4.2L engine in 1997 F150 bombed at 80k miles
4.2L engine in 1997 F150 bombed at 80k miles. No warning to speak of. Came to work, and it was running good. Left work, started truck, and the engine responded with a loud "clack, clack, clack ...". Oil was clean. The only evidence whatsoever of a malfunction was a slow subtle loss of coolant, but since there was no green puddles under the vehicle, I simply ignored it, topping off the coolent at every oil change.
I am original owner, and at 25k miles, had to get a new front cover gasket, as the engine was leaking green fluid onto ground. Luckily that was under warranty. According to leakingfords.com, there is also a defect with the lower intake manifold gasket, that can stealthily leak coolent into the cylinder heads
My garage installed a Reman'ed motor, at $3700, which included a lotta new gizmos, like new lifters, water pumps, belts, hoses, etc. I got tagged with additional $400 for rental car as well. The mechanic said "oh yeah, we get these 1997 Fords in here all the time. In fact, I have 2 more come in right behind yours".
I sent an email to "firstname.lastname@example.org", and received a call back from Duncun Alderson, of Ford Executive Offices. Phone 313-322-3000. Hit 0 twice, and ask operator for Duncun. Duncun patiently listened to my story, got my VIN# and put me on hold to "talk with engineering". He returned about 10 minutes later, saying that there is nothing he can do. Me: so thats that? Him: yes, thats that. Sorry ....
Consumer Reports lists the 1997 F150s as very reliable. I suppose most of those surveyed have the good Triton V8 motors.