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Ford Expedition Maintenance and Repair



  • paul9250paul9250 Posts: 2
    I own a 1997 Expedition that had the #3 cylinder blowout. Ford has an unadmitted problem with the 4.6 and 5.4 liter Triton V8s. 1997 to 2000 are the early model heads that tend to show the problem at higher mileage. The 2001 to 2003 models are the "romeo" heads and have the problem over a wide range of mileage (as early as 40K miles). After 2003 I believe Ford used heads with regular length threads on the spark plugs but you should check with a Ford dealer to make sure that the Triton engine in the model you're considering has long thread plugs and not short thread plugs.

    For those who have this problem, Ford dealers charge a wide range of prices to fix it. I've called half a dozen Ford dealers in my area and no two were the same. Prices ranged from $800 to $2000. On the lower end, most of the dealers are using a threaded insert repair. There are many kits on the market specifically designed for Ford Triton V8 spark plug thread repairs. (Just goes to show how common the problem is) Helicoil, KD, Lisle and Timesert all make kits. Ford dealers tend to use the Timesert threaded inserts because of two unique features . First, Timeserts have a positive locking shoulder. The bottom threads on the insert also lock in place once the drive tool is used to locate it. Other inserts suffer from backing out or in and blowing out again. Of course, there's no guarantee with the Timesert either and the dealer won't warrant the work. I've heard that one Timesert fix has more than 90K miles on it and its still holding.

    I'm an accomplished mechanic so I ordered my own Timesert kit from an Ebay supplier (about $400). If your head is repairable the dealer will typically install the Timesert without removing the heads. If it's not repairable then the dealer will typically recommend a new head (lots of $$). The non-romeo heads generally are repairable. The romeo heads have an additional shoulder that requires a bigger reamer and a shoulder cut. The service tech told me these heads tend to be the ones replaced more often. I'll be tackling the installation on my 97 Expedition this weekend so I'll post a report after I'm done. But, if you're comfortable around and engine bay (and have a step ladder to work on an Expedition) you can probably fix this problem yourself.

    One other thing to note is that the coil pack gets damaged when the plug blows outs. Typically, the tap that hold the coil in place breaks off. Since the coil itself still worked fine I epoxied the tab back on the first time this happened and its held just fine. If you're not into this kind of fix you'll have to buy a new coil pack (also expensive from the dealer - near $200)

    If you have a mechanic repair your blow out then make sure they use the Timesert inserts for the repair. This will give you the greatest chance at longevity afterwards.
  • lugster84lugster84 Posts: 6
    did you figure out how to replace those bulbs? Both of my bulbs are bad.

  • ebandsheebandshe Posts: 1
    Hi, Did you ever get the growling noise to go away? We are experiencing the same problem. :( We look forward to your answer. thanks..... sheila and eben
  • deb35deb35 Posts: 4
    I have a 2000 Expedition that seems to have fuel problem. Especially when I am driving at higher speeds or going up hill, it acts like it is running out of gas. I put in a bottle of Lucas injector cleaner but the condition seems to be getting worse everytime I try to drive it.

    I am wondering if anyone can enlighten me about what I can expect the auto repair shop to charge for this and what is the most likely cause of this condition. The 'check engine soon' light came on and off for a day or so and now it is staying on. A couple of weeks ago I ran it out of gas and this problem started after that, so I am thinking it is a clogged fuel filter or clogged fuel injection system.

    The car seems to otherwise be running really good and strong. There are no noises, smells or gauges pointing at anything else suspicious.

  • deb35deb35 Posts: 4
    I took my Expedition in to the mechanic and he saw that there was a leak in a metal coolant line that seemed to be leaking water on the spark plugs. He changed the spark plugs and welded the metal coolant line and the car is running a whole lot better but not perfectly. It still seems to have a fuel problem. I am not sure if I have two problems, one fuel and one with spark plugs that were corroded, but the problem is a whole lot better, just not completely resolved.
  • togdentogden Posts: 2
    I am the original owner of a '99 Expedition XLT (4.6L 4x2) and the car has been great except for the past six months. Has 126,000 miles.

    Main problems recently:
    - engine stutter/miss (intermitent) between 40-60mph
    - transmission fluid leak
    - thumping/moaning/creaking (from rear) when backing out of driveway and going over speed bumps
    - very low gas mileage (averaging 11 mpg even with 1/2 of miles on highway)

    I recently had it serviced:
    - for engine stutter/miss: technician couldn't replicate problem in test drive, but they tightened drive shaft linkage and the problem went away for a couple of weeks... now it's back.
    - for transmission fluid leak: replaced gasket at torque converter and driveway leak went away, but now I can smell that sweet scent of tranmission fluid burning off again just a few weeks later.
    - thumping/moaning/creaking from rear end: have not checked into it.
    - low gas mileage: have not checked into it.

    I have read many postings from this website about IGNITION COIL PACKS and REAR DIFFERENTIAL problems.

    Do the symptoms I describe sound related to these types of problems?

    Can low gas mileage be caused by these types of problems? Or should I expect 12 average mpg from a 9 year old large SUV?
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,110
    Can anyone give togden a hand with his problems? Thanks!

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • gniotnl1gniotnl1 Posts: 1
    Our 99 expedition won't start with the key from time to time the theft lights go on and it won't turn over, someone told my husband to start it three times real fast and it'll start, it worked, until yesterday, it won't start at all. What could be the problem?
  • m2008gm2008g Posts: 1
    I have a 97 and had a similar problem. It took a bit of investigating to identify the intermittent problem for me. First the dealer suggested trying both keys to see if I had the same problem as sometimes the key needs to be replaced. That was not it. I noticed that sometimes when it happened, it was not exactly on Park and that if I shifted into Neutral and back into Park it would start. They checked it out and found a screw/bracket missing from the shift cable assembly as I recall. They fixed it and I have not had the problem since. I am not sure if this was related to the TSB issued .
  • thediyguythediyguy Posts: 2
    if the theft light goes off its an easy fix if its the starter relay switch like mine it gets hot it quits starting?its located on the right side firewall just below the rain tray behind a snap in plastic's a link of what it looks like,APP210913/vehicleId,2545102/initialAction,partProductD- etail/store,267/partType,00102/shopping/partProductDetail.htm.hope this helps.
  • paul9250paul9250 Posts: 2
    I've got a 97 Expedition with the Triton V8 and have had all of these problems. Causes may not be the same but here's what I found: (I'm an experienced mechanic)

    Engine studder/miss: Assuming you don't have the check engine light on and there are not codes showing on the ODBII port read out the missing is likely moisture inside one or more of the coil pack rubber boots or a faulty coil pack. Pull the coil packs and check for moisture inside the spark plug tube or the spark plug boot. A good indicator will be corrosion on the spark plug. Next, if you've never changed the plugs do that next. If it still misses buy a new coil pack and change the coil packs out one at a time with the new one to see if you can eliminate the problem. Try the #3 hole first. That one seems to be a problem area. Its also the most common blow out hole (these engines suffer from spark plug blow outs).

    Transmission leak: Add some flourescent die to the transmission fluid and run the vehicle until the transmission oil temp is up to normal. Shine a black light around the tranny until you can identify where he leak is coming from. Then trace is back to the source.

    Rear end noise: This one stumped two dealers around here. The problem for me ended up being the shock mounting bolts. Over time the holes get oval and the bushing ends develop play that only shows up when the rear end is articulating. The only way I found it was to put the vehicle up an a lift and with a couple of friends shook the rear suspension up and down as hard as we could. (btw - make sure your spare tire is tight in its mount. This also causes a clunking noise if its loose). Replace the lower shock mounting bolts with new ones. If you haven't changed the shocks in a while now would be a good time. Especially, if the lower shock bushing are shot.

    Low gas mileage: This is probably directly related to the missing. The first culprit here would be the mass air sensor. But, if you don't have an engine check light on and no codes showing then this won't be the problem. Check the mileage after you solve the missing problem. Borrow someone's ODBII code reader and get a read out from your ODBII port just to make sure you don't have a problem with a sensor. (i.e. an oxygen sensor could be going bad).

    Hope this helps.
  • jg88jg88 Posts: 59
    Here's one for the books -- can't find a TSB on it either. '04 expy EB with the rear climate control system. When I set the dial in the 1st and 2nd positions for rear ventilation, it makes two different sounds behind the middle seat on the passenger side. In the 1st position, it clicks, 2nd position, it makes a "whump" sound. Position 1 is "click, click, click..."; position 2 is "whump, whump, whump...". When the rear dial is returned to the "off" position (farthest to the left), it goes away.

    Also, if I set the vent system to "floor", it disappears. On the higher level setting, it comes back. Sometimes it goes away, other times it does not. Is there some sort of a vent regulator behind the passenger side middle seat? If so, does anyone know what this is, if there is a TSB or is this just one of those weird items no one else has experienced?
  • alwaysfords2alwaysfords2 Posts: 288
    it is one of the two blend door actuators. Could be the one that takes it from floor to ceiling, or the one that controls the temp mix. I'd guess it is the floor to ceiling one, which is the easier of the two to replace. You need to remove the change/junk tray under the passenger side quarter window. Flex it in the middle, it is just attached by plastic arrow heads molded into the tray itself. Just slightly forward of that there is a beige/white box. That is the actuator. You can check if it is the culprit by unplugging it and seeing if the noise goes away. To remove it is a simple three screw job. It is easier to manipulate it if you take out the cup holder just ahead of it. It also just pops out. Should take $30 and 15 minutes to do, or $200 at the dealer.
  • bronsonbbronsonb Posts: 170
    I had this same problems, and as the other poster mentioned, it was a relatively simple repair. I actually removed the entire cover in the back seat area. It required a special "star socket" to remove the second row passenger side seat belt anchor, and then the rest of the plastic cover on that side popped out with a little prying (might be a screw under the plastic cover above the bumper that needs to be removed too).

    The two units that are the culprits are about 1/2" thick, squarish in design and about the size of a pack of cigarettes (but a bit larger). They are held in by a few screws and a simple plug. As the previous poster noted, unplug one and see if the sound goes away.

    I ordered replacements online, but you could probably get them from your local Ford store too. One of the actuators costs about $18, but the other was almost $40. Overall it was an easy repair considering I'd seen posters who said they paid $400 to get that fixed.

    Good luck.
  • jantj5jantj5 Posts: 1
    I have the same problem. Did you find a solution?
  • genoahgenoah Posts: 1
    I have a 97 Ford Expedition 4.6 V8 with a really bad leak, there’s cooling fluid really pouring out of a spot that I cannot exactly see above the starter motor. The hoses and lines seem intact and there’s no water in the oil and it runs ok as long as I keep topping up. Any help or advice would be lovely,
  • woodyewoodye Posts: 7
    There is a spark plug removal problem in the 5.4 Liter engine. The plugs have a long shank below the threads in a tight hole in the head going down to and open to the combustion chamber. Carbon and combustion crud builds up around the shank below the threads and locks the plug in place. Forcing the plugs can strip the thread since they may not be strong enough to break the buildup.

    I called a lot of Ford mechanics and finally may have found the solution. On a Warm Engine, (most Ford Service reps said Cold engine, wrong!) losen the spark plug 1/4 to 1/2 turn.

    Then spray carb cleaner around the plug. It goes around the threads and breaks lose the carbon and crud build-up around the long shank of the plug.

    I replaced my plugs using this procedure and everthing worked OK. You can hear the carb cleaner bubbling/sizzling, and the plugs came out fine. I used a magnet to pull them out of the head recess and had to wiggle a couple of plugs. Still a pain and knuckle busting job; but, didn't break any plugs.

    Champain makes a one piece plug, the stock plugs appear to be a bonded two piece shank. They are expensive and may not be necessary with the above procedure with a stock plug.

    If you have already stripped the threads, I understand Car Quest has a good kit with a hela-coil to replace the threads, if you can get the broken shank out of the head.
  • I have a used 2003 Ford Expedition and for some reason, the check back up aide message comes on each time I go into reverse, however, the back up beeping noise has only come on once. I have no idea where this sensor is located, or how to go about even fixing something like this. The previous owners did tow a camper, so I think it may have been disconnected, if this is possible. Does anyone know how to find and/or fix this problem?
  • txhill4txhill4 Posts: 1
    We have a 2004 expedition that is doing this exact thing. Where did you find the info to fix it. Any help would be great!
  • my gear lever will not go into park and to turn my truck on i have to put it in nuetral
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