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1996 Ford F-250 Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the 1996 Ford F-250 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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11
Known Problems

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-250 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-250, 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. 

The tachometer sensor may fail; if the tachometer needle jumps around and the transmission has harsh shifts or does not upshift, this sensor should be checked. This sensor is mounted in a cover at the front of the motor.

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

The battery light may illuminate on the instrument panel because the alternator wire harness connector is damaged. A new connector kit is available and should be installed to correct this concern.

Failure to change the power steering fluid can cause the fluid to become gray with metal particles. The contaminated fluid can damage the power steering pump resulting in a growling noise when the wheel is turned; the damaged pump will require replacement to eliminate the noise.. Life of the power steering gearbox and pump will be shortened if the fluid is not serviced regularly.

Fuel injector seals can start to leak and allow oil into the fuel system. Symptoms of this might be rough engine idle or hard starting. Fuel that appears gray or black in the filter bowl when changing the fuel filter is another sign.
Using the correct oil for this engine is critical. Improper engine oil can foam in the high pressure system and not develop enough pressure for operation. Symptoms of this can be hard starting, long cranking time before start, rough engine idle, and a lack of power. Another sign is tiny bubbles in the oil on the engine oil dipstick after the engine is shut off. The additives in the correct oil that protect against foaming can still break down, so changing the oil at the correct intervals is important.
The gears for the timing chain can strip, causing the engine to crank but not start.

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