Catalytic converters can go bad and potentially plug the exhaust, hurting engine efficiency and performance.
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Repairpal verified 1997 Ford F-250 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.
A ticking noise may develop from the engine due to a warped exhaust manifold. Damaged exhaust manifolds will require replacement to correct this issue.