Common Ford Essex V6 Problems

by Mar 29, 2024Problems

The Ford Essex V6 engine, while known for its robustness in various applications, has had its share of problems as discussed by users on various forums. Here is a compilation of the issues and potential solutions based on the provided sources:

Key Takeaways

Common Problems Solutions
Engine won’t fire Check carburetor diaphragm and settings
Head gasket failure Address oil seal leaks and oil pump issues
Misfiring at low revs Replace inlet manifold gasket, check spark plug leads
Engine running lean on rear cylinders Ensure perfect cooling system, avoid running lean

Problems and Solutions

  • Engine Won’t Fire: A user reported that despite having spark and fuel, the engine wouldn’t start. The problem was identified as a cracked diaphragm in the carburetor and incorrect carburetor settings[1].
  • Head Gasket Failure: Premature oil seal leaks and oil pump failure were mentioned as potential issues, which could lead to serious engine damage[2].
  • Misfiring at Low Revs: This was attributed to a constant issue with the inlet manifold gasket. After replacing the gasket and ensuring proper assembly, the problem persisted. It was suggested to check the spark plug leads, as a broken down lead could cause misfiring[6].
  • Starting Problems: An Essex V6 in a boat had trouble starting. The user replaced plugs, leads, points, condenser, and coil but still faced issues. It was suggested to ensure a good spark at the plugs and to check the firing order[4].
  • Engine Running Lean on Rear Cylinders: This was noted as a common issue due to the manifold design. It was suggested to ensure the cooling system is perfect and to avoid running the engine lean[5].
  • Tappet Noise: Despite careful setting, the Essex V6 engines are prone to tappet noise. A solution involving careful grinding and fitting was mentioned[16].
  • Parts Availability: The availability of parts was highlighted as a problem, with the quality of pirate parts being generally poor. Users were advised to stay away from the Essex V6 if parts are a concern[17].
  • Valve Noise Due to Wear on Rockers: A user was looking for parts to address noisy valves caused by worn rockers[18].
  • Oil Consumption: An engine was reported to be using a lot of oil, indicating potential internal wear or the need for an engine replacement[20].

Additional Considerations

  • Valve Timing: It was suggested to check valve timing as a potential cause of starting issues[1].
  • Fuel Delivery: Questions were raised about the fuel pump’s performance and whether there could be obstructions in the fuel pipes, filter, or needle & seat valve[1].
  • Electrical Issues: The quality of the spark was a concern, with an orange spark indicating potential problems. Users were advised to ensure proper electrical connections and to check the battery voltage[4].
  • Carburetor Issues: The carburetor was identified as a common source of problems, with one user finding a cracked diaphragm[1].
  • Timing Gear: The timing gear, made out of nylon or a similar material, was mentioned as a weak point that could lead to issues[7].
  • Ignition System: The condition of HT leads, the correct gapping of points, and the distributor cap’s condition were all highlighted as potential sources of ignition problems[7].
  • Compression: A user suggested checking compression as a way to diagnose issues with starting and running[9].
  • Fueling: Incorrect fueling was suspected in cases where the engine refused to start, with the recommendation to try starter spray or check the carburetor’s idle circuit solenoid[9].


The Ford Essex V6 engine has a range of potential issues that can affect its performance and reliability. Solutions often involve checking and replacing ignition components, ensuring proper fuel delivery, and addressing any parts that are prone to wear or failure. Due to the age of the engine and the potential difficulty in sourcing quality parts, owners need to be diligent in maintenance and troubleshooting.


What are some signs of a failing head gasket in an Essex V6 engine?

Excessive oil consumption, white smoke from the exhaust, and coolant contamination are common indicators of a blown head gasket in an Essex V6 engine.

How can I prevent head gasket issues in my Essex V6?

Regularly checking for and addressing oil leaks, as well as replacing faulty oil pumps in a timely manner, can help prevent head gasket failures in Essex V6 engines.

What should I do if my Essex V6 engine is misfiring at low revs?

Start by replacing the inlet manifold gasket, ensuring proper assembly. If the issue persists, check the condition of the spark plug leads, as a broken down lead can cause misfiring.