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1996 Ford F-150 Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the 1996 Ford F-150 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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9
Known Problems

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.

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.

The 1996-2001 Ford F-150 with the 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.

 

The Ford F-150, with the optional 5.0L/302ci V8, may develop misfires, rough running, and loss of power, accompanied by the check engine light illuminating.

Ignition wires can rest on the exhaust manifolds if they are not properly secured. The hot manifolds will melt the insulation on the wires, damaging the wires and causing the mentioned condition. 

Replacement of the ignition wires, and securing them away from the exhaust manifold is necessary to remedy the rough running conditions. 

Spark plugs in the Ford F-150 can be very difficult to remove.

Ford has issued a service bulletin (08-7-6) to address this issue, which includes a recommended procedure on how to remove the plugs. Failure to follow the recommended procedure can result in the one or more spark plugs breaking off in the cylinder head.

The recommend procedure is as follows. Using this procedure will greatly reduce the chance of breaking a spark plug.

1. Break the spark plugs loose when the engine is warm.
2. Turn each plug 1/8 to 1/4 turn and soak the treads with 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of Motorcraft Carburetor Tune-Up Cleaner or a quality penetrating oil. Do not try to remove the plugs at this time.
3. Let the threads soak for at least 15 minutes.
4. After the soak period, tighten and loosen each spark plug, working it back and forth until the turning effort is reduced. Then, you can remove the spark plug.

There are special tools available to remove the broken spark plugs and repair shops will often charge additional labor for the removal of each broken spark plug.

The gears for the timing chain can strip, causing the engine to crank but not start.

Tubes for the EGR system (exhaust gas recirculation) can break, causing an exhaust leak and noise under the hood.

If there is a vibration or noise at highway speed, it could be from the frontdrive shaft and may require replacement of the double cardan joint. A double cardan joint is a type of driveshaft joint that uses two universal joints.