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.

8.4

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$884.00
Average Mileage:
139,668 miles
Total Complaints:
31 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (14 reports)
  2. install threaded insert (13 reports)
  3. replace the engine head (3 reports)
  4. replace coil and all spark plugs - torque down plugs (1 reports)
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 #11

Feb 212012

F-150 XLT 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 189,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

i cant believe it ive had the truck for almost a year was properly mainteanced and out of the blue in traffic on the interstate 100 miles from home in rush hour traffic broke down had to pay a wrecker 265 dollars to have towed home to find out that number6 plug blew out of the head and blew the coil pack offthe engine withthe sounds it was making i thought that the bottom end went out but had exhaust leak sound since i still owe on the truck im unsure of what course of action to take from what ive read this is a common ford problem with this engine what do u do in this sitaution?

- , Interlachen, FL, USA

problem #10

Aug 112011

F-150 Lariat 5.4L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 169,000 miles

I had the rear driver's side spark plug blow out at about 40 mph. The is the second plug in 4-months, the other was the number three plug next to it. Both exhibited ticking noises like a loose tappet although it's an overhead cam. The noise will get worse until the plug finally blows out of the cylinder. The fix is relatively cheap at 175.00 compared to $2500.00 for a new head. That also depends on whether or not the coil pack blows also. If this happens to you, do not put a helicoil in. I did that with the first one that blew out and it only lasted about 5-months and ripped out. The permanent fix is to put a Time-Cert solid bushing insert in; properly installed, it will not come out. You can research the insert at www.timesert.com. Don't let someone calling themselves a mechanic say you have to replace the head at $2500; that just means he probably don't know what he's doing (like the egghead that engineered the head to start with).

If you have this happen to you, you'll know it when you're driving along and you loose power and sounds like someone shooting a shotgun at you under the hood. Don't panic, just pull over and shut the vehicle off. Disconnect the plug going to the plug and the coil harness to keep that cylinder from firing and blowing gas out the cylinder and possible starting a fire. You should be able to drive it at this point. Another good idea if you have one of these bad engineered heads and you haven't had any problems so far, get you a blow out spark plug from www.blowoutsparkplug.com in case you have a spark plug blow out. Could be very handy if you are on a trip or far from home. Both of mine happened within 20-miles of home and I just had a friend tow me to the repair facility. Also, if you have to make one of these repairs, make sure the shop checks the cylinder good (recommend a borescope) to ensure no debris is in the cylinder that will cause further damage. Lastly, it's too bad Ford can't step up to bat on this issue and do something for their customers. I understand that this would be an expensive adventure to replace both heads in my case. It would cost me somewhere between $4500.00-5000. The least they could do is send everyone with these badly engineered heads a Time-Cert kit with enough inserts to do all the cylinders and an emergency blow out plug. I've been a Ford person for a long time but that might change soon with all the problems Ford has had with plugs blowing out and spark plugs breaking off in the cylinders. Then, the fix was re-engineering of the heads and a $25.00 spark plug?

- , Niceville, FL, USA

problem #9

Mar 162011

F-150 Lariat 5.4L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles

I had the number 3 spark plug blow out of the head at about 30-miles per hour. I had the vehicle towed to the repair shop and a helicoil was put in. This lasted about 4-months until it happened again. This time, a Time-Cert solid bushing insert was used. It should not happen again. If this happens to you, don't put a helicoil in, it's like putting a bandage on a gaping wound and you'll be repeating the process all over again. Do it right the first time. Check around and make sure the repair facility uses the Time-Cert inserts or feels comfortable in getting the kit and installing the bushing. If not, move on to the next repair facility. Don't let them try and tell you you have to replace the head at 4-5K either, just means they don't know what they are doing. Unless other damage took place, which is not usually the case, you can have this repaired for under $250.00 depending on whether on not the coil pack went. Thanks to Ford and their lack of engineers, a lot of people are dealing with this problem. To date, Ford has not stepped up to bat and offered any relief or solutions for this. The least they could do is send us a Time-Cert bushing kit and an emergency plug for when your next plug blows out. It's not a question of if, it's a question of when. Read the threads, some experience this early at around 40-50K miles, mine didn't happen until around 160K miles. I've been a Ford person for a long time but it might be time to switch to Chevy. All of Fords problems they claim have been re-engineered out to $25.00 spark plugs.

- , Niceville, FL, USA

problem #8

Feb 222011

F-150 XLT 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 107,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

this happened yesterday and after towing the truck to the shop and realizing what the repair may entail I was surely not a happy camper. I will hopefully drive this thing for a few months then trade it in. Now I understand this seems to be a major problem. Spoke to the dealer rep. today his thought's are that ethanol may have something to do with the problem. 22% ethanol was found at a gas outlet during some technician training. not sure about the ethanol causing, only if i drive it out the shop yard and the next day it happens again?????

- , Kaplan, LA, USA

problem #7

Aug 022010

F-150 Lariat Supercrew 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 180,276 miles

The # 3 spark plug did not actually blow all the way out, it came partially loose due to FORD'S defective head design, the boot on the coil pack melted around the plug , and then while driving it, the firing of the # 3 cylinder burnt a pencil size hole right through the head next to the spark plug hole, real sweet , "Built Ford Tough" !!! The fix is pull the engine, because half of it is under the firewall, and replace the heads, not recommended, cost about $2500, 2nd option pull the engine ,and replace it with a used engine, cost about $3500, and probably the same issue, 3rd option again pull the engine, and replace it with a remanufactured engine, that supposedly the "Ford cylinder head issue" has been addressed on , cost $5200?? Ford says there is NO ISSUE with the Triton engine heads, but alas they've created a "FIX" for a problem that doesn't exist, sounds about right doesn't it ?? I've been going through treatments for cancer since this occurred, and can't afford to do anything about having it fixed right away. Oh 4th option, just junk it and start over, losing every dime I've put into this best built, most on the road truck , that I'm very sorry I ever bought.

- , Geneva, NY, USA

problem #6

Sep 162010

F-150 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 145,356 miles

now I see many other Ford owners with the same complaint I am upset that Ford has not offered at least a partial reimbursement of repair costs of installing a threaded insert.

- , Carleton, MI, USA

problem #5

Aug 292010

F-150 5.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 114,954 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Blew a spark plug ( second time in 6 weeks ) while coming back from camping. It happened on a mountain highway in the middle of nowhere.$225.00 tow charge for my truck and trailer, $180 cab fare to the closest town that had a car rental agency opened ( it was a sunday ), $110.00 rental charge and a $300.00 charge to have the truck fixed. If I still have this truck by next weekend, I have told my wife to give me a swift kick in the ass.

- , Delta, BC, Canada

problem #4

Jul 312010

F-150

  • Automatic transmission
  • 126,000 miles

THIS IS JUST THE 1ST COMPLAINT AS THIS HAPPENED AGAIN 1 DAY AFTER PICKING IT UP FROM THE MECHANIC! I CAN'T AFFORD TO KEEP PAYING FOR THIS AND THEN NOT BE CONFIDENT THAT IT WON'T HAPPEN AGAIN! IT COST $370 TO HAVE THIS REPAIRED.

- , Poway, CA, USA

problem #3

Aug 032010

F-150

  • Automatic transmission
  • 126,100 miles

THIS IS THE 2ND TIME THIS HAS HAPPENED IN 4 DAYS! I CAN'T AFFORD TO KEEP PAYING FOR THIS AND NOT BE CONFIDENT THAT ITS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN! A CLASS ACTION MUST BE FORMED AND A RECALL MUST BE DEMANDED!

- , Poway, CA, USA

problem #2

Jul 092010

F-150 5.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

Since this is a common problem with the 5.4 engine Ford needs to come up with a fix for this ASAP.

- , Scottsdale, AZ, USA

problem #1

May 292009

F-150 XL 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles

This appears to be a known problem with the aluminum head, which only has 3 threads in some cylinders, which is not enough to keep the spark plug from ejecting.

- , Tallahassee, FL, USA

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