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Ford F-150 Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the 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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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, this could be caused by a failing differential clutch kit. An updated differential clutch kit available.

Intermittent rough idle may be caused by the EGR sensor sticking, causing the EGR valve to stay slightly open. The valve and sensor must be replaced together to correct this concern.

An illuminated Check Engine Light could indicate that one or more of the ignition coils has failed due to excessive spark plug gap. To fix this problem, the ignition coils that have failed, the spark plugs, and all coil boots should be replaced.

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

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.

An oil leak may develop from the the right side head gasket.  Oil from this type of leak will commonly drip onto the starter. Our technician tell us an updated head gasket is available to correct this concern.

The Ford F-150 has known issues with the V8 engine ejecting spark plugs. This will make a tapping or knocking noise, plus the engine will begin to misfire at all speeds. The check engine light will also illuminate.

The threads on the cylinder head are too short and soft, allowing pressure from combustion to overwhelm and destroy the threads. 

When the spark plug ejects, the cylinder head becomes damaged, necessitating repair of the spark plug port threads, or replacement of the cylinder head and cylinder head gasket. 

Ford has recommended a method of repair for the cylinder head that prevents the spark plug from ejecting under future use. Replacement of all spark plugs is not necessary, but an updated spark plug design can help prevent this from happening in the future. 

There is a technical service bulletin for the V8 engine.

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 1997-2014 Ford F-150 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. 

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.