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I have a 96 SHO, purchased July 1996, with 118,700 mostly easy highway miles. Have always babied the engine--Mobil 1, etc. Have had all the scheduled services done at the dealer, Varsity Ford in Ann Arbor, MI.
About three weeks ago, my wife was driving the car when the "Service Engine Soon" light came on and the car hesitated. When I popped the hood, I heard a load ticking sound coming from the front bank of cylinders. (About three weeks before that, I'd had the dealer replace all four ignition coils on the back bank of cylinders because one had failed. That was expensive.)
I took the car back to the dealer, who looked at it, listened to it, and did a compression test. No compression in two cylinders in the front bank, and reduced compression in the other two. The service writer asked if I'd heard about the SHO V8 camshaft problem, said that was what he thought it was, and said it would be another $230 to tear the engine down to make sure. He also said if it was a bad camshaft, it would be about $2500 to fix it.
I called Ford, telling them it seemed to me this was a design or manufacturing defect and something Ford should fix. The customer relations guy was polite, but said Ford wouldn't do anything.
My inclination now is just to scrap the car, or give it away.