Used Vehicle Review: Ford F 150, 2004 2008 used car reviews trucks ford
2007 Ford-F150 King Ranch; photo by Haney Louka. Click image to enlarge
Manufacturer’s web site
Ford Motor Company of Canada

Owner Reviews on autoTRADER.ca
Ford F-150 Reviews

By Chris Chase

The Ford F-150 is one of the most recognizable automotive nameplates around. No surprise when you consider that the F-Series has consistently been one of the best-selling vehicles in Canada for a long time. In the past, strong sales meant that Ford didn’t need to update the F-Series very often, but an increasingly competitive truck segment has forced Ford to keep its meat-and-potatoes model more up to date. The F-Series remained pretty much the same from 1980 to 1997, but underwent a series of significant updates between 1997 and 2009.

The 2004 to 2008 F-150 was available with three engines: a base 4.2L V6, a 4.6L V8, and a 5.4L V8. Transmissions were a five-speed manual that was available only with the V6, and a four-speed automatic that came standard with V8 motors.

Looking at fuel consumption specs, I’d advise skipping the smaller V8. Its rather meagre power advantage over the V6 doesn’t seem to outweigh its extra fuel consumption. Certainly, the 5.4L motor uses more gas than either of the smaller ones, but it is the best engine for heavy towing. The V6 would probably be adequate for occasional hauling and light towing. Granted, a spark plug problem (see below) might make the smaller V8 preferable in order to avoid future maintenance headaches.

Of course, for really heavy duty work, you’ll want to look into one of the more robust F-250/350/450 models. These were available with larger gasoline and diesel V8s and offered much higher payloads and towing capacities.

Half-ton F-150 trucks have a decent reputation as far as long-term durability, but there are a few things to watch for.

Used Vehicle Review: Ford F 150, 2004 2008 used car reviews trucks ford
2007 Ford-F150 Lariat. Click image to enlarge

One common issue in 2004-2006 trucks with the 5.4L three-valve V8 is spark plugs that break off in the cylinder head when it comes time to replace the plugs. This has the potential to turn what should be a simple, routine maintenance item into an expensive problem. Worst case scenario is that the cylinder head(s) have to be removed in order to remove the broken plug(s). Ford issued a Technical Service Bulletin to reduce the chances of this happening. Ford apparently redesigned the 5.4′s heads and spark plugs at the end of November, 2007, so this warning only applies to trucks with that motor built before that date.

The F-150′s four-wheel drive system engages electronically, by way of a dashboard switch and a solenoid under the hood. That solenoid (which is a fancy word for another type of switch) is prone to moisture infiltration. By what I gather from this discussion, a failed solenoid can damage the front hubs and the motor that engages the 4WD gears in the transfer case. Ford redesigned the solenoid to incorporate a little “roof” to keep moisture off of it; you can see some photos of the differences between new and old here.

It’s common (in many rear-wheel drive vehicles, and not just the F-150) for the rear differential to leak where the driveshaft meets it; the culprit is a bad pinion seal.

Front brake rotors that warp easily are another frequent cause of concern, and a hesitation and/or hard shifts from the automatic transmission can often be fixed by reprogramming the transmission control module.

Used Vehicle Review: Ford F 150, 2004 2008 used car reviews trucks ford
2007 Ford-F150 Lariat. Click image to enlarge

An HVAC system that won’t switch between vent modes (or takes a long time to do so) is likely caused by a broken “blend door” assembly. Ford issued a technical service bulletin for this part.

Both Consumer Reports and TrueDelta.com show the F-150 to be a fairly solid truck in general, with few serious common flaws.

Crash safety appears to be good. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the 2004 F-150 five stars for driver and front passenger protection in a frontal impact. Also, both two- and four-wheel drive models got four star rollover ratings. Same deal from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS); the F-150 earned that organization’s “good” rating in frontal offset crash testing. Neither organization conducted side impact testing.

According to Canadian Black Book, the F-150 appears to be the least-expensive full-size pickup on the used market, coming in $2,000 to $3,000 less than comparable Chevrolet and Dodge trucks in 1500 configuration. The Toyota Tundra, not surprisingly, is the priciest, and the only full-sizer to get Consumer Reports’ “good bet” recommendation. That said, the F-150 is a solid truck, and a distinct reliability advantage over its domestic competitors, making its lower used values even more attractive.

Be wary of early trucks with the 5.4 L engine, and if this is to be your first truck, make yourself aware of the problems that can—and probably will—happen with a modern 4WD system. Shop carefully, and a used F-150 should prove to be an affordable and durable vehicle.

Pricing

Black Book Pricing (avg. retail) June, 2012:

Year
Model
Price today
Price new
2008
F-150 XLT SuperCab 4WD
$19,450
$36,099
2007
F-150 XLT SuperCab 4WD
$17,450
$36,699
2006
F-150 XLT SuperCab 4WD
$15,700
$38,465
2005
F-150 XLT SuperCab 4WD
$14,300
$39,965
2004
F-150 XLT SuperCab 4WD
$12,975
$38,680
Online resources
There are loads of F-150 sites online, but three of my favourites are F150Forum.com, F150Online.com, Ford-Trucks.com and FordF150.net, all of which have discussion sections dedicated to the 2004–2008 F-150.
Recalls
Transport Canada Recall Number: 2004317; Units affected: 16
2004: Certain vehicles may have a fuel tank with a depression at the seam between top and bottom halves of the tank (not visible from outside the fuel tank). If a depression is large enough, fuel may permeate the fuel tank wall resulting in a fuel odour, illumination of the “Service Engine Soon” indicator light, or a fuel leak. A fuel leak in the presence of an ignition source could result in a fire. Correction: Dealers will replace the fuel tank.

Transport Canada Recall Number: 2004141; Units affected: 20
2004:On certain vehicles, localized depressions in the fuel tank wall at the seam between the top and bottom halves of the tank may allow fuel to permeate resulting in a fuel odour, and/or a Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL) illumination. Correction: Dealer will replace the fuel tank.

Transport Canada Recall Number: 2006032; Units affected: 17,390
2005-2006:Certain vehicles were built with a software error in the instrument cluster. This error could prevent the Antilock Brake System (ABS) warning light from illuminating if the ABS module ever became inoperative. Correction: Dealers will recalibrate the instrument cluster.

Transport Canada Recall Number: 2005356; Units affected: 13,581
2006:On certain vehicles, the windshield wiper motor may have been produced without grease applied to the output shaft gear. After a period of continuous use on the high-speed setting, lack of grease may cause the gear teeth to distort and/or fracture during operation, resulting in the loss of wiper function. Correction: Dealers will inspect and, if required, apply grease to the output shaft gear.

Transport Canada Recall Number: 2007241; Units affected: 4
2007:On certain vehicles, the fuel tank may contain localized depressions in the tank wall at the seam between the top and bottom halves of the tank. If the depression is large enough, fuel may permeate the fuel tank wall resulting in a fuel odour, Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL) illumination or a fuel leak. A fuel leak in the presence of an ignition source may result in a fire. Correction: Dealers will replace the fuel tank.

Transport Canada Recall Number: 2004167; Units affected: 208
2004:Certain F250/350 King Ranch and Lariat 4×4 single rear wheel vehicles equipped with Goodyear Wrangler AT/S LT275/65R18 tires fail to conform to the requirements of CMVSS 120. One or more of the tires installed may have an incorrect load range rating for the vehicle, which can result in a tire being overloaded. If a tire is operated in an over-loaded or over-inflated condition, the tire may rupture without warning resulting in a rapid air loss, which could increase the risk of a crash. Correction: Dealer will replace the load range “C” tires with load range “E” tires.

Transport Canada Recall Number: 2005182; Units affected: 5,528
2005:On certain pick-up trucks and chassis cab vehicles equipped with 5.4L and 6.8L gasoline engines, a fuel jumper line may separate from the connection to the main fuel bundle. If the fuel line separates, an operator may notice a gasoline odour and/or fuel on the ground, loss of power, and eventual engine stall. A fuel leak in the presence of an ignition source could result in a fire. Correction: Dealers will install an external retention clip at the fuel jumper line to main fuel bundle connection.

Transport Canada Recall Number: 2007099; Units affected: 4,307
2008:On certain trucks equipped with 6.4L diesel engines, excessive temperatures in the diesel particulate filter may cause a visible flame out the tailpipe. Excessively hot exhaust or flames emitting from the tailpipe, in the presence of combustible material, may result in a fire, or may result in personal injury if a person is in close proximity to the tailpipe. Correction: Dealers will reprogram the powertrain control module.

Transport Canada Recall Number: 2007100; Units affected: 52
2008:On certain trucks equipped with 6.4L diesel engines, insufficient clearance between the positive battery cable and the right hand splash shield bolt may result in wire chaffing damage and the risk of an electrical short. If this occurs, possible heat or fire damage to the cable and/or other components, either under-hood or near other possible ground points on the vehicle, may occur. Correction: Dealers will inspect and, if necessary, reposition the positive battery cable.

Transport Canada Recall Number: 2005183; Units affected: 16,601
2004:On certain vehicles equipped with a 6.0L diesel engine, the Fuel Injection Control Module (FICM) wire harness may chafe against an engine bolt. Also, the Injection Control Pressure (ICP) sensor connector terminals may have an improper crimp height that may result in intermittent or permanent loss of the ICP sensor signal. FICM wire harness chafes or improper ICP sensor connector crimps may cause the vehicle to stall without warning while driving. If the vehicle stalls, it may or may not restart. Correction: For all F-Superduty and Excursion vehicles, dealers will inspect the FICM wire harness for chafing. If bare wires have not been exposed, dealers will install a wire protection kit. If bare wires have been exposed, dealers will install a new wire harness. For all E-Series and, depending on build date, some F-Superduty and Excursion vehicles, dealers will install a new ICP sensor connector with certified crimps.

Crash test results

Used vehicle prices vary depending on factors such as general condition, odometer reading, usage history and options fitted. Always have a used vehicle checked by an experienced auto technician before you buy.For information on recalls, see Transport Canada’s web-site, www.tc.gc.ca, or the U.S. National Highway Transportation Administration (NHTSA)web-site, www.nhtsa.dot.gov.

For information on vehicle service bulletins issued by the manufacturer, visit www.nhtsa.dot.gov.

For information on consumer complaints about specific models, see www.lemonaidcars.com.