Ford F-250: Common Problems

Explore and learn how to solve the problems most common to F-250 and F-350 Super Duty trucks.

By James Karuga - December 11, 2014
Contributors: Gary Wescott

This article applies to the Ford F-250, F-350 Super Duty (2005-2014).

Here's what you should know before buying a Ford F-250 or F-350 Super Duty. we will recaps some of problems common to Super Duties, costs of repairing them, and preventative measures for owners. This walk through explores possible common problems plaguing the Ford Super Duty models, costs of repairing them, and preventive measures for owners. According to various motoring enthusiasts, Ford Super Duty F-250 and F-350 models are relatively reliable compared to F-150 models. The mechanical issues addressed in this walk through tend to be isolated, although regular supervision is advised.

Step 1 - Is the engine coolant leaking?

Both the F-250 and F-350 Super Duty models have exhaust gas re-circulation (EGR) valves that can leak coolant. When white smoke comes from the tail pipe, it’s an indicator the valves are leaking and need a check up. A faulty defective thermostat bypass is also another coolant leak source. This can make the cooling system pressure spike, causing the radiator to fail. If this happens, the thermostat assembly and radiator need replacing. Repairing these leaks can cost from $700 to $1,700.

Figure 1. Check the EGR valves for leaks.

Step 2 - Is there cavitation or liner pitting?

The Super Duty diesel engines are prone to liner pitting if the cooling system is poorly maintained. During cavitation, air bubbles or ice forms on the engine’s water pump causing corrosion. To prevent liner pitting, motoring experts advise to regularly add antifreeze like Nalcool or Caterpillar ELC over the existing coolant as a preventative measure. Antifreeze costs from $60 to $200, which is cheaper than doing engine repairs or overhauls that can cost over $1,000. Antifreeze also restores the coating that prevents corrosion.

Figure 2. Cavitation on front engine cover.

Step 3 - Has a spark plug ejected from the cylinder head?

An ejection of a spark plug causes damage to threads in the spark plug hole. When this happens, Ford truck experts recommend replacing the cylinder head. A cylinder head costs approximately $400 online. Since cylinder heads control airflow to the engine when faulty, they cause increased inefficiency in oil consumption and additional engine repair expenses.

Figure 3. A broken spark plug in the cylinder head.

Pro Tip

If you hear a ticking sound when your Super Duty is at idle, it’s a likely indication a spark plug is about to eject. A basic mechanical precaution is to check if the plug is tight enough. When spark plugs are damaged, motoring experts recommend replacing them with more reliable heli-coils.

Step 4 - Does the engine lack power?

This can occur due to a loose hose from the turbo charger to the intake manifold, consequently resulting in loss of engine boost pressure. One indicator of impeding loss of power is a mild tapping sound from the engine that forewarns of possible serious internal engine failure. The occurrence is possible when F-250 and F-350 trucks are going up a hill.

Figure 4. Hoses connected to the turbo charger should be secured.

Step 5 - Is the fuel tank delaminating?

Delamination results from the fuel pump being clogged by small metal and liner chips from the tank. The clogging chokes the engine and halts its power. One solution is to buy a new tank, which can cost from $1,200 to over $2,400, or repair the tank (not a long-term solution), which costs from $200 to $400. The drawback to the first solution is that a new tank from Ford motors may develop the same problems in the long term. Repair shops are finding a way around this problem by putting a stronger liner on the faulty Ford tank.

Figure 5. Fuel tank delamination.

Step 6 - Does the steering wheel vibrate when braking?

If so, this could be due to warped rotors. Warping happens when brake pad material is exposed to highly heated rotors and pressure after a sudden stop, and results in rough spots on the rotor's surface. Motoring experts advise to go for slow, gradual stops rather than sudden braking while driving to preserve the rotor pads, which cost upwards of $100.

Figure 6. Warped rotors could be causing your steering wheel's vibration.

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