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I’ve had a ’97 F150 for quite some time now; I inherited it from my father who bought it used years before that.  I’m sad to admit, though, that when my Dad bought it, I gave him crap about it.  “You shoulda bought a one-ton,” I said, “It won’t tow enough.”  Well, after a few years of hauling and towing (things I probably shouldn’t have) and even taking trips in it, I’m a fan.  It’s rated for towing over 8k, and I’ve personally pulled more than 11k with it before.  It drives like a car thanks to the modern front suspension.

I’ve even almost come to accept the red interior.

But now I see the 2004+ redesigned model, and I can’t help but wonder if all the same stuff’s still there.  While it’s just a personal opinion, I’m not fond of the little “dip” in the window — modelled, I’d assume, after the F250 and F350.  But what about usability?  Does this model stand up to the previous one?  Or exceed it?

Let us know in comments.


10 Responses to Hot or Not? The Redesigned F150 as Work Truck

  1. mike says:

    first, let me say that we’re a ford family. that currently includes: 1968 F-100 (project), 1990 F-150 (workhorse), 2001 focus zx3 (fun/rocket), 2005 Escape XLT (hers).

    i like the new F-150, but i’m still waiting for a diesel in it.

    autoblog has confirmed the F-150 to get a diesel by 2009 ( http://www.autoblog.com/2006/10/13/diesel-confirmed-for-light-duty-f-150-by-2009/ ) so that will probably be my next purchase, to replace the trusty 1990 F-150.

    also to replace my focus as a daily-driver to the park-n-ride (then the focus can finally get the more radical modifications i’ve been lusting after).

    i will probably always own ford trucks. cars, not sure. (don’t like the 2008 focus one bit). people carriers – sure, my wife already likes the Edge but she can’t get one until her Escape is fully used up. 🙂

  2. JoeDavex says:

    I’m not sure about the new F150s but I’ve got some perspective on the older models.
    Remember that towing is not the only use of a truck, the only thing my ’94 F-350 Diesel tows is a 4×8 lawn trailer with a 600lb mower on it but the bed gets loaded to the hilt with stone, sand, lumber, firewood, demolition material, etc on a regular basis. Additionally on the front of it sits an 8ft plow that doesn’t stop in the New England winters.
    I’ve had many 1/2 ton trucks in the past and currently have the ’94 f350 and a 91 GMC 3/4 ton. The reason I stopped using 1/2 ton trucks is because they can’t take the load and when you have to make 2 trips even though the bed is half-empty you get frustrated. Same goes with plowing; the extra vehicle weight keeps the wheels stuck to the ground in the bigger truck and you can take full size bites of the snow instead of just nibbling at it.
    If you want the best of both worlds I’d say look at the 3/4 ton F-250. It’s got the rear end and wheels of an F-350 with a frontend closer to an F-150 thus giving you a better ride.

  3. Jeff T says:

    This is going to sound silly, as I don’t have an f-150. But, you mentioned the window on the new one in your comment.
    I have a Geo Tracker (stop laughing) that I have literally beat the snot out of with a window design like that and I love the little extra visibility you get with it. It’s a lot like the window design on the Isuzu/GMC NPR work truck I drive daily at work.
    I have about 200K on the Geo/Suzuki and still runnin just fine. The paint is unkillable also – still shines. Weird.
    Friend has the new F150 and I think it’s awesome though.

  4. Roscoe says:

    I owned the older version and drive a 2005 now. IMO, the newer version is a much tougher truck and the engine seems a bit peppier. The only downside for me is that the sides on the bed are higher and it makes it tough to reach over the sides.

  5. sizod says:

    if you have to buy a large truck, make sure its a diesel and run it on biodiesel.

  6. Chris S. says:

    It should be noted that the 2004+ models of the F150 have a MUCH improved safety design. The previous generation of F150s fared terribly in the offset crash test, but the new ones have very good ratings from NHTSA and IIHS

    Kudos to ford for fixing the problem.

  7. nrChris says:

    I have always had an issue with the “window dip”. To me, this looks like the designers ran out of material or made a mistake when cutting out the windows, and rather than correcting it, they ran with the design flaw. I see more and more contractors with the F150 and smaller trucks, at least the higher ups who don’t actually need a truck anyway.

  8. Mechanicista says:

    The current F150 has a nasty habit of blowing plugs out of the block. Yes, you read that correct. Along the way it takes out the coil pack for that plug since the hanging plug will short against the nearest grounded object. They even had a call on Car Talk (NPR) about it, where the caller was warned to get a “quantity discount” toward future repairs after two blown plugs. Ford will not own up to the problem. Transmissions are an issue with these trucks too, too much slippage resulting in overheating and/or premature clutch wear. Body integrity is good, but they are losing the game in driveline issues. Electrical problems also seem to be biting them good. Lots of electric goo-gahs results in lots of connectors to fail with seemingly random intervals.

  9. JK says:

    Mechanista–The plugs are an issue on the 2V 4.6 engines, I believe the heads went through a redesign in 03 to correct the issue (more threads).

  10. Old Donn says:

    Sorry JK, Ford’s still got problems with spark plugs blowing out of their engines. Anybody in the parts/service business will tell you about it. I don’t know about the rest of the truck, quality, fit & finish etc, but that overhead cam engine has been a POS since day 1. The old 300 6cyl, 302 and 351 v8’s were among the best in the business, especially the 6cyl. This new one is a load. The only way it makes any power is with a supercharger. Even the Roush and Saleen “super” cars need a blower.

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