3.0 Ranger Timing Cover Gasket

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Feb 3, 2011
Golden Meadow, LA
Well, the infamous coolant leak that the 3.0 Vulcan is known for has gotten worse on my Ranger, it leaks a good bit now every time the truck is shut off and sits for a while. Including all new gaskets required, crank seal, water pump etc, I have $80 invested so far, versus $700 that a local shop wanted to charge. My dad and I will tackle it as soon as the weather gets warmer, we've had a pretty cold winter which is rare down here. I do have a few questions. Ive heard that there are two bolts, I think behind the power steering pump that need to come off that are very hard to get to....anyone know if I'm referring to the correct bolts and if theres an easy way to access them? Also, two bolts from the oil pan go into the timing cover, I've heard that tearing the pan gasket is almost inevitable, but most people use silicone around that area and that stops any oil leaks....anything I can do to prevent it from tearing? Is the fan clockwise or counterclockwise to loosen? also what is the torque spec for the crank pulley bolt? Thankfully, I have a friend who has a truck with an air compressor, so i'll be able to zip off the crank bolt, but trying to torque it on installation i'm wondering if theres a special tool to hold it steady. I also know to use thread sealer on the timing cover and water pump bolts, as they protrude into water jackets. Anything I'm missing here guys? My dad and I would like to finish it in a day.
The pan gasket can supposedly be changed by loosening the pan with the engine in place, haven't done that repair myself. The fan clutch is reverse thread, so go clockwise to loosen. You'll need to loosen the A/C compressor, not sure what else. I haven't had to deal with the timing cover yet, just the water pump.
Did this nightmare on my 2004 Taurus (hence my screen name) in 2010 or 2011. I fixed the coolant leak but had a small oil leak afterwards. I never could get that pan to seal 100% again. My timing cover was pitted all to heck. I had to get a new cover as well. The pan gasket was hard molded plastic with rubber on my car, sure don't remember it being possible to tear (best I can remember). I had to press a new gasket into the new timing cover for the crank to pass through. We didn't torque the pulley, just impacted it off with puller and impacted it on with it's own bolt. I think it was keyed, I just can't remember. Has your oil pump drive/distributor shaft gone out yet? That was a blast too. On my car the pan would not clear the oil pump. I pulled the pump and then it wouldn't clear the exhaust.
I had my cousin change the cam synchronizer (oil pump drive) when I bought the truck 28k miles ago at 132k. I'll have it changed again at 200k for peace of mind.
Mine was rear ended,bending frame. It still drives, but am running it until major repair sends it to junkyard. So when my cover started to leak, I used some GM pellets which stopped the leak. It's been over a year and 11,000 miles since with no recurrence yet.
Did my Taurus several years ago. The rear head gasket likes to leak on these as well. The timing cover is aluminum and will have some pitting. RTV black yields a permanent repair.
You have my sympathy. My 2002 Ranger developed the leak: 1) June 2011 / had fixed at Dealer ($900). I tried to repair it myself but was just too much work for only myself. 2) May 2016 / had fixed at Indy Mech ($800) Jan 2018 / leaking again At 16 yo and 146,000 miles, I will junk before anymore high cost repairs. Last Week I put in Bars - Stop Leak (TABLETS) ,,,,,, So Far So Good. I'm not a fan of 'additives' but if leak comes back, I may try another (more aggressive) additive and then call it quits. The Bars - Stop Leak TABLETS seemed harmless. Do some research, you may want to use them until you do the permanent repair. Good luck.
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