what are the downfalls to a 2003 ford f150 4x4?


Asked by May 03, 2013 at 08:22 PM about the 2003 Ford F-150 Lariat Extended Cab 4WD LB

Question type: General

i really want my ford, something my dad had, he had a 2003 f150 ext cab 4x4 beautiful
truck. i know these are plauged. but what exactly are the problems and what causes
them (the one im looking at below)


38 Answers


Overall they are good trucks. Have seen spark pkugs blow out and water leak around the windsheild and get into the GEM module which cause many diff. Issues. Other than that you will have your normal issues aka parts wear out when they get old. Keep the fluids up to date and dont raise hell off road and the trucks give few problems.

6 out of 6 people think this is helpful.

so, is it a good truck overall? and does every 5.4 throw a plug?

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

No not all but its pretty common

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

thats what im worried about, then the head needs replaced..that can be expensive

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Well there is the troublesome emergency fuel cutoff button that you should know about, drivers side kick panel red button press to reset your fuel system and it will shut itself off if a bumper is bumped~

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.

oh boy, better watch out.

your link is too many characters.....choke on the ones choke on the zeroes~


Its gotta be a hard bump. And if a plug blows out it can be repaired the head doesnt require replacement

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

external leaks from head gaskets are common also, coolant leaks from the crossover on the intake, intake manifold gaskets leaking and running lean, i've seen many exhaust manifolds go bad, but being in the midwest we are dealing with salt

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

If you've got to park your car outside, your car will only live five years...if you park in a heated garage where you can diligently blast the salt off with a hose you may get ten years in the rust belt...it sucks...California is all that~

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

What kbro is referring to is that Ford DID have problems with those engines blowing spark plugs right out. They screwed up part of the design (Ford should have known better) and the OE plugs only had a very short thread length, I can't recall exactly but the number of threads ..or number of turns to install a spark plug was only like 4 or 5 full 360's and the plug bottomed out on the head, simply not enough to hold during a compression stroke.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

OK I looked at some forums and Consumer Affairs and it it FOUR threads and aluminum at that. No wonder! WTF were they thinking?

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

David H is back!

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

We gotta get you back on top the leader board

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Hi kbro! Yep I did some extra sleeping all afternoon (tenspeed was right I needed it)..and do you agree with my post? about the threads? I trust your opinon

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

tenspeed passed me fair and square..but I will be on his tail

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Yes I agree. I dont know how many threads are in there but 4 sounds about right. They redesigned the plug but that still doesnt change the amount of threads in the head.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

I guess the new generation designers at Ford do not meet the standards they use to in the 60's...70's..80's...I don't even know how many miles are on my old 1978 it has an old wire rope speedometer odometer cable that broke and I never fixed it. What I do know is that truck is VERY well engineered

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Yeah they went from them blowing out to the 3v motor in 2004 which they employed another shitty design to where they break off rather than come out. But I guess its better than the old they only give problems when you try to take them out instead of blowing out at random. Oh yeah they are also 20 bucks each for motorcraft ones.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

im thinking about getting a f150 now! and welcome back david!!

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

approx. how many miles on these engines does the plug normally blow?

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Thank You Sheese! ...OK, now there is no average or 'usual' number of miles or time interval that the 4.6 or 5.4 Tritons begins to throw out spark plugs. It has been known to happen when they are new, less than 10,000 miles than again some of them went 100,000 before it happened and everywhere in between. I have really looked and gotten conflicting information as to the percentage of the Triton engines that it has happened to, reading everywhere from 50% (I don't believe that) to as low as 2%, depending om who is supplying the numbers, so the truth, like most things, is somewhere in the middle. I see a lot of 1 in 10 that have had Triton engines blow them out, and they can be repaired, lots of guys are using Time~Sert to repair them, but as kbro pointed out it still does not increase the number of threads in the head. Now, if you are considering buying a F150, consider this: The F series was the best selling truck in 2012 for the 35th year in a row. The F150 was the top selling vehicle in 2012, vehicle, not truck, with 434,585 sold. Beat #2 the Camry, 359,241 then skip to the Chevy Silverado with 306,127 sold. Dodge Ram did not make the list. That's gotta mean something, eh?

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Now, let's talk about repair. At: http://www.denlorstools.com/autoblog/2012/04/time-sert-vs-heli-coil-thread-repair-kits-which-one-is-better/ .......they discuss Time Sert vs. Helicoil to fix a blown out plug. That is just one of many websites that talk about it, and it seems Time~Serts are better, at least for this problem.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

While I'm at it, anybody ever notice the disproportionate number of questions we get about Chrysler products here on this forum? I don't know the percentage of Chrysler products on the road, from the Ram pickup, the 300, Durango, whatever but it just seems like so many questions about broken~ass cars and trucks are Chrysler products

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

yes, and yes~

Heli-coils are time tested...Never had any problems with them...not to tricky to install...have never used Time-Certs, but sounds like a breath- mint~


thats how we fix them. put a heli-coil in it and send it on its way.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

if it is torqued properly there will be no movement and no failure either~ left loose will jiggle loose "complaints of 'it's just a wire' exists because the proper torque upon installation was not assured. Nut-Serts are going to have exactly the same problem if under-torqued...smoke and mirror show~


i like fords chevys and gmc, dodge isnt the best..too much rust and dust undeer the hood in my opinion


how much dos it usually cost to fix it? include all prices for all scenarios regarding blown lugs please

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

a lot of variables here mister...hourly rate for competent service is one concern, amount of damage done must be assessed correctly before the NUT-CERTS ( ya, I know serts..stoopid name) or heli-coil (industry standard for thread repair for forty years) are used...certainly the designers chose the correct alloy, there are so many alloys many much tougher than steel, you could look in the Jorgenson steel catalog (probably online) shows the types available and their physical properties if you wanted to teach yourself about martensitic (magnetic) and austinitic stainless alloys and differnent elloys of aluminum and properties of steel- we could say "aluminum was weak and ripped out" but the designed alloy was not used...probably was too expensive to put onto consumer cars!~


understandable. ive been debating over which brand to get for quite sometime, ill be 18 in a month, and im getting my first truck on my own. now i dont know either to go Chevy 1500, 2500hd or ford f150. such a hard decision on such good trucks.


OH and what the hell causes the spedos in the gmc sierras and silverado 2500hds to not want to work? electrical bug or just pure sh*ttyness?

why don't you dig deeper....find out which components are responsible for the failure~


i did, and all i could find was "factory malfunctioning components" no specifics. i said to replace the cluster. thats all i could think of.

no electrical engineering?...tsk tsk~


nope. not in my expertise. unless its hooking up aftermarket headlights of off road lights haha


This is a very old thread, but I have a 1999 Ford F-150 with 223,6733 miles on the odometer and i have NEVER had the spark plug issue..NEVER. The replacement plugs though now are longer for the Fords. I just replaced mine for the second time around November 2014. I recently purchased a new (new to me) 2003 Ford F-150 FX4. with only 59k on the odometer. Prior to my buying this vehicle, I asked two people with complete knowledge of the early Fords...which F-150s should I stay away from and they BOTH told me stay away from 2004-2008 F-150s dues to the spark plug and camshaft issues. And by the way, anyone interested in buying my 1999 F-150? It's listed on this website..I'm outta Wisconsin. Read my advertisement and if interested give me a shout. MANY new items on truck.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

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