There are a bunch of Ford vehicles that have lived up to the automaker’s claims of durability and reliability. Unfortunately, Ford also has had its fair share of models that went against the “Built Ford Tough” slogan.
Ford F-250 Super Duty trucks , for instance, have been both hit and miss when it comes to delivering on the motto. F-250s are a popular choice as work trucks and off-road machines. However, while there’s been no lack of praise for this Duty series, it’s been far from smooth sailing. Issues and problems affecting certain models have come up over the years.
Let’s take a look at the most common problems with the Ford F250 Super Duty.
1 – Death Wobble
The Ford F250 death wobble is easily the most significant problem for any Ford Super Duty owner. It’s plagued nearly every model year of Ford Super Duty trucks since 2005.
So what is the death wobble? This refers to the common problems or steering issues found in a Ford Super Duty truck (typically the Ford F-250 and F-350). It usually happens when drivers are traveling over 60 MPH and hit a bump in the road. The steering wheel begins shaking violently, leaving owners unable to control their trucks and often leading to car accidents.
How to Fix: Solutions include wheel alignment and tightening the track bar joint at the axles. However, Ford has yet to release a blanket solution for this Super Duty problem, and drivers can only hope they don’t experience it with their respective vehicles.
2 – Spark Plug Ejection
This is one of the more unique Ford F 250 problems and started plaguing the model year 1999 – lasting all the way up until around 2008. This has been a known problem with the Triton V8. The spark plugs on the Ford F 250 would suddenly eject, coming loose from the engine heads and piercing the hood, potentially damaging the engine and anything else in its path.
Many Ford F-250 owners even reported a fire caused by the ejection of the spark plugs and other significant damage. The repair bill for the Ford F 250 was quite high, as not only did the holes have to be repaired, but also the damage done to the cylinder heads, which could total into the thousands.
How to Fix: Ultimately, it was found the threads of the spark plugs were too short and needed to be modified before reinstalling. Some have had success using Heli-Coil kits to do this. Mechanics also advise properly torquing the plugs.
3 – Transmission Failure
The latest set of issues with the Ford F 250 is in the 2020 model year, the fourth generation, lie in the transmission of the Ford truck. Complaints include power loss, shifting problems, metal-to-metal grinding noises, and overall reliability problems.
Normally these complaints surface around the 50,000-mile mark – incredibly early for a model year that late. The cost to replace the transmission on this model year can total up to the $3,000-plus mark – hardly a small expense – especially in a near brand-new vehicle.
How to Fix: It’s critical to keep the transmission system well-maintained. Fluid changes every recommended interval helps. Sometimes, these problems are caused by bad sensors. Having the F-250 scanned can quickly reveal if there are any faulty sensors. In the 2020 model year, it’s also important to have the torque converter checked at every maintenance since a damper plate in the component is prone to breakage.
4 – Shuddering and Rattling Noises
The shuddering and rattling is a significant problem for the 2016 Ford truck, with most complaints on the vehicle stemming from engine reliability problems. Many drivers reported an extremely short knock or shutter – which alternatively, points toward fuel system issues. The fuel system isn’t passing enough gas to the engine, causing it to shudder and hesitate.
Clicking and clunking noises may also point at overheating engines which can be caused by low engine coolant levels, leaks or clogs in hoses or radiator, or a buster water pump. Be mindful for any warnings in your instrument cluster that’d indicate a high temperature warning.
Otherwise, the problem is far more sinister. Some complaints claim the truck feels like it’s going to fall apart – which typically points toward death wobble problems for the Ford F-250.
How to Fix: Because these complaints are so diverse and cover a wide range of options, it’s difficult to estimate the cost of repair. Having each of these systems checked should reveal the underlying cause.
5 – Exhaust System Faults
The 2015 Ford F 250 truck had diesel engine issues for that particular version of the pickup – DEF fluid system faults were reported widely from many consumers. Drivers reported the truck would lose engine power at about 50 MPH – and the Ford F 250 would not accelerate any higher than this speed.
The warning light would be triggered, alerting the driver to low DEF (exhaust fluid) for the diesel engine system. However, many times it would happen after drivers just refilled with DEF.
This problem ended up being DEF pump leaks – which costs anywhere from $1,900 to $2,400. The worst part is the reliability factor – many owners experienced a substantially short life from this pump and ended up replacing it three or four times.
How to Fix: Fixing the leak and making sure that there’s ample DEF in the system can help mitigate this issue.
6 – Premature Brake Failure
On many F 250 models, drivers had big problems with brake failure. The most common problem with the life of the brakes and their overall reliability mostly lies in the rotors.
The front brakes often had rotors that warped, causing serious trouble – like loss of control and steering. This turned out to be another contributor to the famous wobble. Strangely enough, there turned out to be several sources for this problem.
How to Fix: Check for any signs of uneven wear on brake pads or scratches in the rotors. Installing aftermarket pads and rotors can also help avoid failure.
7 – Oil Leak
Oil leaks and other oil-related problems included low oil pressure from leaking, service lights remaining on, premature wear due to constant use, and other issues.
Essentially, any F 250 from 1999 – 2011, and 2017-2021, has the potential to experience an oil-related occurrence. The issues ended up stemming from a number of different sources, including faulty gaskets and O-rings around the pistons and heads.
How to Fix: Oil leaks can be fixed by identifying what’s causing it. For the F-250, it’s best to always check the gaskets and o-rings for any wear. If they have indications of leaking, they should be replaced.
The Ford F-250: Reliable Powerhouse or a Letdown?
Undoubtedly the Ford F 250 has had its fair share of challenges. One would say even more so than most of the other trucks in its class. In this situation you must take the good with the bad. While this Ford pickup does have its lackluster years and major issues, you can’t overlook some of the great things with this model.
To start, it did have one of the most incredible diesel engines ever made – the 7.3L PowerStroke Diesel. You can scoff at the F-250’s performance either. It can pull at least twenty thousand lbs of whatever you need to haul. Any Ford enthusiast would be more than willing to deal with these issues if only for what the F-250 can deliver.