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Ford Excursion Maintenance and Repair



  • ljgjr1ljgjr1 Posts: 1
    I have a 2003 with the 6.0. Sometimes it is hard to start here lately. It will sputter & die out while trying to start it. It is turning over fine & the batteries should be good. Sometimes when you turn it over it will start but sounds like it sputters & slowly ramps up to normal idle speed. I've changed both fuel filters.
  • I love my 01 7.3 Diesel XLT! She's got 117,000 miles on her. I get 13.9 mpg mostly around town. Yesterday, I heard a new sound. Dealer said she needs a new hydro boost unit. Anyone else replaced theirs? What other fixes should I be preparing for? Seems like it's always $1000 when something goes wrong :-(, but I have never loved a vehicle like this one. Six kids and a dog. Gotta have it :-) Just like to know what's coming. Thanks! :blush:
  • I love my 01 as well. It is a Limited with the 7.3 and I now have 125k miles on it. My first and only major repair was I had to rebuild the transmission. Apparently Ford changed the way the gears sync by "using stubs not slots" as they did previously. Ford only did it for a few years and then went back to the old way. The cost was $1800 to rebuild. The fix was basically building it back "the old way". 1000 to replace the boast seems awful expensive. I would call some local shops and get some pricing. The job only takes an hour to do. I know my front end is getting loose and will need new ball joints in the near future. Except for wear and tear, the tranny was all it needed.
  • walt501walt501 Posts: 17
    edited October 2010
    First off, I have a 2003 7.3L 4x4 with 135K miles on it that I purchased at 16k miles. Here is what I have experience in terms of repairs -

    Alternator - commonly replaced item. I replaced mine with a new Ford alternator at 80k miles.

    Water Pump - commonly replaced item. Mine was replaced at 68k miles. Coolant additives needed to protect the block from coolant cavitation in diesel engines can drop out of suspension causing wear on the water pump bearings. I have since upgraded to a better coolant - Chevron Delo HD Diesel Extended Life Coolant approved by International for all of their diesel engines 1999 and up. So far, so good.

    Transmission - mine is stock and working fine in part because I have followed Ford's recommended flush and fill every 50k miles. Everyone needs to follow Ford's spec here to keep their transmission alive and well.

    Ball joints - commonly replaced item. These trucks, are HEAVY and all that weight travels directly down and through the ball joints. So it is no surprise they wear rapidly. Mine were replaced with Motorcraft (not Ford branded) ball joints that unlike the stock Ford ball joints have a GREASE ZERK and they are greased every oil change, which for me is every 5000 miles for me.

    Brakes and Rotors - unnecessarily replaced item. As I have preached here over and over, auto shop airguns KILL ROTORS. Lug nuts need to be torqued to a specific value to impart even stress around the rotor. The ONLY way to do that is with a torque wrench and torquing the lugs in a "star" pattern. The other issue with brakes is the slide pins that the caliper rides on. These pins will become corroded over time, causing your caliper to hang up and destroy your pads and rotors. I recommend having your slide pins removed and lubed at least every other year - more often if you live in the snow/salt belt. My front rotors lasted 75K miles and my rears lasted 110k miles - because I carry a long handled torque wrench (from Sears) in the truck at all times and NEVER let an air gun do the final torque on the lugs.

    Sway bar end links - commonly replaced item - If you're hearing a clunking sound in your front end and have good ball joints, it's likely your sway bar end links. Again, you're dealing with a lot of weight with these trucks so these items do wear. Also, a lot of Excursions didn't come with a rear sway bar - if you don't have one I highly recommend you install one. Hellwig is a commonly installed brand.

    Shocks - commonly replace item - Again, a heavy truck means the shocks have a lot of work to do. If you have your original shocks and over 20k miles, I assure you they are shot! After trying another brand (that bet the "ranch" and lost at 30k miles) the only replacement shock that it suitable for these trucks are Bilsteins! Mine have 50k miles on them now and are as good as new. Also, if your truck is 4x4 you should also have a 5th shock - your steering stabilizer. Replace it as well with Bilstein.

    For 7.3 diesel owners, you need to clean and or replace your Exhaust Back Pressure tube and sensor. This tube can fill with soot blocking of the reading at the sensor giving the powertrain control module an incorrect reading. I have read from people in the know about this engine that this is the number one cause of reduced mileage in the 7.3L diesel engine.

    Other than routine maintenance items like tires, oil and air filters, that's all I can come up with for the moment but I'm sure I've overlooked a few items so here's a chance for others to chime in with their experience.
  • I have a 2003 Excursion with the 7.3L diesel. The problem is that it does not start all the time. It turns over but just will not start. I some times have to wait a hour + before it will start. It just started doing this about three weeks ago. The truck has about 168,000 miles on it. I do not want to bring it to a dealer if I do not have to, I just do not trust them..Any help would be great.. Thanks
  • Assuming you have already changed the fuel filter, I would think it's either glow plugs or fuel pump. Fuel pump is an easy do-it-yourself, but it costs around $200. Glow plugs are not so easy, but are about the same price or a little more for a complete set. I would recommend looking in yellow pages for a performance diesel shop. They are usually more qualified than the "stealership", and they are almost always cheaper. They can test the glow plugs and the fuel pressure.
    Just curious: what kinds of electrical problems have you had? I think I need a VSM, but not sure. Good luck. Let us know how it comes out.
  • Just changed the fuel filter and have not had any electrical problems. I was told it way be the glow plug regulator on top of the passenger side valve cover or even the valve cover gaskets... I way try a performance shop.... Thanks p.s. I like that ''stealership'' comment..
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Let's avoid disparaging remarks directed at any group of people. I'm sure customers would not appreciate similar derogation.


    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • I worked on a friends 7.3 that wouldn’t start, have someone try to start you rid while you have a meter on the battery terminals. What we found that the truck would crank and sometime would start but not always. We found that with ignition on it would show ~12v which is good, glow plug cycle was about ~11.8v, good also, but when cranking it would drop to 10.0v~10.5v. at this time I pulled my 7.3 next to it and did the same measurements, and in all cases it never dropped below 11.5v. So I attached the jumper cables to his rig & mine and it cranked right up. Bottom line after checking the battery terminals it was found they had a lot of corrosion between terminal cable and battery terminal. I used a $1.50 battery cleaning tool clean and tighten up all of the connections and presto!!! I'm thinking the engines computer didn't have enough power to do its job when starting and sequence the injectors to add fuel.
    Another check....another problem I have run into if your rig isn’t starting, is glow plug relay is on the fritz, if your injectors are working but you glows are you'll see the following condition. If then cranking and not starting you have a lot of white smoke coming out of your exhaust, that white smoke is actually atomized diesel fuel, this means the engine isn't warm enough to combust the fuel, hence most likely glow pug relay it on the fritz, sometimes to get you going you can tap on the glow plug relay with the butt of a screwdriver, and it be a short term fix but ultimately you need to replace it. Hope this helps.
  • Thank you, I will try them both. The truck has new batteries but I never did clean the oil off of the terimals before I installed them..Thanks again
  • I read my own post, sorry for the bad english.... anyways, reply back on what you untimately find, I'd like to keep up on what problems folks encounter with these engines. So far they seem to be pretty bullet proof and run forever with very few hiccups.
  • Our 2005 Excursion on a 40-45 degree morning stars with a sputter then after 5 seconds of sputtering idles normal. We can't drive it for about 10 minutes because the truck will chug along and won't go over 20 mph till she warms up. Any help out there on this?
  • From what I have heard that's normal for a 6.0. from the sound of it I'd say symptomatic of not all of the glow plugs functioning, check them it a meter 1 by 1.. Should either be close to 1 ohm or less which is good, or if they are reading infinity they are bad. I gather once it has warmed up and is running it starts fine?
  • tbudowtbudow Posts: 6
    I have 2000 Ford Excursion V10 w/ 170K mi. It has always run great. However, recently and coincident with having my tires balanced at WMart, it developed a rattly/pulsating noise in the rear end. The noise is not there when in Park, only when in Drive, and most prominent (for obvious reasons, I guess) when stopped or at a slow rate of speed. The local Ford Dealership thinks it is the catalytic converter. Any ideas?

    Thanks ever so much for your thoughts.
  • Maybe a heat shield near the converter.
  • Thanks for the response. I will give it a try.

  • We had the same problem. Only heard the noise when going slow. Turns out we needed a new back end. It's going to cost us $3300 to fix it--much more then the front end I had fixed 2 years ago. But as I type they are fixing it. I did a little research and my engine is a dynamo--can get 300K out of it. So at 238K now we can still get at least 3 years out of the truck. But we thought long and hard about it. Still, I love that truck--it can tow my trailer, take my family of 6 on vacation and I've picked up 16 kids after a football game. Best vehicle we have ever owned. The inside is trashed after 11 years ( 2000 V8 5.4) but I don't care. And when my kids learned to drive--if they can drive this thing--they can drive anything.
  • tbudowtbudow Posts: 6
    Aaaaahhh. What does that mean-- a new backend?

    Do you know why they say you can attain 300K+ miles? I love my truck too and was considering trading it since it is not a diesel and has 170K mi. You know, it is just the fear factor--but if some professional actually says there is that hope, it would make me feel better about putting more money into it. I love the fact that body style will never change on the Excursion so that you feel your car is now tired and old. Know what I mean?
  • New back end----barrings seals etc. It's not cheap. $3300 But we talked to mechanics and people who work for Ford who we know personally as friends. They told us that the engine was a beast. That if we cared for it we could get 300K out of it. In fact, told us they have seen people with 350K before the engine went. With that in mind, we didn't want to buy another big vehicle and monthly car payments being about $600--it was just cheaper to repair. We have NEVER had an engine or trans repair ( knock on wood). We have had to repair the front and back end, window motors, gas leak and even the excellorater cable ( that was a scary thing when it frayed and needed to be repaired). We pull a trailer and have a family of 6 so the big car is great. Just made sense to us that even if we only got 6 months out of it ( and we hope to get 2 more years) we were still ahead of the game. Plus we were told yesterday that it was only worth $2500 in trade in--and that's after it was fixed. We might be able to get $4000 if selling by ourselves but if I get at least a year out of it why do that? It still drives like a dream and when I'm pulling a trailer you can't even tell. I only have a 3000 pound trailer but it's nice to drive the speed limit while pulling it instead of dragging along at 55 in the slow lane.
  • daddy818daddy818 Posts: 18
    My wife's 2000 Exc. 6.8 L, V-10 Triton(gas), 4 wd. While driving(slow or fast) the front wheel on the drivers side emits a clicking noise(sounds like when you would put a playing card on your bikes front fork with a clothespin so it would make a clicking noise when you rode your bike, only its not as sharp a sound). I removed the wheel, the caliper, the caliper mounting bracket and the rotor and then spun it by hand and I can still hear the noise, it sounds like its coming from inside the hub. The noise just started happening yesterday. Anyone have any ideas on what to check & how to check it. I'm hoping I can do the repair myself due to lack of funds at the present time. Thanks in advance for any help or advice. :confuse:
  • The noise is most like the bearing hub assembly, I had one fail on my 2000 ex a few years ago, and replaced both at the same time (figured if one was failed the other couldn't be far behind). These are not cheap parts, the local ford dealer quoted me 465.00 each (4 years ago), I ended up buying aftermarket units off of ebay for about 250.00 each, that was about 80,000 miles ago and haven't had a problem.

    I am the proud owner of a 2000 excursion with the 7.3, I purchased it new on 2-1-00 and have driven it daily since and now have over 230,000 miles and still going strong. In the eleven years I've replaced the alternator once, I rebuilt the whole front end, including the two bearing hub assemblies, and about a year and a half ago I had the glow plugs replaced because it was starting a little slow, and that's it for major stuff in 230,000+ miles. I love this rig, and have no plans to sell it anytime soon. Since Ford discontinued the excursion, those of us lucky enough to have one should feel good in knowing that the diesel equipped ex's are bring 4 to 6 grand over KBB.

    Hope this helps.
  • daddy818daddy818 Posts: 18
    Were you able to do this hub replacement yourself? Do I need to have anything pressed on? Or any "specialty" tools? And if you did do it yourself about how much time is involved? (i.e.- hours,days) Thanks idgolfjunkie!
  • lovemyxlovemyx Posts: 3
    Wow! Thanks so much! So much information, you're awesome :-) I'm going to take her in and have them check the sway bar, because I have taken her in and had the ball joints done and they couldn't figure out what the clunking sound was coming from. I'll bet you are right on! They heard and felt it, greased everything and said it wasn't a problem, so I have been listening to this now for around 8 months. I haven't done any major damage to it? Have I?! Sorry it took so long to reply :-( Homeschooling six kids and transporting them to all their social events takes up most of my time. Checking posts falls a tad low on the totem pole of life :-) How much might the sway bar cost? If you have time, I really appreciate your wisdom! Keep on enjoying the highway :-) Who wouldn't?, in what I affectionately call, "My land yacht!"
  • I didn't do the install myself, I was having the entire front end rebuilt at the time, ball joints, sway bar, hub bearing assemblies, and replaced all four rotors (fords units suck), I purchased the parts and had my mechanic install them. My brother in law owns an auto repair shop so I don't do much wrenching anymore.
  • walt501walt501 Posts: 17
    edited April 2011
    Thanks for the kind words! You haven't done any damage to your sway bar - it's the "end links" that bolt to the sway bar and then to the vehicle frame that go bad. In most cases, you only need to replace the end links to fix the problem, but I would also have the dealer check the two bushings that actually hold the sway bar to the vehicle and make sure they're good while they're doing the end links. Cost for the end links is about $35 each. You'll need two, one for each end of the sway bar. If you plan on doing the work yourself, you can find them online for $20-$25 each.

    I should also mention that you can upgrade the bushings in your end links (it's actually the bushings that wear out) with polyurethane bushings from Also if your vehicle is 4x4 check the track bar bushings wear.

    Another less common area of hidden front end noise on Excursions that usually rears its head on higher mileage vehicles is the two front body mounts. These are rubber bushings that go between the vehicle and the frame to isolate road noise. These can be a bear to replace, but if anyone here should find they have that problem I can get you a procedure to replace them, as dealers will often advise against replacement because of the cost.
  • lovemyxlovemyx Posts: 3
    Awesome! Thanks again! Unfortunately, I can't do any of this myself. However we have an excellent relationship with Fred Beans Ford of Boyertown. We've bought the Excursion, an F-150, (2) F-250's, an Escape, and a Mustang in less than 10 years there, so they treat us like family and give us all the discounts I ask for ;-) I'll print this out and give it to them, and they will take care of it. The service manager was glad for the advice you gave me and keen to get right on it. Hope you won't mind me pickin your brain on occasion as the need arises :-)
  • I need a dependable 4WD for family vacations and towing a tent trailer. Which diesel motor is superior; 6.0L or 7.3L? Also what is the consensus for the best overall package for the Excursion (think engine, transmission, interior features, and reliability). Thanks for your input.
  • I have an 01 X and when I put it into reverse and give it gas, there is a clunking sound. Can somebody tell me what this would be? It is completely stock and has 90,000+ miles.
  • When it comes to horsepower, I would not suggest the 7.3 unless you would get a chip. Other than that the 7.3 is very reliable and I have had no problems out of the 10 years I have had it.
  • roosmamaroosmama Posts: 28
    I don"t know if this is it or not for sure but.... with our truck we had a clunk noise a while ago. I would put it in reverse, give it some gas and actually got a clunk with a bit of a jerk. Took it to a mechanic because had no idea what to think. Anyways, we ended up having to get the rear end rebuilt and repacked. Hope this is not the case with you. Milage on the truck was about the same when we had it done, but we do drive this unit like we stole it!!
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