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Ford Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems for 50 Ford models based on complaints from 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

The lug nuts on the Ford Fusion are known to swell to greater than their original size. When these lug nuts swell, the lug nut wrench will no longer fit, so they must be drilled or extracted. 

The lug nuts swell when they have been tightened too tight. To prevent this condition, only tighten the lug nuts with a torque wrench. If changing a flat on the road, the lugs should be loosened and tightened to specification at the earliest opportunity. 

The automatic transmission may develop shifting concerns. On lower mileage vehicles, upgrading the software in the powertrain control module (PCM) and the transmission control module (TCM) may correct the problem. As the mileage increases, internal transmission damage can occur. Repairs could involve replacement of the valve body or a complete transmission rebuild. Whenever major transmission repairs are made, it is important to be sure the PCM and the TCM have the latest software updates to help prevent these issues from reoccurring.

If the transmission oil leaks out of left side half shaft area, it may be from a worn axle shaft seal. The seal can be damaged by a poor surface finish on the axle shaft. The axle shaft and seal should be replaced to correct the problem.

This concern relates specifically to the E4OD and 4R100 automatic transmissions. Transmission fluid leaking from the front of the transmission bell housing may also be accompanied with shifting and transmission engagement issues. This is often caused by transmission overheating and is the sign of a significant internal transmission problem. The superficial cause is the failure of the front pump seal of the transmission. The immediate repair is to remove the transmission, replace the front pump and seal, replace all fluid with the transmission filter, and verify proper flow through the transmission fluid lines and cooler. It is also recommended to make sure the vehicle is not pulling a load that is heavier than the gross vehicle weight limits because this can cause the transmission to overheat. Depending on the transmission's mileage, this can also be a good time to consider a complete overhaul or replacement with a remanufactured unit, as often just the pump and seal replacement is a short lived remedy.

If the slip yoke in the driveshaft is binding, it can make a clunking noise when pulling away from a stop. The slip yoke will need to be lubricated.

The Check Engine Light may illuminate, the engine may run rough and have misfires on acceleration. Commonly the ignition coils and/or the ignition coil boots are the cause of this problem. The rubber boot that insulates the coil to the spark plug can dry and crack allowing arcing. Inspect the coils and boots, and replace them as needed. Our technicians also recommend replacing the coil boots any time the spark plugs are replaced.

The cooler for the EGR valve can leak coolant internally, which causes white smoke to come from the tail pipe. Hot exhaust gases are cooled by the EGR cooler before being circled back into the engine.

The 1997-2001 Ford Explorer V8 with a 100% plastic intake manifold  is known for engine overheating, even with normal use, and a coolant leak from the front of the manifold. This will often trigger the check engine light and low engine coolant warning light.

The engine coolant leak is from a factory defect, which causes cracking on the front coolant passage of the intake manifold. In a very short time, this leak will lead to engine overheating issues, especially while the vehicle is idling.   

Between 1999 and 2001, Ford released an updated version of this engine, known as the 'PI' version with a metal coolant passage on the front of the intake manifold, to prevent future issues.

There is no factory authorized repair for the intake manifold, and replacement is required to correct the engine coolant leak and overheating issues.

 

Various problems with the 5-speed automatic transmission were common. These problems can be more common on the 2002 models with build dates before March, 2002. There are many service bulletins describing the diagnoses and repairs, which include fluid leak repairs, transmission software updates, or internal failures requiring a costly repair.

A failed heater blend door or actuator can cause the temperature control for the HVAC system to stop working. A clicking sound from the dash area would commonly indicate an actuator fault. If the heater gets stuck on the hottest setting, the heater blend door may be broken requiring replacement of the heater box to repair the issue.

The engine oil pan gasket can develop a leak. Leaking oil may accumulate on the exhaust system resulting in a burning smell. Replacing the gasket should correct this leak.