Tuesday, April 19, 2016

It's A Love Hate Kind Of Thing 2006 Ford F150 XLT

I am a long time Ford fan and although I prefer my 2003 F150 over this one, I am pretty content with this truck. I wish that Ford would have done something like, have a recall of some sort for the major spark plug and coil pack debacle, but, I understand they refunded some people a fraction of their money back. (I wish they would have helped some of us who spent hundreds on spark plugs, coil packs, the ridiculously expensive "Ford Tool" needed to remove the spark plugs, and the 12 hours of time spent doing so.) A very, stressful, crazy 12 hours I should note.
Apparently, Ford decided to change this setup in the newer F150's and a few other Ford models. Which is good because, this alone would have changed my mind on this truck had I known at the time of purchase. But, I fell in love with this truck on the lot about 4 years ago and that was that. I did find a Ford F150 XLT with just 40k miles on it. 1 owner, who apparently didn't do much with it. He did keep after it like clockwork, had meticulous service records and was very well maintained. There were however, some goofy little quirks that I sometimes think led him to get rid of this truck at such a low mileage. But, we wouldn't find this out until, 3 months after purchase.

Like most Fords, there are these strange little things that magically happen, they are extremely tedious, peculiar things that just shouldn't happen. On the positive side, with every F150 I ever owned, every time something started acting up, it usually ended up being the least expensive, most annoying thing that could go wrong, that was a simple clean up, wipe off, tighten, kind of fix. Well, all except for that spark plug problem!!!

Oh, before I forget, the headlights are a bit annoying. They don't seem to be pointed properly in the right place and it makes seeing at nighttime, very difficult. My 2003 had much better headlights and even better when I replaced them with brighter ones. But, at nighttime, I have to drive with my high beams on as much as possible because the headlights on their own, don't give you much space to see. The high beams act somewhat like what headlights should be like, but even still, not good enough. Now, I do have poor vision but I wear glasses. However, even my husband has a hard time at night with the headlights and he has 20/20 vision. Just recently, the drivers side headlight started getting wet on the inside so, we'll be replacing these asap. They always seemed to get slightly foggy and now it's just about time to swap them out totally.
Ever since I bought this truck, there was this strange pulling and tugging when you turn. It happens more when you turn left for some reason but lately, it started to get as rough when you turn to the right. It's almost like the power steering went out. But, it didn't. (This is what I mean with these trucks. It always seems like the end of the world and you are anticipating an enormous bill BUT, it's something really, really, really stupid.) So, my husband has been wiping down and throwing all kinds of gook on the steering column and then it works fine for awhile after you drive it a few times and a few months later, it's time to do it again. (WD40 and PB Blaster does the job for any hard steering issues!) Except for just the past couple of weeks, it isn't working any longer. So, it's about time to shell out $240 for a steering knuckle, or a steering intermediate shaft. That's ok with me, even though I never had to replace one of these before in even older trucks. But, $240 once every few years for something in a truck that is more then 10 years old is better then what other pick up fans have to spend.

Another annoying problem with this truck, which also happened shortly after I bought it, was, the throttle body sensor. This sounds really dumb but, after driving and the truck shaking like crazy when you get to about 65/70 MPH, and praying that the transmission isn't going, you find out that it is nothing but this really idiotic sensor, the throttle body sensor, that seriously, just needs wiped off. (I know, right? What?) But, hey, you know, it's much better then paying for a transmission which is what some other owners actually did. Because, of course, the dealers and certified Ford techs will diagnose, spend countless hours trying to find the problem, no codes will pop up, and $2000 in labor bills later, they will claim you should replace this and that and blah blah blah LOL. Nope! Just Google search, join some forums, there are so many people who have had this exact same problem and went through spending a fortune, only for this problem not to go away. and I am dead serious. It is a few minutes of wiping this sensor off. Problem eliminated 110%!

I had these touchy, annoying issues and problems with my 2003. Not the exact same, but along these lines. Once, I was driving on the highway and it instantly started to overheat. I immediately pulled over and started to try to call my husband, my insurance in case I needed a tow, and I just came back home, and took it directly to the local mechanic down the street. Well, that was my first mistake. They checked all of the fluids, blah blah, filled them up, 3 hours later, came over to me and said, "I'm going to check online and get you prices for a motor. Maybe a tranny. I don't know just yet but I can't find the problem here. But, we could be looking at something major." So, of course I was like, UH no thanks! Let me talk to my husband first before we do something this stupid! (I'm sorry, but there are still a lot of shops and dealers who tend to disregard females and try to make us pay and agree to some really stupid things.) While I sat and waited for these dopes to try to fit even more oil in my truck, I started Google searching and came across some F150 forums. (Little did I know then that these would be saving us a fortune in the future, at the time.) and well, wouldn't you know? There were several Ford owners with the same problems. Some of them paid a fortune for a mechanic to diagnose it, some spent hours trying to diagnose the problem themselves. Thanks to these Ford owners, it took about 5 minutes and I took my keys, my kids, hopped in the truck, drove it a few blocks home, waited for my husband to get home from work so he could run for a $30 thermostat because, the thermostat broke and cracked and was laying in there, causing my truck to overheat. Fixed the problem right up ;)

I have to stress that as much as I want to punch my 2006 F150 some days, I just want to hug it too. It is very reliable, safe, easy to maintain, (you can find most solutions right in the forums and on Youtube.) it's roomy, (enough for my 3 little ones in the back, some grocery bags at their feet, a few in the front passenger seat, and of course the bed of the truck), the factory stereo is doable. Mine came with a 6 disc CD changer that also has some little quirky things from time to time.... (Just in case, when the CD player reads, "Stuck", don't fret! Google search that problem and remove the player and click on a couple of little knobs and your CD will come out, good as new and you can easily get that changer back inside!) this is a good, sturdy, reliable, dependable, vehicle with a decent factory stereo, a spacious center console, lots of pockets, drink holders, a nifty change holder, a couple of hidden spaces, a couple of extra spots for your kids or passengers to charge their phones or tablets, and I still haven't found any other truck that looks as mean and gorgeous as the F150. (Ok, maybe the F250!)

I am happy with mine but I'm not the one who will be in the garage in another 45k miles, trying to play real life Operation with the spark plugs. It is very important that you check into this problem, because, it is a very BIG problem. It is such a big problem that dealers actually want anywhere from $1500 to $3000 for a tune up! (I'm in East Central PA and called from Reading, PA to Hershey, PA to Lancaster, PA to Valley View, PA) and that was the price range for a tune up of all things! No thanks! It is indeed a super tedious job and very time consuming and stressful, like I said. But, with the right tool (you can find this on Amazon here, and the spark plugs and coil packs too!), and a couple of friends, a couple cases of beer, pizza, a few forums with people who post their trials and tribulations, a couple of Youtube videos, you are good to go. Oh yeah and the dealers I called wanted me to sign a waiver of some sort, that stated that I would not hold them responsible if they dropped one of the spark plugs! WHAT? NOPE! If we're going to put our truck's life on the line, let it be us. Not some already overpriced dealer.
I am surprised that there are people out there who aren't aware of the fact that when anything, and I mean, anything at all, with anything and everything, goes wrong, you only have to search for it in Google, and you will find your answer. (Almost every time.) But, I have yet to come across a problem with any Ford, that I couldn't find the solution on my own with just the internet. Just type it how you would describe it to a friend or mechanic. For example: "2006 Ford F150 hard steering problem." You'll be good to go once you join some of these forums.

Edited to add another small issue I forgot about...
The driver's seat ( power seat), started dying on me and this really sucked because um I'm a lot shorter than my husband. So, of course it always only happened when he was driving it so the seat was stuck the whole way back and I need it the whole way front. ( I'm 5'1") But we changed the fuse, worked fine. Went out again a few hours later. Changed the fuse, went out again and again and after a few days of this and calling some dealers to take this as a trade in, I found this thread about this problem..... Sure enough, there is a wire under the fuse box that needs replaced because it keeps rubbing against the fuse so, until you find this dumb wire, you won't have the power seat.

One little addition that would help with this tiny disaster, would be if Ford would have the old style bar under the driver's seat so in case of an emergency with this insane technology, you would have this to fall back on. But, why would they want to make our lives any easier?
Still, after all of this, I am very much in love with my truck and I can't stress enough how important it is to note, that after the headaches and trying to fight the sudden urges to throw your F150 straight off a cliff, they are just small things and they don't hurt so bad. You just have to find the solution.

If you like solving problems and building 5000 piece puzzles, this truck is for you!


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