Ford Super Duty Problems: 4 Known Issues (Explained)

The Ford Super Duty is a suave line of trucks produced and marketed by the Ford Motor Company. The company launched the Super Duty in 1998 for the 1999 model year with the F-250, F-350, F-450, and F-550 trucks.

Super Duty trucks are characterized by their heavy-duty chassis and massive towing/hauling capabilities. Currently, in its fourth generation, the Ford Super Duty continues to dazzle with its excellent features and massive capacity.

However, there have been several complaints about the Ford Super Duty and we shall delve into some of them below.

1. Unusual Spark Plugs Blowout

A commonly reported issue about the gas-dricen Ford Super Duty is the random blowout of the spark plugs.

This problem is common with the 2001-2003 models of the Ford F-250 and is caused by several issues.

The average mileage for this issue is around 125,000-150,000 miles. Considering the fact that Super Duty trucks are touted to remain active even when they cross double that number, it can be problematic.

Possible Causes and Solutions

Here are potential causes of this problem and their solutions:

Faulty Threads

Spark plugs are often installed on threads and installing them on damaged threads is a recipe for a blowout.

The best way to deal with the thread issue is checking the spark plugs every 20,000-30,000 miles to make sure everything is satisfactory.

Loose Spark Plugs

This is one of the most common and recurrent causes of a spark plug blowout in Ford Super Duty vehicles.

When a plug is not well-tightened, it is bound to get loose at some point, which causes it to move haphazardly around the threads.

Truth is, as much as we are most inclined to blame human error for loose spark plugs, the fault may also be with the engine. Some engines are more likely to have loose spark plugs and this should be looked into.

Faulty Design

If you are an old-timer in the auto world, you might remember an issue with the Ford Triton engine in the early ‘00s. Many vehicle owners reported the spark plugs blowing out and a consensus from bulletins and experts revealed it was a problem with the engine head.

Apparently, the engine only used four threads alongside a weak aluminum, which caused the frequent blowouts.

What to Do:

We advise checking in for a proper diagnosis of the plugs and the engine the next time you service the car.

Related: Do Ford Super Duty Trucks Last Long? (8 Important Facts)

1. The Vehicle Wobbles

Wobbling is also a rampant issue with the Ford Super Duty.

It refers to the shaking and vibrating of the vehicle which usually starts with the steering wheel.

According to reports from Super Duty owners, the wobble problem often appears at about 70,000 to 80,000 miles on the odometer. This issue can be triggered by a number of causes which we are about to see below.

Possible Causes and Solutions

Truth is, there is no one malfunction responsible for wobbling on the Super Duty truck. It is often a culmination of multiple issues, including:

Bad Steering Alignment

One of the major causes is misaligned steering.

Trucks like the Ford Super Duty are often used for heavy-duty tasks and are also driven on rough paths with potholes and the likes.

While the Super Duty trucks can handle this perfectly, the steering wheel must be properly aligned. If not, you are looking at a potential death wobble.

However, a properly aligned steering wheel will significantly reduce the chances of the problem.

Tire Pressure

Most auto experts, when confronted with a wobble issue, often check the vehicle’s tire pressure first to see that you haven’t inflated to max psi. This is because over-inflated, under-inflated as well as mismatched tire pressures are all major triggers.

Hence, it’s very important to ensure that your tires are properly inflated as this could help forestall wobbles.

Tire Balance

Another issue that can trigger wobbling on your Ford Super Duty is imbalanced tires. For most people, the only time tire balancing matters is when they are mounted, after which they pay little to it. It’s important to check tire balancing when rotating tires.

Tires wear as time passes and this often leads to subtle changes in the weights and proportions which could put them out of balance.

Out-of-balance tires are no good for a vehicle as they may trigger a death wobble alongside other issues.

Hence, it is important to balance and rotate your tires frequently. You could do this every time you change your oil and not only will this help prevent a death wobble, it can also assist with tire wear.

Faulty Tie Rod

The tie rod is an important component, especially for heavy-duty trucks like the Ford Super Duty. It links the steering knuckles and helps to carry over input from the drag link to the wheels.

A common temptation with Super Duty owners is the urge to add larger tires that are perfect for off-road conditions. While this is a welcome move, these large tires may increase the stress on the tie rod, causing them to bend or wear out on either end.

If this happens, you are likely to experience steering wheel vibration, oscillations, and serious loss of control, which are all signs of a death wobble.

Defective Wheel Bearings

Wheel bearing exists to aid the vehicle’s load, which allows it to turn smoothly. Usual signs of a defective wheel bearing include vibration and instability alongside a squealing noise.

Steering Damper Wear

The steering damper absorbs secondary vibrations that may activate a death wobble. While it isn’t exactly a breakthrough solution for death wobbles, it plays an important role in the system.

The damper often wears out over time and may need replacement. The best way to stay on top of this is to have an expert check it regularly.

Other causes include:

• Faulty Ball Joints

Worn Control Arm

• Bad Steering Box and Internal Gears

What To Do:

The best way to deal with a death wobble scare or situation is enlisting an auto expert’s services.

That way, the expert can run a thorough/professional check and provide solutions and recommendations.

Related: Ford Super Duty: 11 Facts & Statistics You Should Know

2. Premature Transmission Failure

Ford Super Duty owners often report transmission failures with their trucks, especially the models made in the early 2000s. We found a barrage of complaints about the issue and the average mileage of occurrence is 62,750 miles. Some owners even experienced this with less than 30,000 miles on the odometer.

Signs of transmission failure include burning smell, transmission warning or check engine light, gear slippages amongst others.

Possible Causes and Solutions

A vehicle is only as good as its transmission, which makes transmission failure a very serious issue. Below are the major causes of transmission failure:

Transmission Fluid Level

The transmission fluids help to lubricate the system. Low transmission fluid may cause serious issues like overheating, gear shift troubles, gear slippage amongst others.

Blocked Filter

A clogged transmission filter equals an unwanted obstruction to the passage of automatic transmission fluid. This will dampen the effectiveness of the overall transmission system and may prove catastrophic if it’s not fixed early enough.

Torque Converter Issues

The torque converter is often filled with fluid to enable it to transfer torque from the engine to the transmission. Consequently, a faulty torque converter may cause considerable damage to the transmission.

Solenoid Problems

A solenoid simply regulates the flow of transmission fluid, and a faulty solenoid may trigger slippages in the system.

What To Do:

Experiencing transmission failure is not at all a great feeling, especially when it happens before your truck clocks 100,000 miles. This is more reason why we advise calling on a trusted auto mechanic for a lasting fix.

Related: Ford F-250 In Snow & Winter Driving? (Explained)

3. Premature Engine Failure

Very few components are as crucial as an engine when it comes to keeping a car alive and efficient. Hence, it was rather disappointing to find that engine failure was a common issue with some Ford Super Duty trucks.

Even more disappointing is the fact that the average mileage for this engine issue is just about 90,000 miles.

Possible Causes and Solutions

An engine failure on the Ford Super Duty may be caused by a myriad of reasons, some of which are:

Overheating Engine

Overheating may cause engine failure if it’s not given the required attention at an early stage. It is often caused by the loss of the engine coolant or low coolant level, which may be due to leaks in the engine.

Also, when changing the antifreeze, it is important to fill up the cooling system completely. Failure to do this can create steam pockets, which can make the engine run hot.

Lack of Lubrication

Regular lubrication is indubitably one of the most important ways to maintain an engine and keep it running. Not only do these lubricating oils help reduce friction, they also forestall unwanted heat.

Hence, a reduction in or stoppage of oil flow in the engine is a recipe for failure.


A detonation in the engine system is often the result of wild and irregular combustion in the engine. This leads to an inordinate production of heat and pressure in the combustion chamber, which is usually accompanied by a knocking noise.

Reasons for the menace that is detonation include issues with the exhaust gas recirculation system, incorrect spark plugs, and bad ignition timing.

What To Do:

Dealing with an engine failure is a tasking and troubling process, and it takes a lot of time and money. To ensure all of that does not go to waste, we advise transferring the vehicle to an expert for a proper fix.

General Pros and Cons

Here are some pros and cons of the Ford Super Duty lineup:


Here are some selling points of Super Duty trucks:

Powerful engines: The Ford Super Duty is reputed for the powerful engines on all of its variants. For the recent versions of the F-350, a 6.2-liter V8 engine is standard, which dispenses up to 385 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque. The F-250 also comes correct with several engine options, including a 6.7-liter V8 engine and a 7.3-liter gasoline V8.

Massive Towing Capacity: Towing is one of the major strengths of the Ford Super Duty. The F-250 variant can tow as much as 22,800 pounds with a fifth-wheel arrangement. The Ford F-350 can go even further with a towing capacity of 37,000 pounds when a gooseneck is attached.

Smooth Off-Road Experience: The Ford Super Duty offers an intriguing off-road package which is cleverly named “the Tremor package”. This package equips the truck with running boards, all-terrain tires, and a lift kit, which all makes for an exciting, hassle-free off-road trip. Besides this, the trucks have different driving modes for varying situations, which include normal mode, eco mode, Tow/Haul, Deep Sand/Snow, and Slippery mode.

Advanced Camera Options: Driving a truck as large as the Ford SuperDuty means you won’t always get the chance to monitor everything- especially things behind you. The Ford SuperDuty helps in this respect with sophisticated video technology that gives you a 360-degree view of the entire truck.

Comfort And Entertainment Features: Who says everything has to be boring and dry inside when driving heavy-duty trucks? Not Ford. The Ford Super Duty is equipped with a variety of infotainment features, including the FordConnect that allows you to hook up to the Internet. Other features include an 8-inch touch screen, Bang & Olufsen sound system with 10 speakers, and a wireless charging option.


Here are some shortcomings of the Ford Super Duty series:

  • Unusual Spark Plugs Blowout
  • Terrifying Death Wobble
  • Premature Transmission Failure
  • Premature Engine Failure

What Do the Reviews Say?

“The Ford Super Duty faces fierce competition from GM and Ram, but new tech features for the Super Duty help raise the bar in Ford’s favor. While we would recommend the Power Stroke diesel V8 for heavy towing, the new 7.3-liter gas engine is a good middle ground. It will have plenty of power for towing without the higher MSRP of the diesel models.”

Source: Automoblog

The Ford Super Duty may be a family truck to some, or a tool to others—perhaps, even a status symbol in some places—but the heavy-duty trucks still offer eye-popping capabilities and an open bed with nearly limitless possibilities. “

Source: TheCarConnection

What Is The Resale Value Of A Ford SuperDuty?

Model Year Mileage Price
2003 Ford Super Duty 110,350 miles $14,990
2005 Ford Super Duty 172,603 miles $13,900
2013 Ford Super Duty 128,693 miles $24,983
2015 Ford Super Duty 95,072 miles $48,495
2017 Ford Super Duty 97,985 miles $49,409
2019 Ford Super Duty 18,551 miles $49,499
2020 Ford Super Duty 5,982 miles $62,499
2021 Ford Super Duty 5,366 miles $66,999

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ⓘ  The information in this article is based on data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall reports, consumer complaints submitted to the NHTSA, reliability ratings from J.D. Power, auto review and rating sites such as Edmunds, specialist forums, etc. We analyzed this data to provide insights into the best and worst years for these vehicle models.