Oh I vividly remember the details. 4.0 sohc was junk from day 1. But I can tell a story of a good ford v6 from that era. Seems nobody remembers 3.0 vin U. Really good motor. But this is all ancient history now! I quit the Ford dealership in 2004...i was hoping somebody w/thier finger on the pulse of Ford's current products could chime in?I was a big fan of the 4.0 OHV in the Ranger, but it felt a little overworked in an Explorer. The 4.0 SOHC introduced reliability issues when paired with an automatic transmission, don't remember the details but it was something dumb like if there was a slow coolant loss, the vehicle could potentially run for a very long time with no functionality of the transmission cooler before the radiator got low enough to trigger a coolant light .... which is kinda BS. Plus the extra timing chains on the SOHC were not well executed and added unnecessary complexity as compared to a pushrod. In any case, OHV was great with a manual and I'd put up with the SOHC but recognize its limitations. Both were so much better than the average fare of the 80s or 90s in my recollection, unless you are talking about Toyota.
In any case, I wouldn't say the engines themselves were junk for the time, but they did have their issues, especially the SOHC. Ford (and all manufactures) have drastically improved quality and manufacturing tolerances since the '90s. The issues on vehicles now are often failures of non-drivetrain components. So the defect rate per vehicle may be the same or slightly higher today, but that is more due increased complexity and not actual powertrain reliability issues.
To answer your question directly, no, no one makes junk like they used to anymore. They make junk differently these days