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  #1  
Old 09-03-2007, 12:38 AM
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 5
Default 97 F-150 Problems

Okay, two years ago I inherited a 97 Ford f150 XLT 4.6L automatic v8. It now has 108,000 miles on it.

At 106,000 miles, I replaced the transmission (it died). But I've got some other problems.

1) oil in the coolant, yet the block is clean.
2) Smell of gas in the oil
3) Lack of power
4) Squealing under the hood (I think that is the alternator pulley bearings, but I'm not sure yet)
5) Going uphill, the truck will slip out of gear and struggle unless I'm pushing 2000RPM or higher.
6) The front left brake rotor is cracked along the spindle hub, and the rotor itself is warped. I had this same problem immediately after acquiring the truck, and they replaced the front brakes. Since it's two years later and I'm having the same problem, should I look deeper for the source of the problem (perhaps the spindle assembly itself?)
7) Although this is probably old news since I know the F-series has had some bad electrical problems, mine a) repeatedly blows the dash fuse that controls the speedo, the tach, etc... b) will occasionally (although not very often) refuse to start and c) the towing connections don't work.

Any ideas? All the fluids are clean (except those listed above) and all are at the appropriate levels. The transmission, as I said, is pretty much new and, incidentally, I've had an independent mechanic (not the guys that did the tranny work) inspect it, and they said that the tranny is in excellent condition.

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  #2  
Old 09-03-2007, 01:22 AM
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 2
Default RE: 97 F-150 Problems

Oil in the coolant is the first sign of head gasket/cracked block issues. Remember your oil pressure is much higher than the coolant pressure, so oil will invade the coolant first.

Smell of gas in the oil.. it's sounding more and more like a head gasket. Do you get water vapor in your exhaust even when the engine is warmed-up?

Lack of power could be a lot of things. Check your compression and make sure your plugs are the right temperature range. How does it idle? Is your vaccume level good?

Squealing can be the bearings in the water pump, alternator, or power steering pump. Water pumps are usually the first to go. Also check the bearings in the tensioner pully for the serpentine belt. Those rotate just as fast as the alternator and dry out even faster.

Remember that your tranny is most likely computer controlled. Fixing the engine issues will fix the tranny slipping. The computer thinks your engine is working too hard and is shifting to compensate.

What type of brake shoes are you using? If you're using ceramics, don't. They eat rotors for breakfast.

I'm not even going to touch the electrical issues. Too much going on there.

Hope this gives you something to start with.
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  #3  
Old 09-03-2007, 05:22 AM
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 5
Default RE: 97 F-150 Problems

Well, as I said, the block is clean (both sides). I had someone tell me once that it could be the oil filter adapter, since both the coolant and the oil run through it.

As far as my exhaust, I don't get water vapor, I get water. My muffler leaks water.

As far as lack of power, I don't honestly know how to check compression and all that. As far as how it idles, when i start it, it'll rev really high, settle to about 1000-1200RPM and it'll slowly go down to about 6-800. When I shift into drive, if I do it too fast, I risk going to the hospital for whiplash.

As far as the squealing, I'm pretty sure it's the alternator -- we've been having problems with it, anyway. It would not surprise me in the least to find that on top of everything else, the bearings in the alternator pulley are going bad. I've already replaced the p/s pump (about a month ago, actually).

Out of curiousity... could a rear differential going bad cause the slippage?

As far as the brake pads are concerned, I'm not entirely sure. Regardless, I doubt they are ceramic pads, because the right side rotor is in excellent condition for being two years old... it's the driver's side rotor that's gone.

-----

Curious questions:

1) How long should a drivebelt typically last? Also, mine has on the side of the belt a black strip and a grey strip. Is this a wear indicator? If so, something is really weird, because mine is still in excellent condition, and it's almost 12 years old.

2) Should I replace the driveshaft when I replace the rear axle?

3) Do you know anybody that might be able to give me some guidance on the electrical issues?
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  #4  
Old 09-03-2007, 09:20 AM
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Default RE: 97 F-150 Problems

You should talk to a service advisor at the dealership about the electrical issues or try to find somebody who is or used to be a Ford mechanic. No you don't ever have to replace the driveshaft. And yes it's time to replace the serpentine belt.

If you've been having issues with the alternator than just replace it. It's an easy job. I know they aren't cheap on some vehicles but if you have the money I'd take care of that first and foremost so your not stranded.

On the oil in the coolant issue, he's right. Your headgasket is blown. You don't necessarily have to see crap running down the engine block for it to be blown. If there is a breach just between an oil passage and a coolant passage then you won't know it until you check the coolant. If you are getting gas in the oil it may or may not be related to the headgasket issue... I don't know for sure. If you have a blown headgasket that could be exactly why it seems to have a lack of power. Could be losing your compression off of whichever cylinder has been compromised. If you know nothing about replacing headgaskets, I'd suggest taking this to a shop to have it fixed immediately before you have more problems and you have to replace the engine or park the truck in your yard as a permanent lawn ornament.

I also think he's right about the tranny slipping thing. If your engine is having all kinds of issues that would cause the tranny to get confused and not know what the crap to do. You need to get that engine repaired before trying to solve this problem.

Checking the compression is easy. You can be a compression tester gauge at most parts stores and they will tell you how to use it. I really don't think that you'll wanna waste your time with this step though. It's obvious what the problemis.
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  #5  
Old 09-03-2007, 04:12 PM
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 5
Default RE: 97 F-150 Problems

Cool.

Out of curiousity, does anybody know where I can find a full listing of blown head gasket symptoms? Or a complete illustration of where all the parts are on a triton 4.6L v8 engine? I asked this on another forum, and instead of giving me the answers I wanted, the dude wanted to pick a fight with me. So... yeah.

Any help is appreciated. Thanks guys.
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  #6  
Old 09-03-2007, 05:43 PM
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Default RE: 97 F-150 Problems

I hate to give such a generic answer but any Chilton's or Haynes manual should have a pretty good break down on the heads. Or you could scour around for Ford's repair manual for the that year of your truck. Those usually aren't cheap though and generally the only place to find them is somewhere like ebay.

As far as symptoms go... your pretty much hitting the nail on the head that you've got a blown headgasket with what you've already been tellin us.
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  #7  
Old 09-03-2007, 07:48 PM
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
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Default RE: 97 F-150 Problems

Haynes is pretty limited in what it offers. I haven't seen a Chilton's manual, so I can't say.

sigh. This sucks.
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  #8  
Old 09-03-2007, 09:39 PM
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Default RE: 97 F-150 Problems

You might try going to the dealer and see if they'll let you make a copy of the things you need out of their repair manual. They might not but it's worth a shot. I'd just walk right into the shop and talk to a technician rather than trying to find a big wig who's just gonna tell you that you should let them work on it.
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  #9  
Old 09-10-2007, 01:26 AM
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 5
Default RE: 97 F-150 Problems

Alright, update here.

I finally got a couple of extra bucks together today, and bought coolant flush, new anti-freeze, new fuel filter and some new tools (since my last toolbox got stolen >&lt. I replaced the fuel filter (which was a PITA, 12 years of rust will do that), and now I've got some of the power back, not to mention the whole thing about not being able to get uphill unless I'm pushing 2000rpm or higher is pretty much gone now. I think that once I replace the plugs and wires, I'll have the power back.

Regardless. When I dumped the contents of the fuel filter, I found that there was a LOT of dirt... to the point where when I dumped it out into a clear bottle, it was black, and smelled more horrible than regular gas, lol.

Oh yeah, other story here -- the other day, I was going uphill and the truck started sputtering and coughing, and finally I looked down, saw the Check Engine light on. Pulled over, re-started the truck and drove home. Pulled the code -- P0301. So I pulled the #1 cylinder spark plug. The plug itself is fine, if a little old. Req'd gap is .052-.056. When I gapped the plug I pulled out of the engine, it gapped at .067. So I think that's another big problem. Tomorrow when I do the coolant flush I'm gonna try and pull the plugs out and make sure they are all gapped properly until I get a chance to replace them. Any tips on how to reach the back plugs (#3, #4, #6 and #8, respectively).

Anyway. The "oil in the coolant" I found out isn't oil... Yeah, dumb me. Finally had a retired mechanic friend of mine look at it, he said it wasn't oil, just dirty coolant from being almost time to change it again. Dirt and a whole bunch of other stuff (which I'd really like to know how it got in there, but... yeah.)

And I took a screwdriver and started stethoscoping around... Found that the squealing is coming from my p/s pump. Which I think is ****ed up, because I just replaced the pump about a month ago, and it's been doing it since the day I put it in. I thought it was the alternator, but the alt checked out fine. So I'll be taking my happy *** back up to AutoZone and getting another p/s pump.

Yeah. Thanks for the help, guys.
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  #10  
Old 09-12-2007, 10:22 PM
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Default RE: 97 F-150 Problems

Don't know about the plugs. I'm a GM owner. Good to here that the truck is coming along. Keep on fixing her one thing at a time and eventually you'll get her straightened out.
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Old 09-12-2007, 10:22 PM
 
 
 
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Tags
150, 97, avalanche, beltech, checked, chevrolet, chevy, code, compression, dakota, dodge, exhaust, f150, p0301, vapor, water

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