Ford 3.7 Cyclone Engine Problems

The 3 Most Common Ford 3.7 V6 Cyclone Problems

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The Ford 3.7 V6 Cyclone engine (Duratec 37) made its way to market in 2009 and remains in production today. Ford’s 3.7L engine makes 270 to 305 horsepower. In the 2011 Mustang, it was officially the first engine to offer 300+hp and 30+mpg. Despite the great balance of power and fuel economy the engine is still prone to its share of issues. Some of the most common 3.7 Duratec problems include the water pump, cam phasers, and ignition coils. In this article, I discuss these 3.7 Cyclone issues along with symptoms, replacement, and reliability.

Ford 3.7 Cyclone Engine Problems

3 Common Ford 3.7 Engine Problems

  • Water pump failure
  • Cam torque-actuated phasers
  • Ignition Coils

In this post, I discuss each of the problems mentioned above in detail. Before jumping in, it’s important to note a few things. Just because we are categorizing these failures as common, it does not mean that every Ford 3.7L V6 will experience them. Furthermore, engines are susceptible to various issues with increasing age and mileage due to natural wear and tear. There may be faults with the 3.7 Cyclone V6 engine that we do not address in this post.

That said, the Ford 3.7 V6 Cyclone is a solid, reliable engine. Many last upwards or beyond 200,000 miles with proper maintenance. We’ll circle back to this topic towards the end of the article. Anyway, let’s dive into the 3 most common 3.7 V6 Cyclone engine problems.

1) Water Pump Failures

Water pump problems occur on almost any engine from time to time. They’re moving parts that are responsible for circulating coolant through the 3.7 Cyclone engine. Usually, a water pump failure is an urgent repair, but further damage is unlikely as long as the engine doesn’t overheat. However, early Ford 3.7 V6 engines had serious issues with the water pump. Duratec iVCT engines use an odd design for the water pump. As a note – the transversely-mounted iVCT 3.7 Duratec is in the 2008-2015 Mazda CX-9 and Mazda 6. It’s also found in the 2009-2012 Lincoln MKS and MKT.

The Ti-VCT Ford 3.7 Cyclone is less prone to these problems as the design of the timing chain and sprockets was revised. Anyways, back to the water pump problems at hand. The transverse Ford 3.7 V6 (used in front-wheel-drive models) uses a timing chain-driven water pump. The pump is also mounted internally, meaning that there is no way to know that the pump failed until it is too late. The water pump is prone to failing at the pump bearings which allows the timing center to move around. Once it’s bad enough, coolant is dumped into the engine where it mixes with the oil.

This is where the real problems begin. Coolant mixing with oil is not good. It can cause corrosion and lots of internal wear as the Ford 3.7 Cyclone oil is no longer able to properly lubricate moving parts. Basically, it can cause a lot of internal engine damage and lead to very costly repair bills.

The longitudinally-mounted Ford 3.7L V6 (used in rear-wheel-drive models) is a bit better in terms of the design and placement of the pump itself. Unlike the transversely-mounted version, the longitudinally-mounted version features an external water pump. This is a good thing, as you’ll likely see that the water pump weep hole is leaking on the ground before the unit fails completely. This should give you a bit more time to address the issue.

3.7 Cyclone Water Pump Failure Symptoms

A few symptoms that may indicate the Ford 3.7 V6 water pump bearings are on their way out include:

  • Rattling/clunking from engine
  • Milky oil
  • Visible leak
  • Overheating

The real issue is when the bearings go and the timing center begins moving around. This will typically cause an audible rattling or knocking sound from the front engine cover area. Coolant mixing with the oil will cause the oil to look like a milky mess. A visible coolant leak under the car may also occur. Finally, the 3.7L Cyclone may begin overheating if too much coolant is lost. Check out this video which goes in-depth about failing 3.7 V6 water pumps and what to look out for:

Water Pump Replacement

This is an important issue to be aware of since catching it early can help prevent further damage. Nonetheless, the water pumps location behind the front cover makes it a tedious repair. Labor can add up quickly so replacing the 3.7 Duratec water pump can run $1,000 at a repair shop. If the problem isn’t caught in time the engine may be a complete loss. The Ford 3.7L engine may also need to be opened up for cleaning and machining to get rid of any corrosion or possible damage.

2) Cam Torque Actuated Phasers Problems

The water pump issue above mostly affects the earlier iVCT engines. Cam torque-actuated phasers, on the other hand, primarily affect the later Ford 3.7 Ti-VCT engines. We’ll avoid getting too technical here, but for a quick background. Dual variable cam timing (Ti-VCT) is a somewhat complex technology involving many moving parts. The idea is to adjust cam/valve timing to allow for a better power band and fuel economy. It’s great tech that many modern engines use.

However, problems can and do occur with these systems. The Ford 3.7L Cyclone’s cam torque actuated phasers (cam phasers for short) are one of those issues that pop up. Cam phasers rotate each camshaft relative to the timing. When the 3.7 Duratec cam torque-actuated phasers fail they can cause a handful of symptoms and other issues if not fixed in a timely manner. It’s also a pretty expensive fix.

Cam Phasers Symptoms

Look for the following symptoms that may indicate an issue with the 3.7 Cyclone cam torque-actuated phasers:

  • Check engine light
  • Rattling sound from engine
  • Power loss
  • Rough running

When the cam phasers fail you’ll usually get a check engine light and hear a rattling sound from the Ford 3.7 engine. It can also cause improper ignition timing, which can lead to a loss of power and rough running.

3.7 V6 Cyclone Cam Phasers Replacement

With higher mileage, it may be a good idea to replace the VCT solenoids, too. Those are known to cause occasional problems on the 3.7 Cyclone V6. Anyways, cam phasers lie within the head, so it takes some time and effort to replace them. Expect repair bills to come in around $700+ due to the extensive labor.

3) Ignition Coil Issues

While the above two problems can be pretty expensive and serious problems the 3.7 V6 is a solid engine, overall. We’re mostly talking about ignition coils here since there aren’t many other major common problems. Ignition coils are really standard wear-and-tear parts that usually require replacement at some point during an engine’s life. However, the 3.7 Duratec ignition coils sometimes fail earlier than normal.

Look for these problems to pop up somewhere in the 70,000 to 100,000-mile ballpark. It’s really not a huge deal all things considered. An ignition coil replacement is usually required by 150,000 miles, anyways. It’s also not a serious issue by any means, though ignition coil problems can cause some drivability issues.

Ignition Coil Symptoms

Symptoms of ignition coil faults on the Ford 3.7L V6 include:

  • Misfires
  • Rough running
  • Check engine light
  • Stuttering

Misfires are the number one symptom of spark plug or ignition coil problems. Though, misfires can have many other causes. When the 3.7 Cyclone ignition coils go bad it will prevent the air/fuel mixture from properly igniting. In turn, you may notice the Ford 3.7 engine is running rough or stuttering. Misfires can sometimes trigger a check engine light, too.

Ignition Coil Replacement

Fortunately, ignition coil replacement is about as straightforward as repairs come. The Ford V6 uses 6 ignition coils, and it’s a good idea to replace them all at once. This is mostly true if you’re 3.7 Cyclone is over 100,000 miles since they’ll require replacement in the near future. Anyways, ignition coils run about $25-40 each. It’s an easy repair that most people can knock out in the driveway in less than an hour.

3.7 Cyclone Reliability

How reliable is the Ford 3.7L V6 Cyclone engine? We’ll give the 3.7 Duratec above-average marks for reliability. The water pump and cam phaser issues can be a headache and expensive repairs. However, they’re likely not as common as the internet may suggest. Outside of that, the 3.7 V6 doesn’t suffer from many common issues or design flaws.

Of course, problems can and do happen, but that applies to all engines. A lot of it also comes down to maintenance. Change the oil, coolant, and other fluids on time. Fix problems in a timely manner when they do pop up. It’s basic stuff that all Ford 3.7 V6 owners can do to increase the odds of having a good experience with the engine.

With proper maintenance, the 3.7L Cyclone is known to hold up pretty well up to 200,000 miles, and even longer in some cases. It’s a great engine that provides a well-rounded balance of performance and efficiency. The 3.7 Duratec is also a reliable engine, overall.

Ford 3.7 V6 Common Problems Summary

The 3.7 V6 from Ford has powered many flagship vehicles from both Ford and Mazda. In the 2011 Ford Mustang, the 3.7L V6 was the first engine ever to accomplish 300+hp and 30+mpg. It’s a good blend of performance and efficiency. However, no engine is perfect and this applies to the Duratec 3.7.

Ford 3.7 iVCT Cyclone engines suffer from water pump issues that can lead to costly repairs if not caught in time. Timely oil and coolant changes can help mitigate the risk of additional damage occurring should the water pump bearings fail. Later Ti-VCT models have some issues with the variable valve timing system which mostly affects the solenoids and cam phasers.

Otherwise, the Ford 3.7L engine doesn’t suffer many common problems. They often hold up to 200,000+ miles with proper maintenance all while offering respectable power, performance, and fuel economy.

What’s your experience with the 3.7 Cyclone?

Drop a comment and let us know!

Looking for more Duratec content? Check out our additional guides including the most common 2.5 Duratec issues and 3.5 Cyclone engine problems.

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    1. 2012 mustang 3.7 PP now has 285000miles and pullin strong. All fluids get changed yearly. Engine oil gets changed every 8000 with Amsoil.

  2. 135,000 miles and counting. Engine is still tight and responsive. Changed plugs once, oil every 5,000, transmission and differential every 75,000. The economy has dropped a bit from 32.5 to 31.8mpg. I was looking to see when the recommended change is for the timing chain and water pump. Nothing so far.

  3. Professional driver with over 300k experience with 3.7L V6 Ford Transit XL350 tall boy / hi roof.
    My company uses a fleet of 500 them.
    They idle about 2-3 hrs a day & run about 100k annually or more.
    Considering how some of my shit heads co-workers treat them & how piss poor ” Enterprise ” rental service department services them or lack of they run great, good power, smooth power, smooth shifting transmissions, linear brakes, great handling, great visibility, great mirrors, comfortable seats. You feel 100% connected. Wipers & ac work great.
    Van handles cross winds well. Easy parking.
    My 3 only complaints are :
    Radio / infotainment too far of a reach.
    Sliding door runs on a shitty cheap ass plastic chain Wtf Ford ?
    Annoying buzzer reminder.
    My company also has a fleet of Mercedes Benz
    Sprinters diesels. While just as reliable
    Sprinters are shit boxes !!!
    Noisy, NO power, poor truck like handling, crude rough suspension, Inconsistent feeling brakes, you feel like you are sitting on a god dam bar stool. Handles like a brick in a cross wind.
    Transit you feel like your riding a thoroughbred stallion, Sprinter you like your hanging on to the reigns of a run away buck board.
    I’d be happy commuting in a Transit, daily driver, family grocery getter, perfect for vacation road trips & soccer mom duties.
    Sprinter I would burn it !!

  4. Water pump failed in a 2011 Lincoln MKT. Teplacrd but check engine light is on! Lincoln says replace timing chain, tensor, and water pump! $3,000.00
    Mechanic who replaced pump thinks it may be Varible Timing Solenoid.

    Codes talk of camshaft. Could just be the sensor?

    Car runs fine 98% of the time. It misses occasionally!
    Any thoughts?

    At wits end. Check engine ligh cannot pass inspection

    1. Sensor or the unit itself… I would replace both units and selinoids… I am preparing to replace my injectors, coils, and plugs… But, I don’t have the camshaft issues yet… I have two police utilities…

  5. 2014 F150 STX with towing package, 245,000 miles. Change oil when instrument cluster says it’s time. Some towing car trailer, about 5500-6000 lbs total. Mostly flat country along east coast, mostly interstate. No problems so far, uses no oil. When this engine finally gives up the ghost I’ll replace it with another just like it!

  6. 2017 Mustang 6 speed 3.7 V6 Cyclone. BG Syncro Shift fluid and Barton shifter bracket mostly fixed MT82 tranny shifting issues. MPT tune really woke up the 3.7, still get nearly 30mpg on highway. The external water pump failed and started leaking at a month ago with just 30,000 miles, That kinda sucks but pretty simple repair. Other wise nice strong powerplant that likes to rev.

    1. Make sure you had the upper coolant reservoir hose replaced with the check valve in it form Ford. The pumps fail from air getting into the system.

  7. I purchased a 2015 Ford Police interceptor sedan with a 3.7 V6. At the time it had 125K miles and since I use it for my Uber business I have added upwards of 70k miles to it. The only problem I have had is a failed fuel pump that Ford had a recall on. Recently I have a check engine light on for the Caddy converters which I have held off on getting repaired because of the 2 grand cost to do the job. Other than this I have not had any issues and the engine itself is very quiet and reliable. I am concerned with the possible Water pump issue as I approach 200k miles, but may just get rid of it when and if it fails. It will cost me more than I paid for the car to fix this. In all, I am very happy with my car and keep it in fairly great condition. I change the oil every 5000 miles and make sure to look for any anifreeze in it.
    This has been the best car that I have ever had and will look for another.

    1. I have 190k on a police utility… I am planning on doing the water pump, cam chains, and guides… I currently have two of them… In the next week or two, I am going to do the plugs, coil packs, and injectors… Since you have the police model, you need to have the PTO, and other boxes serviced!!! The PTO (transfer case) is sensitive to heat and oil decay… I am happy with my utilities… The utility and sedan have the same drivetrain…

  8. The water pump problems are two different problems, the 3.7 placed lateral (front wheel drive etc) has an internal water pump. By the time you realize it is leaking, it has contaminated the engine with coolant. Because of the pump’s location, you have to, at the minimum, pull the engine. The 3.7 placed longitudinal (as in the Mustang) has an external water pump. Unfortunately the cooling system design is bad which allows air into the water pump and it also fails (but easier to replace). Fords fix is an upper cooling reservoir hose with a stopcock that stops air from entering the system. Cost, $70.

  9. The 3.7 (longitudinal) that came in the Mustang has received a large amount of aftermarket R&D attention from Auto Mafia Racing and Ortiz performance. A stock engine can handle almost 600 hp. Intake, exhaust, tune, and rear gears will put you in the 300 rwhp range (vs 307 hp AT THE CRANK that ford claims). A pro-charger setup aprox 450 rwhp, and the big turbo kits 550-600 rwhp. Again this is on a stock engine.

  10. 2014 F150 XL 140K. No problems just oil change by the dash. One Trans filter at 120K. Pulls our 4k boat all the time, and often over 100 miles. And two front brakes, and few air filters.

  11. Thinking about buying a 2011 F-150 with 124k one owner . Had the 3.7 what would be checked before purchasing? And is 14,000 to much with miles

  12. So I am looking at a 2013 Ford Police Interceptor SUV with a 3.7L in it. The car is awd, is the water pump internal on this or is external?

    1. Hi Jeff,

      The 2013 Ford Police Interceptor came with the transversely-mounted 3.7 Cyclone, meaning that the water pump is internally mounted and driven off of the timing chain. If you do go ahead with your purchase, keep an especially vigilant eye out for coolant leaks and listen for any abnormal sounds coming from the engine. It’s a tricky issue for these cars, especially since some Ford 3.7 owners don’t recognize that anything is wrong until it’s too late. That’s obviously the fault of Ford for their questionable water pump design.

      Good luck,

  13. Hi, I have a 3.7L Mustang from 2011 and is an amazing car.
    I replace the water pump and the fan and the fan still not working and the engine almost burns this morning.
    Any idea about what can be causing this problem?
    All best

    1. Hi Pedro,

      If you have replaced the radiator fan itself and it is not receiving any power or activating at any temperature threshold, it is likely due to an electrical issue. Most 3.7 Mustang owners that have experienced this issue have found that it was either caused by burnt relay contacts at the fuse box or blown fuse. Both of those components are cheap and easy to replace. Here is a video that will walk you through the process:


  14. I’m running auto repair shop in Florida, ran into a problem.
    2015 Lincoln mks 3.7liters engine.
    After replacing the water pump the short chain between two camshafts of right head jumped 3 times.
    After 1st time we changed phasers, after 2nd time chain tensioner and short chain and still jumped over for the third time.
    Every time this happened after 4-6 miles drive and the code P0017 appears.
    Any suggestions?

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