hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
75,738 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Ford F-150 Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #23

Sep 192011

F-150 4WD 8-cyl

  • 165,000 miles


Spark plug blown out of the cylinder head. This is the 5th separate cylinder this has happened to in the 3 years I have owned this truck.

- Greensboro, NC, USA

problem #22

May 222010


  • 159,000 miles
I had my 2003 Ford F-150 shoot spark plugs out of the headers I don"T know why but this ids the 3rd time it has happened and if it would be possible to start a recall on the headers to change them to a 8 thread instead of 4.

- Oceanside, CA, USA

problem #21

May 132010


  • miles
2003 Ford F-150 crew cab, 4.6 Triton engine. Spark plug blew while on highway. Normal driving with no load in truck. No warning before failure. The truck has just over 100,000 miles.

- Fort Worth, TX, USA

problem #20

Mar 222010


  • 98,000 miles


Normal driving when the spark plug blew out of the motor leaving me and my kids stranded still trying to correct problem this is the second time repair bill approximately $3000.

- Monroe, WI, USA

problem #19

Dec 102009


  • 200,892 miles
While I was accelerating and entering onto interstate 80 at a speed of 50mph I heard a loud pop and lost power. The engine continued to run but with a great loss of power. I continued to drive at a moderate speed until I could get to a monroe service center approx. 20 miles. The #7 plug for the second time blew out of the head. The repair cost this time was $294.38 and the engine light is still on. It's been eight months since I had it repaired the first time. The #7 cylinder is now misfiring even though the plug has been replaced. Mileage to date is 200,892.

- Elkton, MD, USA

problem #18

Apr 202009


  • 179,764 miles
On April 20, 2009, spark plug #7 blowout while accelerating from a traffic light. Approx. Speed 25 to 35 mph. Engine lost compression, damaged the ignition coil, but I was able to make it to a Firestone repair garage within 10 miles. The spark plug #7 was replaced with the heli coil and the ignition coil damage was also replaced. Total cost of labor and parts was $352.81.

- Elkton, MD, USA

problem #17

Dec 192008


  • 115,535 miles


1. normal operation, no indication of problem 2. spark plug blew out of the engine as my wife parked the vehicle in our driveway; 1st of 2 occurrences; repaired with helicoiled plug. Approx $400 repair expense. I'm now told that a bulletin was issued advising not to use this repair method. Having trouble verifying if that is fact or fiction.

- Boise, ID, USA

problem #16

Oct 262009


  • 128,800 miles
1. normal operation 2. spark plugs are blown out of the engine head; this is the second occurrence; engine failure. Had the occurrence been 200 miles earlier, I would have been in the middle of peak traffic conditions on I405 near bellvue Washington state, heavy rain with poor visibility - consequences would have been dire. 3. Ford acknowledges that they know of the problem. The service manager at the local dealership indicated that they have had a "ton" of these repair jobs. At $400+ per occurrence, I question why they haven't done anything to protect the consumer" why no notification of the problem. I'm told there have been service advisory's issued, but shops and service counters share none of this with me. Now that my vehicle is 5 yrs old with 129K miles, what will the frequency of this problem be. As the F150 fleet ages, how many more occurrence will there be prior to food issuing a solution" I'm told by dealerships that the spark plug seat only consists of a few thread to hold the spark plug in. Plugs do not have a seat ring (compression ring) to assist in the plug to stay seated. As the plug loosens, blow by occurs and eventually blowing the plug out through the treads in the engine head. I've never heard of such a problem, let alone having this occur to my twice. Parts houses had concurred that the problem is prevalent and they laugh about it. Who is going to laugh when this known unsafe engineering flaw causes death or injury? their repair has not resolved the problem, nor did they give up this information without me first seeking factual information. The public is being deceived!

- Boise, ID, USA

problem #15

May 292009


  • 42,000 miles
The spark plug on my 2003 Ford F-150 was ejected from the engine. The truck has 42,000 miles on it. There was a huge bang from the engine, and the gas vapors flooded the cab. Luckily I was able to navigate to the side of the road and my family was not injured. This problem appears to be well-documented online, and I will be following up to see where the NHTSA is on this issue.

- Tallahassee, FL, USA

problem #14

Jan 182009


  • 230,000 miles
Blowing out spark plugs.

- Grand Rapids, MI, USA

problem #13

Dec 062008


  • 115,000 miles


My 2003 Ford F-150 with 5.4 Triton engine spit out the number 3 spark plug. This is the second time this has happened to the same plug. Ford customer relations refused to even discuss the matter with me, saying there was no problem with its product!

- Arnold, MO, USA

problem #12

Jun 102005

F-150 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 12,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Ford F-150. The contact stated that the vehicle caught fire while parked in his garage. The vehicle had been driven approximately 10 hours earlier. The insurance investigator was unable to determine where the fire originated or locate any defective parts that may have caused the failure. The engine compartment was damaged, however, the most extensive damage was on the driver side of the vehicle. Ford was notified and refused to take responsibility for the fire. The powertrain was unknown. The current and failure mileages were 12,000. Updated 3/5/08 the consumer stated all 3 investigators stated the fire was a defect in the truck. Fire dept and insurance report. Updated 03/04/08

- Tuscaloosa, AL, USA

problem #11

Jul 272007

F-150 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,976 miles
In between oil changes, the sender assembly in my Ford F150 failed to send a message to the gauge that the engine was overheating. Because of that failure, both head gaskets were blown allowing water to go inside the engine. The sender assembly was not working so it did not send a signal to the oil gauge that the pressure was low. This caused a complete engine failure. Cost to replace the engine was $5,405.12 + 20 days of a rent car $672. All of this out of my pocket and Ford refuses to reimburse me as does the dealership who did the repair.

- Galveston, TX, USA

problem #10

Mar 222007


  • miles
Engine light turns on, intake mnanifold gasket needs to be replaced on a 2003 V6 4.2L engine in a Ford F150.

- Columbus, OH, USA

problem #9

Mar 132007


  • miles
I purchased a used 2003 F-150 with 38,000 miles on it aproximately 6 months ago. I started noticing an oil leak in December but could not locate where it came from. After trying to add stop leak to seal it, I finally brought it to the dealer. With 49,000 miles on it, the front gasket and left head gasket were bad. This seems a little premature for a failure of this type.

- Coronado, CA, USA

problem #8

Oct 192005

F-150 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 64,532 miles
While driving to work, my F-150, 5.4 liter engine blew out a spark plug. The repair cost is in excess of $4000. The affected aluminum cylinder needs to be replaced. The manufacture does not cover the routine tightening / inspection of spark plugs during the periodic 30K, 60K services even though they (the dealer) knows that there is a design problem with this particular engine. The design problem stems from a minimum amount of threads to hold the spark plug in place. The 5.4 liter engine is a powerful engine that necessitates a thicker and longer well to torque and hold the spark plugs in place. The internet is filled complaints made by Ford consumers that have experienced this same type of problems on Ford engines.

- Whittier, CA, USA

problem #7

Sep 182006

F-150 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles
Drove my truck home from work yesterday and at 30 mph my engine blew a spark plug. The estimate for repair is $3000+. I researched on line and found out this is a known problem. I contacted Ford at their customer service department in dearborn, mi and they refuse to pay for the costs of this known issue.

- Winthrop Harbor, IL, USA

problem #6

Jul 192006

F-150 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,456 miles
My spark plug blew out of my 2003 Ford F150 5.4 L this week. Ford wants $3800 to repair the problem. The head and plugs. I hear alot of this happening. Why has it not been recalled. I cant afford to have my truck fixed. Now what" who looks out for the little guy now"

- Belle Plaine, MN, USA

problem #5

Feb 282003

F-150 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1 miles
Hollow knocking noise in the 5.4 engine most noticeable when cold. Ford and the dealer tell me to put up with it because it is normal. Something about piston clearances or slap. I did not pay $30,000 + for a new vehicle to listen to it knock in the mornings when I start it up. Ford is aware of this noise in the 5.4 and I would like someone to look into this because they are not willing to do anything about it.

- Lehigh, IA, USA

problem #4

Jul 282003

F-150 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 24 miles
I have a 2003 F-150 supercrew 5.4L 2X4, from day one, a hollow knocking noise is heard at idle most noticeable when in gear at idle, or low RPM. I have had it into Ford several times and nothing has been done. We even started another truck on the lot (same year, engine ect.) and the noise was not found on the other truck. The service manager states he does hear the noise but Ford does not know what it is therefore they cannot fix it so no attempt has been made to find or repair it (my truck has not been on the rack even once). Please advise as to what I can do to resolve this problem.

- Summerville, SC, USA

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