Ford Essex V6 engine (Canadian)

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See also Ford Essex V6 engine (UK)
ManufacturerFord Motor Company
Type90° V6
SuccessorFord Duratec 35
Bore3.811 in (96.8 mm)
Stroke3.386 in (86 mm)
3.46 in (87.9 mm)
3.74 in (95 mm)
Displacement232 cu in (3797 cc)
238 cu in (see note)
256 cu in (4195 cc)
Block alloyIron
Head alloyAluminum
ValvetrainOHV, pushrod
Fuel system2-barrel carburetor
Central Fuel Injection
Sequential Fuel Injection
Fuel typeGasoline
Cooling systemWater-cooled

The Ford Essex V6 engine was a 90° V6 engine family built by Ford Motor Company at the Essex Engine Plant in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Unlike the British Essex V6, the Canadian Essex used a 90° V configuration, in addition to having different displacements and valvetrains. With Ford's Essex Engine Plant idled as of November 2007, this engine was succeeded by the Ford Duratec 35.

The Canadian Essex is a pushrod design featuring aluminum heads, which reduced its weight considerably and made it a very powerful engine for its size. The engine was initially offered in only a 3.8 liter displacement, being used in a variety of mid-size cars, minivans, and some pickup trucks. A 4.2 liter version was introduced in the mid-1990s for use in the F-150 and, later, the Freestar. The 3.8 L V6 was replaced by a 3.9 L version in 2004, though changes were minimal. The Essex and the smaller Vulcan V6 were the last traditional pushrod OHV engines built by Ford.

The Canadian Essex's origins are somewhat controversial. A common, but erroneous, belief is that the Essex was based on the 5.0 L Windsor V8 engine, due to the fact that they both have a 90° vee configuration, are OHV, and that a 5.0 L V8 less two cylinders would make a V6 displacing around 3.8 liters. Though the practice of deriving a V6 from a V8 wasn't unheard of (auto manufacturers have derived V6s from V8 designs before, such as GM with the Vortec 4300 and Chrysler with the Magnum 3.9), several important differences between the Windsor's design and the Essex's, such as their considerably different bore and stroke, made a common design lineage implausible.

One source states that the Essex is instead a reverse engineered Buick V6 engine [1]. Toward the end of the 1970s, Ford needed a new six cylinder engine that was powerful and compact enough to be used in a mid-size car while meeting increasingly stricter emissions and fuel efficiency standards. Since Ford did not have an engine available that could be readily made to meet these requirements, one needed to be developed. The quickest and least expensive approach in accomplishing this was to copy an existing engine from a competitor, which ended up being the Buick V6 from General Motors. Ford's resulting V6 was very similar to that of the original Buick engine and had a nearly identical displacement. In fact, one of the only major differences between the two engines was Ford's use of aluminum heads as opposed to the cast-iron ones used in the original Buick design.


The 3.8 L (3797 cc/232 cu in) model was introduced for the 1982 model year, first appearing as an option on the Ford Granada.

Bore was 96.8 mm (3.81 in) and stroke was 86 mm (3.39 in). Output was 112 hp (83 kW) at 4200 rpm and 175 lb·ft (237 N·m) of torque at 2800 rpm. It initially had a 2-barrel Motorcraft 2150 carburetor. Central Fuel Injection was made available in 1984. Output was 120 hp (89 kW) at 3600 rpm and 205 lb·ft (278 N·m) of torque at 1600 rpm in these models.

Multi-point fuel injection became standard in 1988. These engines put out 150 hp (104 kW) and 220 lb·ft (292 N·m) of torque.

A supercharged version was used in the 1989-95 Thunderbird Super Coupe and 1989-90 Cougar XR-7, producing up to 230 hp (171 kW) and 330 lb·ft (447 N·m).

The 1991-1995 Police Package Taurus, 1991-1994 Lincoln Continental and 1995 Ford Windstar had a high-output version with better cylinder heads and other modifications. It produced up to 160 hp (119 kW) and 220 - 230 lb·ft (298 - 312 N·m) of torque.

The split port cylinder heads were introduced on the 1996 Ford Windstar along with a variable length intake manifold with intake manifold runner control (IMRC) in the six shorter runners. This engine was rated at 200 hp at 5000 RPM and 230 lb·ft of torque @ 3000 RPM.

The Mustang version of the V6 was updated for 1999 to use the split port cylinder heads originally introduced on the Windstar. However 99-2000 Mustang did not use IMRC, instead leaving all 12 intake runners open at all times. Output increased to 190 hp (142 kW) at 5250 RPM and 220 lb·ft (298 N·m) of torque @ 2750 RPM,[1] With the addition of IMRC to Mustang in 2001 Ford reported the engine's output to be 193 hp (144 kW) @ 5500 RPM and 225 lb·ft (305 N·m) of torque @ 2800 RPM .[2]


A nine-digit serial number appears on a label on the right side (front) valve cover. It also appears on a barcode label on the transmission side of the right side head.


A 3.9 L (238 cu in) 12-valve version with 3.8 in (96.5 mm) bore and 3.46 in (87.9 mm) stroke was introduced in 2004. It was installed in a running change on later production 2004 Mustangs (starting October 7, 2003) before it was replaced by the 4.0 L Cologne OHC engine for 2005MY base Mustangs.


Ford spec sheets note this engine as 3802 cc (232 cu in). The bore and stroke, however, work out to 3857 cc (236 cu in). Another strange thing is that this engine, if specs are to be believed, is Template:Convert/ underbore compared to the 3.8 and 4.2.


The 4.2 L (256 cu in/4195 cc) model appeared in the 1997 model year as a replacement for the durable but aging Ford 300 straight-6. It was a long-stroke version of the 3.8 with 12 valves and pushrods. It has the same 3.81 in bore with a 3.74 in stroke (96.8 mm by 95.0 mm) with horsepower of 202 @4800 RPM and torque of 252 ft.lbs @3400 RPM. Ford Power Products sells this engine as the ESG-642.

Ford experienced problems with this engine in the 1997 and 1998 model years. These included issuing all 1997 engines made at the Essex plant with a bad front cover gasket.

Ford ended production of the 4.2 L V6 after the 2008 model year, marking the end of the Essex. The engine's final recipient, the F-150, will only be available with V8 engines starting with the 2009 model year.


See also