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1997 Ford F-150 F-250

Ford was rolling the dice with its all-new, tenth-generation F-Series for 1997. A similar redesign of the company's hot-selling Ford Taurus for 1996 was proving to be a flop, and with such a reputation to uphold, expectations for the new truck were exceptionally high.

This was, after all, the best selling vehicle in America, and this time the redesign wouldn't merely consist of refreshed body panels and a few extra options.

1997 Ford F150

For the first time since 1980, the F-Series would undergo a complete transformation inside, outside, and underneath. Unlike the ill-fated Taurus redesign, however, the new F-Series would continue to hold its title as the best pickup on the market thanks to an attractive design, impressive capabilities, and a few industry firsts.

1997 Ford F-150 Video

Here is a quick video of a nice red F-150 SuperCab. Take one minute now to check it out:

What's New For 1997

1997 was arguably the single largest year-over-year change in the history of the F-Series. All-new exterior styling emphasized Ford's rounded, oval-based design tastes of the era, creating a sleeker truck with exceptionally smooth lines and a wide stance.

The new F-150 was slightly larger than its predecessor, and when properly equipped, more capable as well. Interior refinement continued to evolve - the 1997 F-150 featured dual airbags, rear anti-lock brakes and interval wipers all as standard equipment, with luxurious items such as six-way power leather seats, autolamps, and high-end audio systems among the many options.

SuperCab models featured an all-new hinged third door as standard equipment for easy access to the rear seat-an industry first for the light truck segment. Ford's trademark Twin I-Beam front suspension gave way to independent control arms, while an all-new stock of engines replaced the tried and true workhorses of Ford's past, at least in the light duty trucks.

That's because 1997 marked a significant separation in the light duty F-150/250 from the beefier F-250HD and F-350, both of which soldiered on with ninth-generation styling and powertrains until their own major reboot for the 1998 model year. Never again would light duty and heavy duty F-Series trucks share a design.

1997 F-Series Model Lineup

Standard, XL, XLT, and Lariat comprise the four trim levels for 1997 Ford trucks. The light-duty F-150/250 trucks were available in Regular or SuperCab format with either a short or long Styleside bed.

F-150s could also be equipped with a Flareside bed. The F-250HD and F-350 were available in Regular Cab SuperCab, and Crew Cab format, with the F-350 also available as a dually.

1997 F-150 Silver Longbox

1997 F-Series Powertrains / Towing

Powering the redesigned F-150/250 was Ford's new family of overhead cam modular engines. After a lifespan of 32 years, the beloved 300 cubic inch straight six was finally retired, replaced with an all-new, standard-issue 4.2 liter V-6 for the F-150.

The new standard engine offered superior horsepower but still couldn't match the torque of the I-6, prompting most people to opt for the 4.6 liter Triton V-8, which was standard in the light duty F-250. The largest engine offering for the light duty trucks was the 5.4 liter Triton V-8, making a healthy 235 horsepower.

The hard working F-250HD/F-350 relied upon old school power, most notably the 5.8 liter, 7.5 liter, and the much-loved 7.3 liter Powerstroke turbo diesel. A five-speed manual or electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission sent the power to the wheels.

Engine Availability Power/Torque Max Tow*
4.2L V6
F-150
205 / 255
5,800 lbs
4.6L Triton V8
F-150 / F-250
220 / 290
7,200 lbs
5.4L Triton V8
F-150 / F-250
235 / 330
8,200 lbs
5.8L V8
F-250HD / F-350
210 / 325
8,500 lbs
7.5L V8
F-250HD / F-350
245 / 395
10,000 lbs
7.3L V8 Powerstroke Diesel
F-250HD / F-350
235 / 525
14,000 lbs

* Applicable to 2WD Regular Cab trucks with automatic transmissions and towing package

1997 Ford F-Series Defects / Recalls

Most first-year production runs have some bugs, and the 1997 F-150/F-250 is no exception. Recall IDs 78382 and 78215 involved a new automatic transmission shift control cable and revised cable attachments to fix problems shifting the vehicle into park. Recall ID 78145 addressed concerns about loose lug nuts, requiring inspection and possible replacement of lug nuts and lug studs. Recall ID 74767 involved faulty steering racks. Recall ID 38740 replaced leaking fuel lines due to factory installation errors.

Other recalls included cruise control issues, braking issues, and lighting problems. Though not a recall, some trucks equipped with the 5.4 liter engine had problems with ejecting spark plugs due to inadequate threading in the heads. The good news, however, is that Ford finally started to get a handle on rust and corrosion. They're still not rust proof, but the tenth-generation trucks have fewer rust issues overall as opposed to earlier trucks.

1997 Ford F-150 MSRP, Standard Features & Available Options

Despite a complete redesign, pricing for entry-level F-150s started at $14,505, with a fully-optioned SuperCab Lariat four-wheel drive costing $27,115. Major standard features include:

A total of six Preferred Equipment Packages (three for the F-150, three for the F-250) were offered for 1997. They include: F-150-XL Package 502A, XLT Package 507A, Lariat Package 508A F-250-XL Package 512A, XLT Package 517A, Lariat Package 518A

1997 F-Series Packages

Major options include:

Interior trim colors for 1997 include Cordovan, Willow Green, Medium Graphite, and Prairie Tan. Available exterior paint color choices include:

1997 Ford F-Series Resources