The 3 Most Common Ford 3.7 V6 Cyclone Engine Problems

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Also known as the Duratec 37, this engine is prone to faults just like every other machine. Each engine fault has its distinctive effects on the V6 engine-powered automobile.

The commonest problems of the Ford F150 3.7L V6 Cyclone engine include:

  1. Water Pump Failure
  2. Camshaft Phaser Problem
  3. Ignition Coil Failure

Like every other product, ford engines have some flaws. As a brand, the company has faced many cases of returned engine parts due to their defects. The ford 3.7l V6 engine falls among its engine models with a few design flaws and problems.

What Are The Most Common Ford F-150 3.7 Liter V6 Engine Issues?

1. Water Pump Failure

The water pump may not raise any serious concerns in most engines; in the Ford F150 3.7L V6 Cyclone engine, it is. The water pump’s poor positioning and its driving component make it a center of serious concern.

While most engines have their water pump outside the engine, the V6 cyclone engine has its water pump inside the engine. Due to poor design, a leak from the water pump can seriously damage the engine, and the driver would be unaware until it has occurred. So when the water pump fails, you don’t get any warning until the engine overheats.

The water pump of the V6 cyclone engine is powered by an internal chain and not by a belt as in most engines. The pump is susceptible to failing at the pump bearings which bear the load of the water pump and allow its rotation. When this occurs, coolant is dumped into the engine where it gets mixed up with the lubrication oil.

When coolant gets into the engine and mixes with oil, it results in total engine damage if it is not fixed immediately. Corrosion, along with wear and tear sets in, because the moving parts are not lubricated by the V6 cyclone engine.

Water pump failures are sudden problems that occur when the car is being driven. They might occur on highways which can be dangerous.

What Causes Water Pump Failure

  • Corrosion In Water Pump: One of the causes of a failing water pump is corrosion inside the pump. This occurs when the dynamic engine coolant seal is dirty or there is a carbon build-up.
    It could also be a result of old age, mileage, or defective pressure seal. By simply popping up your car hood, you’ll be able to see the tiny particles or rust on the outside of the water pump.
  • Dry Water Pump Rotation: Typically, water pumps rotate based on the principle of dynamic mechanical cover. Besides helping to keep the inside of the engine cool, coolant also acts as the dynamic seal between the layers of the two rings inside the water pump.
    So, the pump rotates easily and efficiently, thanks to the coolant. However, the water pump may start to fail once this liquid seal leaks, drops in level, or is absent. The drop happens due to leakage which happens when the two rings rotate against each other.
  • Wrong Use Of Sealants Or Gasket: Your engine water pump may also start to give way if it is operating with old, defective, or damaged gaskets and seals. The consequence is that the pump will not seat properly in its position or it becomes defective.
    If these sensitive parts -gaskets and seals- are missing in the entire setup, the water pump will start to damage. So, replacing the gaskets when old or damaged is a great way to avoid the failure of the water pump.
  • Contaminated Coolant: There’s a great risk in using contaminated, harmful, or non-recommended coolants in the water pump. Also, you’ll be potentially causing serious damage to your water pump if you try to mix different brands of coolant.
    Abrasive particles scratch the interior seal of the water pump, weaken its resistance to wear, and cause holes for the coolant to leak away.
  • Wrongly Installed Belts: Using a worn tensioner or belt crashes the smooth synergy between the water pump and the belt components. This leads the water pump to start to give way or ceases to work properly and the belt drive prematurely fails.

What To Look For

How can you tell if your Ford F150 3.7L V6 Cyclone engine water pump has failed?

Here are some obvious signs that can alert you to this problem below:

  • Overheating: Apart from the overheating, you can also notice steam coming out of the engine. When the water pump of the V6 cyclone engine is damaged, coolant fluid leaks out.
    Because of this, there won’t be enough fluid to sufficiently cool the engine which will cause it to overheat. When the coolant leaks onto the exhaust, steam rises from the engine when the hood is raised.
  • Rough Bearings Or Noise: When the water pump does not turn smoothly, it signifies that the bearings are worn out. A unique noise is produced by the worn-out bearing.
  • Visible Leakage Of Coolant: When the water pump is damaged, coolant leaks out from the pump. A visible coolant leak under the car may also be noticed.

What To Do

The most effective way of handling water pump failure is by replacing the water pump. This must be done as soon as the early signs of water pump failure are noticed. Failure to address this problem in time poses a threat to the entire engine.

If you are handy with tools, here are the steps to replace your water pump. Disconnect the battery, remove all obstacles and the fan drive belt, scrape off the old gasket and install the new water pump.

If you are incapable of fixing the water pump yourself, ensure to call a technician to get the job done perfectly.

2. Camshaft Phaser Problem

Phaser failure is a common problem with the Ford F150 3.7L V6 Cyclone engine. Cam phasers work with camshaft to control valve timing, which is the opening and closing of valves in an active engine. With the ability to control valve timing, it improves engine performance and increases fuel economy.

One of the major origins of camshaft problems is lubrication oil. While adequate oil pressure is important to deliver power to the cam phaser, low oil pressure will damage it.

Low oil pressure arises from a failed oil pump or when dirty oil is used in an engine. Poor oil viscosity and failure to change oil can damage cam phasers. When oil flow is inhibited by debris or dirt, it might cause cam phasers to go bad.

When cam phasers go bad, engine timing will be affected and phaser noise will be noticed. The noise, if left unattended, can affect valve timing and eventually cause damage to the engine.

Causes Of Cam Phaser Failure

Here are a few things responsible for camshaft-phasers failure:

  • Low Oil Pressure: Power is lost or only pretty low power delivered to the cam phasers due to low oil pressure. Hence, the phaser loses precise timing. So, checking if the oil is dirty, contaminated or low will help to put paid to the problem resulting in cam phaser failure.
  • Use Of Non-Compatible Oil: Another cause of cam phaser damage is the use of wrong, contaminated, or non-compatible oil. When this happens, oil flow becomes obstructed and the phasers do not receive the needed pressure or power to function optimally.
    The truth is that clear oil gives off the right viscosity the oil needs to produce and supply the required oil pressure. However, if the oil contains deposits or sludge, it’ll distort the efficient functioning of the engine while at a high temperature.
  • Worn Gear: The camshaft-phasers perform sensitive functions, including ensuring increased fuel economy and efficiency, reduce emissions, and power the engine for optimum performance and delivery. However, a worn or damaged gear hampers the functionality of the camshaft-phasers.
  • Irregular Oil Change: The use of old or bad oil also causes the cam phasers to go bad. What you have to do is to ensure that you inspect the engine oil and change it as regularly as possible. You should follow the manual to know the recommended oil and interval for an oil change.
  • Presence Of Sludge: The presence of sludge or debris in different parts of the engine causes the cam phasers to malfunction and not perform optimally. Dirt or contamination also affects oil flow and this will cause your cam phasers to get damaged.
  • Electrical Unit Issues: The electrical control unit (ECU) is responsible for regulating the cam phasers. However, damage to this computer-controlled unit forces the cam phasers to damage or become defective.

What To Look For

Some significant signs will alert you to camshaft phaser problems.

Some of these signs are:

  • Rattling Noise: When a camshaft phaser is damaged, a rattling or knocking sound will be heard on the top end of the engine. The noise is due to low oil pressure and is most noticeable at idle when the engine is still hot.
  • Poor Engine Performance: V6 cyclone engines exhibit poor performance when cam phasers are damaged. Since valve timing is affected, engine problems such as hard start, misfiring, and irregular acceleration begin to occur.
  • Illuminated Check Engine Light: The engine control unit, which is your car’s engine computer, turns on the check engine light when the cam phaser is damaged. It is notified of the phaser damage by the deviation of the camshaft from its expected position.

What To Do

If you notice these signs of a bad cam phaser, what you have to do is to carry out a proper diagnosis to determine the root cause of the problem. It can either be electrical, mechanical, or hydraulic.

Usually, mechanical issues of cam phasers can result from slack or stretched timing chains or stuck vane; the hydraulic cam phaser failure is often triggered by oil flow restrictions, poor oil viscosity, low-pressure level, low oil level, or contaminated oil; the electrical issues come from failed solenoids, defective timing sensors.

Get the scan tool to diagnose the cam phaser. With this tool, you can detect the right code and other information. Inspect the car for oil level, viscosity, filter screens, as well as electrical and wiring components.

After coming up with the right codes and information, the cam phase together with the cam follower must be replaced. Improper replacement of the cam phaser will damage the engine.

Replacement of cam phasers are very expensive with costs ranging from $800 to $2500. The exact cost will be determined by the technician. Knowing how to do it yourself will save a lot of money.

3. Ignition Coil Failure

The ignition coil is responsible for converting voltage produced by a battery, to thousands of volts needed to create electric sparks, for the ignition of fuel. While some ignition systems use one coil for all their cylinders, newer ignition system designs use a coil per cylinder.

Ignition coil failure is common to all engines and usually requires replacement. However, the ignition coils of the Ford F150 3.7L V6 Cyclone engine fail faster than other engines.

The ignition coil is susceptible to damage by heat or vibration from the engine. Failure of other secondary ignition parts to perform causes the ignition coil to overwork. This causes a significant reduction in the lifespan of the ignition coil.

Causes Of Ignition Coil Failure

  • Worn Spark Plugs: Damaged or worn spark plugs cause the ignition coils to work abnormally, forcing them to give off output under much higher pressure. However, health spark plugs reduce or eliminate the possibility of having your ignition coil damaged.
  • Excessive Vibrations: The vibration of the vehicle also results in damage to the windings and insulations of the ignition coils ignition coil. This will cause breaks or shorts in the windings.
  • Overheating: When your engine works under severe conditions, it extremely increases in temperature, causing the ignition coils to fail and not able to conduct electricity.
  • Wear And Tear: It’s a no-brainer to say that wear and tear cause ignition coils failure. The insulation gets degraded with the primary and secondary windings. The result of degraded insulation is overheating.

What To Look For

  • Engine Misfires: Ignitions coils are involved in the creation of sparks in an engine. When faulty, the production of sparks is compromised, which causes the vehicle to experience misfires and a loss in power and acceleration.
  • Check Engine Light Comes On: Faulty coils cause misfires which trips the engine control unit. This sets off the check engine light. The light can also be set off by a burnt ignition coil.

What To Do

After it is established that your ignition coils are bad, various steps can be taken. Replacement of ignition coils costs between $201 and $254 depending on the mechanic that you patronize.

However, if you are capable of replacing it yourself and want to save cost, you can do it yourself. The Ford V6 uses 6 ignition coils and you should replace all of them at once.

How Does Ford F150 3.7L V6 Cyclone Engine Fair?

Amidst its water pump failure, which is a major problem, the Ford F150 3.7L V6 Cyclone engine is above average in terms of reliability. Overall it is a completely satisfactory engine for light-duty use.

Of course, as in all engines, problems always occur but with proper maintenance, the engine has a life expectancy of 200,000 miles (300,000 km).


1. Is The Ford 3.7 V6 Engine A Good Engine?

With proper maintenance, the 3.7l cyclone has proven to be very reliable with a life expectancy of over 200,000 miles. The engine is perfect for individuals who don’t need lots of engine power but simply want a reliable and efficient engine. It is a satisfactory engine for light use and good on power and has mileage.

2. What Are The Specs Of the Ford 3.7 V6 Engine?

Features: Specs:
Peak Torque 278 lb-ft @ 4000rpm
Peak Horsepower 302hp @ 6500rpm
Engine Oil Capacity 6 Quarts W / Filter
Fuel System Sequential Multi-Port Fuel Injection
Ignition Coil On Plug (COP)

3. What Is The Sound Of A Defective Cam Phaser?

Typically, when your car cam phasers have been damaged, you’ll likely hear a squealing, roaring, screeching, or shrieking sound. It’s a sound similar to those produced by a telephone, a saw, a motor, or a car.

Although there are engine issues that give off these sounds, the cam phasers often produce a pretty deep squeal. You can identify the source of the sound only by diagnosing the problem.

Final Thoughts

All engines develop faults when used for long periods and the Ford F150 3.7L V6 Cyclone engine is no different. With proper maintenance, some of these problems might not occur.

If they occur, they can be rectified immediately before the engine develops major problems. Although the Ford F150 3.7L V6 Cyclone engine is susceptible to the problems stated above, it is overall a good engine.