hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 6
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
83,592 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 Expedition engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Ford Expedition Owner Comments (Page 3 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #30

Sep 122009


  • 105,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Ford Expedition. The contact stated upon inspection of her vehicle, she noticed that the spark plug ejected from the engine head on the passenger side near the firewall. If this occurred while driving, there is a high risk for a vehicle crash. The vehicle is in the process of being taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The manufacturer was notified, but she was not provided with any recourse. The failure and current mileages were 105,000.

- Mareno Valley , CA, USA

problem #29

Sep 102009


  • 96,000 miles
My 2003 Ford Expedition just blew a spark plug out of the cylinder head. It was the second to last cylinder passenger side. There was raw fuel and vapors coming into the engine compartment and a fire could have started had a spark ignited those fumes. These are the factory plugs and factory head and the Ford dealer commented that this was a fairly common issue but that Ford has not issued a recall yet. Now I am out $2800 for what seems to be a defect in the design of the head.

- Greenville, MS, USA

problem #28

Jul 152009


  • 71,000 miles
Spark plug blow out on 2003 Ford Expedition 5.4 L engine.

- Bourbonnais, IL, USA

problem #27

Jun 152009


  • miles


While driving my 2003 Ford Expedition eddie bauer one of the eight spark plugs blew out of the engine.

- Royal Palm Beach, FL, USA

problem #26

Jun 012009


  • 86,882 miles
I own a 2003 Ford Expedition with a 5.4, and while driving around town we noticed the vehicle started running rough, so we took it to a local shop to have it looked at and upon inspection we found that the number 7 plug had blown out and caused damage to the coil which caused the rough running, the mechanic at the shop said this is very common with these trucks and motors, so at the cost $700 I got it fixed with the understanding that this could happen again because of the way these motors are made.

- Ocala, FL, USA

problem #25

May 132009


  • 135,000 miles
While driving on a local road in clear weather my 03 Expedition suddenly threw plug #7. in so doing it destroyed the coil assembly, but the impact of the coil assembly on the fuel rail saved the car's hood from further damage (the top of the coil assembly clearly evidenced the impact mark from contact with the fuel rail). Given the fact that the damaged coil insulation was now arcing its spark across the engine head and that the fuel mixture was spewing out of the spark plug hole it's surprising that we avoided an engine fire under the plastic shroud. I had the car towed to the local independent service center (pep boys, laurel md - the same location that had changed the plugs a year prior). They examined all the spark plug threads and advised that they appeared ok, with the exception of this one cylinder. To effect repairs they advised to have the vehicle towed to another outlet 36 miles ($104 charge) up the road. They further advised that this is not an uncommon problem with the 5.4 engine and that this may occur in other cylinders in the future. Ford customer assistance (800#) disclaims any knowledge of this being a common problem and referred me to the local dealer for technical advice. At the local dealer, the mechanic was very familiar with the issue, pronounced it rather common and advised that Ford would be happy to repair the problem, however his estimate would cost me more than twice the estimated fee from the independent (inclusive of the additional tow costs). Subsequent google searches for "Ford Expedition thrown spark plug reveal 11,200 web page hits. The webpages at the 1st hit alone, www.consumeraffairs.com/automotive/ford_spark.html reveals a litany of very similar complaints over a number of years, some of which have resulted in more tragic consequences. Given the danger represented by potential engine fires and the apparent frequency of the problem why has there not been a recall to effect the correction of this apparent defect.

- Laurel, MD, USA

problem #24

Feb 112009


  • 107,025 miles


The spark plug coil on my 2003 Ford Expedition was ejected from the cylinder causing my vehicle to become disabled. My wife was stranded alone in an unfamiliar neighborhood. After researching the problem I have found that I am only one of thousands of people who have had similar problems regarding the stability of the spark plug and the problems that can occur as a result of the unexpected and totally sudden ejection of the coil. How many people will be forced to submit to the predatory practices of most repair shops until something is done? there is obviously a major problem here and action must be taken. So far this has cost me one hundred dollars and who knows how much it will cost to fox it right. The way is should have been when it was manufactured. I have read this is believed to be a result of a flaw in the design of the cylinder heads and the number of incidents should warrant an investigation into the design and Ford's response to the number of vehicles disabled by this error.

- Apple Valley, CA, USA

problem #23

Jan 142009

Expedition 8-cyl

  • 90,000 miles
Purchased a used 2003 Ford Expedition with a Triton 5.4 V8. The car had about 80,000 miles when I purchased it and at about 84,000 miles a sparkplug ejected out of the engine. The repair was around $650 for a "not for sure" fix. Apparently the threads that hold the sparkplugs in had stripped, causing the blowout of the sparkplug. I was told by the mechanic at our local Ford dealership that the permanent fix would require the replacement of the heads at around $4000. I opted for the cheap fix because of the lack of financing for the more expensive repair. I did a search on the internet and found that many other consumers who had purchased for SUV's and trucks with same model engines were reporting the same problem in overwhelming numbers, many with multiple blowouts at various incidences. I was hoping my problem was confined to only one cylinder but at around 90,000, 5 1/2 months later, another sparkplug blew out. Now the repair was even more due to a new part that is to provide a more permanent fix. This time the repair was $830. Knowing that this was an issue with these model engine I asked my local Ford dealer's service man "if Ford knows about the problem, why don't they fix it"? his reply was that the problem is not a danger so no recall has ever been called. The guy went as far as telling me that the problem is caused by improper threading into the head. The threads were machined to shallow and eventually they become loose and finally blowout when the thread completely fail. I think if you investigate this further you will see that in more than one instance the ejecting sparkplug has severed gas lines and caused fires. Not exactly what I consider to "not be a danger". Ford admits non fault on their part even know they know they have sold a faulty product in mass numbers to an enormous amount of people and businesses.

- Silverthorne, CO, USA

problem #22

Dec 272008


  • 89,000 miles
In less than seven days, two spark plugs blew out of my 2003 Ford Expedition engine. It is a 5.4L Triton engine. Both occurrences were while driving normally down the interstate. The consequences were sudden loss of power while driving on the highway both times. I went from driving 70 mph to 45 mph in a matter of seconds with my wife and 9 month old baby in the vehicle! Ford knows about the problem and has issued a repair report, but not a factory recall. The issue is a flaw in the engine design or manufacture; thousands of others have reported the same issue (a quick google search of "Ford 5.4L spark plug blowout" demonstrates this). Had there been traffic behind or beside me, we would have caused an accident or worse. Since Ford knows of the issue, they ought to pay for the repairs or replace the engine at their expense. I no longer trust my vehicle. The repairs for this one issue have cost me approximately $1,000 to date, and there is no guarantee it will not happen again.

- Brent, AL, USA

problem #21

Dec 062008


  • 165,000 miles
The contact owned a 2003 Ford Expedition. While driving less than 60 mph, the contact noticed smoke underneath the hood in addition to a strong burning odor. She was able to maneuver the vehicle to safety. She lifted the hood with another person's assistance and heard crackling and sparkling sounds. She also noticed a hole in the insulator directly into the hood of the vehicle. There was a recall on other years, makes, and models, but none for the contact's particular vehicle. The origin of the fire has yet to be determined. The failure and current mileages were less than 165,000.

- Kosciusko, MS, USA

problem #20

Oct 222008


  • 100,008 miles


At 92,000 about miles the passenger side plug blew out. I put jb. Weld around the plug and put it back in the truck. It worked for 3 months and now its done it again. I am now out of work and my wife can't make it to here job because of the truck. So I am looking for a heli coil repair kit. But no way to go and get it I have one truck. So I don't know what to do next.

- Winsted, CT, USA

problem #19

Sep 222008


  • miles
My wife was almost to the end of the off ramp to the 210 freeway and heard a loud pop and then an awful noise. It sound like she blew a hole in the exhaust manifold. It turned out to be the #3 spark plug being ejected from the engine. We purchased the vehicle from the dealer and have never changed plugs. We were fortunate that it happened local and not on the road for vacation. The truck was towed and repaired and a tune up down. An expensive day and needless time off work for a problem that seems to due to bad engineering. A tapered spark plug and 1/4 thread lock in the head is not a safe and smart design. A 3/4 thread lock would be much better.

- Claremont, CA, USA

problem #18

Sep 202008


  • 71,221 miles
Spark plug blew out of engine head on a 2003 Ford Expedition with a 5.4L engine the spark plug blew out of the engine head and gasoline were expelled on the engine and exhaust fumes into the passenger compartment. The engine head had to be repaired at a cost of $1,832.48.

- State College, PA, USA

problem #17

Sep 182008


  • 100,000 miles
Today is the second time we have had a spark plug blow out of the cylinder of our Ford Expedition. The first time it stranded my family in the mountains of southern California in the winter. We are supposed to go away for a weekend trip tomorrow. It cost us 3K the first time and today's quote is about the same. This is very dangerous and unbelievable given the amount of occurrences that nothing is being done. This is bs! Ford is digging their own grave and if someone dies due to this happening it will cost them more than money....blood on their hands.

- Laguna Niguel, CA, USA

problem #16

Sep 062008


  • 66,687 miles
The # 1 spark plug on my 2003 Ford Expedition blew out and stripped the threads and broke the coil.

- West Henrietta, NY, USA

problem #15

Aug 122006


  • 112,000 miles
Original and 2nd Ford engine blew. 1st threw a rod, 2nd block cracked and ruined engine due to rapid coolant loss. Dealers offered no warranty as both engines blew at 112,000 and 120,000 respectively. This car was very well maintained and received routine recommended service for oil and fluid changes.

- Lebanon, TN, USA

problem #14

May 052008


  • 50,000 miles
No warning. Engine stop. At least a dozen times.no body at Ford will admit there is a problem.

- Fort Myers, FL, USA

problem #13

Mar 262008

Expedition 8-cyl

  • 81,461 miles
While driving 2003 Ford Expedition spark plug blew out and truck reduced speed. The incident caused damage to the engine - which required replacement approx. $6,000. I asked the downey Ford dealer if this was a manufacturing defect? they replied: They did not know although the truck was not on recall. This defect - blown spark plug may cause excessive injury and or death if this were to occur on the freeway.

- Downey, CA, USA

problem #12

Mar 092008


  • miles
December 15, 2007, my 2003 Ford Expedition's spark plug was blown out. Leaving my three kids and myself stranded on the highway. After paying $1,200 to get it fix, on March 9, 2008 the same thing happen.

- Reynoldsburg, OH, USA

problem #11

Feb 282008

Expedition 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 119,282 miles
2003 Expedition 5.4L engine. Production date 10-08-02. Having oil leak from right head gasket diagnosed by Ford. I believe problem is related to tsb 02-22-7. this should be a recall and repair expenses covered by Ford / manufacturer.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

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