I went to ford and don't see myself going back! 4.6 liter engine in this truck sounds great and is known to be a famous engine. Interior and quality surpasses the Chevy products I've had. Very smooth ride and well worth getting an older model to save a little money. The 4.2 v6 and 5.4 v8 are also available, but I have heard they had more frequent problems than the 4.6. Then again you mainly read reviews from only Unsatisfied buys.
This is a great truck... was bought new at kendall ford in eugene oregon.. and was handed down to me with 165K miles and now its pushing 240K miles and still runs and drives great... has stock motor and its on second auto trans.. this truck is fantastic.. ive owned ford chevy and dodge pickups and this one is by far the most reliable and great driving truck..
I have a '97 XL Extended cab 3-door, with a 4.2L V-6, 5-speed manual transmission, and 2WD. This is a good truck, with just a couple of exceptions. Unless it has been repaired or replaced in the truck you're looking at, beware of the 1997 4.2-liter V-6. This engine was initially built with a too-thin intake manifold gasket, which caused many of these engines to leak coolant into the #1 cylinder. The resulting hydro-lock caused many of these engines to grenade at around 100,000 miles (ranging from as low as 60K to 140K), and send pistons, rods, etc., through the block or oil pan. HOWEVER, if the gasket has been replaced with the updated one, or if the long block has been replaced after a blown engine, then these engines are totally reliable and powerful. I bought mine at 114,000 miles with a new long block, and at 182,000 miles it runs perfectly. Mine is a little spare in 'creature comforts,' but it's a truck. PS, PB, tilt wheel, cruise, but otherwise cloth bench seats, vinyl flooring, and an adequate sound system. It has the tow package, with hitch, trailer brake, and both 4- and 7-pin connectors. Mine also has a bed liner and matching cap. The truck tows beautifully, with only one real concern- the extended-cab is so long and the front wheels located so far to the front of the truck, that this mandates small, gentle steering inputs to prevent 'sphincter-slamming' yaw and veering one way or the other. You learn quickly to use an easy touch. Estimates for gas mileage are at best, laughable. Mine ranges from 12 in the city to as high as 14 highway... tops. Period. And yes, the engine was properly run-in; I did it myself. Got the truck with only 600 miles on this engine. Doesn't leak or burn a drop of oil or coolant, and is as dependable as any vehicle I've ever owned. I love this truck, and I do not plan to replace it. Ever.
My Father bought this pickup, brand new, in 1997. Since then the only repairs we have needed to do are basic maintenance, brakes, oil changes, air filters, so on and so forth. Lucky for me, he handed it down to me free of charge about a year ago (late 2014) with 125,000 miles on it. It now has 150,000 miles on it, which isn't a lot but I have a very heavy foot and the v-8 sounds great and pushes the truck forward with a lot of force. Not having 4-wheel drive in the winter can be annoying but it still gets me where I'm going.
Ford discovered a calibration error on the block boring machine that ended up over boring the early 5.4L engines for all of '97 and half of '98. This was discovered (especially up north) when many fleet trucks with this new modular engine began to knock like a rod bearing going out during cold weather start-up after approximately 85,000 miles. After engine warm up or in warm weather (well above freezing temperature) the knock subsides (metals expand in heat). Apparently, according to the tech bulletin issued in late '98-'99, the cylinders in the 5.4 L's we're accidentally over bored causing piston slap when cold during startup, and stated it would not harm the engine or interfere with function or performance. After purchasing a 35,000 lariat 4x4, I found the news disappointing at best and little consolation for owners that have to listen to an annoying knock in the engine until warm-up of the engine or warm weather (which ever comes first). Mine has over 160,000 miles as of this note date, and has not burned oil, but simply irritates me that Ford would not do anything about it (expense of putting oversized pistons in these engines to cure the issue). WARNING: AVOID the 5.4L engine in the '97 and most of the '98 Ford vehicles at all cost. Beyond that they're good engines!