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Ford E-250 Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the Ford E-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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22
Known Problems

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.

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.

The Ford E-250 with any gasoline V8 engine is known for displaying the normal symptoms of a coolant leak, including overheating, especially when the vehicle is idling, the strong smell of coolant from the engine, and illumination of the low engine coolant warning light

This leak is difficult to locate as it is buried underneath the intake manifold, and only begins to leak coolant onto the ground in advanced stages of disrepair. This leak springs from the heater tube, which allows coolant to flow between the water pump and HVAC heater core

When the connection for this tube begins to leak, the coolant burns on the hot engine, and produces a sweet smell that is unmistakably engine coolant. 

The remedy can be complicated, and will necessitate removal of the intake manifold, heater tube, and possibly the water pump. After removal of these items, the connector may be replaced, or a set of o-rings, depending on the year of the vehicle. Most vehicles, model 2002 and later, will have o-rings, and the water pump will not need to be removed. 

In some cases with higher mileages, the Check Engine Light may come on due to insufficient Exhaust Gas Recirculation system (EGR) flow. For EGR flow concerns, the EGR valve is usually recommended for replacement and the intake manifold is removed to clean the EGR passages in the engine, which have clogged with carbon over time.

The Check Engine Light may come on with no driving issues noticed. If P0401, P0402, P1400 and / or P1401 are in memory, the Delta Pressure Feedback Exhaust Gas Recirculation (DPFE) sensor is at fault. The DPFE sensor should be replaced.

The 1996-2001 Ford E-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.

 

Engine oil may leak externally from the cylinder head gasket. The gaskets were contaminated with metal debris from the factory – between the block and gasket and/or the head and gasket. To correct, the head gasket must be replaced and the mating surfaces on the cylinder head and block need to be inspected for chips or damage. In some cases the cylinder head will not be repairable and will need replacement.

If engine idle rolls up and down, and diagnosis rules out Idle Air Control (IAC) valve issues and vacuum leaks, the Programmable Speedometer/Odometer Module (PSOM) can be at fault electronically. The instrument cluster will need to be replaced, the PSOM is inside the cluster.

A defective key-in warning chime switch can cause the ignition cylinder to bind from run to start and / or start to run movements. The key-in warning chime switch will need to be replaced.

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 engine may have a misfire, hesitation, and/or run roughly – notably after a service and/or ignition wire replacement. If after recent ignition wire replacement, the cause can be misrouted ignition wires. The wires from the distributor to the valve cover must be routed correctly to avoid interference and induction crossfire. Verify all clips are used to secure and separate ignition wires.

The spark plugs may become dislodged from the cylinder heads. A loud popping noise can be heard and a subsequent misfire experienced. The threads on the spark plug ports in the cylinder head(s) can become stripped or missing when the spark plug is dislodged. The threads in cylinder heads may be replaced using “Lock-N-Stitch” aluminum inserts. Our technicians tell us thread replacement is performed when the vehicle is out of base warranty. Vehicles under base warranty receive a new cylinder head.

A defective thick film ignition (TFI) module can cause the engine to stall while driving, or the engine may not start. A failed TFI module will require replacement.

This concern relates to vehicles equipped with the E4OD and 4R100 automatic transmissions. Fluid leaks from the rear of the transmission and excessive vibration felt in the vehicle while driving can be caused by a lack of lubrication to the rear of the transmission and rear seal failure. The extension housing (rear portion of transmission) can lose lubrication if the fluid supply hole becomes clogged. This leads to rear seal failure from lack of lubrication, and can cause bearing failure in the extension housing. The extension housing and gasket should be replaced and verify the fluid supply hole is clear of debris.

On vehicles equipped with the E4OD (4-speed automatic) transmission, harsh engagement of the automatic transmission when shifting into reverse or drive, and irregular shifting while driving can be caused by failure of the Manual Lever Position (MLP) sensor. Water intrusion can lead to failure of the sensor, which should be replaced with a revised sensor and wiring kit to prevent future failure.