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Ford F-Series Rough Idle/Vibration Problems



  • The main exhaust pipe (there are two) probably pulled away from the exhaust manifold pipe. There are typically two bolts holding them together and they rust over time. I pulled mine back together once as it was really loud. Everything was so rusted that instead of redoing the bolts, I used a clamp to tighten it up.

    W.r.t. the vibration, once the exhaust manifold separates, the O2 sensor will read high O2 in the exhaust stream (is the check engine light on) and the computer will adjust your truck to run richer. This will affect the way your truck runs.

    I have been having problems with misfiring on my 1997 F150 and I believe that because of what I described above, the richer fuel mixer causes the engine to run hotter leading to other problems with plugs, spark plug wires, and/or coils (the coil over plugs have a wire inside the boot, that is the spark plug wire).

    Take it to Auto Zone and they will diagnose with their reader for free.
  • Skip buying a timing light, your vehicle is computer controled. The timing is decided by the PCM and is changed depending on various imputs from sensors.

    Since you have this vibration at idle and driving, I would not suspect anything in the suspension, tires out of round, shocks, ect. Before I give a recomendations as to what to check for. Explain when this vibration first started, it may be related to a brand of spark plug that was installed on your tune up. Food for thought, Fords do not like champion spark plugs.

    To test your motor mounts, one meathod is to have an assistant put the vehicle in drive with the brake on hard and give the engine throttle without killing it. You should view the engine twist or flex sideways no more than 2 inches. One inch is about normal.
  • Did you check the coils for cracks. Apparently all fords with coil-on-plug are notorious for cracking the coil cases as they age. It is recommended to replace all of the coils over 100K. I found that my E-350 began to vibrate mildly as if it had a bad driveshaft u-joint. The day after I drove in a snowstorm the vehicle began to run rougher, and sounded similar to a lawnmower while throwing no check engine light and no DTC's. The sound indicated to me to check for ignition issues. I began pulling coils and found several of the cases were cracked- I replaced the cracked ones and replaced the plugs and boots on the others. Problem solved. I should not thet there are some very good prices on ebay for the coils- about 1/5th the price of parts stores. Hope this helps.
  • rene007rene007 Posts: 4
    I have a 1999 F-150 with a V6 4.2 and it is throwing whiteish smoke from the tailpipe and it has a somewhat rough idle. I checked the compression and the vaccum and they are fine. I pressure checked the cooling system for a possible blown head gasket and no leaks. I checked for codes and there aren't any and the fuel trim and oxygen sensors seem to be working properly. There are no misfires detected by the PCM and the fuel inector pulsewidth seems fine. The next thing that I could think of is a bad PCM. I don't condemn it just yet since they are very expensive so I was wondering if anybody out there can give me a tips or a heads on this problem. I'd appreciate it a lot.
  • petera58petera58 Posts: 1
    I had the same problem. It was fuel injectors ! Believe it or not !

    All of the vibration issues on these engines seems to mimic suspension
    or tires, but its not.
  • tdmadmactdmadmac Posts: 2
    I have a 2005 F150 5.4 triton V8 w/ 46800 mi. My cousin has a 2006 5.4 F150 with 51,000 miles, My business rep has a 2007 5.4 super crew with 54,000 miles. all 3 and more I have easily tested have the same engine shake vibration at 1300 to 1800 rpm when revving in park or neutral. The vibration is very obvious and specific in all vehicles. it is harder to detect when driving but feels like a tire out of balance at any speed when 1300 to mainly 1800 rpms is on the tach. In 0verdrive at 70mph,1800 rpm . Off overdrive at 50mph prox , same rpm etc. Different gears will easily feel the shaking and the wipers will shake at that rpm range!! :confuse:
    This is a progressive problem that has now been examined by 2 dealers in Central California. Just today, my dealer Service manager agreed that this is egregious and very obviously an unusual engine vibration at those rpms. He discussed this with a Ford engineer with a new 5.4 and though not as bad, the problem is noticeable. At 50,000 miles it is VERY noticeable when the engine is cold!!!!! When warm it is still obvious!!
    I am asking anyone to check their 2005 to 2007, 5.4 triton engines by revving up the motor to tach read 1300 to 1800 rpms and , especially cold, feel the engine vibration shaking. I think it is a 3 valve cam problem. We need more input to push Ford to qualify and resolve this huge problem!!
  • aspesisteveaspesisteve Posts: 833
    my '04 F150 with 38,000 miles is experiencing the third set of warpped rotors.

    the first two were replaced under warranty and now I'm out of waranty so they say I'm out of luck. I rarely tow a 1,200 lbs trailer and drive the truck with ease to save on gas - i've also had the truck regularly maintained, yet I'm now looking at another brake job.

    It's one thing to have to pay this out of pocket, but anyone who wants to buy my truck, if they look at my service records, are going to wonder what the hell is wrong with my truck. :lemon:

    This along with a complete transmission failure 6 days and 26,000 miles past the factory warranty.

    When I'm done with this truck - I'm done with Ford. Ford dealerships these days are so desperate for income they don't think about a long term relationship with the owner - it's all about getting money now to stay afloat.
  • warpped rotors is a common issue with certain Ford trucks. This is how you solve it. Use only high quality rotors, NAPA or OEM not the cheepies from China or Autozone. Next. When the wheels are put on, only snug the lug nuts on. Then lower the vehicle so the weight of the vehicle is on the wheels. Then use a torque wrench and torque the lug nuts to specs. Then drive at least 1/2 mile and re check the torque on each lug nut.

    The problem is un even and excessive torque due to the weight of the vehicle, and cheep rotors. Torque is effected by the weight of the vehicle. Do not over torque. Good luck.
  • thanks for the tip mickeymouse.

    is it safe to assume that Ford used OEM or NAPA rotors when replacing my worn out warped ones?

    When I have the current one's replaced, I'm going to ask for the old parts to see what was put on. If it's some cheap Chinese part they put on then I'm going give someone at Ford a piece of my mind. :mad:
  • Aren't 90% of all replacement parts now made in China, including Motorcraft?
  • Dittoclown,
    Check my 7-26-08 post about the vibration in all 5.4 Triton engines from1300 to 1800 rpms when revving in park or driving at 70mph in o.d. It is a common problem in all 5.4 Triton engines from 2005 ,06,07, & 08 per ford Engineer. Why hasnt been diagnosed!!! I am going to the Ca. Bureau of Auto Repair and any other Customer complaint service I can find.
    It is NOT tires, IT is NOT any thing but an egredious engine shake at that rpm range of 1300 to 1800 rpms when sitting in Park or driving that rpm range=70mph! It has gotten worse at 50,000 mi. I have identified 7 exact same problems in same 5.4 engines!! Ford Dealers are totally in wonder as FORD will not divulge the problem with their head in the sand. It will be a huge RECALL! They call it NORMAL !! B>S!! Class action lawsuit????? Anyone let me know . We have an attorney!!! :mad: :lemon:
  • I would really like to talk to you. I leased a 2008 Ford F-150 FX4 in January. I have 10k miles on it and it has been at the dealership a combined total of 19 days and is currently there right now. I have a vibration while driving at highway speeds since I bought the truck. They have rotated and balanced the tires numerous times. Does not fix the problem. My service guy told me that a FORD Engineer was coming to look at it this week. You can contact me by email at My cell number is 702-334-4008. I live in Las Vegas.

    I even had a guy at a gas staion walk up to me and asked me if I liked my truck. I told him about the vibrations and he is having the same problem at THE SAME dealership.

    Look forward to hearing from you. Chad
  • I own a 2001 F250 and notice that this seems to be a common problem occuring in all F-series trucks, has anyone got any ideas what could cause the rough idle, in my case this is intermittent and when I mash on it it goes away then returns when maintaining a constant speed. I have changed my fuel filter as well and was told that if the coils had and issue there would be a code. All suggestions are appreciated.
  • I had the same problem on my 01 F250 V10.

    Don't believe the techs when they tell you bad coils will throw a code. They will ONLY if they have continuous misfires.

    Intermittent misfires won't throw a code. If you have anywhere near 100k miles on the truck, you need new plugs AND coils.
    Do a search on ebay, you can find them for around $100 for a full set, vs $45 each at the dealer. Get Autolite plugs at the local parts store.

    Changing the plugs/coils yourself will require patience and about 2.5 hours. Use dielectric grease on the boots.
  • Thanks, that was going to be my next attempt at fixing the problem, I will definately check e-bay for the set I really didn't want to spend the money on them all at the dealer. I aprreciate the rapid reply.

  • I have a 2005 Ford F-350 King Ranch. On my way to work this morning I experienced a violent vibration when my front tires hit a bump on the freeway; i was going 65-68 mph when it happens. It scared the hell out of me, my truck is stock not lifted. May be we should start a petition regarding this problem with Ford F-250, 350, 450 truck series. Let me know. :mad: :lemon:
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    Dodge Ram owners know this as "Death Wobble". You need to check the following to resolve it:
    - tire balance
    - a worn shock
    - ball joints
    - remaining front end components

    You will find one of those will be out of spec.

    kcram - Pickups Host
  • we too have a new F150 STX bought in August 08. Since then it has been in the shop for almost a month. It has had 14 new tires of different brands, new rotors, new drive shaft, and no difference. The Ford engineer said it was not fixable to our service manager. Then he told the Division person it was in an "acceptable" range. How is it acceptable when at high speeds it shakes enough to mix a drink and when you go over a rough spot the front end feels light and out of control.
    We also drove 3 more F-150 2008 an 2009 and they were worse than ours.
    Ford now will not do any more to fix the problem.
    Have you thought anymore about a class action suit? Our Service manager said he will support us with documentation.
  • xxjedxxjed Posts: 1
    Did replacing the coils and plugs fix your problem?

    I have an '04 F150 4.6L with almost 70K miles that has a rough idle while sitting still, and has intermittent (though frequent) misses while lightly accelerating and then after I have leveled off to maintain a constant speed.

    It is getting a little worse each day.

    I had it hooked up to a diagnostic machine at a local auto parts store that read a misfire on cyclinder 2.

    I had the fuel system professionally cleaned, air filter changed, oil changed, and it still is doing it.

    I was just wondering if you got your problem fixed because it sounds the same as mine.

  • I haven't quite got to that yet, I am going to try another fix, I was told it could be the torque convertor clutch and I have disconnected my battery to reset the computer and it seemed to run fine the first time out, but went back to it's old trick on the second run so I am going to try it with the overdrive off and see if it still does it, if not it is likely tranny related if it still does I will be doing coils and plugs. I will post as soon as I have a fix for my problem.
  • Hello can I have your email address or a way to talk to you about this, i have the same problem.
  • You can add other owner with issues on the vibration. 18k miles I asked the dealer what the issue is and they said it was a #5 injector issue??? Not covered under warrenty. At 45k broght it to another dealship he said the same thing. Several months ago I recieved a letter from ford saying they are having issues with #5 injectors and to have it check...LOST THE Letter. Did anyone else get a similar letter?
    Transmission also slips on hills at 20k they said nothing is wrong. I love fords but this may be my last.
    f-150 2005 lariat.
  • sabre1sabre1 Posts: 3
    has a 2005 f150 4X4 it was starting rough then after moving and getting hot enough starts to hesitate and stall, it has 73000 miles . Has changed the fuel filter and checked all the coils and plus for spark and they all seem to do fine. Fuel pump is pumping but engine will not start at all now ,.. when first turn it over will attempt to start but will not catch for the lack of a better phrase, had it checked by a local mechanic when the engine light came on the first time and the codes showed a tcp or a t and p stuck open and stuck closed along with forced idle. has anyone else had this problem?
  • sabre1sabre1 Posts: 3
    I received a letter from Ford about injectors sticking open and closed and they extended the warranty on them to 11 years or 120,000 miles ... has a 2005 f150 fx4
  • :( I have the 5.4 liter in my lincoln with 30,000 miles and there is a vibration in it when the motor is under stress mainly between 40 to 60 miles per hour. I have had the dealership looking at it for a month now and had said something about the torque convertor and ford has had problems. Well they been replacing everything but the torque convertor and it seems to be getting worst. I think it is a problem with the 5.4 or transmission. They also had said that it was within tolerance,I've had about every ford truck out and never felt this before
  • Yes, I have the exact same problem from 40 up to 60. 70 to 80 runs smooth.The dealer ship also tried body dampeners on mine that didn't help
  • Just had the same problem with mine. They are now replacing the entire engine. They said the cause was the two cam phasers and there was also a bent rod.
  • sabre1sabre1 Posts: 3
    Now the dealership is telling me the timing is off by 180 degrees and that was caused by excessives sluge buildup and that it isn't covered under warranty either I replace the entire engine or they can tear down clean and reassemble it with no warranty .
  • I just joined the forum and was wondering if anybody had this problem. I can hear a rattleing noise coming from under the truck going down the road from 35 mph to about 55mph. If I let off the gas the rattle will stop and then it returns when you excellerate again. I then tryed doing the samething while in 4HI and it took about 50 to 75 yrds before it engaged. At the sametime it shiftes into 4HI it (trasfercase) sounds like it just pops into gear hard. Has anybody ever had this problem?
    Thanks for any help.
  • I have the same problem with my F150 and my mileage is not any where like the window sticker said
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