8.2

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$750
Average Mileage:
141,300 miles
Total Complaints:
40 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. install threaded insert (20 reports)
  2. not sure (16 reports)
  3. replace the engine head (3 reports)
  4. replace coil and all spark plugs - torque down plugs (1 reports)
2003 Ford F-150 engine problems

engine problem

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

problem #40

Sep 172018

F-150 Harley Davidson 5.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

I think that Ford should do something about this problem. All my vehicles are Fords. I really like them, but on this truck it’s the second time it happens. I do own an Expedition and had no issues due to I did all my services and was waiting to hit 100,000 to do a complete tune up, but did not make it. First time it happened it was still under warranty, but now I probably have to pay at least $500.00 to get this done

- Juan G., SAN Lorenzo, US

problem #39

May 182017

F-150 XLT 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 215,000 miles

I could not believe a spark plug popped out of the head. Regardless of a vehicles age.. that should never happen.

- Russ R., Pioneer, US

problem #38

Feb 192018

F-150 XLT 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 230,000 miles

Can't believe this happened AGAIN!! A Ford design flaw. Under the right circumstances, this could be dangerous.

- Russ R., Pioneer, US

problem #37

Mar 232018

F-150 Sport 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 124,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

2nd Cylinder that this has happened on, Ford needs to accept responsibility for this obvious defect.

- Jim K., AtlantaAtlanta, GA, US

problem #36

May 092016

F-150 Sport 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 106,100 miles

First happened with cylinder #3, 18 months later happened again with cylinder 3. Ford needs to accept responsibility for the defect.

- Jim K., AtlantaAtlanta, GA, US

problem #35

Jan 082018

F-150 Lariat Triton 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 134,749 miles

Really annoying. Did the usual helli coil install in cyl 2 spark plug.

Now worried about how long before aluminum filings from this job will cause me to get a overhaul or worse rebuilt or new engine.

I agree with comment #12 from Wayne R., Louisburg, NC, USA,

"NEVER PUT SOFT METAL WHERE TOUGH METAL IS NEEDED, BUILT FORD TOUGH, HAHAHAHAH,

NOT THIS ONE."

Ford as lost my vote of confidence. A recall or lawsuit is needed.

- ken r, Shiner, US

problem #34

Feb 172017

F-150 LXT 5.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 153,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

NUMBER 4 CYLINDER KEEPS BLOWING OUT. I'VE TRIED TO FIX IT BUT PROBLEM PERSISTS. STILL HAVING ISSUES. I'VE HEARD FROM OTHERS ABOUT THIS VERY ISSUE IN THE SAME CYLINDER. WHEN WILL FORD HAVE A RECALL?

- Charles C., Kannapolis, NC, US

problem #33

Dec 232016

F-150 Lariote 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 149,510 miles

Very disappointing, makes me want to look at getting a different brand of vehicle

- Grady D., Pittsboro, NC, US

problem #32

Dec 082016

F-150 5.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,000 miles

Hard to believe this is a common issue. And to me a significantly dangerous one. Yet Ford ignores it.

- Dennis B., Clifton Park, NY, US

problem #31

Nov 122015

F-150 Crew Cab 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 208,000 miles

This occurred in 2016 and again has happened in September of 2016. Now they say I need a new head at a cost of around $1900. This is crazy for a known problem! Not happy with FORD right now.

- docmerchandise, Rock Hall, MD, US

problem #30

Sep 282016

F-150 XLT 4.8L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

click to see larger images

spark plug ejects from the engine

It seems unacceptable for there to be a widespread ongoing issue of this nature with Ford's engines.

- Robert F., Liberty Township, OH, US

problem #29

Sep 032016

F-150 XLT 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 167,000 miles

The spark plug blew out while driving down the highway. Luckily there was no body damage or injuries.

- Nestor R., Roseville, MN, US

problem #28

Jan 072016

F-150 XL 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 131,000 miles

I am finding this is a common problem with these engines! This sounds like a defect in ford engines. Why is there no recall?

- Charles M., Salem, NY, US

problem #27

Oct 312012

F-150 XLT 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 119,013 miles

Long time Ford customer. This is an significant issue which should of been, and still should be, addressed by Ford. As I look to my next Ford purchase I will definitely be concerned about the long term reliability of the Ford products, especially when buying anything used. As a follow-up this issue happened again in 2014.

- Jeff W., Stillwater, MN, US

problem #26

Apr 282014

F-150 XLT 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 136,567 miles

Now this is the second time for the same problem (different cylinder), at this point a recall or FORD sponsored fix should be out there. I am the original owner, no good deed goes unpunished,so much for taking excellent care of one's vehicle only to find Mfg. design issues that have reduced the vehicle's long term useful life. I wanted to go cross country with this vehicle, now I get to worry about this the whole time or spend the $1800.00 to repair the remaining 6 - with 150,000 miles on a nearly 13 year old vehicle. Go figure.

- Jeff W., Stillwater, MN, US

problem #25

Aug 262015

F-150 XL V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

I went to start truck, loud bang, spark plug blew out. I thought engine had blown, stressed me out.

- snickerson, Searsport, ME, US

problem #24

Jul 162015

F-150 XLT 5.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 139,652 miles

This is the second blow out of the same housing and Ford's temporary fix never works. When the first one occurred, it was after the warranty expired and I was never given an option on how to correct it. Hawk Ford went ahead and replaced the spark plug and sleeve and it eventually blew out again. Obviously this is severe enough to justify a recall but the only sure way to correct it is to replace the aluminum heads and Ford doesn't want to incur the cost.

I spoke with "Dan" in customer service and was told there was nothing Ford was willing or able to do to help me even after I asked if Ford was willing to help with the cost of head replacement and denied. I told Dan he was losing a long life Ford owner and future buyer and all he could say was that he was sorry to hear that and informed me to have a nice day! Unbelievable

- mathewpeterson, Chicago, IL, US

problem #23

Jun 212015

F-150 XLT 5.4L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 222,050 miles

After owning 5, F-150 4x4s, 2 Mustangs, a Ford Explorer, 2 Mercury Cougars, a Thunderbird, a Grand Marquis, an Escort, & a Pinto, knowing that Ford will not take care of the problem. Knowing that Toyota in order to keep there customers, take care of there problems, ie, the frame problem that they had. They did 1 of 2 things, no matter how many miles on the truck, they either bought the truck back or replaced the frame. I am not asking them to buy my truck back from me, just to take responsibility for and to fix the problem. In a time where the market is so tough, I would think that they would want to keep there customers & keep them happy & coming back. Now I am in the market for a new truck & car... Toyota??????? Honda??????

- Tim H., Columbus, OH, US

problem #22

Jun 272015

F-150 XL Sport 4.6L V8

  • Manual transmission
  • 207,000 miles

I bought this truck about 2 months ago and was really surprised at the power and condition it was in to be such a high mileage truck. The first big hiccup came within the first month (about 2500 miles from the purchase date), the slave cylinder started to leak. When I sank the first $1000 into it, everything from the clutch master cylinder to the flywheel was replaced, leaving me satisfied with the truck yet again.

Another 2500 miles later I started hearing a ticking sound and that made me think it was low on oil, but the level was normal. As I continued to drive the truck daily, I noticed that it would lose power at times. I immediately assumed the clutch was slipping because I was pulling some weight on my trailer that was borderline over the limit, so I pulled over to let it cool off for about 50 mins. Once the truck was cooled off, I went to start it and BOOM! A loud noise came from the engine with a sound that is only comparable to a knocking power-plant. I popped the hood with the expectation of seeing oil and pieces of block everywhere, but was completely wrong. I found the spark plug and coil laying on the top the engine as if someone laid them there.

I called several places to get estimates done and the lowest one was $350 and some stretched above $1300. I've never experienced anything like this before with any other vehicle, but after doing some research, I realized this is a common problem with these trucks.. My first and last Ford..

- sullcontractinginc, New Castle, VA, US

problem #21

Mar 212015

F-150 4x4 5.4L Triton

  • Manual transmission
  • 158,705 miles

So we started the engine, heard the "backfire" noise, and instantly the rough running like the truck had been submerged underwater... and then the acrid smell of something burning.. something that shouldn't be. We turned off the engine immediately and popped the hood... a passerby in the parking lot said "is that a triton engine" Sure enough, it was.. and he said "you blew a spark plug. It's a common problem..." and explained a bit more on the fix and how everyone who owns the F-150 will go through this on every plug....

Seriously, Ford? No recall for this issue??

The Tow Truck driver pulled up and said, "Let me guess, a loud Pop, then the engine ran rough, right?" Yeah, it's so well known that everyone expects it- and knows that's what's wrong, I imagine when our mechanic sees the truck parked in the lot early Monday morning (it happened Saturday, so we had it towed to the shop same night) he will see its an F-150 and know its a blown spark-plug without even talking to us or popping the hood.....This problem needs to be addressed by FORD!

Update from Mar 27, 2015: So once we got it to the shop, the mechanic determined that the spark plug damaged the coil on its way out. Had to replace the coil. There is also an ear or lip inside the manifold that holds it all in, well it was sheered off too. Options were - fabricate something inside the manifold to hold the coil in place, or replace the manifold (additional $900) - we went with fabrication. They did have to put some kind of insert into the hold that had blown. It was the #3 plug.

Total charge $583. The mechanic recommended replacing the remaining 7 spark plugs and torquing them down - which is what they normally do to this model. They have special tools for the 2004 and up models too - where they break off. They did say that fix was much more expensive...

- Julie J., Cottonwood, CA, US

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