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Top 10 Engines of All Time (#4): Ford 300 I6

 

Editor’s Note: This series counts down the Top 10 engines of all timesee how the voting was done by reading our initial post.

Ford 300 I6 engine

Image courtesy of Jalopy Journal

 

Some are undoubtedly puzzled that this inline 6-cylinder engine landed fairly high on the list.

Others might be surprised it made the list at all.

The rest of you—the ones that have actually owned the Ford 300 inline six—helped place this engine at #4 because of its legendary durability and impressive torque output. Just ask these guys…

Quotes

Ford inline 6: 300 cubic inches of raw, low-end torque.” –Coty M.

“OK, I’m not a Ford guy, but I have to be honest: the Ford 300 I6. Can’t kill those.” –Lyle G.

“Ford’s inline six–the 4.9L, I think. They may not be for racing, but they never die, and they’ll pull down a house with ease.” –Jaide Z.

“Ford 300 straight 6. The rest of the truck will rot away before you ruin one of them.” –Bobby G.

“Ford 300 inline six. Those motors will never die. Knew a guy who ran one with no oil for 6 months. He put oil in it  and drove it for another three years.” –Scott E.

History

Part of the fourth generation of Ford six-cylinder engines, the Ford 300 I6 came on to the scene in 1965 and had a 31-year production run. Although this engine powered Ford F-series pickup trucks until 1996, the 300 I6 also supplied power for everything from woodchippers and generators to tractors and dump trucks.

The reasons for the popularity were simple: big-time low-end torque, extreme durability, and ease of maintenance.

Ford 300 I6 engines have been known to last up to 300,000 miles with no major issues. They produce gobs of low-end torque, including an impressive 265 ft.-lbs. of torque in some instances. That has made the Ford 300 I6, particularly the versions with a forged crank and high-flow exhaust manifold, a popular choice for heavy-duty commercial trucks.

Fun Fact

If you’ve ever received an on-time delivery from UPS, you likely have the reliable Ford 300 I6 to thank. The Ford 300 has been used on those brown UPS delivery trucks for years.

Popular Modifications

The Ford 300 I6’s durability is well documented. To make the engine last even longer, manufacturers offer a wide selection of replacement part and performance upgrades for the 300. According to Summit Racing, here are some of the more popular items:

Editor’s Note: This series counts down the Top 10 engines of all timesee how the voting was done by reading our initial post.

 

 

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14 Comments

  1. Seth Stewart says:

    The Ford 300 I6 pulls heavy weight up steep hills with ease. Not made for speed, but the torque output is quite good for a little 4.9 litre truck engine. Change the oil on time and it and it will last 300,000 miles (500000 km). Also, it is a peppy engine, so it’s perfect to have in a daily driver.

  2. Best 6 cyl inline ever made

  3. I hope you Americans realise that Ford Australia has been producing an Inline 6 (still is until 2016) since the 1960’s. Its called the barra its a 4 litre 6 cylinder engine which comes turbo charged (270Kw) or naturally aspirated (195KW) its more than capable of doing 1 million kilometers in its life time, we use it in a souly RWD sedan called the Ford Falcon and an Australian developed SUV called the Territory, which is RWD standard or AWD optional.

  4. Had a 300 in a 31 coupe ran vary good surprised many raced my sons in his 64 F100 mild bult 460 was right at his door and still pulling hard when we crossed the line

  5. Bruce Nix says:

    I put a 1981- 300 out of a big ups delivery truck into my 1954-f-100 after putting in rv cam ,500cfm 4bel. Dual exhaust &5spd out of 86 mustang highway patrol pursuit car 20yrs ago n it still runs grate its a real sleeper

  6. Loved my old short box ford with the 300 and 3 on the tree. One of the best trucks I ever owned. The only vehicle I miss more is my 307 69 camaro.

  7. Just bought a 79 f150. We rebuilt the 6 to factory, used EFI headers, H pipe and a proper muffler. Had to make a heater plate to get coolant up to warm the intake, but she sounds awesome. Wish we had a better market for aluminum blocks, heads, hoods, etc to drop some weight in the old 79.

  8. Just bought a ford f 150 with the 4.9 I l6 it’s a 1996 short bed auto from the state of georgia no rot or rust can’t wait to get it

  9. Miki Csupak says:

    Re: ford 300 engine. In a1982 E150 After two years on the blocks, with old gas in the tank, primed with 1/2 oz. fresh gas through a small funnel via the hose pulled off the vacuum manifold the engine started on the first 1/2 revolution. Zero problem in 37 years.
    Thank you Ford!!

  10. I own a 1983 F250 with 4.9l I6. Has 120,000 miles! Great for towing my sailboat. About 7500 lbs. No problem at all. Has 4 speed tranny. Many opportunities to sell her, i would b a fool to part with her!! Runs like new, completely stock.

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