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. In other words, the Duratec 3.7 offers a great balance of power and fuel economy. However, no engine is perfect and this applies to the Ford 3.7L Cyclone engine. In this article, we discuss a few of the most common problems with the 3.7 Cyclone and finish up with thoughts on overall reliability.
If you are interested in more Ford Duratec information, check out our 3 Most Common Ford 2.5L Duratec I4 Engine Problems guide.
What Cars Use the Duratec 3.7?
The Ford 3.7L V6 Cyclone engine is in the following cars:
- 2008-2015 Mazda CX-9
- 2009-2013 Mazda 6
- 2009-2012 Lincoln MKS / MKT
- 2011-2014 Ford F150
- 2011-2015 Lincoln MKX
- 2011-2017 Ford Mustang V6
- 2011-2014 Ford Edge Sport
- 2013-2016 Lincoln MKZ / MKS
- 2016-2018 Lincoln MKX
- 2017-present Lincoln Continental
- 2013-present Ford Police Interceptor Sedan
There are also a few other industrial and limited production cars that use the Ford Cyclone engine. Early models use the iVT Duratec 37 which uses variable valve timing on the intake cams only. Beginning with the 2011 Ford Mustang the 3.7L V7 began using Ti-VCT (Twin Independent Variable Cam Timing).
Some problems we dive into in this post may affect certain models more than others. We’ll clarify where it’s relevant. Regardless, the Ford 3.7 Cyclone engine was tasked with powering quite a few flagship cars – notably the F150 and Mustang. Mazda even dropped the 3.7 V6 in a few of their own cars.
3 Common Ford 3.7 Engine Problems
A few of the most common issues with the Ford 3.7 Cyclone include:
- Water pump failure
- Cam torque-actuated phasers
- Ignition Coils
In this post, we delve into each of the problems mentioned above in detail. Before we begin, 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. These are simply some of the more prevalent issues, but not necessarily ubiquitous. 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 jump back into this topic towards the end of the article. Anyways, let’s dive into the 3 most common 3.7 V6 Cyclone engine problems.
1) Ford 3.7L V6 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
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:
Ford 3.7 V6 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) 3.7 Cyclone 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.
Ford 3.7L V6 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) Ford 3.7 Cyclone 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.
3.7L V6 Duratec Ignition Coil Symptoms
Symptoms of ignition coil faults on the Ford 3.7L V6 include:
- Rough running
- Check engine light
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.
Ford 3.7L Cyclone 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!