The Evolution Of The SHO V6
Even though the Ford Taurus SHO V6 was introduced in 1989, its development began about five years earlier when Ford enlisted Japanese motorcycle maker Yamaha to design and build a high-performance engine. While the initial plan was to use the SHO in either a mid-engine sports car or a souped-up version of the Ranger, the engine ended up in the FWD Taurus. (Ford did produce a one-off version of the SHO Ranger with the help of Roush Racing).
The early versions of the SHO V6 engine featured a 3.0L displacement. Ford engineers had been working on a new 3.0L engine in the mid-eighties called the “Vulcan.” Yamaha used this engine as the primary platform for their design. There’s no doubt that Yamaha took its experience in making concept engines for Toyota and other companies and applied its precise engineering skills to build a quality, high-performance engine.
In 1993, Ford added a new displacement to the SHO family, selling both the older 3.0L and the new 3.2L engines simultaneously. While the 3.0L continued to be the standard engine, the newer engine with its larger bore (3.62 inches) was an option that could be ordered from a dealer, depending on availability. At the time, the Ford Taurus was the most potent FWD sedan on the planet.
The production run of the SHO V6 lasted only a few years, but sales were successful enough to lead Ford and Yamaha to create a 3.4L SHO V8 for the ‘96 model. The V6 SHO engine was scrapped in favor of the more powerful motor, but after killing the SHO in 1999, Ford brought it back with a 3.5L Eco-boost engine in 2010. (The Ecoboost was not developed in partnership with Yamaha).
The Features Of The Ford SHO V6
When Yamaha designed the SHO V6, many people considered it a work of absolute perfection.
The motor had a cast iron block with aluminum heads and a 24-valve DOHC configuration. The engine was oversquared with a variable-length intake manifold. The SHO engine was a powerhouse for a V6, producing 220 hp and 200 lb-ft of torque. The 3.0L SHO had a redline of 7,000 rpms and turned the Taurus into a raging bull, able to knock out 6.5 second 0 - 60 mph times.
Yamaha used the same bore and stroke as the Vulcan base engine (a 3.5-inch bore along with a 3.15-inch stroke), but they changed almost everything else. The motor had strong internals, dual overhead cams, and 24 valves (two intake valves and two exhaust valves per cylinder).
Ford mated the new motor to an MTX transmission, and did not offer an automatic transmission until it released the 3.2 variant in 1993. In the first couple of years (‘89 - ‘91), over 15,000 SHO Taurus models were sold, which exceeded Ford’s expectations.
One of the great things about the SHO engine was that it was a very efficient engine, burning fuel cleanly, enabling the car to get an astounding 34 mpg on the highway. (This was an excellent figure for a V6 engine).
In 1993, Ford decided to increase the bore size to 3.62 inches while retaining the same stroke (3.15 inches). The power did not improve due to a weaker cam setup. However, Americans embraced the new motor, as sales for the ‘93 - ‘95 Taraus SHO increased nationwide.
Ford discontinued the SHO V6 in 1995, working with Yamaha to develop an all-aluminum SHO V8 for the 1996 model. The V8 had a displacement of 3.4L, but the engine was not very good. Constant reports of camshaft from its sprockets began to surface, and in 1999, Ford scrapped the SHO until a rebirth in 2010.
The Specs Of The Ford SHO V6
The following list of specifications for both the Ford Taurus 3.0L and 3.2L SHO V6 engine are listed below.
What Are Some Of The Engine Issues With the SHO V6 Engines?
As great as these engines were, some issues have been reported with them.
There have been reports of leaking gaskets on the front seals, valve cover, and oil pan gaskets. While any engine can develop leaks if not properly maintained, the SHO engines have a history of minor, inconvenient oil seepage. If you discover an oil leak, it is best to use an aftermarket gasket, as the technology has improved in the last thirty years.
The 3.2L SHO used a milder cam setup compared to the 3.0L. Since this is the case, the camshaft gear can slip and create damage. Since the SHO is an interference engine, severe damage can result from this issue. Most owners try to swap the camshaft from a 3.0 to a 3.2 or have the gears welded or pinned.
What Are The Favorite Modifications Made To The SHO Engine?
Many owners of the 3.0L believe that swapping the 3.2L into their Taurus will create more power since the later engine has a larger bore, but this is simply not the case. The 3.0 has a more aggressive intake camshaft, and both SHO engines share the same power outputs.
While some aftermarket purveyors make turbos, any attempt to increase the power of the high-performance SHO will likely cost you money. Ensure that you have upgraded both the suspension and braking systems before working on improving the power output of the engines.
What About the 3.5L Ecoboost V6 in the 2010 SHO?
Ford introduced the SHO nameplate for the Taurus again in 2010 after over a decade of absence. While the new Ecoboost motor was not a Yamaha engine, it was a direct-injected twin-turbo powerplant that produced 365 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. The engine used a Garrett twin turbocharger and was sold with a Performance Package that included upgraded suspension, steering, and better braking and stability control systems. The SHO Taurus would be the basis for Ford’s line of SHO Police Interceptor vehicles that were produced in 2013 - 2019.