2003 Ford F-150 Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the 2003 Ford F-150 as reported by actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.

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Known Problems

A ticking noise may develop from the engine due to a warped exhaust manifold. Damaged exhaust manifolds will require replacement to correct this issue.

If a noise from the rear end is heard when going around turns or after driving at highway speed for an extended period, this could be caused by a failing differential clutch kit. An updated differential clutch kit available.

An oil leak may develop from the the right side head gasket.  Oil from this type of leak will commonly drip onto the starter. Our technician tell us an updated head gasket is available to correct this concern.

Intermittent rough idle may be caused by the EGR sensor sticking, causing the EGR valve to stay slightly open. The valve and sensor must be replaced together to correct this concern.

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.

If a noise from the rear end is heard when going around turns or after driving at highway speed for an extended period, there is an updated differential clutch kit available.

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.

New TSB may be available


According to Ford Bulletin 06-04-04

Some 2003 + INDEPENDENT REAR SUSPENSION (IRS) AXLE F-150 vehicles equipped with a 9.75″ or 8.8″ limited and Mustang vehicles equipped with  limited slip rear axle, may exhibit a chatter, shudder, a binding sensation, or a vibration during low speed turns. On 4X4 vehicles, the sensation may appear to be originating from the front axle or the steering gear.

First verify the condition. On 4X4 trucks ensure that Modifier (XL-3) for fifteen (15) minutes prior to the vehicle is in 2WD, to isolate the rear axle. If the condition is verified to be in the rear axle, replace the limited slip clutch pack.

Catalytic converters can go bad and potentially plug the exhaust, hurting engine efficiency and performance.