really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 19
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 7
Average Mileage:
72,443 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.

1997 Ford Expedition electrical problems

electrical problem

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1997 Ford Expedition Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #48

Dec 112015


  • 190,000 miles


Miscellaneous electrical problems caused by water leaking from driver's side windshield into the fuse box causing, windshield wipers to quit. Door lock won't work, radio quit. Problem is never the same, depends on where the water leak occurs. Very scary and dangerous when driving at night in the rain.

- Oak Harbor, WA, USA

problem #47

Jan 312015


  • miles
Electrical problems on my 97 Ford Expedition lights flashing radio on and off by itself.

- Grand Island, NE, USA

problem #46

Oct 152013

Expedition 8-cyl

  • miles
I was driving down the street, going about 10 to 15 mph and while driving I had not light on my dashboard indicating any problems all of sudden my 97 Ford Expedition makes this crazy sound and completely turns off. I was not able to start the truck up again so I had it towed. After two day past I tried starting the truck up and it would not do anything.

- Gainesville, FL, USA

problem #45

Mar 162007


  • 155,000 miles


The contact owns a 1997 Ford Expedition. Whenever the contact drove the vehicle he noticed that the dashboard panel occasionally failed to function. The vehicle failure was not diagnosed nor was the vehicle repaired. The current and failure mileage was 160,000.

- Granada, MN, USA

problem #44

Feb 262012

Expedition 8-cyl

  • 113,000 miles
This issue was at night while driving the headlight to see at night had turned off at a 35 mph speed no bumps no turn just driving straight. This is a serious issue, you use your lights for night and your are left with no lights, as a result for this huge problem I received a ticket that is how I found out my lights were not working. The headlights fuses, module components, wiring were checked no issues there, as for all other lights example emergency lights, rear lights interior lights are functioning. But as the electrician found the directional switch combo was burned left with a white shadow in one area it was replaced, and now functioning. As for the suspension not functioning properly is this an issue that has not been able to be resolved. I have taken it to different shops and there is no air leakage in the suspension pump and other areas that are linked with the suspension. The suspension pump still repeatedly pump air every 45-60 minutes which it's fine, but not when the vehicle bounces very vigorously for 15 minutes or more till it activates the suspension to pump air. When the suspension is down the steering wheel functions different as the bouncing makes it hard to drive at a certain speed, not safe but manageable in the mean while. During this time I'm not appreciating the quality of my Expedition components.

- Victorville, CA, USA

problem #43

Dec 312011


  • 140,000 miles
The contact owns a 1997 Ford Expedition. The contact stated that while the vehicle was idled in the driveway, he noticed that the exterior and interior lights were flashing, the stereo would turn on and off, and the door locks would lock and unlock. The contact unplugged the battery and the vehicle operated as normal. In addition, the contact stated that the transmission completely failed and the contact noticed water leaking in from the windshield onto the dashboard. Both the dealer and manufacturer were notified, but denied any assistance with repairs of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 140,000 and current mileage was 197,000.

- Middleburg, FL, USA

problem #42

Feb 092011


  • 170,000 miles


The contact owns a 1997 Ford Expedition. The contact was driving approximately 60 mph with the windshield wipers activated and suddenly without warning the windshield wipers failed to function. In addition, the entire electrical system failed with a strong burning odor emitting inside of the vehicle. The failure occurred intermittently. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who stated there was water leaking into the fuse box as a result it caused a shortage within the GEM module. The vehicle had not been repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 170,000.

- Winona, MS, USA

problem #41

Jun 192009


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 1997 Ford Expedition. The contact stated that the main computer, which was housed behind the main fuse box, would absorb moisture whenever it would rain. The failure caused several failures including the failure of all of the instrument panel gauges, the vehicle would lock and unlock independently, the interior lights would illuminate independently, the starter would attempt to engage when the vehicle was running and when the keys were not in the ignition. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer who made several repairs to no avail. In addition, the main computer was also replaced B ut the failure persisted and would only recur when it rained. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The current mileage was approximately 150,000. The failure mileage was approximately 100,000.

- Edgar Springs, MO, USA

problem #40

Oct 032010


  • 100,000 miles
1997 Ford Expedition lost #7 spark plug. All 7 people on-board died in ensuing fire. Defect known by NHTSA and Ford for many years. NHTSA is the headline your waiting for? this is your responsibility. Do your job. Updated 11/29/10 updated 12/07/10

- Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #39

Jun 082010


  • miles
Car was dead when I woke up. Jumped it, speedometer didn't work afterward. Lights in right hand corner blink on and off I was told by the Ford dealer it is a GEM module is getting water in it but I do not have a leak in my windshield. I researched online and several people have had this same problem. It becomes dangerous because the car won't move sometimes in the middle of driving on the freeway. I seems to happen when it rains (which is everyday in seattle) I have almost been hit 3 times because of this problem and I just bought the car.

- Everett, WA, USA

problem #38

Aug 012009


  • 165 miles


My brakes started squiking, and that went on for about a week and then it became hard for me to stop. So now I have a lot of squiking and I have to stop way before I am suppose to. I bought some brake pads that did not fix the problem.

- Benton Harbor, MI, USA

problem #37

Feb 112009


  • 184,000 miles
1997 Ford Expedition has water in stereo causing electrical fire in dash. No water leaks found. Windshield was resealed and water tested.

- Pekin, IL, USA

problem #36

Jan 052008


  • 98,000 miles
After rain, water leaked through windshield on 1997 Ford Expedition resulting in electrical anomalies. This could pose a fire hazard.

- Middletown, VA, USA

problem #35

Feb 162008

Expedition 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Start my truck as usual every morning to let idle before I go to work. 5 to 10 min.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #34

Oct 182007

Expedition 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles
The contact owns a 1997 Ford Expedition. The contact noticed smoke coming from underneath the front driver seat. She removed her daughters from the rear seats and when she returned, the front of the vehicle was engulfed in smoke and the front seat was in flames. The fire department arrived and extinguished the fire. The vehicle is currently at the same location. The current and failure mileages were 150,000.

- Madrid, NY, USA

problem #33

Apr 162007

Expedition 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 124,500 miles
In 1998, my 1997 Ford Expedition began having electrical problems. Window locks going up and down on their own, radio playing when no one was in the car, clicking from under the dash, seatbelt lights coming on when seatbelts were being worn, wipers working on their own. I had this vehicle in the shop multiple times for these issues. After having his vehicle in the shop numerous times to no avail, I threatened a law suit if something wasn't done. The dealership called in a crew that they referred to as the rain doctors. Come to find out, the windshield was leaking on the GEM module and shorting out the electrical system. The vehicle was under warranty at that time. Now, in 2007, I am still driving the same 1997 exped. In the last few weeks, all these problems have started all over again. This time, the 4X4 cluster lights coming on and going off, clicking under the dash again, heater coming on by itself when car isn't running and running the battery down, beeping under the dash on passenger side, radio playing on its own. The whole scenario happening all over again. I am currently parking the vehicle 100 yards from my house for fear it may catch on fire by itself as I have read many, many instances in which the 1997 exped. Caught fire while parked. This should be a recall by now. Several recalls on this vehicle but all these were checked out. However, I cannot for the life of me understand why this leaky windshield problem is not being recalled. Now ten years later, when this problem is discussed at garages and parts store in my community, the technicians immediately are familiar with the problem. Again, I cannot imagine why this has not been a recall issue. The first time I went through this nightmare, it was under warranty. This time, I guess it is completely up to me to repair this faulty windshield problem. I sincerely hope no one dies or has died due to one of these Expedition catching fire. Recall where are you"?"!!!!!

- Wytheville, VA, USA

problem #32

Mar 302007


  • miles
I'm having serious electrical problems with my 1997 Ford Expedition. During heavy rains the truck will not start, when I do get it running the dash lights flash off and on. The truck stops running in the middle of traffic. Clicking noises are coming from the dash, the overdrive light flashes off and on the doors want lock. I'm concerned for my families safety. A possibility of the truck catching on fire. Ford needs to do a recall on the vehicles.

- Moore, OK, USA

problem #31

Mar 012007

Expedition 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles
My 1997 Ford Expedition caught on fire in the parking structure at my office. The sprinkler system prevented the fire from spreading to the other cars. Vehicle was a total loss.

- Gardena, CA, USA

problem #30

Jan 012007


  • miles
My 1997 Ford Expedition has been having serious electrical problems. I have had the GEM mod replaced as well as the fuse box. It seems as though water is leaking into these parts from the windshield. I am still having these problems with a family of six, I am concerned with the prospects of an electrical fire or something else. We have had instances where the car lost power while on the highway, this could cause a serious accident. Please talk to Ford. This seems like a very common problem!

- Norwood , MA, USA

problem #29

Dec 212006


  • miles
I have a 1997 Ford Expedition which has had the following symptoms: The fan blower stays on while truck is off, the battery dies for no apparent reason after truck has sat unused for short periods, various lights on instrument panel come on and off while driving(including ABS, airbag, all 4WD related lights, low wash, check engine), overdrive light blinks, speedometer doesn't work, truck doesn't accelerate and shift properly, radio comes on when truck is off. Clicks and beeps can be heard sometimes when in use and off. The dealer said the GEM and fuse box were damaged by water leaking from windshield. They replaced parts(for $600 and told me that I had to go and get the windshield fixed. I asked how they knew the water was certainly coming from windshield, and they said because of location etc. And I asked them what will happen if it rains after I pick it up and before it gets looked at. They said I'd be fine if it's within a few days ("just don't wait a month"). well I picked it upon the evening, and made an appointment for the next day for windshield. It rained overnight, though I even covered the area as best I could. I woke up to the radio blaring from my truck. I turned the truck on, shut it back off, radio still played so I shut its power off. As I drove to work, some of the other things started to happen again as well. I am not happy that (a) I have had to pay for Ford's inadequate workmanship and (B) I now have to fight with them about what is going to happen now since the rain has already screwed it up again because they left it in my hands before the leak was fixed. That truck never should have left their garage until it was taken care of. I don't know why they couldn't do it themselves, but they could have at least had the glass company come and do it there. This clearly is a common problem with Expedition, and I think Ford should be forced to do something about it. Electrical malfunctions are not something to let.

- Waterford, PA, USA

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