Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, Vancouver’s most approved, most favoured, most voted for auto service experience. How’re you doing this morning Bernie?
Bernie: Doing really well.
Mark: So we’re going to talk about common problems with Ford F150 trucks. What, these have been around for at least 50 years, what kind of track record, they’ve had a great long track record, so what kind of problems do you regularly see with these vehicles?
Bernie: Well there are quite a few issues. You know F150’s in Canada, they say that it’s the top selling pick up truck, it’s been going on for years and years, so they must be doing something right, but there are a few common issues with these vehicles. Specifically, I mean some of them in my opinion are pretty serious, that’d make me not want to buy a Ford truck.
Mark: So what would be some example issues?
Bernie: Probably the biggest one over the years, and Ford has fixed this issue, but spark plug problems. In the early 2000’s, there were spark plugs that were blowing out of the cylinders, they weren’t enough threads to hold the spark plugs properly in the cylinders. I mean, bad engineering. Typically the problem would happen when say on a van, well we’re talking about trucks here, but they use the same engine, so you’ve got a van fully loaded with 15 passengers, you’re driving up a mountain grade and boom a spark plug pops out, not a great time to do that. Now to Ford’s credit, they fixed it but the spark plug that seizes into the cylinder head so when we go to change it, you’ve got 8 spark plugs in a V8, half the time if you get lucky you’ll get all 8 of them out, but most of the time one or two break off, again engineering, not a good design, but a little easier to manage at least the vehicle is in the shop. so I mean, that’s a really big thing now but in the last 2000’s Ford changed the design of their spark plug, lots of threads, normal kind of spark plug, no more breakage. So unless unusual circumstances, so that’s been dealt with. But to me, that’s the biggest issue, but some of the other things we see, exhaust manifolds, seems like most F150’s again around the 2000 range, the manifolds warp, you get big exhaust leaks, you need to replace the manifolds and gaskets so that’s another pretty large issue.
Mark: And an expensive one I would imagine too?
Bernie: Yeah, other items too around engines. They’ve gone to an overhead camshaft engine V8, runs really great, lots of power but there’s a lot os issues with the timing chain, there’s a cam phaser, it’s a variable valve timing adjustment piece, there’s solenoids that activate it. These parts fail, they cause problems and people don’t change their oil regularly, that causes them to fail too.
Mark: So what about transmissions?
Bernie: There are a few transmission issues on these vehicles, worse in the older years, better as we get into new years but yeah, there are some transmission issues. I can’t say specifically what some of them are but a lot of them do require overhauling.
Mark: So what about kind of other problem areas: heating, air conditioning, electrical systems etc?
Bernie: You know, we do fix a few things like door latch switches that don’t work, I mean the heating and the a/c system seems to be fairly reliable, there are things that go wrong, the heater blower motors, but nothing exceptional, the fit and finish in the truck is pretty good. I think another reason why they sell, they build a nice truck they’re nice to drive, nice to sit in, the controls work well and for the most part those things are fairly reliable. There are some things like any vehicle, it will go wrong but nothing overly common.
Mark: How about the steering and suspension?
Bernie: Yeah, pretty well built. I don’t see a lot of, you know again, ball joints and tie rod ends and things will wear out over time but nothing abnormal. Again shocks, suspension is pretty good, the drivetrain, we do the odd rear end in a Ford truck but there again, they’re pretty high mileage, they’ve been used well. So the drivetrains built pretty well, four wheel drive system works well, occasional issues with the electronic transfer case but again nothing really glaring.
Mark: So are there years that have more problems than others?
Bernie: It seems, so we work on a wide variety of vehicles, I can’t say from my own experience, as one year that’s worse than others but there’s a good website called carcomplaints.com. They’ve got a really good listing of all different model years and for Ford F-150’s there’s a lot to times listed. It seems like 2004 is the worst year in their listing. But you know, one of the problems that they seem to list a lot of transmission issues with you know, in that sorry, engine issues in 07 to 09. So those are again, just stuff to watch and look at and a lot of those engine issues are around the timing chains. So if you’re buying something used, you really want to find someone who’s really maintained really well, if you’re the original owner, let’s hope you’ve ben doing your oil changes regularly because that does make a big difference for those kind of problems. A couple other issues too, just getting off of that, the EcoBoost engine, that’s a fairly popular option in the 2010 and up range. We don’t see a lot of these engines and in searching for issues, I don’t see a lot of them. I would imagine them being a twin turbo V6 that that kind of an engine is under a lot of strain, again change your oil. That’s the key, it’s a long life in that particular engine, it’s a good concept but with two turbochargers, you’ve got a lot of expensive accessories on the outside of your engine to go wrong.
Mark: So there you go, if you’re looking for service for your Ford F150 in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment,you must book ahead or check out their website pawlikautomovtive.com. Thanks Bernie
Bernie: Thanks Mark.