January 9

Ford Gasoline Powered Trucks, How are They for Reliability?



Mark: Hi it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive. We’re doing our 2nd hangout actually of 2017 and we’re going to talk about Ford gasoline powered trucks. Bernie how are Ford’s gas powered vehicles?

Bernie: Well, my comment on them would be fair, not excellent, just fair for reliability

Mark: So that seems like a pretty surprising comment given how popular Ford truck sales have been for so many years.

Bernie: Yeah, I’ve often wondered about Ford’s. I’ve worked on them for a long time and I guess I shouldn’t complain because they do bring in a lot of work at our door which itself tells you something, but they’re not as reliable as I would think. They certainly don’t sell their vehicles because of reliability. I think the marketing for Ford is good, I mean they are a nice truck and they’re fairly reliable but there are a lot of things that do go wrong with them that I sometimes make me question would I ever want to own one.

Mark: So let’s talk about engines, Ford uses a variety of engines in different models. How are these?

Bernie: Well, let’s start with V8 engines and these are what you’ll find in the F150 and of course there are V6 options in the F150, but we’ll talk about the V8’s because they’ve been popular for a long time. 4.6 litre, 5.4 litre - a lot of issues with these engines. Things that shouldn’t happen like the early Triton engines, the 5.4 litres, they would blow spark plugs out of their holes because Ford didn’t tread the spark plugs deep enough and under extremely heavy loads the spark plugs would loosen off and they actually blow out and tear the threads with them. And that would often happen under pretty harsh circumstances. A kind of classic example might be a minibus fully loaded with people going up a highway grade hill and blowing a spark plug. Well what do you do, well you call a tow truck and find a new bus for your passengers. So these are the things that would happen quite frequently then they redesigned the engine and they used a spark plug that would break off when you went to change it. Because it has an unusual design, nobody else uses this, it’s an obscure design and many times the spark plugs would break off inside the bore. So it’s not the kind of thing you want to take out readily. If you’re going to change the spark plugs and you do have to from time to time, although there is a long service interval fortunately, but when you do there can be an extra, anywhere from one to eight hours worth the labour to change that. Well if you add that up, that’s a lot of extra money. So that’s things that shouldn’t happen. And then finally in 2008, 2009 they put a proper spark plug in where it doesn’t break off any more and it doesn’t blow out, so I don’t know why it took 10 years to figure that out but it did. Anyway, so that’s some of the things with Ford V8 engines, I mean they do have timing chain problems and a lot of the overhead cam engines and these are engines where you’ve got to do good maintenance. We’ve talked about this before, change your oil regularly, change it a little more often than the factory interval but make sure you change it, don’t ever let it run low on oil. Any engine with an overhead valve system, overhead cam, sorry, you’ve got to keep the lubrication going in the engine, it’s absolutely critical.

Mark: So on some of the other vehicles, the Explorer and Ranger often use a V6, how are they?

Bernie: Again, I’d only rate these engines as being fair. They run well, they work well but given a bit of time, they tend to, after a few years like 10 or more years old, they tend to start having timing chain problems and again these are really expensive to fix, they’re not a simple fix. The 4 litre engine has one timing chain at the back of the engine and you have to pull the engine out just to replace it. So again, there’s a lot of issues with these, we’ve replaced a lot of engines in these. When they run well, they are good and they do tend to go for a long time but again, good maintenance is important. I can’t comment too much on the Ecoboost engine, we don’t see a lot of trucks with them, I know they are fairly popular. In the early years when they came out, we serviced a number of these vehicles for a fleet and they seemed to be good, but again this is an engine that has two turbo chargers on the V6 for fuel economy, it’s a smart idea but two turbo chargers, even one turbo charger is expensive, so when two go it’ll cost a lot. So again, good maintenance, change the oil regularly, you know do that it’ll keep things going.

Mark: And the rest of the stuff? How’s the rest of the truck?

Bernie: Oh the rest of the truck, yeah, again I’d say fair, I mean, there are a number of things that happen, I’m thinking, overall the drivetrain and chassis on an F150 for instance, it’s quite well built, quite reliable, steering, suspension components last a long time, brakes pretty good, differentials, transmissions, they’re all pretty reliable as well, same with the Explorer. The early Explorers had a lot of transmission problems but the newer ones, when I say newer, like the last 10 years have been pretty trouble free. So yeah they’re pretty good, other than the few nick picky electrical issues that can happen on any vehicle, they’re overall pretty good.

Mark: Final thoughts?

Bernie: Yeah, good trucks but like any vehicle, educate yourself on what can go wrong with it before you buy it and that’ll kind of help in your decision. If you want an F150 with a diesel, I’d buy something that was newer than like a 2009 and newer because you’re not going to have that spark plug problem has you have in the older ones, and make sure the vehicle is well maintained if you buy something used. That’s really really important.

Mark: So if you’re looking for service for your vehicle, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, we’ve get a lot of feedback right now Bernie can you turn your speakers down? Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver - 604-327-7112 or check out the website pawlikautomotive.com. Remember they’ve been voted 16-15-16 times Best Auto Repair in Vancouver, they are the guys to see if you need your truck serviced in Vancouver. Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark, talk to you later.

About the author 

Bernie Pawlik

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