An illuminated Check Engine Light could indicate that one or more of the ignition coils has failed due to excessive spark plug gap. To fix this problem, the ignition coils that have failed, the spark plugs, and all coil boots should be replaced.
Problems for specific Ford F-150 years:
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Most reported 1997 Ford F-150 problems
There is a technical service bulletin for the V8 engines regarding a possible problem with the spark plug being ejected from the cylinder head, damaging the threads in the spark plug hole. If the vehicle is under warranty, cylinder head replacement is recommended. If the vehicle is out of warranty, Ford authorized the use of a specific thread insert to repair the head.
The EGR orifices in the intake manifold may plug with sludge. If the truck has high mileage, this may cause engine misfire when first accelerating because too much EGR gas is directed into the cylinders of the unplugged orifices. This makes the mixture lean, which causes a gradual stumble that increases in severity until repaired.