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pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
133,300 miles
Total Complaints:
75 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. ford should have a recall (60 reports)
  2. had the head re-threaded (7 reports)
  3. not sure (6 reports)
  4. replaced engine head (2 reports)
2003 Ford Expedition engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Ford Expedition Owner Comments (Page 1 of 4)

problem #75

Nov 022017

Expedition XL 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 184,786 miles


First of all, I was driving in congested traffic. Then, out of the blue, there was this loud pop. Then, a succession of loud pops. I was terrified. My 2 teenage grandkids, an 18 year old girl and a 17 year old boy began screaming"What was that?" An 18 year old male friend of theirs, who was also riding with us, was also startled and asking what the noise was. I had to make my way out of the traffic, unto the service road, and down to a parking lot of an empty building. The whole time there was these continuous, loud, popping noises. I turned off the ignition. We were nervous and frightened that the engine was about to blow up. I waited a few minutes and then started it up again. It cranked up immediately, but started popping again. I didn't know what to do so I turned it off again. I called my husband at work. He said that he couldn't leave work. I told him that I would call our insurance and see if they could see about sending a tow truck. The insurance company asked if I was in a safe place. I told them that I was, It seemed safe at the time. They said they would send a tow truck. But it would be 2 hours and 50 minutes. I had already called my sister to come and pick up my grandkids and their friend and take them home. I had to wait their by myself, at this empty boarded up building, alone, for 2 hours and 50 minutes. I had to keep the windows almost completed rolled up because I was afraid that someone would sneak up and try to rob me or hurt me. I take medication for Depression. I was totally afraid and paranoid about my surroundings The call went in at 4:05. The tow truck got there around 6:00, It was starting to get dark. I had called my granddaughter at 5:00 to come back and get me. She arrived a few minutes after the tow truck arrived. Is this something that my family and I have to live with. The fact that these spark plugs will blow out at any time and we will have to go through the trauma over and over again and there is nothing we can do about it.

Update from Nov 17, 2017: I got the times mixed up with the blowout on 11-02-2017 and 11-14-2017. The correct time for 11-02-2017 was 2:36pm. The tow truck was going to take 2 hours and 50 minutes. It arrived around 6:00pm It was dark. The time for the other blowout on 11-14-2017 was 4:05. It was going to take the tow truck 1 hour and 50 minutes. He also arrived at around 6:00pm. It was dark and on a corner parking lot, across from a cemetery. You never know where you will be stranded.

- linn13, Baton Rouge, US

problem #74

Nov 142017

Expedition XL 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 185,142 miles

I had to go through this again. This time I had my granddaughter and my 1 year old great grandson in the carseat in the back, asleep. When it happened, it woke him up and he started screaming. I was too astonished and extremely startled that it had happened again. I looked at my granddaughter and she asked me "Did you hear that?" I pulled over on another empty building parking lot. It was not over on a service road. It was closer to a busy street. But there was a cemetery across on the other side of the street. I turned the ignition off. I called my husband and he said to call the insurance company. I called and they called the towing company. It would take 1 hour and 50 minutes. It was 4:05. I again had to call my sister to come and get my granddaughter and great grandson to bring them home. When I called her after finding out how long the tow truck was going to be she said she would come back out and sit with me when she got the grand and great grand settled in at home. The tow truck arrived at around 6:00pm. My sister arrived about 10 minutes after that. It was completely dark. Luckily there was a street light. Do I have to live in constant fear that my vehicle is going to continue to abruptly blow out spark plugs without any warning, frightening all the passengers (especially the driver) while traveling in traffic? Not knowing when it will happened again? I want it on record that this is happening!!! On one of these "blowout" occasions, we may not be so lucky and end up swerving into another lane of traffic!!!

- linn13, Baton Rouge, US

problem #73

Apr 212015

Expedition XL 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 159,243 miles

Happened as my husband was coming down our street on the way home. There was no warning. Just the loud popping noise. Continued to drive it home. He had someone come to the house to "repair" it.

- linn13, Baton Rouge, US

problem #72

Jun 132016

Expedition Expidition 5.4L 8 Cyclinder

  • Manual transmission
  • 196,323 miles


while driving my 2003 ford exp i heard something that i have never heard of before my vehicle just started making a funny noise and i didnot know what the issue was until i got my truck home and looked under the hood and saw that one of my spark plugs was disconnected from the head of the vehicle i was upset that something like this could happen. i have read on line that this is a known problem with ford

- Dion B., Chicago, IL, US

problem #71

Jun 292017

Expedition 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 200,000 miles

I think they should have a recall on this problem. I have been all over the internet and it is a very common problem.

- Jacob J., Big Spring, US

problem #70

May 092017

Expedition Eddie Bauer 5.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 185,000 miles

This is a dreadful problem. Had exited a highway, stopped at a red light, and was accelerating away from the light when suddently there was a loud popping noise. Pulled off and examined what I could, and saw a dislocated coil and what appeared to be a plug laying in a hard to reach place. This is a serious hazard as the open plug hole on an operating engine can allow explosive vapors into the engine compartment.

Have not yet towed the vehicle or gotten a repair estimate. I'll probably disconnect the injector and coil so that I can safely drive it home where I can work on it.

Update from May 19, 2017: The problem was indeed a blown plug, #3 cylinder, not the best place to reach, but not the worst. I purchased the Calvan 38900 repair kit from Amazon and one tool I didn't have (air ratchet) along with a replacement plug, coil, epoxy, etc., and fixed it myself for about $320 including the reusable Calvan tool kit. Took the better part of a Saturday to do the whole job.

- Jim R., Colorado Springs, CO, US

problem #69

Nov 052015

Expedition XLT 5.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 157,000 miles


So many people have had this problem. Ford should be required to repair/replace heads and/or reimburse any person who has had spark plugs blow out and be responsible until the vehicle is junked/destroyed. I have had 3 plugs blow out and it takes the coil with them, #1, #3 and lastly #7. I'm crossing my fingers and toes that there will be no more spark plug blow outs. It is apparent it is a design problem both in the heads and the spark plugs. I'm a former Ford light line mechanic and other current and former mechanics all agree it is Fords problem and should NOT be foisted on the consumer of their defective product at the consumers cost.

- taylormn, Mound, MN, US

problem #68

Dec 122016

Expedition Eddie Bauer 5.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 117,000 miles

This is the second time this has happened, on a different cylinder this time. Last time I paid $604.37, this time I am figuring out what to do...

Pissed off. This is BS as you cannot trust this vehicle anymore, and with only 117K.. It should last a lot longer than that.

- Allan L., Pompano Beach, FL, US

problem #67

Apr 052016

Expedition Eddie Bauer 5.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 138,704 miles

FORD should take responsibility for faulty aluminum heads and recall all fire danger is apparent and can be immediate. Heli coil is only temporary fix as this to will eventually weaken and blow due to head.

- John P., Bonita Springs, FL, US

problem #66

Sep 182015

Expedition Eddie Bauer 5.4L Triton

  • Automatic transmission
  • 180,000 miles

This is the third time I've had a plug blow out of a head since purchasing the vehicle(July of 2013). This time the cylinder had apparently(before me) had already had a helicoil installed so it blew out as well. So with no real easy way to fix it other than head job or buying a used motor that's good to replace it with, I still haven't got this fixed. Head job is to expensive in my opinion for me to do especially when I feel that Ford should have to fix this problem since there has been many cases other than my 3 experiences that are the same problem. If I can find a good used motor to replace it I will but otherwise I don't see dropping over $2,000 into this motor that ford should have to fix. Either way that I get it running it will be gone once its fixed and I no longer or will ever own a Ford again.

- Timothy S., Maynardville, TN, US

problem #65

Jul 042015

Expedition Eddie Bauer 5.4L Triton

  • Automatic transmission
  • 180,000 miles


I was heading to vacation destination with my wife and 3 children. The spark plug blew out(not sure which cylinder) and left us stranded 50 miles from our destination. It was July 4 so there wasn't any garages open at the time. I had to Get other family members to come get us(they had went on ahead of us to destination). This all happened on a Saturday. The following Monday while we were still on vacation my father-in-law and I had to drive 50 miles back to where I had to leave my vehicle to get it and take it to a repair shop where the service they gave me was outstanding and fair priced(they helped make a bad situation a little bit better). The point of me saying all of that is....the fact that hasn't had a recall with all of the problems that I've read about since this happened to me is just ridiculous. If they had a recall this probably wouldn't have to me and many others. I think Ford should be held accountable and have to fix these problems.

- Timothy S., Maynardville, TN, US

problem #64

Mar 022015

Expedition Eddie Bauer 5.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 142,000 miles

Been buying Ford cars and trucks since 1972. This Expedition will be the LAST Ford vehicle I will buy and I will encourage all family members and friends to avoid Ford vehicles from now on. This problem would have been very easy for Ford to identify and redesign the heads, between the years 1997 and 2008. It should have been eliminated as a problem by 1999-2000. Absolutely no excuse for this problem lasting for eleven model years.

- Ronald S., La Porte, IN, US

problem #63

Jul 072015


  • Automatic transmission
  • 159,000 miles

I have rebuilt engine, replaced every part you can think of and now the spark plug blew and I cannot get another one in. So for 3 months I have been without a car. This car has been nothing but problem and the Ford dealership that I used only cause more problems.

- Deborah V., Manchester, NH, US

problem #62

Nov 062015

Expedition EB 5.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 180,000 miles

This is the third time, twice in one week! I didn't know this was a major problem until I researched it! Ford just make it a recall before someone gets hurt! Be loyal to your old and new customers and Ford will continue to be a front runner in the automotive industry! Ford hear our plea for your success! Without the consumer, where would Ford be?

- Tommy W., Athens, GA, US

problem #61

Nov 272015

Expedition Eddie Bauer 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 247,000 miles

Now that I found out about this on going problem with Fords...It disgust me!!!...Ford needs an immediate recall to permanently fix this problem and STOP DANCING AROUND IT!!!

- pitbull247, Leonard, TX, US

problem #60

Dec 122015

Expedition 5.4L Triton

  • Automatic transmission
  • 205,000 miles

I just experienced a problem with my Ford Triton motor where the spark plug will eject from the aluminum cylinder head. I have a 2003 Ford Expedition that experienced this on Saturday. I was driving home from Wal-mart with my family in the truck, we turned a corner and my heart stopped! It sounded like I was involved in machine gun fire. I pulled over immediately and looked. Couldn't initially see anything. My husband checked under the truck thinking it was exhaust related. We were luckily, only two blocks from home so we were able to get it home and into the driveway.

My husband began trying to diagnose the problem and I took to the internet. He took the engine cover off and discovered the spark plug missing and the coil wire broken off and sparking. Long story short, it seems that we have experienced the situation where the cylinder head has stripped on the one spark plug. We have begun looking into ways to fix the situation but it seems Ford has not deemed this to be an issue. Truly don't understand how so many people can report the exact same happenings and no one will do anything about it..... Merry Stinkin Christmas!!!

We are reaching out to our local Ford dealer but am pretty sure they are going to tell us we are crap out of luck and will fall on us to repair if we choose.

- Roger R., Dover, DE, US

problem #59

Aug 262015

Expedition Eddie Baue

  • 160,045 miles

Just ticked over 160k on my 03 Expedition and had the number 3 plug blow out the threads. Have heard that Ford says the replacement plugs could be over torqued....I changed the plugs at 103,000 miles so you can't tell me the truck went 57k on a faulty torque. I had a helicoil put in it and have heard they can be a cheap fix that lasts...could also blow out again. The helicoil was about $500 all said and done... $300 for the helicoils kit, $50 for coil plug, plus labor. The other option is $1,800 or so to have the cylinder heads replaced.

I've had this truck for almost 8 years and have had VERY few issues out of it. I wanted to keep this truck for 4 or 5 more years but now I'm wondering if I should start looking for something else....thought about an f150, but they have the same motor. Should I switch to Chevy after almost a decade of dedicated service from this truck?? I literally just bought a house less than a month ago so I know I can't get approved for an auto loan, at least not one south of 15% interest.

- Dustin B., Fort Walton Beach, FL, US

problem #58

Sep 152015

Expedition Eddie Bauer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 179,123 miles

SECOND SPARK PLUG TO BLOW OUT!!!! See other rant about fuse box and FIRST spark plug. I'm done! So done!

- Shelley S., Winchester, KY, US

problem #57

Apr 032015

Expedition Eddie Bauer

  • Automatic transmission
  • 170,125 miles

I will never, ever buy another Ford product!!!! I have had the fuse box go out and now my second spark plug has ejected, all in the last 5 months. I have always driven older vehicles and NEVER felt like I couldn't go anywhere I wanted. I had no problems taking off and driving 400 miles on a whim. Now it's been a crap shoot this year if I make it to work. I'm a single mom (widowed) with two young daughters. I barely make it, but I do and without any kind of government help. I work full time, run my kids around and care for my place and my older sister's farm. I don' t have the time, the money, or the inclination to put up with this garbage. I don't have anyone to come get me every time this POS quits on me. I have been towed 4 times in the last 5 months. Shame on Ford for knowing about this problem and doing nothing. I tried defending Ford for a long time when my friends made fun of me. No more! I will tell everyone I know to NEVER buy a Ford.

- Shelley S., Winchester, KY, US

problem #56

Sep 302015

Expedition XLT 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

This is a obvious issue. Spark plug blowout. They need a recall. This is wrong how they have not recalled it.

Step up Ford. Man up. With the millions dollars Ford profits and they can't fix a issue with their poor design?

I'm a hard working father of 2, last thing I need is this issue.

- Alex C., Clearwater, FL, US

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