View Full Version : Ford 300" inline six in an F-150


BigRed390
11-12-2009, 10:05 AM
I'm in the market for a good truckity-truck. Nothing fancy, not my daily driver, and I don't own a boat, etc. that will need towing. I'm really looking in the early-to-mid 90's (maybe up to a 97). Looking at older Chevys (which i grew up around), they all have some form of v-8 in them. I'd be fine with a 350, but a lot I've seen lately have that boat anchor known as a 305 under the hood. I'm not a fan. Dad had one, and it was a piece!

This led me to looking at Ford's lineup. I'm seeing a LOT of fords with a straight 6 and a 5 speed, which I'd really like to have. Hard to find a manual in a chevy. However, I'm not very familiar with Ford's inline 6. Everyone calls it a "4.9", which I'm assuming to be one of those 300" dinosaurs with EFI. Am I correct here? Anybody have one? Like it? Hate it? What kind of power do they have? Would it pull a car on a trailer?

Thanks in advance!

-Red

Cobradriver
11-12-2009, 10:14 AM
I retired one a couple of years ago with 490K on it. It didn't have a lot of ass and had a bit of blowby but it went down the road. If taken care of the you really can't kill a 4.9. About the worst we ended up doing was at roughly 100K we pulled the front cover and replaced the timing gears with all steel. The fiber cam gear would shed its teeth and quit running. If this happens replace the oil pump pickup at the same time. I don't know much about the manuals,we had c-6's.

Parts are still available everwhere and cheap. We had more problems with rust than anything else...

Chris

Old Donn
11-12-2009, 10:40 AM
Go for it. As stated above, this motor's pretty much bulletproof. Head & shoulders better than the horse sh*t V6's that replaced it.

sammerdog
11-12-2009, 10:45 AM
Excellent engine. We ran a bazillion of the 300 straight sixes in E and F series Fords back when I was in a fleet management position. Lowest pennies per mile operating expense of any light duty engine on the market at the time.

No, you shouldn't plan on it being a great towing engine, but if you're gonna throw half a ton of widgets in it and go down the road, you'll love the engine.

Replacing that 4.9 with the V6 in the 97 models was a huge mistake by the boys at Ford.

metal1313
11-12-2009, 10:55 AM
they are great motors, and they can pull the truck pretty well. if your not towing alot, they tow fine too. they were in nearly all f-series trucks, ive seen a few f350 dumps with them. they are simple and reliable, the 5spd leaves some to be desiered though, they just arent as good as a zf-5.

ihredo4
11-12-2009, 11:06 AM
I would say it was the best engine Ford ever built. We have had several over the years and they have been completely reliable. In our 82 F250 we had the butterfly shaft in the carb wear out and leaned out and burnt the middle two cylinders. We had it bores and rebuilt it and it had a ton of power. 18MPG running it empty or with a load of tile. Our 69 F600 has a couple hundred thousand miles on it and still runs down the road with the best of them. In fact it has out lasted the chassis, the Miller trailer, and the Massey 30B backhoe. We have never touched it it the 30years we have owned it. I would say go for it. Dont expect to out run anyone. You will be the turtle nit the hare.

BigRed390
11-12-2009, 11:10 AM
Damn! Guess that sways my decision! Yeah, going fast is out of the question. Just need something reliable to pick up the stuff from the lumber yard with or bring home an engine or two. Sounds like a decent alternative! Thanks for the replies!

GeorgiaHybrid
11-12-2009, 11:23 AM
BigRed390,

Hit the Blvd. and you can find several dealers with them priced right. The Shallowford Road area should have some also.

supertooljunkie
11-12-2009, 11:24 AM
I had an '84 F-100 with the straight six. Bought it used with 97k miles on it and put another 150k on it. Never had to do anything other than tune ups and oil changes.

It started to develop a rod knock at 246k, but wasn't bad. I sold it at 297k and made the buyer aware. He drove it another 65k before it let go going up the interstate at 75 MPH.

mrjsl
11-12-2009, 11:47 AM
I too think it's the best light duty pickup engine ford ever made.

I've had several trucks with it, and #1 advce I can give you is find one with a 3.5 rearend. If you aren't running on the highway a lot, then even lower speed rearend like 4.1 would be better.

They made a ton of those trucks with higher speed rearends, but the 3.5 or lower makes a ton of difference in that particular truck and will give you longer engine life. With the right rearend, the truck will pull any kind of light trailer pretty handily.

BTG
11-12-2009, 12:02 PM
As the others have said, it is one of the best engines Ford ever produced. My dad bought a E-250 new back in '78 and the engine was never out of it. We finally had to have it hauled off a few years ago as the body and brakes literally rusted away. We put over 311,000 miles on it and the only major engine maintainence was 3 valve jobs and 2 carb rebuilds!

Moose-LandTran
11-12-2009, 12:11 PM
I was also thinking about buying one of these when i move. The proper gearbox is appealing to us Europeans. Hurrah!

CarCrafter
11-12-2009, 12:14 PM
Testimony to how indestructible these 4.9s are. We had one in a E series we had to clunker a few months back. We didn't use the Sodium Silicate solution and instead ran the engine with only water in the crankcase. We ran it a good 25 minutes at 2000+ rpm before the rods welded to piston pin and shot out of the pan. We didn't want to kill it, but the way we killed it only goes to show how bullet proof they are. This was with the oil drained and filled with tap water, steam coming out of the filler cap.

mrjsl
11-12-2009, 12:33 PM
I too think it's the best light duty pickup engine ford ever made.

I've had several trucks with it, and #1 advce I can give you is find one with a 3.5 rearend. If you aren't running on the highway a lot, then even lower speed rearend like 4.1 would be better.

They made a ton of those trucks with higher speed rearends, but the 3.5 or lower makes a ton of difference in that particular truck and will give you longer engine life. With the right rearend, the truck will pull any kind of light trailer pretty handily.

To clarify - I think they made a 3.55 and a 3.73 and maybe a 4.1 - 3.73 is the best all around to me

Higher than 3.55 (e.g. 3.1, etc...) makes that truck a PITA - especially with the 4 or 5 speed manual trans

cdent
11-12-2009, 01:07 PM
I ran my '88 for 18 trouble free years. The 3.08 diff gears were perfect for me because it had the T-18 with the granny low first. It hummed easily on the interstate with the direct drive fourth, but it would crawl slower than regular walking in four low. Those 4.11's will wind that motor out of breath on the highway unless it's got an overdrive. Mine was not a dog and it was overloaded many times for a half ton. Motor and tranny didn't complain just the rest of the chassis once in a while. I'd happily still have it, but finally gave up on the body rust. Good luck with finding a good one.

Torque1st
11-12-2009, 03:28 PM
I had an 85 E150 with the 4.9/300 and an AOD transmission for many years. I bought it new and ran it until a few years ago. The engine ran strong but the AOD died and the body rust signed the death certificate. The 300-6 has a lot of low end torque and there are a few things a person can do to make the engine better.

Ford vans in those years often rusted horribly. Mine also had a defective factory paint job and Ford would not take care of it. The first rust appeared before it was 6 months old.

Charles (in GA)
11-12-2009, 03:58 PM
That engine is commonly used as an industrial motor. We have dozens of them, no, hundreds of them, in the baggage tugs we use to pull trains of baggage carts at airports. Very indestructible.

Charles

clutch47
11-12-2009, 04:29 PM
Yo,
I have owned a few of these (3) and have never seen an issue with them. I agree they are the best light truck engine Ford has ever produced. I have changed head gaskets on them before...and lemme tell you..That is one long, heavy-assed head !!!! I currently have one in a 95 F-150 4wd with a 5 speed and haul coal with it too. Plenty of torque for the hills. NOT a speed kind of power...just a keep on keepin' on power. You can't go wrong.
Clutch47

Jared
11-12-2009, 04:45 PM
Like everyone else said best engine ford ever built, I had one in my 87 f-150 wish the body had been better or id probobly still have it.

RPH
11-12-2009, 08:10 PM
Had the baby brother (240) in a 1973 E300 van got rid of it about 4 years ago due to steering gear rusting loose of the frame. Aimed it did'nt steer it. Engine never quit, body rustest but it still ran great!

wreckercologist
11-12-2009, 09:35 PM
+1 to everyones comments.

I can only add to this with my own experience.

Everyone always says 6's get better mileage than V8's. BS. I had a 1994, 300 6, 5 speed, 3.55 geared standard cab, longbed. At the same time my father had a 1992, extended cab, shortbox with the 5.0L, overdrive auto and 3.55 gears. Dad's truck was heavier, but got better mileage. Something like 21MPG on the highway with the cruise set. I let him drive mine and he managed 17.5. Me and my hot rod leadfoot usually got 14-15MPG.

Other than that, great motor. Not sexy like a V8, but bulletproof.

P.S. Put the best shocks you can afford on the front end. That will help curb the Twin I Beam's appetite for eating tires! :thumbup:

Sweet Old Bill
11-12-2009, 09:44 PM
If you are doing mostly in town driving, you might want to consider the automatic. The clutch on the manual was a monster on an old 1971 that my father in law had. He dumped it after just a few years. Nice truck, but a real pain in town.

wreckercologist
11-12-2009, 09:55 PM
If you are doing mostly in town driving, you might want to consider the automatic. The clutch on the manual was a monster on an old 1971 that my father in law had. He dumped it after just a few years. Nice truck, but a real pain in town.

The later model trucks have a hydraulic clutch. Nice and easy!

lawfarm
11-12-2009, 10:11 PM
I agree with comments above...great engine, you won't kill it.

The mid 90s F-150s (I had a 95) came with a Mazda 5 speed. If you're looking at used ones, make sure the synchros are in good shape. And as soon as you get it, change the oil, and over fill it just a bit. The trannies are a bit weak.

Earlier ones had the T-18 four speed, and some had a different five speed with a granny low first gear (I think early 90s F-150s).

But even with the Mazda tranny, it's a great powertrain, great engine. It will tow just about anything you can hook to it...it's just a question of speed! But it will work, under a full load, all day without complaint. It's more of a tractor engine than anything. Not terribly fast, but it'll move along down the road, and will work without complaint (or parts).

JD6619A
11-12-2009, 10:17 PM
i'll go against the group, they may have been reliable and bulletproof but I never was a fan of the 300/6. the timing gears in the later 300s were a pain in balls as ford used plastic gears (good idea ford...) and they were gutless i'll take a 351W instead.

speed bump
11-12-2009, 11:41 PM
I retired one a couple of years ago with 490K on it. It didn't have a lot of ass and had a bit of blowby but it went down the road. If taken care of the you really can't kill a 4.9. About the worst we ended up doing was at roughly 100K we pulled the front cover and replaced the timing gears with all steel. The fiber cam gear would shed its teeth and quit running. If this happens replace the oil pump pickup at the same time. I don't know much about the manuals,we had c-6's.

Parts are still available everwhere and cheap. We had more problems with rust than anything else...

Chris

The 300 is a small block bolt and as such is backed with a C4.

they are great motors, and they can pull the truck pretty well. if your not towing alot, they tow fine too. they were in nearly all f-series trucks, ive seen a few f350 dumps with them. they are simple and reliable, the 5spd leaves some to be desiered though, they just arent as good as a zf-5.

They came with the ZF-5 as well, I pulled one out while ago to put behind somebodies small block.

Personally I think they are a pretty good engine but i'll take an FE over a 300 any day.

RedBox
11-13-2009, 03:14 AM
Mine was a '95 manual, in a regular cab, long bed F150. Drove it from '97 to 2007. Slow acceleration and not a lot of speed. Getting up to speed entering the highway in heavy traffic was sometimes a little annoying. Occasionally I skipped 1st gear altogether, it was so low. 5th was overdrive.

RB

BigRed390
11-13-2009, 08:19 AM
Personally I think they are a pretty good engine but i'll take an FE over a 300 any day.

I agree, but finding an FE in a truck is a little harder to do!:wtf:

I love the one in my Galaxie, but they're not commonly available in "cheap" trucks around here. Possible engine swap? hehe! :bounce:

bry@n
11-13-2009, 08:47 AM
I've had several. They are great engine and can tow. I hauled a cement mixer a bunch of times with no issue. The rest of the time it was used for basic lumber, dirt, mulch etc..

I had a 80 f100, 84 F150 and a 87 F150 with the 300 4.9 staright 6. The best was the 87. Had Fuel injection and was a 4 speed. Lot's of low end torque. Worked well for plowing also.

Only bad thing is the clutch fluid resoviour (spelling) with the manuals, it was all plastic bracketry that would break. When the pedal was pressed, it would flex the pastic that would flex the firewall plate. I put a new bracket on and ran u bolts around it & through the firewall to strengthed the bracket. I belive Ford had a fix for this also.

I'm sure this was with all manuals of that time, but figured I'd mention it.

speed bump
11-14-2009, 01:36 PM
I agree, but finding an FE in a truck is a little harder to do!:wtf:

I love the one in my Galaxie, but they're not commonly available in "cheap" trucks around here. Possible engine swap? hehe! :bounce:

huh, I keep trying to resist buying a 70 F-250 with a seized 390 and a lack of driveshafts for $200. I bought my truck with a 360 for $500 and I could probably reliably pick up an okay FE powered truck for under $500 any day of the week.