1997 Ford F150 XLT 4.2 SPI from North America


Looks good, but don't buy one


The 1st thing that went wrong with this was the door locks.. There are little switches that signal to the computer that the door is open to the computer. And these switches would stick. I fixed that with some silicon lube..

Then A piece of the exhaust started to rattle.. It seems that All the '97 F150's have the same exhaust only modified to fit the length of the truck.. In my case, with extended cab, there was a 2' extension pipe in the center of the exhaust works. This was fixed with new muffler clamps.

The shifter knob then pulled off... This was irritating because I have never found a way to get it to stick back on.. The end of the stick has a spline and the knob is pressed on.. HOW STUPID!

There was always a squeal when I would turn the steering wheel. I took it to the dealership and they fixed it.. It was a bad pitman arm.

Another day I noticed a drip of 80/90w on the bottom of the rear end.. Took it to the dealership again and they replaced the rear end pinion seal.

Then I noticed small cracks in the doors above the handle, along the edge.. Ford will do nothing about this. They'll get theirs...

Over time the wind noise from the doors got worse.. This is due to the cracks mentioned above.

Then lights started going out in the instrument cluster.

The engine light turned on.. A shop charged me $90 to put it on their scanner. they told me it was the downstream O2 sensor.. I replaced that, helped alittle, but the engine light's still on..

Lately I have noticed the truck has gotten alittle "bouncier" than it has been.. I don't know what is causing this.. Bad rear shock, perhaps?

Then the transmission failed... This gets to me in a bad way.. Driving home from work everything seemed just fine, then I went to shift it into 3rd. 3rd was no where to be found.. Very discouraging.. It limped home and I went on the internet to look at transmission prices.. The transmission for this truck isn't even made by Ford, It's a Mazda/Toyo. Explains alittle..

General Comments:

The '97 '98 Ford F150 is very friendly at a glance. The ride is superb. The best handling truck I have ever driven. The power is good. The 4.2 litre split port induction V6 has 205Hp and with 2 wheel drive you get 25-27 Mpg. It has good looks and a nice feel. But they didn't spend enough time on the design, I'm afraid. And the 2Wd version is nothing but Cheap! When Ford builds a truck so cheap they won't even put one of their own transmissions into it- it's cheap. So cheap, in fact, that now I can't even sell it.. The truck is only worth $4,500 in good running order, and I still owe $9,000. My only option is to fix this pig and keep paying on it. It's really sad when you get suckered into something by someone you trust, into a nightmare of which you cannot wake yourself. This truck is the very 1st vehicle I have had with under 100,000 miles on the odometer. And this truck has had more problems than any car I have known to exist. My advice to you, if you own one of these is insurance fraud.. Wrap the damn thing around a tree and be done with it. For that is the only way you can escape it. Don't let this turn you away from Ford or 150, however.. I just got the bad one. If you get a 4x4 that is newer than '98 you should be OK. The '97 and '98s are bad and I got the one with the smallest engine, 2wd, and a manual transmission.. I guess I asked for this nightmare.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd January, 2003

26th Aug 2009, 15:28

My 1999 Explorer and 1991 F-150 (which also had the M5OD; I found it bulletproof) had the same issue with the shift knob. If you don't grip the knob too tightly and don't treat the gear-shift like a butter churn, it's not a big deal at all.

1997 Ford F150 4x4 XLT Super-Cab 4.6 Liter (289) from North America


I am totally satisfied with my truck


I know that America sacrifices quality to maximize profit. With that said, my Ford has done pretty well with all of the sacrifices.

The "door ajar" light would stay on for extended periods of time. That turned out to be a faulty passenger side door switch.

My rear window leaks when I wash my truck. I've been planning on putting silicone around that gap to fix the problem.

I had a horrible squeak in my steering arm when I first got the truck. That was faulty.

Right now I am having a problem with my drive-line. Something is sticking or slacking. Ford tells me that it is my slip yoke sticking. But a professional drive-line shop tells me it is my universal joints. I'm inclined to lean toward the opinion of the drive-line shop.

The only ongoing problem that I have where it is obvious that Ford has made cuts in quality are my brakes. I tow my boat back and forth to the lake every summer. My brakes start shuddering with or without a load. I talked to Ford mechanics who know, and they told me that I could either get rid of the problem by having my brakes turned every year, or replace the entire brake system. I think I'll stick with shuddering brakes for now.

General Comments:

I enjoy the heck out of my truck. Yes, it has it's problems, but every car does.

A note for all of the unhappy Ford customers: You shouldn't be driving if you are going to be that picky. Have you ever thought that a problem with the vehicle could be caused by common wear? Many of the things that I have seen mentioned are not just a Ford problem, they are a car problem that has been going on since Henry Ford made the Model-T. Cars don't last forever. Things do wear out. That's why they call it "Maintenance". You should look that up. Old Mr. Webster sure knows what I'm talking about.

Now that I have made all of you think, lets get to how I feel about my truck.

I love my truck. It is my baby.

The cab is spacious, comfortable, and well set-up.

The power and handling are exceptional for a half-ton truck. As I mentioned before, I tow a boat back and forth to the lake. It just so happens that there are large hills between me and the lake. I would like a little more power for towing. What I really need is a One-ton if I want that kind of power.

The gas mileage vs power is amazing with Ford. I always like to compare Ford gas mileage & size to competitors and they never stack up.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th January, 2003

12th Jan 2004, 07:07

This is just a comment on brakes shuttering. I think that Ford has a brake rotor problem. It is costly, but I would replace brake rotors with an aftermarket brand with a warranty.

3rd Jun 2004, 18:49

It is possible to have a vehicle that has quality and acceptable price, of course you would have to purchase a product from Japan. They are still teaching us about quality. I bought my first foreign vehicle when I worked for a driveline supplier and saw the questionable quality. I own a Ford truck which is pretty good too. If I were to purchase a new one, I would look at a Toyota.