14th Jan 2004, 12:44

I purchased my F-150, (1997) used with approx. 20,00 miles on it. From the the very first week I had it, there was a small coolant leak that I dismissed as overflow. My garage is carpeted and I have over the past several years always noticed small spots of coolant on it, but could never find the leak. Today, while I was at lunch I noticed a considerable puddle under my truck. I left work drove it home to get a good look, and found it to be leaking from the timing chain cover plate on the left side somewhere around the top left side of cover plate. Have not yet contacted a dealer, but will in the near future.


26th May 2006, 10:06

Most of the time first year vehicles have problems. With the exception of the new v6 they put in the F-150,they had 2 good new engines.

30th Mar 2008, 22:20

I too, have had the same problems with the timing chain cover leaking. That was about 10 years and 130,000 miles ago. I had it repaired (kinda) by the dealer, they never really fixed the leak. Other than that it has been a great truck. It is 11 years old with 161,000 miles on it, and I wouldn't hesitate to go on any road trip with it today.

19th Jan 2009, 18:55

I bought my 97 in 2001 with 18000 on it. Was absolutely trouble free until 2008 with 138000 miles on it. Had a broken bolt on the transmission and the normal front end parts replaced.

If I could I buy this truck all over again, with 143000 miles on it now, I would take it anywhere right now.

No leaks. No problems at all till 138000 miles. Fixed it up and it's ready to roll. One small rust spot on right rear 1/4, which is amazing here in SALT country.

Handles excellent in snow. Most of the miles on this vehicle included pulling a 4000 pound trailer.

So I guess I must have been a lucky guy?

1st Jul 2009, 19:46

I bought my 1997 F150 4.6 LTR V8 with 160,000 miles in 2006. The engine and transmission have no leaks at 197,000 miles and burns no oil between oil changes. The transmission shifts better than my friends new Chevy 1500 truck. The paint is still in great shape too. The only problem besides routine maintenance and upper ball joints is the tach went out at 165,000. I wouldn't hesitate to take it on a 1000+ mile road trip at a moments notice.

Built Ford tough!! /SD.

22nd Jul 2009, 16:35

You had to replace your spark plug wires?! Oh no! That's terrible! God forbid you have to do some basic maintenance right? Spark plug wires don't last forever. You should replace them every 50,000 miles or so.

8th Sep 2009, 15:50

I had the same gasket problems on my F150XL 4.2L with 45000 miles. After the problem got fixed by a Ford dealership, and I got my truck back and put 10 miles on it, the motor blew. The dealership said it was not their problem. So I called the place where I got the truck. They said 2 of the 4 recalls they did, the motor did the same thing and Ford is replacing the 4.2L motors. So all and all, I got a new motor and I got 185000 miles on it with no problems. I love my Ford truck.

25th Oct 2009, 19:53

I have a 1997 Ford F150 with the 4.2. The motor recently died and I have swapped it with a 1998 4.2. Is there anything I need to know of that might set me back. The motor is in and 90% installed, and it's starting to look like an emissions problem is about to happen! Any help would be great!!!

20th Nov 2009, 15:57

I have an F150 XLT, 1997 version. 88K miles.

Recently my Radio in the AM mode is pretty much crap. The FM side is great. When the ignition is in the accessory mode the AM is as good as the FM. Any comments?

25th Jan 2010, 17:11

I had the 1998 F150 short bed V6 with excellent maintenance. Never had a noticeable leak or noise.

Engine locked up and I sold it for $300.00 including toolbox. Later found that head gasket leaked into one cylinder and locked up. Truck had 88.000 miles.

My son had 2002 F150 XLT Triton with 96000 miles, and it coasted to a stop while traveling, and we later found the motor was locked up. No previous problems. We bought a used 2002 motor and installed for him, and so far so good.

Now in Oct. 2009 I bought another 1998 F 150 XLT Triton with 68.000 miles (stupid me). It looks great, but keep having trouble with the check engine light. Replaced oxygen sensor and again check engine. Appears now to be EGR or intake vale clogged.

Ford makes great truck if you exclude the engine performance... no more Ford for me or my family.

30th Jul 2010, 18:49

Bought my 1997 F150 new. It now has 307,000 miles on it. It finally recently blew a head gasket. It still runs good and still doesn't use oil between changes. I'm in the process of putting another engine in it. It's been the best vehicle I have ever owned.

25th Feb 2012, 19:59

In 2009 I had some money I inherited from my Grandpa when he passed away, and I figured I would find me the truck I have always been looking for.

Then I found it, a 1997 Ford F-150 4.2L XL with custom red interior, custom mirrors, exhaust, chrome wide 18 inch wheels, with a replaced front and rear chrome bumper. I bought it for 4 grand, and drove it for a month and decided to do a check up on it. I pulled one spark plug and it looked brand new, so I didn't bother checking the other ones.

The next day I started the truck, it idled terribly rough, and the check engine light was flashing. I plugged our scanner into the truck, and it read as a misfire. After changing the wires and plugs, it still continued to run poorly. It was driven for 4 months like this before it completely seized up.

A year and a half later, I gave up, and decided to put a new motor in it. The mechanic who put the motor in for me checked the old one over, and found that the block was cracked, and all 6 cylinders were full of antifreeze.

The motor I have now has about 6000 miles on it, and it runs amazing. The check engine light has recently come on, but the scanner says it is a faulty O2 sensor.

I just did a suspension check today, and found that my sway bar links were completely demolished, my U-bolts on my rear end were loose, my passenger upper control arm was wiggly, and I think I have to replace all 4 ball joints on my front suspension.

After I get all this taken care of, this truck will be basically brand new, except for the rear end and the transmission. Let's hope those stay strong.

Obviously the previous owner treated this truck like crap. I am determined to completely restore this truck without having to take it completely apart, piece-by-piece. The problem is, I am a college student, so I rarely have time between work, school, and deciding when to propose to my girlfriend. Money is tight, and I cannot wait to graduate, so hopefully I can get to work on this truck.

2nd Apr 2012, 10:51

I hear ya. I too have a 1997 F150 that I bought in 1999 with only 12,000 miles, and currently have 128,000, and I taught two teenagers to drive with this truck.

The only problem I've had is the fan clutch; it never really went bad, but started to make a funny ticking sound that I could only hear when I turned the engine off.

Like yours, my F150 does not leak any fluids at all, and I would drive my truck anywhere in any weather condition. Even my wife prefers to drive my F150 instead of her 2003 Pontiac Montana; I don't blame her.