Back in the fall of 1990 I was in a band. We used my 1989 F-150 XLT Lariat with towing package to pull a 16’ trailer full of equipment. I had a cap on the bed of my pickup and we put some lighting equipment, suitcases and guitars in the truck bed. This was the third such tour we had used the F-150 for and it always performed extremely well and was comfortable to boot. The other band members rode in a car.
Before leaving on tour I took my truck in to get a tune-up. Coming out of the shop it just didn’t feel right, so I took it back again the next day. I was assured by the shop that it was fine and to go ahead on tour.
This tour included about 10,000 miles and three months. As each week passed I was more convinced that the tune-up was not right. On hills the engine would tend to knock a little and acceleration just didn’t seem as strong.
We had a 2 week stay in Thompson, Manitoba, they had a Ford Dealer, so I took my truck in to be checked out. The service writer there rode with me for a few blocks when he said, that engines sounds like the timing is too far advanced. So into the shop it went, and sure enough the timing had been set 20 degrees advanced.
Initial close inspection showed some cracks in the exhaust manifolds. When I told them I had driven a little over 8,000 miles with it that way, they decided to bore-scope the cylinders. Sure enough there were dime sized holes in two pistons and cracks between valves. This was serious indeed, so calls were placed to Ford Canada, Ford Customer Service in the U.S. and the Ford Dealer in Ohio where I bought the truck and whose mechanic had performed the tune-up.
It turned out that the mechanic who normally handled trucks at that dealer had been on vacation and a new mechanic had performed the tune-up and the recheck too. He was not aware of a difference between how Ford cars and trucks were tuned and made a mistake. The Ohio dealer agreed immediately to take care of the issue, but wanted me to bring the truck back to them. It is 2,600 miles from Thompson, Manitoba to the dealership in Ohio, and I had a full equipment trailer to pull. I agreed to give it a try.
Bottom line, 2.677 miles later I pull into the dealership on Ohio having used 2 quarts of oil enroute and gas mileage was only down about 2 MPG, pulling a fully loaded trailer all the way.
The dealer replaced the engine with a new one, and I put another 108,000 miles on that truck before I sold it.
Now that sir is Ford Tough, and is why I still drive Ford’s today.