Ford V10 Engines You Should Avoid & Why!

Engines have good years and bad years. Let’s take a look and see which years of the Ford V-10 engine to avoid.

Untitled design 4 1 Ford V10 Engines You Should Avoid & Why!

What are the worst years for the Ford V10?

The Ford V-10 is a fairly reliable engine, but if you need to avoid specific years, we suggest avoiding the 2002 models and earlier ones. They have issues with spark plugs in which they got hot and can shoot out of the cylinder head, or get stuck to the cylinder head because of excess heat.

We’ve been writing about automotive topics for years and found some good research that indicates which years of the Ford V-10 have the most problems. We’ll also introduce some overall positive news about the Ford V-10, and talk about why Ford stopped making the engine.

Years of Ford V-10 to avoid

2002 and earlier: Spark Plug Issues

While Ford only started building the Ford V-10 in 1999, the first few years had an issue with spark plugs that could have interesting results.

As you might know, the spark plugs are screwed in below the cylinder head, often with a spark plug wrench, and are held in by metal threads. In the case of the pre 2002 Ford V-10, the spark plug would somehow become hot enough that it had the potential to rip out of the metal thread and come shooting out.

Drivers remarked they would hear a pop, then have a sudden loss of power because one of their cylinders was deactivated by a lack of spark plug – and a potential hole forming. 

So why did this happen? Spark plugs and cylinder heads are made of different kinds of metal. Spark plugs are often made of steel, while the cylinder heads were made of aluminum with a cast iron engine block. 

These metals all have different heat tolerances, so the spark plug had the potential to begin to melt while the aluminum and cast iron were fine. Second, Ford made the spark plug wells too small and had to cut the number of threads by more than half. 

While a spark plug well normally has 10 threads, Ford designed the V-10 initially with only four threads, leading to a much higher potential that the spark plug could get loose and find its way out quickly.

Two solutions here: get a repair kit, replace the spark plugs with longer ones that are easier to remove in the event of melting, and make sure they are torqued in place properly to avoid moving.

Ford fixed the issue in future generations of the V-10.

All years of Ford V-10: Cracked PCV Hose

The Ford V-10 and many other engines have a system that recirculates engine exhaust called Positive Crankcase Ventilation.

This system is designed to carry exhaust gas out of the crankcase, so it doesn’t run the oil, and run it back to the intake manifold to be burned again.

The problem here is relatively simple. While the Ford V-10 uses a valve that is effective at taking these gasses out, the hose itself is plastic and can be broken.

When the hose breaks, a pathway to the intake manifold loses pressure, and you can have a loss of power and poor fuel economy.

Thankfully, this issue is relatively easy to fix. The average at-home mechanic could simply replace the hose with a sturdier one before the problem ever becomes a real issue and doesn’t necessarily need a lot of tools or a dealer to avoid the problem.

All years: Exhaust Manifold Bolt issues

The biggest problem here is corrosion and time. The bolts that hold the exhaust manifold can become rusty over time and less capable of keeping the exhaust manifold in place, especially in areas where salt is more prevalent on the roads, like the midwest. 

Like the PCV hose, simply buying more durable bolts and attaching them take of this problem pretty easily. The larger issue you want to avoid is a lack of support from the original bolts causing cracks and leaks in the exhaust manifold.

Untitled design 5 Ford V10 Engines You Should Avoid & Why!

Earlier years: Not Onboard diagnostics complaint

We’ll start this by saying that the Ford V-10 is a fairly simple engine. The V-10 doesn’t have the typical onboard diagnostics system found in many modern vehicles, in part due to a lack of need. Onboard diagnostics allows you to plug in a code reader that will detect why the vehicle is showing a check engine light. The diagnostics aren’t always right, but the check engine light at least gives the owner a chance to get the vehicle to a mechanic to get it checked out.

Don’t count on this with the V-10. 

Experienced mechanics will probably be able to diagnose the engine anyway, given its lesser reliance on electronics. In some cases, this is not only not a reason to avoid the V-10, some people love this engine for its lack of onboard diagnostics.

The good news on years Ford V-10 years to avoid

All of the problems we discussed regarding the Ford V-10 are avoidable. While some vehicles have major issues, none of the problems ranging from spark plugs to the exhaust manifold, are terribly detrimental to the vehicle. 

A mechanic or even you could also get a repair kit for the spark plug issue to avoid wasting time and money later.

The Ford V-10 is otherwise known as being fairly reliable, lasting upwards of 300,000 miles. Problems start to creep in after 200,000 miles, but honestly, our expectations for any engine aren’t that high, and you should expect to start replacing belts and pumps after a couple hundred thousand.

Does Ford make the V-10 anymore?

No, unfortunately, they do not. It’s too bad because the V-10 was a very useful engine for some of Ford’s heavier-duty trucks, like the F-250 and F-350. 

The V-10 finished its run in 2019 when it was still used in Ford’s even heavier-duty trucks like the F-450 and above. Ford’s large SUV, the excursion, also had the option for a V-10 and developed a cult-like following of people who truly appreciated the engine.

While we are talking about years to avoid, it’s worth discussing why people like it too. The V-10 was cheaper to buy than the PowerStroke diesel and offered some serious towing capacity without the higher price tag. 

Unfortunately, part of the reason why the V-10 was ultimately scrapped was that it offered poor fuel economy, especially as compared to diesel, and wasn’t worth further research and development.

Do Ford drivers recommend the V-10?

Most Ford owners on F150online recommend the V-10 if you take care of the spark plug issues right away and otherwise leave it alone. We say “leave it alone” because people do attempt to modify these engines to get more torque. The V-10 is highly recommended for towing purposes and is known to many as having a motor capable of running an RV. 

Many of them bought the V-10 because it is reliable and can pull 10,000 pounds or more stock while being less expensive than diesel.

Owners also tend to like the V-10 because it has a high RPM range, which also makes it run light in lower gears, reducing the amount of wear in the engine and lowering fuel consumption. The V-10 can, however, hit a high RPM when accelerating and towing as needed.

How do I find a good Ford V-10?

We always strongly recommend getting an entire vehicle, and especially the engine inspected and tested before buying. 

In the case of the Ford V-10, ask for documentation about service relating to the spark plugs to see if issues related to the threads have been taken care of. An early 2000s Ford F-10 will also probably have rather high mileage, so it might have a significant list of repairs that were done – or need to be done eventually.

What else could I get besides a Ford V-10

We mentioned the Ford Diesel Powerstroke earlier. One of the biggest reasons we would recommend a diesel, in general, is better gas mileage, as the V-10 gas engine isn’t exactly stellar when it comes to burning fuel.

We also recognize that diesel is generally more expensive than even premium gas in most places, and you’ll have to do the math on which is more worthwhile: a vehicle with a higher cost at the pump, or V-10 that burns fuel faster. It’s not an easy trade-off, we know.

Key Takeaways

  • Early engines, before 2002, have a spark plug issue with spark plugs either detaching or melting due to variances in temperature tolerance
  • Engines after 2002 have a common problem with a hose leaking that is easily replaced with a better part
  • The bolts in the exhaust manifold of all years could use replacing, especially when driving in climates with salt on the roads.
  • The Ford V-10 is otherwise considered a fairly reliable engine, though it is discontinued.

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