hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 5
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
59,760 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.

1998 Ford F-150 engine problems

engine problem

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1998 Ford F-150 Owner Comments (Page 1 of 4)

problem #62

Aug 152007


  • 85,000 miles


The contact owns a 1998 Ford F-150. While driving 30 mph, the contact heard an unusually loud knocking. The contact moved off the roadway to examine the noise. He discovered that the spark plugs had fractured and popped shot from under the hood. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where they advised that the spark plugs would need to be threaded and coiled. The spark plugs were replaced under at owners expense. The failure mileage was 85,000 and the current mileage was 144,000.

- Carson , CA, USA

problem #61

Dec 222009

F-150 8-cyl

  • 71,506 miles
New spark plugs were installed at 70,000 miles on my 1998 Ford F150. A few weeks later a spark plug (cylinder #4) was ejected from its threads, causing gas vapors to fill the engine compartment and vehicle cabin. After the loss of power and the need to replace the spark plug (the spark plug seemed to be reinserted without problems), it seemed to run fine until 5 weeks later the engine lost power and another miss fire was recorded by the code reader. Now the check engine light remains on (code reader show cylinder #4 miss fire) with a loss of power. Now a helicoil kit will have to be install at a cost over $117. If the helicoil kit does not work, the vehicle may have to be sold for at fraction of what its value would be without the forementioned problems, otherwise it could be used as my regular driver- thanks Ford!

- York, PA, USA

problem #60

Feb 102008

F-150 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 110,000 miles
I have a 1998 Ford F150 with the 4.2 liter V6. This had been a great truck and has had regular oil changes. The other day I noticed that my coolant level was low and then the I threw a rod. Did not thick much of it at the time, but later I was checking on the internet and discovered that this is a recurring problem with this motor. I had been regular Ford customer, but no more.

- Belleville, IL, USA

problem #59

Feb 022008

F-150 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 124,320 miles


1998 F-150 5.4L Triton I've owned this truck for 2 yrs. And put 30,000 miles on it. Currently at 124,000. Other than maintenance (not including spark plugs) have changed both cv shafts and bearings in the front. Feb. 3, 08 without any warning or precursor it blew a spark plug from the head stripping the threads. It occurred very quickly while coasting down hill at 55 mph. Not hardly working the engine. I knew what it was immediately, I had been with a friend when his 2000 F 150 4.6L blew a spark plug for the second time in 6 months. This action almost stalled my truck out being at low RPM to begin with it rattled violently. I was afraid my 10 yr old brother and I would have to walk for help. Not fun in NY in Feb. A passerby came to our aid. I had the truck towed home by a friend. Still trying to find a suitable and affordable repair. Thousands of these incidents have been reported to various websites, dealers, and even to Ford. Some instances have resulted in fires destroying the whole vehicle. Ignited by a stray spark plug and fuel mist from the cylinder. Something must be done by Ford. Most repairs run $2,000 - $4,000 each time a plug a spit. Many vehicles have under 100,000 miles.

- Rockstream, NY, USA

problem #58

Sep 232007

F-150 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,000 miles
The contact owns a 1998 Ford F-150. The check engine light illuminated. The mechanic stated that the left lobe would not fire and caused the check engine light to illuminate. The failure mileage was 42,000 and current mileage was 46,000.

- Waverly , OH, USA

problem #57

Dec 282007

F-150 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 142,000 miles
I own a 1998 Ford F-150, which has a 5.4L engine. At 100,000 miles the #3 spark plug blew. Then on a trip back from Idaho falls Idaho this month to my home in lindon, ut the #1 plug blew. Based on research, I understand this is a serious issue. The second time my plug blew, I was driving on a very ice covered highway (I-15 just North of blackfoot, id). When #1 went the engine immediately began running extremely rough and my speed drastically decreased. This combination made me lose control on the freeway and almost slid off the side of the freeway possibly rolling my truck. Luck would have it, there were no other vehicles near me. Given the seriousness of this issue and the overwhelming incidents, I think it is time someone took action against Ford. This could potentially cause a death! if nothing is done, then the government is as much to blame for not doing anything about a known safety hazard.

- Lindon, UT, USA

problem #56

Oct 202007

F-150 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,500 miles


1998 Ford F150- 66,000mi. Developed a serious oil leak from the head. I have found out that this is common and Ford is well aware of it's recurrence. Besides costing $2000 to repair, it is leaking heavily onto an exhaust pipe causing smoke and potential fire.

- Brooklyn, MI, USA

problem #55

Aug 102007

F-150 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 78,700 miles
My 1998 Ford F-150 only had 79,000 miles on it and was well-maintained. On 8/10-07, the coolant level light came on when I arrived home. I checked the coolant level immediately and there was no coolant in the reservoir. I filled the reservoir and planned to take the truck in to the mechanic when he was open during the week. I only drove the car about 20 miles that weekend and I monitored the coolant level and temperature. Everything was fine. That Monday morning, loud knocking came from the engine and white smoke came out of the tail pipe. The truck was towed to my mechanic who informed me that I've thrown a rod and need a new engine. I have seen numerous complaints on the internet with the same exact symptoms for this year, make and model of truck. Apparently, there was a tsb regarding defects in the upper and lower intake manifold gasket causing coolant to leak into the engine (which would cause a thrown rod), but consumers were not notified, only dealers. Tsb99-20-7 why wasn't I notified as an owner" now I need a new engine, but I would have had this repair done or the engine checked out if I had simply been notified by Ford. Why wasn't there a recall notification, instead of a tsb" to dealerships. Unacceptable.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #54

Oct 222004

F-150 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles
The 1998 Ford F150 pick up truck 4.2 liter V6 engine threw a rod during startup one morning. The engine had 70,000 easy miles on it. No towing, racing or hard driving. I had the engine replaced at a cost of $4200 with a jasper engine at Mr. Engine because Ford would not help at all unless I paid them $7500 for a new Ford engine. I had already replaced two automatic transmissions in this same vehicle. The first time it cost me $2200 at 50,000 miles to rebuild the original, and the second time $1800 to replace the original with a remanufactured jennings transmission at 160,000. From all I have heard Ford knew about the engine gasket defect and still has done nothing about it. I have all documentation, and believe this needed to be remedied by Ford. We are talking about thousands of 4.2 liter 1997 through 1999 engine failures. I love my truck, but will never buy another Ford product.

- Rolesville , NC, USA

problem #53

Jun 092007

F-150 4WD 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 79,222 miles
I have a 1998 Ford F 150 white smoke came from exhaust, no warning truck wouldn't start finally started, but it was knocking you could smell anti freeze, called tow truck and the engine was gone, only had 79,000 miles.

- Ranger, WV, USA

problem #52

Apr 142007

F-150 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 17,000 miles


The contact owns a 1998 Ford F-150. The contact stated that the vehicle caught fire while parked after being driven for 20 minutes. The contact called the fire department, but was able to extinguish the fire himself. The insurance company stated that the vehicle was a total loss and was towed. The current and failure mileages were 17,000.

- Novato, CA, USA

problem #51

Sep 102006

F-150 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 125,000 miles
1998 Ford F-150 4.2L V-6 125,000 miles. No known events leading up to failure. Immediate catastrophic engine failure, broken connecting rod, due to hydraulic lock, where coolant leaks into the combustion chambers. It is my understanding that technical bulletins have been issued which indicated that an improper gasket was used to seal the intake manifold from coolant which allowed the coolant to leak into the combustion chambers, causing this failure. One known is aera technical committee and issued by jasper engines. Engine replacement was required. Engine was replaced

- Sellersburg, IN, USA

problem #50

Mar 012007

F-150 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles
My 1998 Ford F150 as soon as it got to 100,000 miles the oil pump goes out and it starts to loose coolant but not leaking it any where. As I have found out these engines between 80,000 and 100,000 do this. Many forums read the same problem for every 4.2L does this. I believe Ford should do a recall on these engines. Please let me know what to do.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #49

Feb 172007

F-150 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles
Premature engine failure (68,000 miles) on 1998 Ford F150 with 4.2L engine. Was told by dealer that failure was due to oil leaking into the intake manifold which resulted in bent rod. Through research, I have found that Ford has known about this issue since 1998-1999 but did not notify customers. Now they want $4000-5000 for new engine.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #48

Sep 252006

F-150 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 136,000 miles
: the contact stated a loud pop sound was heard and a piston or rod started knocking loudly. The contact removed the radiator belt, inspected the water pump, checked the plugs, then noticed liquid coming from the exhaust including anti-freeze. A local parts store informed the contact of hydro lock problems with that engine. The service dealer and manufacturer were notified and the contact was referred to NHTSA.

- Bloomington, IN, USA

problem #47

Sep 022006

F-150 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles
Fire, total loss to Ford F150 pickup. Pickup sat in driveway for 4 hours since driven and caught fire. Fire department came and said it was either electrical or engine related.

- Prairie Grove, AR, USA

problem #46

Aug 142006

F-150 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles
Vehicle blew out the #3 passenger side spark plug. Repair option is to replace cylinder head $3500 or use helicoil repair to the individual cylinder. Blown spark plugs on th 5.4 trition is a very well known problem and I'm shocked that Ford is not covering this problem. I too believe that they have covered up this problem by a re-design that corrected the design flaw in later vehicles.

- Shoreview, MN, USA

problem #45

Aug 132006

F-150 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 102,000 miles
Rod through engine wall. Mileage 102M.

- Freeman, MO, USA

problem #44

May 132006

F-150 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97 miles
I have a 1998 Ford F150 with a 4.2 V6 I parked it two days. Later I went to crank it (it was lockup) I had my mechanic look at it and he said it was a big problem with the head gaskets on this model engine and Ford new about it but would do nothing about it. Its so bad my local junk yards will not even carry the 4.2 V6 used engine because of the leaking head gasket I am on a fix income and can't afford to fix my truck that I though would last several years.

- Greenville, AL, USA

problem #43

Jun 072005

F-150 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 92,876 miles
1998, Ford, F150, 4.2 liter V6. @ approx. 92,000 miles. Intake manifold gasket failed. Gasket failure led to coolant in number 4 cylinder which caused the number 4 piston connecting rod to break, also damaging the piston. The defective gasket, bent rod and piston had to be replaced, multiple thousands of dollar repair. No notice from Ford indicating potential problem or that any preventative maintenance (I.e. gasket replacement) may have avoided costly engine failure repair -or- replacement. A product and highway safety concern in the context that had the failure occurred at highway speeds, may have caused loss of control and accident.

- Orlando, FL, USA

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