1997 Ford F150 4.2L V6 from North America


A piece of junk


The engine threw a rod on the number 1 cylinder.

General Comments:

In researching the problem, I have found on the web that Ford has had many problems with this engine. I seem to have had the misfortune to have purchased one of Fords products where the public was used to test a new product.

This F150 is a truck that has given good service to this point. I have taken meticulous care of this vehicle, changing the oil every three thousand miles and watching normal wear items with an eagle eye. It has not been driven hard nor has it been used for heavy trailer pulling. In fact, I used the truck to pull trailers very few times and then it was a light-weight trailer.

While you may think that 110,000 miles is enough for an engine to last, I most definitely do not. There are many people who think the way I do, that a piece of equipment that is cared for will last a long time. I am not in the habit of buying "throw-away" vehicles, but that is what Ford is making.

These engines should have been recalled and fixed.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 14th April, 2003

21st Apr 2003, 00:17

What engine do you have? Which model f150 do you have it in?

22nd May 2003, 05:10

No offense intended, but how can you account for the first 95,000 miles on your used truck? I would be a little slower to swear-off Ford.

9th Jun 2003, 20:27

My 1997 super cab is still running fine. I just changed the oil and filter 3 weeks ago and it just as clean as when I put it in. With 212000 miles on the 4.6 motor my ford F150 4x4 is still running fine.

1997 Ford F150 XL 4.6L V8 from North America


A no frills, very reliable work horse


Rear universal joint failed at 75,000 km.

Interior light door switch failed at 90,000 km.

General Comments:

This truck handles well, with good acceleration.

The fuel economy is very good, averaging 19 mpg city/highway.

I am very impressed with the reliability, and has never let me down. It is used as a work truck in city, highway, and grid roads.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th February, 2003

1997 Ford F150 XLT 4.2 Liter from North America


A mechanics dream


Coolant seems to be leaking from oil cooler, or somewhere.

Bushings wore out and need replacing.

Door Ajar light stays on after shutting the door.

Is it me, or is the inside of my cab suppose to whistle over 50mph?

General Comments:

This truck is very quick for being just a 6 cylinder, but there are hardly any performance parts for my V6. That blows!

The looks of the truck are very appealing to me since they came out with their new body style.

But looks won't keep the lemon running!

My prior vehicles were an '79 Cadillac, '78 Pontiac Trans Am (miss u!), and before my Ford, an '87 Camaro IROC Z28. Now looking back at these cars and seeing what is on my driveway now, I think to myself...


Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 6th February, 2003

1997 Ford F150 XLT 4.2L from North America


I can only hope the later models were better


Driver side mirror replaced twice.

Sparkplug wires replaced.

Thermostat replaced at 52000M.

Front timing cover gasket leaking at 56000M.

General Comments:

For the early part of my ownership, nothing much can be reported, with the exception of the driver side power mirror being replaced twice while under warranty, a set of new spark plug wires, and a few recalls that were taken care of.

The main thrust of this entry concerns a recent problem that may have started as long as 6 or 7 months ago, but was only brought to my attention on 2/4/03 by a former Ford mechanic that now runs a quick change oil place.

I had noticed coolant on my garage floor for about 3 or 4 months, but could not determine where it was coming from. When I looked under the hood, there was no obvious sign of a leak, and I dismissed it as an occasional boil over that probably wasn't anything to worry about.

Then one night while driving home from work, the temperature gauge indicated a high temperature in the cooling system, and it fluctuated wildly from cold to hot. I knew this was a symptom of a bad thermostat, and took it in to the quick change place mentioned above. It was indeed a bad thermostat, and the repair cleared the problem.

About a month later, I noticed the heater wasn't heating properly. It would slowly start to emit heat, and then cool down, and then return in a constant cycle of cool and semi-warm air. The temp gauge showed absolutely no sign of instability, although it seemed to register slightly cooler than before the thermostat was replaced.

Yesterday, 2/4/03, I took it back to the quick change place, thinking that maybe they had installed a bad thermostat. I fold him not only about the heater problem, but about the coolant leakage. He then did a detailed analysis of the engine, and concluded that my front timing cover gasket was leaking. He went on to say that this was a common problem with some Ford products, and then listed on a paper the remedies and their costs. The total could be as much as $1400! It would involve tearing down the front of the engine, replacing the front cover gasket, and the intake manifold gasket. He went on to say if the intake manifold or front cover gasket surfaces were pitted, they would need replacing as well to prevent leakage of coolant, which I've found, has happened to a lot of 1997 F150 owners which ruined the engine.

At 56000 miles, this is totally unacceptable to me. I have been doing a lot of research into this, and it turns out there is not only a TSB (technical service bulletin), but a recall by Ford (99b29) that covers other Ford products (including 1997 F150 trucks) with the same problem. In fact, the only difference that my truck has than the other vehicles listed is the engine, a 4.2L V6. That is what excludes it from the recall. However, the engines that were affected included the smaller V6 as well as some V8 engines. This same mechanic also gave me a copy of the TSB, and it showed there being a fix for this problem, in the sense that the gasket kit has been modified to stop the problem from recurring.

As of this morning, 2/5/03, I am waiting for a call from the Atlanta office to voice my complaints. Already I've spoken with a "Customer Care" rep. He told my only recourse was to go to the last dealer I had the truck serviced, and "try to work a deal" with them. What the heck does that mean? Negotiate the cost of a repair of a materials defect that Ford is responsible for? I don't think so. If there are similar stories, I'd love to hear them. My email address is s92556a@yahoo.com.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 5th February, 2003

10th May 2003, 14:16

Very common problem with the 1997 4.2L Ford engine.

16th Sep 2003, 23:03

I questioned a dealer about the problem and they said the fix was a piece of gasket paper between the bolt head and the cover.

Talk about a rigged job.

31st Dec 2003, 14:40

I found out today that I will have to get my Ford Truck 4.2l front cover gasket and intake manifold gasket replaced because of faulty materials used by Ford upon manufacture of this engine. The dealer said this is a common problem with 1997-1998 F-150 trucks. The dealer stated that there might be further engine damage that could result in replacement of engine. I feel I have been victimized by Ford feel I will not buy Ford products in the future. Ford should compensate owners for shoddy workmanship and materials or risk losing valued customers FOREVER!