Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
128,503 miles
Total Complaints:
67 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. ford should have a recall (55 reports)
  2. had the head re-threaded (6 reports)
  3. not sure (4 reports)
  4. replaced engine head (2 reports)
2003 Ford Expedition engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Ford Expedition Owner Comments (Page 3 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #27

Dec 282010

Expedition XLT 5.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,864 miles


2003 Expedition XLT 5.4L--We were driving down the highway and heard a pop and then a clicking noise coming from the engine. Also smelled burning and gasoline. We got it towed and the mechanic informed us that the spark plug popped out and it tore up our pistons and we need a new engine. It will cost $5000.00 with a rebuilt motor and labor. If this is an ongoing problem ford should cover it or do a recall. I probably won't buy a ford again, especially since they don't back up their product.

- , Savannah, MO, USA

problem #26

May 102010

Expedition Eddie Bauer 5.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,375 miles

so far i am barely able to afford my payments do to economic recession and making ends meet. this is the second time i had dealt with my spark plug blowing out of my engine. this time i was on the freeway and had almost been rear ended by a semi truck. it was snowing really bad and i felt my life had almost ended when loss of power. had family in vehicle when almost in a collision. i read upon 2003 expedition because i swore i purchased a safe reliable vehicle for my family and found out that most have been having issues with spark plug blow outs from engine block. does a death in my family or to me have to happen for ford to take action to solve its problems on cars family's have already purchased? as of right now i got to go out side and try to fix my family ford expedition car so i can provide what my family needs. i live in a town where there's no public transportation and most jobs around here are located in other towns so traveling is required. i pay for me to have personal transportation and the cost of fuel and rely on a vehicle that does not work. i maintained proper maintenance and still end up with a death trap vehicle instead of reliable transportation and passenger safety.

- , Wendell, ID, USA

problem #25

Dec 202010

Expedition Eddie Bauer 5.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,375 miles

had spark plug blow out of engine block. i bought a ford because i thought they were built tough to last and believe i could rely on american products. anyhow! same compliant but different spark plug. wonder if i have one more life left because this is the second time i rely on my car for safe operations. no recalls to fix the problems for 2003 expeditions and still can't afford to be updating vehicles.

- , Wendell, ID, USA

problem #24

Nov 032010

Expedition 4.6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,500 miles


This problem occurred for me recently, i can't get it fixed because the engine is out of warranty. I called the ford dealership and they replace both heads not just one at a cost of 4600 to 6000 hard earned dollars. I'm in agreement with all the other complaints that I read, this is a recall that ford is running from. Unfortunately my truck is sitting in front of my house until i get the money to fix it. Very disappointed with fords lack of a positive response for problem.

- , Hollywood, FL, USA

problem #23

Nov 012010

Expedition 4.6 liter

  • Automatic transmission
  • 170,000 miles

I started our 2003 Ford Expedition to warm it up and leave for work. All of a sudden there was a loud boom and the engine sounded strange and loud. Had it towed to the garage and found out it blew out the spark plug on #7 cylinder. Ford should take responsibility for this defect and reimburse its customers.

- , Franklin, WI, USA

problem #22

Jul 052008

Expedition V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,000 miles

The first time my expedition blew a plug was on Blewitt pass and I was with my children in the middle of no where. We had no cell coverage, so we had to coast down the pass for six miles before we got to a little store. I had to have AAA come in from Wenatchee to tow my car to the dealership. Unfortunately, this was on a Saturday and the service department was closed. They said that the plug blew completely out and the threads were completely stripped. My car wasn't available until Wed. and this cost me $763.00. When the plug blew, it gave me know warning whatsoever, and this is very dangerous because of the exhaust that comes in the car when the plug blows.

Ford needs to recall this car because of the safety issue that it causes. This is VERY DANGEROUS especially for women who a drive children.

- , Gig Harbor, WA, USA

problem #21

Sep 042010

Expedition Eddie Bauer 5.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,017 miles


Labor Day weekend, late Saturday afternoon, September 4th, 2010, I was driving when I heard a loud pop. I thought I had a rock go through my muffler as the popping sound wouldn't quit.I pulled over when the cabin started smelling of gas. Decided I could make it to the cabin 1/2 mile away. My brother looked at the engine and saw the spark plug blew out of the cylinder. We called into the nearest Ford dealership to see if we could get a replacement spark plug. It was a few minutes after 5pm and they were closed for the long weekend. Luckily, the manager was still there and helped us out. He sent the spark plug with a mechanic who was just leaving to go home. We drove 2-1/2 hours round trip to pick up the spark plug. Sunday morning we tried to thread the new spark plug, but the threads were stripped. Nothing was open until Tuesday. We had to wait until Thursday of the next week to get a tow into the nearest Ford dealership. Meanwhile, we had to get our family of 4 people and 2 dogs home for the week. We ended up begging & borrowing cars to get through the next week. Drove 2 hours back to the dealership the following Saturday morning to pick up the truck. HUGE PAIN ALL THE WAY AROUND! The mechanics said that they see two of these spark plug incidences a month.

Ford needs to step up and issue a recall as the mechanics said that Ford didn't drill the spark plug holes deep enough on this year's model.

- , Maple Grove, MN, USA

problem #20

Jun 182010

Expedition Eddie Bauer 5.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

I was towing a trailer when it sounded like a tire had blown. We stopped the vehicle and we did not have any flat tires. When we started up the engine a noise similiar to driving on a flat tire came from the engine. We had to have it towed to the nearest Ford Dealership. Luckily we had AAA. Had to have my brother tow our trailer to our camp spot. Then later we borrowed a vehcile to tow it home. We had to have a new engine put in. The mechanic said that the spark plug blew the engine cap off. We had to have a new engine put in at a cost of $5300. It has been at the shop for two weeks now and is still not fixed. We had planned to leave today to go camping with friends for four days. It doesn't look like that is going to happen.

- , North Ogden, UT, USA

problem #19

Dec 032009

Expedition Eddie Bauer 5.4L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 119,000 miles

I bought this 2003 Ford Expedition for my wife, I needed something dependable because work out of state. A week after I bought this Expedition I had to fly back to Ohio. I was able to have the dealer repair the spark plug hole, but I'm still not comfortable with the repair. I work in Seattle for an large aerospace company I don't need the worry!

- , Grove City, OH, USA

problem #18

Jun 042010

Expedition Eddie Bauer 5.4L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

This is the second spark plug that has blown out of the head same Expedition and another trip back to Ohio! Again I say I bought this 2003 Ford Expedition for my wife, I needed something dependable because work out of state. A week after I bought this Expedition I had to fly back to Ohio. I was able to have the dealer repair the spark plug hole, but I'm still not comfortable with the repair. I work in Seattle for an large aerospace company I don't need this worry!

- , Grove City, OH, USA

problem #17

May 132010

Expedition Eddie Bauer 5.4L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles


My 2003 Ford Expedition blew out the #3 spark plug on my way home from work. It first stared with a rattling noise and a week later the spark plug bew out. Since the Expedition was still drivable and did not shut off, I drove it to nearby service center (Galpin Ford in North Hills).

The next day i received a call from the technician indicating that the #3 spark plug blew out. As a result, the threads of the head were stripped and could not be repaired. I wa quoted $3834.00 for parts and labor.

I decided to investigate and found that this was a widespread problem and contacted the service manager at Galpin. I explained to the manager that I read about this problem in the internet and that i should not be responsible for the cost of the repair. The manager stated that this problem would not be covered under the manufacturer warranty, but that he would give me a "great deal". He later called me back and stated that the best he could do is $2800.00 (1000 less).

Clearly Ford is well aware of this problem, but does not offer to help unless someone does the proper research and complaints about the problem. In my opinion, Ford must issue a recall for these defective engines.

The website recommends that a simple helicoil fix will fix the problem and to not be fooled by service centers into replacing the head. When I asked the service manager about this, he mentioned that this fix was not a proper fix because the problem would happen again very soon.

I asked the service manager if he knew the root cause of the problem. His response was "NO". I also asked him that if the head was repaired if he would guarantee that this problem would not happen again. His response was "NO". Very frustrating!!!!!

- , Granada Hills, CA, USA

problem #16

Jun 132010

Expedition Limited 5.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles



- , Newtown, CT, USA

problem #15

Apr 142010

Expedition Ed Bauer 5.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 128,000 miles

I had the same proble on my ford expedition 2003 ed bauer I have had to replace all but three of my original spark plugs due to these blow outs within 2wk its back in the shop now.

- , Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #14

Mar 022010

Expedition 5.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 145,000 miles

I have had to replace all but three of my original spark plugs due to these blow outs. The problems began last January 2009. Thank God for AAA tows but the repairs at about $365 a pop.... well you do the math. Its RIDICULOUS that there is no recall in place for this. This is clearly a manufacturer's defect.

- , Montclair, CA, USA

problem #13

Feb 012010

Expedition 5.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,300 miles

My Ford Expedition has less than 90,000 miles and the spark plug for #3 cylinder fell into the cylinder chamber thus the piston was hitting the spark plug...I was 60 miles from home after an appointment for a procedure on your ear canal....this repair can cost as much $1800.00...for a spark plug that cost around $5.00 on a SUV that cost $50,000.00... this could have caused a fire since the piston was pushing into the engine compartment, a fuel air mixture, plus, the presence of electrical spark are a perfect mixture for a fire... !!! I was charged $ 689.00 for a tow back to my home. I want this problem to be addressed by FORD ASAP before someone loses their life!!!! A RECALL IS IN ORDER! I want Ford to pay for my repair and towing bill because this is an ENGINEERING FLAW AND IT IS EXTREMELY HAZARDOUS!!! Contact me please! I hope this can helps other Expedition owners.

- , Tehachapi, CA, USA

problem #12

Nov 152008

Expedition Eddie Bauer Triton 5.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 139,035 miles

I have experienced the “Blown Spark Plug” problem with Ford’s Triton 5.4 liter engine for a second time. My 2003 Ford Expedition blew the # 3 spark plug on November 15, 2008. I am the original owner of this vehicle. The original engine was replaced August 22, 2006 with 86k miles because of the same problem at a cost to me of $5,400. This engine has 53k miles and was installed by Koons Ford of Annapolis. Although Ford accepts no responsibility for this failure, the dealer assured me that Ford’s redesigned V8 engine had resolved this issue. I have been a loyal Ford customer purchasing 13 Ford vehicles over the past 32 years. It is time for the Ford Motor Company to take ownership of this problem and at least take care of their customers that have experienced this defect.

Message to Ford: Once you've lost a loyal customer, chances are excellent that even if you greatly improve your quality and service, that customer and probably their children will move on to something else and won't return.

- , Stevensville, MD, USA

problem #11

Apr 092009

Expedition XLT 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles

Well this makes the 101st problem with this Ford POS. It started with windows not working, vaccum leaks, tires going bad every few months and brakes being replaced 5 times a year. Now I am coming home from the Post Office on a road in the middle of no where and I hear a gun shot sound from the front end. I noticed it was not a tire since they are brand new. I started to lose compression but the water and oil were fine so I babied it home almost 20 miles and shut it off. After opening the hood I found my problem - the back plug on the passenger side has popped out of the engine and the cap and coil are still attached setting on the battery. I am ready to send this thing off a cliff. I am tried of my "FIX OR REPAIR DAILY" or better yet "FOUND ON ROAD DEAD"! Dodge here I come. I am sold now.

Dodge RAM's will pull a house. But a Ford just thinks they can. I bought this to pull house trailers with. My Dodge Dakota with the 4.6 pulled the same 26" trailer and thought it was just a toy at 75 MPH down the interstate and got 25 mpg doing so, but this POS would not even pull at 55 MPH on the Interstate and only got 8 MPG If I was going down hill. FORD Take a flying leap!

- , Brownsville, TN, USA

problem #10

Apr 262009

Expedition Eddie Bauer 5.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles

Ford needs to get there act together. They could skip all the pretty stuff and build the ford better. What good is paying 40000 for a piece of s**t. I would have a better engine.

- , Modesto, CA, USA

problem #9

May 012009

Expedition Eddie Bauer 5.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,325 miles

I was driving and heard the spark plug pop again after it has done this before you know the sound. I was able to put the first plug back in and it would tighten up. The first time it blew out my plug coil also and that was one more thing to fix. This time the spark plug will not tighten up so this will cost me 1200.00 bucks to give it a cheap and unreliable fix.

I have owned Fords in the passed but I fell for 40,000 dollars you would think they could build a better car. My old 3000 dollar ford ran real good they build them more expensive and yet junk. I will buy a Toyota in the future. This is why the big three are going broke. I work hard for my money to piss it away like this.

- , Modesto, CA, USA

problem #8

Mar 312009

Expedition Eddie Bauer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,000 miles

I am planning to buy a new car in about 18 months. I will never ever buy another Ford. How can this problem be so common and they not come forward with a recall? I have done every recommended maintenance and taken perfect care of my car. In the last three months I have had to replace the alternator, oil casing and now this.

$2,700 and a week wait for a new head. Thanks for nothing Ford. You try and do the right thing and buy American, no more.

- , Las Vegas, NV, USA

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