10th Gen F-150 Specs and Review

The Ford tenth generation F-150 is a series of pickup trucks manufactured by Ford from 1997 to 2004. It marked the first major redesign of the F-Series since 1980. Ford created the tenth generation mainly for the F-150, so what does it feature?

The 10th Gen F-150 features a new chassis with a fully independent front suspension and the same transmission from the previous generations. It also features a rear-hinged (curb-side) door to improve back seat access. Ford also added a fourth door to the SuperCab in 1999. 

In fact, in 2001, the 10th Generation F-150 was the first truck of its size to boast four full-size doors, which was yet another Ford first. It was named Truck of the Year in 1997, and sales increased from 750,000 to over 900,000 in 2001.

Read on to learn more about the main features and specs of the tenth Generation Ford F-150.

10th Generation Ford F-150 [1997-2004]

10th Gen F-150

1997 Model Featured a New Chassis and a Rear-hinged Door

The 1997 model was unveiled exactly in January 1996 to generate anticipation for the revamped truck, with the first commercial campaigns airing during Super Bowl. It featured a new chassis and a rear-hinged door.

Ford initially predicted that this new 10th Gen F-150 would sell poorly, so it continued to produce and sell the earlier 1996 model alongside the updated 1997 model for a few months.

4-Door Super Cab Launched in 1999

There was a 2-door regular cab, a 3-door super cab, and then, in 1999, a 4-door super cab. In March 1999, Ford unveiled a revised Lightning, King Ranch, and Harley-Davidson for the 2000 and 2001 models.

2001 Model Has a SuperCrew Cab

The SuperCrew cab was introduced for the 2001 model, and it was available in four colors:

  • White,
  • Red,
  • Black, and
  • Silver.

The 2001 model has a 5.4L Triton V8 engine with bumpers and mirror housings.

Ford Introduced the FX4 in 2002

In 2002, Ford introduced the FX4 with Rancho shock absorbers, a carbon steel frame, skid plates, and distinctive 17-inch aluminum wheels.

Launched a Sporty STX Trim Option in 2003

Ford introduced a sporty STX trim option for younger drivers later in 2003.

The package included the following:

  • Clear lens headlights,
  • Color-keyed front/rear bumpers, and
  • Integrated round fog lamps.

Ford replaced the basic Ford radio with a Kenwood Z828 audio, chrome step rails, and 17-inch wheels.

Heritage Edition Trim Package

To mark the 100th anniversary of Ford, the company released a special “Heritage Edition” trim package with distinctive badging back in 2003, which was only available in the 139-inch wheelbase super cab vehicle.

10th Generation Sales

Sales of the tenth generation F-150 skyrocketed from 750,000 to over 900,000 in 2001 alone. It outpaced GM and Chrysler models during that period.

10th Gen F-150 Powertrain

A new lineup of higher-efficiency engines was available as soon as the 10th Gen F-150 was released in 1997. The 4.9-liter OHV I6 was replaced with a 4.2-liter OHV V6 based on Ford’s 3.8 liter Essex V6, while the 5.0 and 5.8-liter OHV V8 engines were replaced with 4.6 and 5.4 liter SOHC V8s.

The Triton’s 4.6 and 5.4 liter V8 engines were the first to use Ford’s Modular Single Overhead Cam (SOHC) engines in the F-150 model.

Ford changed the Dana 44 front end with its own 8.8 IFS. Heavy-duty variants of the Ford Sterling 9.75 axle were also available. The Sterling 10.25 axle became available in 2000.

10th Gen F-150 Trim Levels

The standard model included a bench seat, manual mirrors, steel wheels, and 4-pin trailer wiring. It also included an AM/FM stereo, manual windows, and vinyl upholstery:

1. XL 

The F-150 XL trim level package includes the following:

Manual or automatic transmission,

  • Steel wheels,
  • Mirrors,
  • Chrome bumpers,
  • A bench seat,
  • Manual windows,
  • Poly knit (later cloth) upholstery, and
  • An AM/FM stereo with a clock.

2. XLT 

10th generation F-150 featured the following:

  • Cloth upholstery,
  • Aluminum wheels,
  • Tinted rear windows,
  • Tachometer,
  • Cargo box light,
  • An AM/FM stereo with cassette player and power windows, and
  • Locks with an automatic driver’s side window.

The XLT also included the following:

  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel,
  • Air conditioning,
  • An overhead console with compass and garage openers,
  • Power mirrors, and
  • Speed-dependent wipers.

3. Lariat

The Lariat has carpeted floor mats, cast-aluminum wheels, automatic headlamps, a power driver’s seat, power mirrors with turn signals, leather-trimmed seats, and an anti-lock brake system.

The Lariat also included an automatic transmission, keypad entry, and an AM/FM stereo with single CD and cassette players.

4. King Ranch

This one featured heated seats, elegant leather upholstery, and captain chairs.

What Are the F-150 Models?

How Safe Is the 10th Gen F-150

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 10th Gen F-150 model two five-star ratings, which is in stark contrast to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) “Poor” rating in the frontal offset test.

The cruise control system in the 10th Gen F-150 may sometimes catch fire because the switch system can corrode over time, overheat, and ignite. 

A leak from a nearby master cylinder was the leading cause of this ignition. Because of this, Ford issued a recall for 155,000 full-size pickup trucks and SUVs back in 2003.

In fact, in 2001 and 2002, it recalled 5.8 million vehicles due to defective cruise control systems.

What Year F-150 to Avoid?

10th Gen F-150 SVT Lightning

10th gen f150 mods

A Modular SOHC 16-valve 5.4 L Triton Engine Powers the SVT Lightning

Ford introduced a new SVT Lightning in 1999 to the F-150, powered by a modular SOHC 16-valve 5.4 L Triton engine. The transmission was a 4R100 automatic with a 3.55:1 rear gear ratio. 

Equipped with Goodyear Eagle F1 295/45ZR-18 Tires

Ford fitted the Goodyear Eagle F1 295/45ZR-18 tires to the 18-inch wheels. Also, Ford changed the suspension system; specifically, they lowered the truck one inch in the front and two inches in the back.

Unmodified Front Coil Springs, Solid Rear Axle, and More

The front coil springs and 31 mm solid stabilizer bar, the solid rear axle with five-leaf springs, and a 23 mm solid stabilizer bar remained unmodified.

Engine for the 2001 Model

For the 2001 model year, the engine was somewhat updated. It produced 380 horsepower (280 kW) at 4,750 RPM and 450 ft-lbs (610 Nm) at 3,250 RPM.

Ford also redesigned the previously leaking intercooler using a cast-iron block instead of aluminum. 

Rectified a Shortage of Spark Plug Threads in the 2003 Model

Ford had to make all of these necessary changes to fit the factory Eaton M112 roots supercharger’s boost output of roughly eight psi. Moreover, Ford had to address and rectify a shortage of spark plug threads and a problem with the heads later in the 2003 model year.

With a 9.5-inch rear axle, Ford decreased the final drive ratio to 3.73:1. A 4.5-inch (110-mm) aluminum drive shaft replaced the 3.5-inch (89-mm) steel drive shaft.

Ford also used a new F1 GS rubber compound to improve the Goodyear Eagle F1-GS unidirectional tires. 

Cargo Capacity

The cargo capacity of the Lightning was increased from 800 lb (400 kg) to 1,350 lb in 2003. (610 kg).

Available Colors

Black, blazing red, and white were the only paint colors available. Ford later introduced the silver color to the range for the 2000 Model Year. 

“True blue,” an extremely dark blue, was available in the 2002 model year. But, it was replaced in 2003 by a lighter “sonic blue.” 

Then, Ford made available a dark shadow grey 2003 F-150.

Summary of Tenth Generation Ford F-150 Features

Overall, the Lightning of the tenth generation Ford F-150 had the following features:

  • Unique front fascia with integrated, round fog lamps
  • 5.4 L 2V Triton Supercharged Intercooled V8 engine
  • Limited-slip differential
  • Unique cab rocker and lower box moldings
  • Eaton supercharger
  • Heavy-duty front and rear shock absorbers
  • Auxiliary transmission fluid cooler
  • Unique front lower air deflectors
  • Modified 4R100 4-speed automatic transmission with OD lockout
  • Engine super cooling system
  • Unique wheels and tires
  • Heavy-duty battery
  • 4-wheel disc brakes – 4-wheel ABS 
  • Unique upper and lower grilles

Again, what years were the F-150 10th Gen? Ford produced the Ford F-Series 10th gen from 1997 to 2004. This lineup represented the change in Ford’s family of trucks, with the F-series being split in two.

10th Gen F-150 Engine

Engine Options

The tenth-generation model has two engine options:

  • A regular 4.2-liter/205-horsepower V-6, and
  • A truck-tuned 4.6-liter/210-horsepower Modular SOHC V-8. 

4.2-liter Engine Comes Standard with a Split-port Intake Tract

The regular 4.2 engine comes standard with a split-port intake tract with multiple runners to each intake port. You can use the split-port intake on the 3.8-liter V-6 engine.

It ensures good charge velocity at low speeds for low emissions and a smooth idle. The second runner’s throttle blade swings open at higher engine RPM, allowing for deeper breathing and more horsepower.

First Option Can Outperform Chevrolet’s Full-size C-1500 Pickup’s Engine

The 4.2-liter engine can outperform Chevrolet’s full-size C-1500 pickup’s standard 4.3-liter/200-horsepower V-6. Plus, it has 205 horsepower, lower than the Ford V-8 with 4.6 liters, but still undoubtedly a brilliant starter engine. 

Thanks to its chain-driven balance shaft, it’s astonishingly quiet and vibration-free, and it provides enough low-end power for most towing jobs and light-hauling while avoiding the V-8’s high fuel consumption.

With a single cam in each cylinder head, the “Triton” 4.6 produces 210 horsepower at 4400 RPM and 290 pound-feet of torque at 3250 RPM.

Modular V-8 Provides an Extra 35 Pound-feet of Torque

The Modular V-8 provides an extra 35 pound-feet of torque for truckers that require more power for heavier loads or significant towing. At 4600 RPM, the larger GM engine produces 220 horsepower and 285 pound-feet of torque at 2800 RPM.

At 4600 RPM, the larger Ford engine produces 220 horsepower and 285 pound-feet of torque at 2800 RPM. However, in the 1996 C-1500 truck, GM customers had the option of upgrading to a 5.7-liter/250-horsepower V-8 engine.

If you want even greater power and torque from your Ford F-150, you must look for a 1996 F-150 with the 5.8-liter pushrod V-8.

How Much Does the Engine Cost?

As to the price of the Triton 4.6, the Triton 4.6 is a touch pricey, but it’s well worth it thanks to its fail-safe cooling system.

When the 4.6’s powertrain computer detects high heat, it alternately reduces fuel flow to specific cylinders, allowing off-duty pistons to push air into the engine block and heads to cool them. 

10th Gen F-150 Transmissions

10th gen f-150 engine options

Gearbox Option

You will choose between two gearboxes: a Ford 4R70W four-speed automatic and a Mazda M5R2 five-speed manual. The five-speed will enable precise, silent gear changes on twisty mountain roads.

A short and long A-arm type replaces the traditional Twin I-Beam front suspension. According to Ford engineers, the I-Beam structure was a victim of its heavyweight and a pressing need for extra engine-bay depth to handle the new overhead-cam engines.

Both the Two-wheel-drive and Four-wheel-drive SLA Systems Have Forged Upper Arms

The 4×2 model has a pressed steel lower arm and a coil spring. The 4×4 has a cast lower arm with torsion bars due to the more demanding off-road terrain.

You will have a basic front anti-roll bar with both setups included. The difference between the previous and new suspension configurations of the Ford F-150 is minimal on smooth roads. 

However, with the updated front setup, you will find the handling more secure, and the ride is considerably better off-road or on bumpy streets.

A simple but sturdy Hotchkiss-type suspension with two-stage leaf springs is used in the back, although the F-150 nevertheless jumps around on bad roads.

What About the Wheels and Tires of the 10th Gen F-150?

Comes with 16-inch Wheels and Tires

The F-150 also comes with 16-inch wheels and tires. Optional 17-inch wheels and tires are available when you select the 4×4 setup.

Dual-piston calipers squeezing 12-inch discs will provide you with front-end braking force. 11-inch drum brakes with a basic rear-wheel anti-lock system provide rear-axle braking. 

Powerful Brakes

Even on long downhills in 100-degree heat, you will find the brakes to be powerful, linear, and fade-free. The F-150’s track braking performance is amazing, 60-0 mph at a shortish 160 feet. Not that bad, is it? 

Has a Standard Rear-wheel Anti-lock Brakes

Normally, pickups without a load are difficult to stop in a short brake lane, but the F-150, which comes standard with rear-wheel anti-lock brakes, slows down quickly and with good stability.

Crisp and On-center Steering

The steering on the 10th Gen Ford F-150 is crisp and on-center, although it could use more force. Even at 100 mph on the proving ground’s oval, the handling is distractingly heavy.

The F-150’s drag coefficient has lowered from 0.48 to a more realistic 0.45. This is all thanks to less wind noise and lower cruise-horsepower requirements for an even greater highway economy. The tailgate latches to the bed with a key for added security in the back.

F-150’s Strong Body Aids in Operating the Steering and Suspension Systems

The F-150’s strong body gives it a robust feel and aids in operating the steering and suspension systems.

Stiffer Overall Body Construction

Despite the larger door apertures, Ford claims that the overall body construction is much stiffer in the 10th generation than in the previous generations.

For instance, the super cab model’s auxiliary door helps improve side-impact stiffness. The cross-car beams within the panel and in the back of the cab will also boost strength. All of this contributes to fewer rattles and a sense of iron-clad safety.

10th Gen F-150’s Interior

Ford significantly improved the interior of the tenth generation F-150 compared to the previous generations.

You get a second 12-volt charging point, a solar-tint glass, an electronic analog instrument cluster, a lighter, a grab grip on the passenger-side A-pillar, and adjustable shoulder-belt height.

Larger radio knobs, illuminated power window controls, a glovebox latch lever angled toward the driver, dual coat hooks, and spacious cupholders that can take juice boxes or large mugs are among the other excellent features you get. 

Even more so, Ford added new dual airbags with a deactivation switch on the passenger side for secure baby-seat installation.

The F-150 sets a new bar for big-pickup comfort, safety, passenger space, and convenience. The F-150’s sole lingering worry is whether or not the rounded design will appeal to you, so it will just come down to a matter of preference.

Conclusion – 10th Gen F-150 Review

You can never go wrong with the tenth-generation Ford F-150. Ford went above and beyond to improve things and impress drivers, given that it was the first major redesign of the preceding F-series.

After all, the F-150 was named Truck of the Year in 1997, so there must be a reason for that. Also, its sales jumped from 750,000 to over 900,000 in 2001. The 10th Gen Ford F-150 came with a brand new chassis with a completely independent front suspension. 

On the other hand, Ford kept the same transmission as earlier generations. For simpler access to the back seat, the F-150 has a curb-side door. Ford later added a fourth door to the super cab in 1999.

The 10th Generation Ford F-150 was the first truck of its size to include four full-size doors, a Ford first. 

There is no doubt that the Ford F-150 has evolved into a modern personal-use truck throughout all of its 14 generations. No wonder the 2022 Ford F-150 is now an all-time favorite. You are getting a new standard for safety and convenience!