Ford Ranger 3.2 Oil Pump Priming

There have been many concerns floating around internet forums about the time limit of the Ford Ranger 3.2 oil drainage procedure. It has been advised for the oil to not be left to drain for longer than 10 minutes. But what if you were unaware of this time limit and allowed every drop of oil to drain out before topping up with your new liquid gold?

The Ford Ranger 3.2 oil pump will not self-prime if the oil has been allowed to drain for longer than 10 minutes. This is due to engine oil draining internally from the pump assembly as well as the sump. The variable flow oil pump makes use of vane elements which allows the pump to control the flow rate at varying engine speeds.

If you accidentally start the engine in this state you risk catastrophic engine damage since the oil pump will not be primed. So what are your options and is there some DIY fix you can apply or are you destined for a trip to the dealership for major engine work?

Download Your FREE Service Tip and Oil change guide on the 3.2 Tdci Diesel engine here

The next part of this article will cover the process you can follow to successfully prime the oil pump to ensure you do not damage the engine. 

PLEASE NOTE: Although many Ford Ranger 3.2 owners have successfully carried out this priming procedure, you are carrying out this procedure at your OWN RISK!!! I cannot be held responsible if you cause damage to your Ranger by following these steps. If you are not confident enough to attempt the below process, rather leave it to the professionals and pay the problem away.

Ford ranger 3.2 oil pump priming method

The following is an oil pump priming method for a MAZDA BT50 and Ford Ranger 3.2 Diesel.

  1.  Disconnect the battery to prevent you from starting the engine
  2. Place an oil catchment bucket below the engine.
  3. Remove the oil filter
  4. Fill up the engine with 15 (Fifteen) liters of oil
  5. Allow the engine to stand for a full day of 24 Hours
  6. After 24 hours connect a portable compressor to the breather pipe situated on top of the engine.
  7. Seal the air hose to the breather pipe securely.
  8. You can seal the oil dipstick if you wish, but not 100% necessary.
  9. Get an assistant to watch the open oil filter housing for oil coming through
  10. Start pressurizing the system by forcing air through the breather pipe slowly
  11. Do not exceed 0.6 bar of pressure if possible. (High pressure can damage or unsettle any seals)
  12. Low air pressure is enough since you simply want to induce a bit of pressure to push oil into the oil pickup tube
  13. Watch the oil filter housing for any oil pushing through – this is an indicator that the oil pump is full and primed.
  14. Refit oil filter
  15. Reconnect the battery
  16. Crank the engine in short 10-second intervals
  17. Leave the oil cap off and observe the oil pushing up over the hydraulic lifters
  18. Secure oil filter and cap
  21. Drain the engine of the excess oil.
  22. Ensure you do not exceed 10 minutes
  23. Close the sump screw with a new sump washer
  24. Check that the oil pressure light is off (allow 5 seconds)
  25. Remove the oil cap to ensure oil is flowing over the hydraulic lifters

PLEASE NOTE: this is a risky procedure so attempt at your own risk!


Always ensure you use the same grade of oil and avoid mixing oils. Always use the best synthetic oil for your vehicle to ensure maximum protection from a cold start. This is an emergency procedure and not the normal oil changing process. Only attempt this if you have allows the engine oil of the 3.2 diesel engine to drain for longer than 10 minutes.

It is extremely important to drain the excess oil to the correct level. Use the dipstick as a guide and use a measuring container to count the liters of oil that have drained off, as a backup reading. Do not drive the vehicle with this much oil as it will damage seals and other components. Do not over-drain as this may require you to re-prime the oil pump a second time and restart the entire process.

Note, the Diesel pump bolt is a left-hand thread that is unmarked and does not use any washers. You can easily break it, so approach with caution.

For additional safety measures, ensure the oil pressure light goes off on the dash when you start. This should happen within seconds, almost immediately on start-up.

3.2 liter Ford Ranger Engine Oil Capacity

The engine oil capacity of the 3.2 Ford Ranger and Mazda BT 50 is 9.8 Liters (Including the oil filter). You want to ensure you use only the best engine oil for your 3.2 diesel engine, especially if you drive in lots of stop-start traffic in the city. City traffic is hell-on-earth for engine oil so only use the best.

I recommend the CASTROL MAGNATEC STOP-START 5W-30 A5 which you can buy online here.

Castrol MAGNATEC STOP-START 5W-30 A5 is a fully synthetic engine oil suitable for use in automotive gasoline and diesel engines where the manufacturer recommends an ACEA A5/B5, API SN/CF, ILSAC GF-4 or earlier specification 5W-30 lubricant.

Ford ranger 3.2 oil pump recall

If your Ford or Mazda 3.2 diesel engine oil and filter are changed in service and the oil is left to drain for longer than 10 minutes, the oil pump may fail to prime and leave the engine in a critical no lubrication situation.  Earlier models of the 3.2 Rangers had quite a few motors blown by service technicians when the engine oil was drained for too long and not immediately refilled. This results in the oil draining from the oil pick up the pipe which, in turn, causes an airlock.

The oil pump fails to prime which leaves the engine in a critical no lubrication state. Any attempts to prime the oil pump by increasing the rpm aggravate the situation and will lead to component failure due to lack of lubrication in the engine.

There has been no official recall for the 3.2 Diesel oil pump

Ford ranger 3.2 engine oil specifications

Ford (EU) Ranger, T6 / KE (2011 – ) Ranger 3.2 TDCi 4×4 (2011 – 2015)
Capacity 10,1-litre Initial fill
Capacity 9,8 liter Service fill
Filter capacity 0,4 liter
Fuel sulfur level > 350 ppm
Intervals: Change 30000 km/ 24 months
Products: TITAN Supersyn F Eco-DT SAE 5W-30


Download Your FREE Service Tip and Oil change guide on the 3.2 Tdci Diesel engine here


Now even with all the recalls and turbo issues reported on the Ford ranger, which you can read about here, this is not a reason to steer clear from buying one. They are great vehicles, and the time limit on the oil changing should not put you off. Every vehicle has its little niggles and the Ford is no exception, simply follow the oil drainage procedure and you’ll be just fine. Make sure you are organized with your tools and your toilet or smoke breaks and DO NOT GET DISTRACTED!!!

Remember, there is no reason to drain every last drop of oil out of the engine anyway. If you are not up to the task, then seek the advice and assistance of a qualified mechanic or if the vehicle is still under warranty, just pay a qualified mechanic, who is up to speed with the latest developments to do it.

Those days of basic NA engines with no electronics and basic service procedures are long gone. Enter sophisticated, highly spec’d turbo diesel engines that deliver big BHP and decent fuel consumption. You’ve got to move with the times!

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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