.8 is one way to "save money", since the last motor we put in cost
    over 6 grand, LOL!!
    86 Capri, 5.0, 5Spd, A9L QH/BE, 47 lb Inj PMAS 3" MAF, Single T44 Turbo, Front Mount IC, TW170,
    Stock Cam, Explr Intake/TB, 1.7 Rockers, CF dual friction clutch, 3" DP, 2.5" full Exh, 3.27, 11.932 @ 115.78
    84 LTD, 331-10:1, TW170/Exprl Intake, 47 lbs inj/80 mm LMAF, Full Duals, Quarterhorse, Vortech 7PSI, Lentech AOD, 5 lug Mk VII brakes/rear, Eibach Sway bars, Cobra HB (dads ride, but I fix it )

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •