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03' F150 4.6L - flutter / ticking noise


Old 10-18-2003, 04:04 PM
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03' F150 4.6L - flutter / ticking noise

There is only 2500 miles on the truck bought 1.5 months ago
When engine is over 35mph - annoying noise occurs.
Noticed it after 500 miles, thought it was still breaking in? Sounds like exhaust leak or lifter knock?
Brought it to dealer and mechanic took a drive with me and he definitely heard it. He thought is was an exhaust leak.
The truck has been there since Thursday morning.
Just now got the answer, that there is some ford Bulletin out describing noise.
There is "supposedly" nothing dealer can do until the engineers come up with solution.
I would NOT have bought the vehicle if I knew this was the case.

Vehicle specs:
03 F150 XL Supercab 4.6L V8 (4x4) work truck group package.

I drive alot of highway miles to jobsites and consider this explanation totally unacceptable.

What do you all think / any suggestions? first time Ford owner.
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Old 10-18-2003, 10:59 PM
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Location: Maine
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Did the bulletin say where the noise was coming from?
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Old 10-19-2003, 01:27 AM
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Location: Texass
Posts: 612
There has been some issues with the 4.6 and 5.4's blowing out sparks plugs. Blowing them right out of the head and taking the threads with them. Sometimes, major engine damage has resulted. Almost ALWAYS a ticking like an "exhaust leak" was heard shortly before the plug came out. This has happened to literally hundreds of trucks from the showroom floor to 100k+ miles. Ford knows of this but has done nothing about it. The lowest mileage I have ever heard about this happening with is 2k. Being at 2500, you might want to discuss this with the tech.

There is a thread here regarding this "known" problem.

We have 10 give or take F150's at the AFB, 3 have had the plug puking syndrome. All govt. owned so you KNOW service has been on the dot.
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Old 10-19-2003, 07:28 PM
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I read a thread earlier about Ford having a bulletin out on a Muffler problem on build dates prior to 6/03
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Old 10-21-2003, 12:01 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Covina, CA
Posts: 27
Same exact problem with my 03 except it's not a 4x4. Dealership "didn't notice any problems". Haven't had time to take it somewhere else yet.

Anyone know offhand what size plug socket and extension I should use to check for 14 lbs. of torque? Currently all my tools are at work and a little bit of a hassle at the moment to take them home. Thanks in advance. (Can't search forums right now - at work )
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Old 10-21-2003, 12:55 AM
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Location: Sugar Land, TX
Posts: 282
My girldfriend's F-150 FX4 has the same noise. However, it is from the speedometer. She doesnt notice it, and i havent said anything, but i am super **** about my truck, and so i noticed it right away. It must be the speedo cable, but its definately coming from the instrument cluster. Its not loud, but its noticable.
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Old 10-21-2003, 03:33 PM
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Noise Update

I picked up the truck yesterday (Mon) from the dealer (Ernie Haire Tampa Florida) - mechanic comes up front to explain what warranty work was completed and that noise was gone.
Wishfully thinking, I hoped maybe this was true, eventhough they told me via phone on Saturday about some bulletin.
As soon as I left and got up to about 35-40mph and let off gas I could hear the noise. (tick tick tick tick...) I immediately went back and requested a copy of the "bulletin" that they told me about on Saturday. The service rep that originally wrote me up was not there, so I had to go back today.

They provided me with a copy of:


"Special Service Message" 16751 - titled:
97-03 F150 and 97-98 f250ld - rattle in exhaust system.

-May exhibit a noise coming from the catalytic converter shell that sounds similar to loose internal components. If normal workshop manual diagnostic procedures do not indicate an exhaust system malfunction, the catalyst should not be replaced. Ford Engineering is working on a repair procedure which should ne released in the near future. Please monitor Oasis for updates.

They asked me to be patient and as soon as something was released they would notify me.
My question is, "How long does near future mean?" 1 year?
The truck is less than 2 months old.
I feel like I got the total blowoff. Went and told my sales guy about it - "This is a service issue". Whatever.
Any ideas / suggestion on how to proceed?
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Old 10-21-2003, 04:25 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Woodland Hills
Posts: 277
Lemon Law?

worst case scenario... in Calif we have the Lemon Law, if the dealer can't fix the problem.... you get your money back, wow is that what I have to look forward to.... bummer I have just over 300 miles on mine was yours the 5.4 engine? mines the 4.6
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Old 10-22-2003, 06:31 PM
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To all,

I thought you might be interested in this

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Old 10-23-2003, 10:34 AM
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Thanks Jaguar
I had already seen that notice and brought to my dealers attention.
Since the noise from my engine doesn't happen at idle - they dismissed it and said it is an exhaust issue...
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Old 10-23-2003, 10:36 AM
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Location: Kansas
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I sure wish they would admit it happens in the 5.4's too

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Old 10-23-2003, 04:20 PM
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I think they are following GM's take on the situation. They have plenty of Silverados and Sierras that knock too.
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