clutchsmoke UltraDork
9/18/23 6:43 p.m.

Like the title says. Has just over 100k miles. What sort of parts interchange, best path to lower it, wheels? , better headlights?

I started a thread over in the trucks section and it's been crickets.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
9/18/23 7:10 p.m.

Picture from your other thread:

Ah, the truck that no one wants.  Single cab, small engine, 2wd.  But as a truck to really do "truck stuff" it's a great choice.  The 4.2L and manual trans really was the most reliable F150 choice for its time.  It neither wins races nor wows you with mpg but it should just keep going.  Be mindful to only put the dollars into the truck that you are comfortable with.  Its lack of market desirability means it will not benefit from the pickup truck price craze.  But, it could keep working hard for you for many years.  

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
9/18/23 7:18 p.m.
clutchsmoke said: path to lower it, wheels? , better headlights?

I wouldn't recommend lowering it.  I suspect that lowing it will just make it worse at "doing truck stuff" and that alone is it's greatest strength.  

Headlights:  I'd start with buffing the glass to de-yellow and install some fresh bulbs like SilverStars or whatever the expensive bulbs are at O'vancezone.

Wheels: I would just look to other factory F150 take-offs, classified ads or JY finds.  

For my Gov't Mule which had rusty steel wheels, I added chromey plastic wheel covers for a quick, cheap fix.  Similar for yours.

Amazon has 4/$83 = $21 each and easily returned if you don't like them

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/18/23 7:36 p.m.

The 4.2 suffers from the same plastic intake gasket failures that plagued three or four (depending on perspective) different GM engine families.  Where Ford one-ups GM is that the port layout is such that when the driver side gasket starts leaking in earnest, it fills the #4 intake port.  This leads to a hydrolock situation on cold start and a shortened connecting rod.  It was common enough that Ford issued a bulletin to let people know why engines developed a sudden knock.  (It's the piston hitting the crankshaft)

I replaced two engines and installed one (1) piston and rod in a third for an impoverished customer, for this problem.


While the intake is off, use the opportunity to clean out the EGR passages if the truck has EGR.  Each intake port has its own EGR nozzle coming from the valves outlet, what happens is all but one or two nozzles will clog shut with carbon.  Then 100% of the EGR flow goes to one or two cylinders and you get a moderate load misfire.  Easy fix with drill bits to poke the carbon out, but annoying to get to.


The 4.2 is an underappreciated beast.  Almost all AT&T vans were 4.2s, and they were all severely overloaded.  (A bit of trivia is that for many years a specific option package 4.2 was the highest GWVR you could get in an E250. I strongly suspect that this was per a large fleet's request, since that is kind of odd)

clutchsmoke UltraDork
9/18/23 10:14 p.m.

In reply to Pete. (l33t FS) :

This is why I love this forum. Pretty certain the mild misfire it suffers is this egr issue.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/18/23 10:16 p.m.

In reply to clutchsmoke :

Easy enough to check, disconnect the vacuum line going to it to disable it.

MrStickShift Reader
9/19/23 12:02 p.m.

I had the same exact truck. The only difference was it was a 2001.  They are decent trucks. The 4.2 V6 is a good engine. The 5-speed is decent. The interiors are not great. That said it always started up. Granted my never moved (Bad clutch), and I got it for free.

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/19/23 12:21 p.m.

Intake manifold will leak.  Not a matter of "if", more of a matter of "when."

The 4.2L gets pooed, but it's only down a few horses and torques from the 4.6L.  It doesn't sip fuel like you would hope, but it's a great engine.

Lowering is pretty easy, and as long as you don't go nuts it will still do truck stuff great.  My buddy dropped his 3" front and 4" rear and it was still just as capable at towing and hauling... maybe better because the bed was easier to access.  We towed a flatbed with an 84 Firebird from Rochester NY to Los Angeles and it did wonderfully.

Easy button is to get Lightning wheels.  They used a 14mm stud instead of a 12mm, but they work fine, especially because they're hub-centric.  All of the Ford truck/van wheels will interchange in the 5x135mm.  4x4 is the same as 4x2, so mix and match at will.


jmabarone Reader
9/19/23 1:00 p.m.

Not sure the year, but my dad has a late 90s short bed with the 4.2.  Towed the race car like a boss back and forth between St. A and Daytona for the Champ race...was pleasantly surprised.  And that was a truck that spent its life as a work truck at the phosphate mines. 

clutchsmoke UltraDork
9/19/23 5:07 p.m.

In reply to Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) Mainly I'm interested in lowering it a bit to make bed access a bit easier/convenient. I quite like the V6. Between the misfire and 2nd gear syncro it's a bit annoying to drive. 

That truck has the Mazda M5R2 transmission. On the shifter tower, there are 3 rubber plugs that dry up and fall out. This can lead to trans fluid loss and contamination from crap getting into the case. The plugs look like this:

I'd do a drain and refill of the trans fluid. Ford specifies Mercon ATF which has been superseded by Mercon V. Personally, I'd use Royal Purple ATF. 

That might help the 2nd gear issue. 

Dorman makes a replacement headlight set for less than $60. 

Dorman headlight set on the jungle website


clutchsmoke UltraDork
9/22/23 12:02 p.m.

So many thanks to everyone that posted with key information. Will post an update when I get these issues addressed.

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