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Old 08-10-2016, 06:17 PM   #1
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F-150 issues - go or no go?

My F-150 has thrown the dreaded "wrench" symbol, which essentially kills the turbos, turning it into a very anemic 6-cylinder. This happened on a tow last year, where I had to limp 60 miles to Gulf Shores, then spend 10 hrs in the Mobile, AL dealership getting it fixed (cracked electrical connector). On flat terrain, it took forever and a day to get up to 50 mph. But, problem appeared to be fixed.
Over a year later, I've now gotten it again 3 times over a 2 week period. Always clears up by turning off and restarting. Local dealer has found nothing, and says they can only diagnose if I get it there while it is happening (no check engine light, no other bad behaviors, just no power). They say truck checks out 100%. Prior repair tests perfect. Of course it hasn't happened now in the two weeks since I last took it in.

We're planning a 4,000 mile trip this fall, from Minn, through the heart of Colorado (Buena Vista/Ridgway SP/Durango), and out to Zion/Bryce, then back. Of course, there is the expected main route mountain driving.

Obviously concerned, and hoping it happens again soon so it can get fixed. But if it doesn't return ....

What would you do? Go or no go?
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Old 08-10-2016, 06:41 PM   #2
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I'd go, but I'd have Google maps ready to show me the closest Ford dealership at any time.

I'm surprised the onboard computer logs don't show anything useful! Vehicles log everything nowadays.

Have you checked in on one of the F-150 owners forums to ask about this?


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Old 08-10-2016, 06:49 PM   #3
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Wow.

I'd vote for go personally, perhaps make sure you have a good roadside assistance plan.

Your experience with the dealer is disappointing. Have you escalated with management, demanded a different truck for the vacation (not likely but at least its shows them your serious). Did you buy new from the dealer your dealing with? Are you within any factory warranty still? How many miles?

Only other thing I know of from my old Ecoboost is it likes higher octane fuel when towing i have read, and I actually think its in the manual to do that. If your not doing that might be worth a try, maybe it will make a difference.
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Old 08-10-2016, 07:15 PM   #4
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I would go for it, but as mentioned have a GREAT road service.

We have a 2012 Eco 3.5... when we ordered it through Ford, and it arrived we took it out for the required initial 500 mile non towing break in run.

Clearwater Fl to Miami and back. Of course we were driving through a tropical storm and about 50 miles outside of Miami, I was going to pass up a semi and the engine turbos started spooling and at 3000 rpm it went flat line.. and the check engine light came on.. no power... took foot off gas and tried again and it took off. We stopped at the Ford dealer in Miami and they could find nothing wrong.. They would not hook it up to the computer because they were to busy, said to come back the next day.. with the check engine light on we drove back. My ford dealer put it on the computer and it said coils 4 and 6 were wet, but there were no water marks on the coils, so he said he had no clue... after 2 months of harassing Ford, it turns out that the original aftercooler design (on models before Sept of 2012) caused condensation to pool up and when you stepped on it the pooled up condensation would head for the engine causing the problem. They replaced the inter cooler with the new design and never happened again. Ford was baffled by the problem at first. There is hope... you just have to wait a little while for it..

We tried using higher octane fuel, and there was absolutely no noticeable difference, so we figured why waste the $$.. The truck still smokes the rear tires after 55K... putting a surprised look on the drivers of the rice-burners next to us.. got to love this truck.

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Old 08-10-2016, 07:22 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mustang65 View Post

We tried using higher octane fuel, and there was absolutely no noticeable difference, so we figured why waste the $$.. The truck still smokes the rear tires after 55K... putting a surprised look on the drivers of the rice-burners next to us.. got to love this truck.
Just FYI, I would agree with that, I didn't notice much difference, just remembered you were "supposed" to so wasn't sure if maybe that was causing some issues with the extra load on the trailer. I towed on 89 Ethanol plenty of times without an issue until I found out you were supposed to use higher.
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Old 08-10-2016, 07:31 PM   #6
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I have the same truck, same year. Whenever that truck throws a code (like the dreaded wrench symbol) it is definitely logged. Doesn't sound like the dealer is being totally honest. (big surprise right?)

If I was throwing codes like you are, I'd invest in an OBD2 scanner that is known to work well with that truck. I've heard really good things about the 'Ultra-gauge'. Armed with the codes, you can then do some extremely detailed research on your own to narrow down most problems + be able to call the dealer out when they claim they have no data. I've seen them sell for less than 70 bucks all day. Fingers crossed, but I haven't thrown any codes or had *any* problems with my truck, but I'm buying one of those anyway just for all the other metrics / logging capability. Good luck in any event!

I vote 'Go' as well.
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Old 08-10-2016, 07:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bansai View Post

If I was throwing codes like you are, I'd invest in an OBD2 scanner that is known to work well with that truck. I've heard really good things about the 'Ultra-gauge'. Armed with the codes, you can then do some extremely detailed research on your own to narrow down most problems + be able to call the dealer out when they claim they have no data. I've seen them sell for less than 70 bucks all day.
+1 on the Ultra-Gage. I have one and it paid for itself with the first code I read. Dealer wants $100 just to hook up the computer to the truck. Side bonus is that if you leave it hooked up al the time, it reads about 70 gauges that your OBD computer sends out but does not display on your dash. Mine sits on the dash 24/7. I don't have the truck in question, but can give props to the Ultra-Gage.
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Old 08-10-2016, 08:07 PM   #8
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I'd go for it, too, but have a decent roadside assistance plan -- and know where the Ford dealerships are.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mustang65 View Post
We tried using higher octane fuel, and there was absolutely no noticeable difference, so we figured why waste the $$.. The truck still smokes the rear tires after 55K... putting a surprised look on the drivers of the rice-burners next to us.. got to love this truck.
The first few times I towed with our F-150 after buying it, I wasn't used to the power. When heading out on a camping trip, we have to do some stop-and-go traffic to get out of the city. The stop light would turn green and I'd step on the gas with enthusiasm, just like I would have to do with our old Silverado. There would be a slight squeal from the rear tires, DW would ask what's that sound, and I'd be grinning all the while. It has enough power to chirp the tires even with 6,000 lbs of trailer and WDH connected.

On a couple of longer trips, I have tried running on premium. No difference in power, but I was getting noticeably better gas mileage, enough to make up the difference in the 16% increase in price. On our last trip, we encountered strong headwinds for about 80% of our two-and-a-half hour trip, and we still managed to get 8.7 mpg. For shorter trips, I'm not going to bother.
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Old 08-10-2016, 08:22 PM   #9
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Have you considered buying a OBDII Bluetooth reader, and the app, Torque Pro? I have it and like it. You can set it up to log. The bad part is everytime you reconnect you have to turn logging on.

You can read error logs instantly, and alot more
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Old 08-10-2016, 09:35 PM   #10
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As someone said , the higher octane when towing really helps. When I was towing my fithwheel from canada to florida, I started on low octane and could not set the cruise to 70 mph and go to 6th gear. When I started to put premium in it , no problem on 6th gear , the truck even gained speed while in 6th while doing 1-2 MPG better.


sure you can run it on lower octane especially while empty but for towing , premium only
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