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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
91,655 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.

2003 Ford F-150 engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Ford F-150 Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #12

Jan 052010


  • 185,000 miles


2003 Ford F150 5.4L #3 spark plug blew out of engine's head and stripped out all threads. Insert was put in to replace damaged threads at a cost of $500 from Ford dealership.

- Eugene, OR, USA

problem #11

Nov 172009


  • 93,000 miles
I had been driving my truck for about ten minutes and as I was driving on the freeway the engine spark plug blew. I got my truck to start up and drove a short distance before this occurred again. This repeated until I managed to get to my home which was about two miles away when the problem first occurred. Then I called venus, a towing and repair shop, to have my truck towed from my house to their shop. The towing service cost $80. When the problem was diagnosed they called me and told me what happened. They fixed my truck and charged $250.

- Kansas City, MO, USA

problem #10

Oct 042009


  • 185,000 miles
I had a sparkplug blow out on my 03 F150.....which at first sounded like a noisy lifter. I took it in for repairs at the Ford dealer and it cost me $1180 to install a heli coil.

- Sparwood, 00, USA

problem #9

Aug 162009


  • 178,000 miles


The spark plug in me Ford F-150 5.4ltr engine blew out of the #2 cylinder. All engine rebuilding shops and repair centers say this is common in Ford. They finished my sentence when describing the problem. Please enact a recall on this problem. As I read this is an issue. Cost me $500 dollars to fix and I worry about the other 7 plugs...$3,500 to repair.

- Wrightwood, CA, USA

problem #8

Aug 202009

F-150 8-cyl

  • 15,646 miles
I have a 2003 F150 V8 5.4 L and I was driving down the road and I heard a pop, and I checked my engine and noticed the ignition coil was loose and the spark plug was attached to the ignition coil, so now the threads in the head are stripped and I cannot drive my vehicle!! this is a huge problem and I am very disappointed that because not enough people have complained that this is not recall issue it should be!!!

- Twntyninepalms , CA, USA

problem #7

Jul 052009


  • 90,123 miles
While traveling @ 65 miles per hour down a highway, the number 3 spark plug & coil blew out from the head causing damage to the coil & spark plug itself. Our 2003 Ford F150 supercrew lariot pick-up truck, which is in excellent condition, had to be towed. This is the first time this has happened to our vehicle. The local Ford dealership recommended a quick fix of a spark plug insert after the plug hole was retapped while stating several times that there was no guarantee that this would work. Another option was to replace the heads costing approximately $2500. The dealership also advised us that they were aware of this problem & has seen it happen on a variety of Ford vehicles. We're extremely lucky that our vehicle didn't catch fire, as the coil that blew hit the fuel rail, which is held in place by two 8mm bolts. This experience is extremely frustrating & concerning to us as if we spend money going the route of the insert, it may last for one trip down the road & give out. It's disappointing that Ford isn't standing by their product & fixing it appropriately. This is a well known problem that brings with it severe safety issues. We will not be purchasing a Ford vehicle in the future.

- Hudson, IL, USA

problem #6

Oct 012008

F-150 8-cyl

  • 69,583 miles


On 10/1/08 I was coming out of a parking lot and heard a loud popping sound. Loss of power and ran rough. It was almost dark so I could not see what was wrong so I drove it the two miles home, along the side of the road. Next morning I took the truck to holder Ford in lakeport, California and they said I had blown out the rear plug on the passenger side of the engine. They repaired it for $715 and I got it back on Monday 10/6/08. Again on 10/11/08 Saturday the same plug blew out. This time I was in the fast lane of the freeway in san rafael heading for san francisco. The truck lost power and every time I backed off the gas the engine died. I fought with the truck to get it started and keep it running to get it across three lanes of bumper to bumper traffic to an off ramp. When I stopped and raised the hood I saw it was the same plug that was just repaired. I called holder Ford and they said service was closed and there was nothing they could do for me until Monday. I drove the car to a Toyota dealer only to find the Ford dealer had gone out of business there so I called a tow truck and rented a car. I was 150 miles from holder Ford and my towing would only allow 100 miles. Besides this blown spark plug almost causing an accident it cost me $400 for the tow and I don't know how much for a rental car. Now I find out there are only three threads in the head to hold the plugs in, and the heads are aluminum. The truck is a 2003 Ford F150 lightning 5.4 Triton V8 with 70,000 miles.

- Kelseyville, CA, USA

problem #5

Nov 282006

F-150 4WD 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 30,000 miles
This is the second occurance that I have had a oil seal or gasket on the engine after driving 80 +mile per hour. I had my truck less than three years. I have also noticed it vibrate when reaching the speed mentioned.

- Atwater, CA, USA

problem #4

Jun 242003

F-150 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,600 miles
Just had my 2003 F150 5.4L fixed after the #3 spark plug blew out. New plugs and heads cost me $4000. The heads are the updated version Ford now has. The original were 3 threads, allowing for the plugs to blow out before the 100,000 plug replacement. They now have 7 threads. Ford needs to recall and repay us.

- Belle Plaine, MN, USA

problem #3

Jul 122004

F-150 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I purchased an 2003 F-150 stx 4X4 in July of 2003. Less than 1 year later the air conditioner had to be replaced. Stopped working with no noticable problems. In the next 12 months the gear box has been replaced twice, I called our local dealer and told them the transmission was shifting harder than usual. Took it in and they couldn't duplicate or correct the problem. It continued, and less than 6 months goes by and I am sitting at a red light downtown louisville ky and the light turns green I pushed the accelerator and the truck goes backwards! thank god no one was behind me! after 15 minutes I finally get the truck to the side of the street and call Ford roadside asstistance. That was a joke in itself. Finally 4 hours later the truck is towed to our local dealer and they call the next day and say it is the transmission. Duh! I told them that months ago. They "fix" it and it still is not right. I have even taken it to another dealer and I have contacted Ford. The second dealer could not find a problem, so far all I get is, yes, it does shift really hard but we can't get a code to see what is wrong with it! I am still paying for the truck and it is now under the "extended warranty" this is completely wrong! no one should pay $36000 for a truck and have this much go wrong with it! any help would be appreciated.

- Lexington, IN, USA

problem #2

May 092005

F-150 4WD 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 11,181 miles
Own a 2003 Ford F150 with 11,000 miles. There is a heat shield over the muffler that was falling down. Took vehicle to the dealer, and as instructed by Ford, was to remove the heat shield entirely. Feels this is dangerous without the heat shield which is not on the vehicle right now. Dealer ordered a new heat shield because the old one was deteriorating. Ford ordered not to replace the heat shield as per engineering since it was no longer needed. Leaking rear seal, pan and gasket were also replaced.

- Fort Johnson, NY, USA

problem #1

Oct 192004

F-150 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While driving, the vehicle stalled. The consumer was able to restart the vehicle and drove it to the dealer for inspection. The mechanic informed the consumer that the problem could not be duplicated.

- Lake Benton, MN, USA

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