definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
41,966 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 F-150 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2003 Ford F-150 Owner Comments

problem #10

Dec 102010

F-150 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Ford F150 4X4. The contact stated that while driving approximately 30 mph, the fwd engagement gear would not shift into place when driving in icy conditions. The vehicle was inspected by a dealer who informed the contact that he would need to replace the actuator for the gear shift. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was approximately 51,000. Updated 02/09/11 the consumer stated the vehicle was repaired. Updated 05/06/11

- St. Cloud, MN, USA

problem #9

Dec 182010


  • 72,200 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford F150 4WD. The contact was driving approximately 2 mph in inclement weather when the contact drove over snow and the vehicle began to spin uncontrollably. The contact then engaged the accelerated and noticed that the vehicle was in four wheel drive but the four wheel drive would not activate. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for the failure. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure mileage was 72,000 and the current mileage was 72,200.

- Salem, VA, USA

problem #8

Dec 082007

F-150 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford F-150. While driving 50 mph in snowy conditions, the electronic 4-wheel drive disengaged and shifted into 2-wheel drive without warning. As a result, the rear end of the vehicle fishtailed. The instrument panel indicated that the 4-wheel drive was activated. The dealer stated that they would install a new shift fork kit made with different material. As of December 13, 2007, the dealer had not repaired the vehicle. The current and failure mileages were 53,000.

- Littleton, CO, USA

problem #7

Mar 162007

F-150 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles


2003 Ford F150 4X4. A heavy snow storm hit northeast on 3/16/07. I had my pregnant wife and three year old son in truck coming back from a doctors appointment. The four wheel drive did not engage. We were stuck for a long period of time. I did some research and this seems to be a common event with the Ford and there shift on the fly 4X4 system. I called Ford and they said they were aware of the on going problem but told me it was my problem. There were no recalls for the system and again stated "it was my problem!" there are many documented occurences yet nothing has been corrected. Truck is going in for repair on Friday and mechanic stated it is approx $500 to repair. The vacuum soleniod and vacuum lines need to be replaced. Ford was also aware of the vacuum problem when I spoke with them. Very frustrating and dangerous with a family relying on a 4X4 when needed.

- Brewster, NY, USA

problem #6

Jun 102005

F-150 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I was driving down the road at 50-55 mph and my 4X wheel drive kicked on without me engaging it, then by itself again it turned off. The next night I was turning a corner and it did it again, it went on and off by itself. My boyfriend did not believe it and then an hour later he was driving and I did it again. I took it the dealer days later and they couldn't find out what it was. They said they tried to provoke it but they couldn't find out why and how it was happening.

- Green Cove Springs , FL, USA

problem #5

Mar 142005


  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,000 miles
While driving 55 mph the front hubs locked. As a result, the vehicle disengaged out of 4-wheel drive without warning.

- Imlay City, MI, USA

problem #4

Feb 222005

F-150 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,959 miles


I have a 2003 Ford F150 my 4wheeldrive stopped working, but the dash indicator said it was ingaged. This makes for a very unsafe operating condition. Because you do not drive the vehicle the same if the 4X4 is working.I brought it to the local Ford dealer and they repaired it. This apparently was a common problem. The part# F75Z*3N139 which cost$133.98 and the labor was $302. This part is very cheaply made and will probably break again. The tech told me there is no way to prevent this from happening again. This part is a safety hazard. I hope that you investigate this matter. I have looked on Ford links and websites and have seen numerous comments of this problem. Please if you can help me, it would be appriciated. I kept the old parts, the material they use on the fork won`T hold up to the conditions in the front differential.

- Mont Vernon, NH, USA

problem #3

Jan 262004

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • 11,000 miles
The four-wheel drive would not operate properly. The vehicle was taken to a dealer that replaced the parts with parts from another vehicle of the same make, model, and model year. Those parts failed the same day of repair. Please provide any additional information.

- Roseau, MN, USA

problem #2

Dec 152003

(reported on)


  • 90,500 miles
At highway speed vehicle goes into low 4-wheel drive.

- North Webster, IN, USA

problem #1

Oct 162003

F-150 8-cyl

  • miles
The 4 wheel drive failed to disengage. The truck has been serviced by several dealerships for this issue. They all gave different solutions to solve the problem, but none of the solutions related to what was in the owner's manual. The vehicle did not disengage or shift out of 4X4 into 4X2 under a load or in a bind. The brakes pushed to the drivers side and a made noise, and the A/C didn't switch from defrost to vent due to the radio and bezel vacuum to the A/C system. The A/C selector switch was replaced.

- Longwood, FL, USA

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