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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 18
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
98,022 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

1998 Ford F-150 electrical problems

electrical problem

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1998 Ford F-150 Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #37

May 012016


  • 160,000 miles


Report receipt date: Jul 15, 1998 NHTSA campaign number: 98V161000 component(s): Fuel system, gasoline, suspension my rear suspension is bad - has this been taken care of on my vehicle? GEM module is having trouble. I have been reading this part has caused a lot of trouble for this Ford model.

- Hoskins, NE, USA

problem #36

May 132015


  • 146,000 miles
Shock upper mount simply fell off causing driver side rear shock to drag ground. After further inspection also noticed at the location of the rusted out mount location that the rear wiring for the tail light were severed causing truck to now be stuck in park. Also while inspecting noticed rear frame is simply falling apart and other areas throughout the frame are weak as well. This is a huge safety concern after doing research I am finding many accounts of the same issue online but no manufacture recalls. Why isn't Ford doing anything about this issue? I've never seen frames do this. Truck needs full frame replacement.

- Monterey, TN, USA

problem #35

Jan 012007

F-150 8-cyl

  • 140,000 miles
Possible electrical short at/or near the hazard flasher switch. Most noticeable at cold start, and coming from under/inside the steering column upper cover casting. With this make & model, year, the hazard switch is located at the top of the steering column upper cover casting. Although I have yet to see any smoke, there is a more than significant amount of electrical shorting noise coming from within the column itself. Due to the fact that I cannot remove the cover myself to target locate the issue, I have left it up to a few mechanics and dealers, but they are not able to replicate the issue (probably because the truck is warmed up by the time I get it to a dealer) issue usually is most noticeable at cold start, and more aggressively when outside/inside cab temps are at or below freezing, but has been happening more during warmer weather. I can get the sound/noise of the electrical short to stop by touching or engaging the hazard switch a few times. And usually when the issue starts the left turn signal will immediately flash super fast at the same time, all on its own, without me engaging the left turn signal. When the temps reach around or below zero outside, it's more difficult for me to get this issue to stop, then I have to resort to pulling in the steering wheel lever and physically maneuver the steering wheel up & down by hand. Sometimes while at a standstill and sometimes while driving in motion. It almost seems the colder and more stiff the wires are inside the column, the more aggressive this issue is. It sometimes frightened me because I'm afraid that it's going to catch fire if I can't get it to stop shorting out in time. It seems like two wires are coming in contact with each other or one wire may be rubbing up against metal or something it's not designed to. I'm looking for an answer and viable solution to this possible danger. Ford has no answers yet.

- Julian, CA, USA

problem #34

Jan 012010

F-150 6-cyl

  • miles


Incident #1 intermittent electrical contacts in engine bay affecting charging system, emissions, and drive systems. Ford dealer diagnosed as "bad alternator" and "bad wiring harness". after I brought it back without having repairs done, I cleaned and lubed all connectors. All problems went away. I ended up having to buy a new battery due to damage done by the faulty connections. The problems had been intermittent and progressively got worse before I cleaned and lubed all connectors, this problem cost me a battery, and almost caused me to wreck as the battery died at night on the highway. With no battery and no alternator, the vehicle stalled, lighting died, etc. Incident #2 leaking timing cover gasket and lower intake gaskets. At this moment the vehicle has 127K appx miles on it, and it is currently sitting as I will not drive it until it is repaired, all miles put on vehicle have been "light" miles (no heavy towing, no overloading of vehicle, no excessive speed, etc). Ford issued a bulletin stating that there was a problem with gaskets up until roughly 1/16/98. They then issued a customer satisfaction remedy that did not cover the full gasket set or all affected engine model years. According to the bulletin, my engine (mfg date prior to 9/97) is affected, according to their customer satisfaction remedy it is not eligible. In my book, this is something that needs to be the basis of a recall. Engines have died with as little as 50K miles on them, I have never had a vehicle that I was honestly scared to drive until now. I will most likely be performing my own repairs on this vehicle due to Ford's incompetence.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #33

Aug 232012

F-150 8-cyl

  • 140,440 miles
This is the third time the horn and speed control have gone out on this truck and I feel it needs to be recalled I am tired of replacing the same parts in 2 years.

- Okeechobee, FL, USA

problem #32

Sep 142012

F-150 8-cyl

  • 126,000 miles
While my truck was parked, it started on fire under the hood in the area of the brake master cylinder. The truck is totaled.

- Muskegon, MI, USA

problem #31

May 072012

F-150 8-cyl

  • 147,000 miles


Had electrical fire after been parked for 2 weeks.

- Menoken, ND, USA

problem #30

Dec 162011

F-150 8-cyl

  • 193,442 miles
Spark plug blew out of the head with such force that it cracked the coil and was sparking on the fuel line with fuel vapors coming out of the head at the same time. This could have caused a fire/explosion if the vehicle could not have been shut off quickly enough. I was idle in my driveway and not on the highway where it would have taken longer to shut the vehicle off. Internet research returned astonishing amount of complaints for the same issue.

- Adrian, MI, USA

problem #29

Jul 112011

F-150 8-cyl

  • 219,761 miles
Our truck, a 1998 Ford F150, lost use of the cruise control back in April of 2011. We bought it used in 2008 and since we did not use it much anyway, we did not think much of it. Then in late June we started the truck and could not get the gear shifter to move. When trying to pull it into drive, reverse, or anything, it would not move. My husband came home from work the next morning and changed a fuse and it worked for weeks. Then I drove the vehicle for aprox. 45 minutes one afternoon, came home shut it off went inside my house, hear a loud pop, looked out the door and the truck was on fire.

- Hull, GA, USA

problem #28

Oct 092010


  • 155,000 miles
My 1998 Ford F-150 started acting up when the cruise control buttons were set on. The car would hesitate and not want to pull. Once we got home we turned the vehicle off and did not think anything more about it. The following day we went for a drive and noticed what we thought was steam coming from underneath the hood. I pulled the vehicle over and lifted the hood to inspect it. When I lifted the hood I was engulfed in flash flames. I immediately dropped to the ground to put out the flames. When my friend helped me off the ground the truck was on fire under the hood. We immediately called for medical assistance and was transported to hospital via life star helicopter. I suffered 1st and 2nd degree burns on my face and forearms and hands. I suffered 3rd degree burns on my right arm and had to have surgery to remove the dead tissue and then had to have skin grafts to fix my arm. I was transported to university of Tennessee hospital and the sent immediately to vanderbilt university hospital burn center. I was in vanderbilt university hospital burn center for 7 days.

- Fort Leonard Wood, MO, USA

problem #27

Aug 152010


  • miles


Woke up to someone beating on my house alerting me that my truck was on fire at about 7:30 am. I called 911 and the fire department came and put it out. No one was injured. Vehicle was parked in from off my home on the street.

- Champaign, IL, USA

problem #26

Jun 172010


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 1998 Ford F150. The contact noticed smoke in the vehicle cab area and within seconds the fire spread through the entire vehicle. The insurance company was investigating the failure.the vehicle was destroyed. The toms river fire department investigative report number is 10-133 and the lakewood police department report number is 10-44389. The manufacturer will be contacted. The failure and the current mileage was 100,000.

- Lakewood , NJ, USA

problem #25

Mar 012010

F-150 4WD 8-cyl

  • 119,000 miles
Pulled my 1998 F150 4X4 XLT supercrew into my driveway, turned everything off and exited the vehicle and entered my house. Three hours later, I went to gain entry to my truck and when I opened the door, smoke billowed out. It melted my instrument panel from just above steering wheel to the drivers door. A wiring harness was on fire and burnt clear to driver side rug. All the coating was burnt off the harness and was in flames. I burnt my fingers trying to get it out. There were sparks coming from it. I then disconnected the battery terminals and got the fire under control.

- Elderton, PA, USA

problem #24

Jan 052010


  • 32,000 miles
Ford has a known problem with the windshield allowing water to leak into the cab, over time it has corrupted the wiring, making electrical devices fail to having a dead short that causes power to dash to continue after key is removed, this is a fire hazard at best, to the fact the windshield wipers can fail at any time.ther are many tsb's concerning this problem 99133 98246 976011 98913 to name a few.this also crosses over to several models and years and in Canada there is a recall for some of the F series Ford truck for this very problem. My problems are typical of all the outhers. Ther is rust present under dash, doom lights, door lights, chimes, power windows and windshield wipers do not work. Vehicle does not hold charge due to power drain without key in ignition. I have also had a problem with the cruise control not disengaging after tapping brake or throttle I could feel the peddle reset itself after tapping both. I have had the window replaced and resealed. At this point I will be replacing the general electric module and hope that fixes the wipers for me. It's hard to say what else is fried at this point. That part would be available. I may have to replace the fuse panel also. It seems that many of the Ford tech's are having a problem with this and its replace parts till you or the problem goes away at your own expense, but no one is taking responsibility for the faulty window install that had caused this in the first to sum it up this vehicle has the potential to spontaneously combust, run away or have the wipers fail at any time also the car fires attributed to the cruise control may in fact be related to this problem. I think someone should take a look at this.

- Portland, OR, USA

problem #23

Feb 082000


  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 1998 Ford F150. The contact stated that the windshield wipers, door locks, and the door chimes failed to operate which is related to the electrical system. The vehicle speed control also no longer functions. The front windshield is not sealed and whenever it rains water seeped into the dashboard. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who stated that his VIN was not included in the recall. There was no related warranty. The failure mileage was 70,000.

- Portland , OR, USA

problem #22

May 052008


  • miles
My 1998 F150, for no apparent reason, the dome and box light would remain on after removing the ignition key. By researching on the net, I found the cure. Apparently the magnetic contacts in the door posts were dirty and would not function. Using windex which removed the wax and dirt, corrected the problem. Hope this helps others.

- Duncan, 00, USA

problem #21

Oct 222009

F-150 4WD 8-cyl

  • 174,000 miles
The contact owns a 1998 Ford F150. The starter would engage and seem to restart itself as if she were turning the ignition. She stated that there was a loud noise when the failure occurred. The dome lights inside would turn on and off without warning. The four wheel drive warning light would illuminate on the instrument control panel. The radio compartment also made a loud clicking sound. When she turned the vehicle off, the heater would still run without the key in the ignition. The vehicle was taken to a local repair facility, but the mechanic could not determine the cause of the failures. A service representative at the dealership stated that water entered through the firewall. He speculated that this could be the cause for the failure (according to similar vehicles he repaired). She replaced the windshield at a glass company but realized that the windshield was not the cause for the problem. The mechanic who installed the windshield told her that he could see daylight where the emergency brake was located and he believed that was the location where the water was coming in. The contact called the manufacturer and was referred to NHTSA. No repairs were made. The current and failure mileages were approximately 174,000. Updated 02/1710 updated 02/19/10

- Lansing, MI, USA

problem #20

Aug 102006


  • 151,571 miles
Overhead interior lights wont shut off and also back bed light, have to slam door several times before light will go out.

- Vacaville, CA, USA

problem #19

Jan 052008

F-150 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 33,000 miles
The windshield on my 1998 F150 Ford pickup has leaked for years and now the water has corroded the GEM module to the point where I am experiencing unwanted electrical activity when the car is unattended and worried that it could possibly cause a fire or cause a dangerous life threatening situation while I am driving the truck. I have contacted the local Ford dealer and they at first wouldn't even acknowledge the problem until I mentioned the Ford bulletin ##15773. Then they said that the only thing they would do is repair the problem for $1,300 dollars. I researched the issue and it is clear that Ford manufactured a faulty windshield and that it is the root cause of this dangerous situation.

- Coeur D Alene, ID, USA

problem #18

Sep 022006

F-150 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles
Fire, total loss to Ford F150 pickup. Pickup sat in driveway for 4 hours since driven and caught fire. Fire department came and said it was either electrical or engine related.

- Prairie Grove, AR, USA

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