Ford Ranger 3.2 Diesel Engine Problems (SOLUTIONS)

This article will discuss the potential snags you can expect with the 3.2 5-cylinder Diesel Ford Ranger and Mazda BT50. It is a pretty robust engine with good performance figures on paper, however, like most diesel engines it also has its issues. Let us now look at what problems you can expect with the 3.2 T6 Ranger and what to look out for.

 The 3.2 Ford Ranger/Mazda BT50 5-cylinder Diesel engine can suffer from any of the following problems.

  1. Intake Pipe cracks causing the engine to go into limp mode and lose power.
  2. Oil Pump will not prime if the oil is left to drain for longer than 10 minutes which could result in catastrophic engine failure.
  3. Crank Position Sensor failure causes the engine to shut off without any warnings
  4. EGR Failure

So now that we know what the potential snags are on the 3.2, let’s look into each problem in more detail to see how the issue develops and how it can be resolved. The Oil pump not priming after being left to drain the engine oil for longer than 10 minutes is not a problem per-say but rather something you as a Ranger Owner needs to be aware of if you are going to be doing oil changes between service intervals.

Let’s look into each issue in more detail now.

Ford Ranger 5 Cylinder Diesel Engine Problems

When Ford developed the 3.2 5-banger they wanted more power than the previous 4-banger but something not as thirsty as a 6-cylinder. For the required power output, the two options in their range of turbo-diesel engines boiled down to the five-cylinder engine and a V6. The V6 might have been a bit big for the engine bay and the five-popper was cheaper to produce, hence they opted for the 5-pot 3.2. The engine is robust, “torquey” and tows beautifully with a really good spread of power – plus it sounds good too. It does, however, have some minor niggles that we’ll address next.

Let’s start with the intake pipe.

Intake pipe crack

The intake pipe of the Ranger is known to crack without any warning signs beforehand. You will do well to regularly inspect the pipe for fine cracks and tears. One way to inspect is to allow the engine to idle for a bit to build up pressure, then run your hand along the intake pipe to feel for any air blowing out.

Next, shut it down and listen out for any sucking noises emanating from the intake pipe that indicates a leak. You can replace the pipe with a more robust silicone version or a metal pipe.

Symptoms of a cracked intake pipe include the following:

  1. Engine running hotter than usual
  2. Dip in performance
  3. Lots of black smoke emanating from the exhaust
  4. Error Code P00BD

If you are venturing out into the unknown with your 3.2 Ford Ranger and your intake pipe appears fine, as a precautionary measure, take along some heat-resistant silicon tape and a few extra steel pipe clamps in the event you need to carry out an emergency repair in the sticks. It’s a fairly simple repair that requires only basic tools.

You might want to invest in an Engine Data Scanner at some point – it could save your bacon!

You will need to isolate the crack and tape it up securely with the heat-resistant tape and clamp it close using the metal pipe clamps. This bush-repair should be able to get you home just fine.

This is hardly a major issue, just something to be aware of as a 3.2 Ford Ranger owner.

Watch the below video to get a better idea.

Next, let’s look at the oil pump priming issue.

The oil pump will not prime after a ten-minute oil change

This is a more complex issue/condition that you as an owner needs to keep in mind if you are a bit OCD with regards carrying out oil changes between service intervals to keep the engine oil running clean. It’s probably not totally necessary to do oil changes that often since the men in white coats have sat down and thought things through, meaning the recommended intervals will do just fine. 

But if you were to do an oil change by yourself, ensure you do not exceed the 10-minute mark so don’t get distracted and make sure you go to the loo before you remove that plug.

It’s also probably a good idea to run the engine hot and then drain the oil immediately after shutting off the engine since this means all contaminants will be evenly mixed within the old oil. Another reason for this is because the hot oil is a lot thinner, meaning the drainage will be quicker. You should never exceed 5 minutes when doing an oil change.

The reason for not exceeding the 10-minute mark is because the sophisticated variable pressure oil pump Ford has in the 3.2 diesel Ranger cannot prime itself and deliver oil once all the oil has drained out for longer than 10 minutes. This is bad news if you’ve already done this, since starting the engine could lead to catastrophic engine failure. Also, there is no way to prime the pump yourself.

You can read more about the Ranger/Mazda 3.2 Oil pump not priming here

The reason this becomes a complex problem is that the engine management ECU setting for engine oil dilution needs to be reset with a laptop via the OBD port inside the cabin. This is designed that way so that the engine can make all the right settings when managing the regeneration of the DPF filter. This is a highly complex system that you do not want to mess with. So stick to under 10 minutes, make it 5 just to be safe!

Watch the below video to get a better explanation from John Cadogan

Next, let’s look at the crank sensor.

Crank Position Sensor

The CPS (Crank Position Sensor) is a known and common problem on the earlier versions of the 3.2 Ford Rangers. The common problem is that the CPS works itself loose which results in the sensor not being able to get a true reading or pick up the position of the crank.  There has been a revised CPS which is mounted differently and incorporates a rubber tip which is ejected upon start-up to ensure the correct gap is achieved for a true reading.

The crank position sensor fault could be caused by any of the following:

  1. Dirty toothed gear on the flywheel.
  2. CPS works itself loose resulting in contact with the toothed gear on the flywheel causing damage

You can purchase the Crank Position Sensor for a Ford Ranger/Mazda BT50 here.

Other Issues

The EGR and DPF failures experienced on Ford Rangers are not Ford Specific and a common problem across most modern, sophisticated diesel engines.

Conclusion

The straight-five engine or inline-five engine is a real Gem and almost as smooth as a 6-potter but still delivers decent torque and power throughout the rev-range. The engine is robust and reliable and should give you many happy miles if taken care of properly, as all diesel engines should.

Jade C.

4-Wheel drives and off-road driving techniques has been my passion for over 20 years. Here we strive to provide the most accurate, up-to-date, information about the functionality, common faults and latest technology built into most 4 Wheel Drives.

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