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Events at Ford Motor Company have been silently spelling the end for their bread-and-butter V8 of the last two decades.
The 4.6 would be standard equipment in 1992 for the updated Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis. 1997 would see the expanded versatility of the 4.6 with its placement in the new F-150 and the E-Series vans that had been redesigned for 1992. While the intent of this article is to focus on the 2 valve version of the 4.6, it needs to be noted there were 3 valve and 4 valve versions offered at various times. The general driving characteristics of the 4.6 were remarkably different from what most operators were accustomed. It is still not unusual in this part of the United States to find cars powered by early versions of the 4.6 to be blowing smoke upon acceleration. Fortunately the author has not encountered this on any of the 4.6 liter engines he has owned, yet the issue is real. Beginning in 1996, Ford placed intake manifolds on the 4.6 liter engines constructed of a nylon composite manufactured by DuPont.
In the early 2000’s, there was a class action lawsuit brought against Ford due to the failure of these intake manifolds. As mentioned for the Mustang, this power plant was not readily met with enthusiasm by the performance crowd. Despite the production of this engine currently being in E-Series vans only, these little power plants will continue to power current and future Curbside Classic’s of many varieties for countless years to come. I still kinda miss that car sometimes, but after nearly five years of ownership I was ready to move up.
I’ve never heard of the early engines having problems with the spark plugs breaking off, that is a 3 valve version thing. Only removing the plugs on a cold engine if it has an aluminum head is a long standing practice. In regards to the oil consumption and the valve guide seals, I have not seen it as a big of an issue as many make it out to be. If they are charging that much for spark plug replacement in a 3 valve they either do not know what they are doing, or are flat out ripping you off.


The spark plug access problem reminds me of the frequent complaints levied against big block Mustangs: Unless you were Plastic Man, getting at the plugs on an FE engine in one of the smaller Fords was dangerously close to being an engine-out job. Was it the Boss 429 that required either the engine to be jacked up to get at the last spark plug, or was it the brake master cylinder had to be removed?
2004 F150 Heritage standard cab, aftermarket flat bed, 90,000 miles, dual exhausts installed, everything else stock in the drive-train. Personally having owned a pair of early 92 CVs with the mechanically shifted AOD I prefer it to the electronically shifted AOD-E I had in the 93. I bought a 1991 v-8 Ford CrownVic for my wife, since I didn’t want her driving one of the Plastic Coffin Bubble cars.
The first time we had a 4.6 in for a plug change the disaster that they are known for happened to us. We had problems with the ones with the three threads mostly because the techs had not done it before. So Jason do you notice much difference in power between your 92 Vic (190 HP) and 01 (220hp)?
My understanding is interchangeability with the engines was a nice by-product of their construction method – such as swapping heads side to side.
Even with the restrictive factory air filter box and wimpy single exhaust, it felt pretty stout. Now the first version of the PI (performance improved) head only had about 3 threads for the spark plugs and they are known for blowing out of the head particularly if someone, or the machine at the factory, overtorqued the plugs. The different expansion rates of the metals mean that there is more interference in the threads and you can strip them if you remove them hot. I’ve had several with lots of miles that did not smoke or use excessive amounts of oil. Ford modified the valve seals starting in ’96 in order to eliminate the premature wear issue.
I recall the angst Mustang GT owners had when they learned their 5.0 was to be replaced with this 4.6! I’ve seen junked CVPIs turned into taxis with over 400,000 miles on them that are driven to the yard and junked becuse of some other expensive non-drivetrain issue. I think it’s that magical combination of off idle torque and the sound that it generates.
I think the most amazing part is that the original exhaust lasted 900k miles driving primarily in the rust belt. Any time I get one I always check the odometer or ask the driver, and most of them where I live are ex-CVPI’s or ex-NYC taxis. Fortunately there was enough head left to tap new threads into the socket: I made sure to put in a stainless-steel sleeve with many more than three threads.


Once I modified the airbox and added dual exhaust with low-restriction turbo mufflers, I could roast its mushy Michelin touring tires at will.
Then if they don’t turn easily at that point add another little bit of carb cleaner and repeat.
Tires were wet but I didn’t think it had enough power to do anything other than chirp the tires. They did improve the shifting schedule on the later AOD-E that was renamed the 4R7x(w) and the ones in our 02 GM and 03 Marauder do not annoy me like the one in the 93 did. What struck me though was when an oxygen sensor went bad one time, the Ford dealer tech told my Dad he was lucky the faulty sensor was on THAT bank (could not recall which side it was), for the other bank required removal of the engine, as it was that tight between sensor and firewall.
Decent power, decent mileage, and if you followed a reasonable PM program they never broke if used as intended.
Geez; in the old days, medium sized trucks used six cylinders smaller than that, with half the hp. The formal VIN started in 1981 since before that there were different formats used by different manufacturers.
The 93 that I sold to my buddy is at over 280K and while his is leaking some from the front seal it uses about the same amount of oil as mine. Taxi drivers usually beat the hell out of their cars (at least in Chicago) and the 4.6 takes it in stride. Replaced it with a 2001 Merc GranM and ten years later, a UTA student ran a red light, center punched the drivers side door. The standardization of the numbers was done to get rid of chances of similar VIN’s appearing.
So even if you do leave a shell or two in the engine it still should not be more than a 3 hour or so job. The digits that are found on car VIN indicate the year the vehicle was manufactured, assembly point, country of origin, model as well as other important details that will prove helpful in its identification.
The 4R70W is the ultimate evolution of the AOD and it’s later iterations are virtually indestructible. The 4.6+4R70W is probably one of the toughest drive trains every produced for a car or light truck.
I’m dreading changing the Spark Plugs, but at over 68,000 miles it runs smoothly, and will grab gravel and growl.



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20.04.2015 admin



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