I tell you exactly what is going on. I just bought my first ford ever 3months ago F-150 XLT 5.4
And I am going to tell you what I went through TO GET MIne FIXED. and you can relate my experience to what you have going on and take it from there. You will be able to know when you have you answer as far as if you have anything less or more or the exact same as I do/ as I did.
I know this answer is long, but if you plan on changing the plugs yourself print it out and keep a copy out by your truck to refer back to. And also, Ford created the issue, not me, I am just relaying to you in detail the what's and whys so you will hopefully be succesful in fixing your truck like I did. The advantage of doing this yourself is that if you do this work yourself, you will not have to depend on a third party and their opinion. You will get the satisfaction of removing any doubt, or opinions as to what was done to your motor and how it was done. This alone will allow you to verify that the issue is fixed. Not what they say is fixed, what you say and hear is fixed to your ears. A amatur can do this if they have the right tools. 8 hour job because of wait times. But, I will show you how to knock half that off the repair time and not cut corners.
Ok, for starters the truck I bought used had the issue when I bought it so I had to play detective while researching a number of different answers given by a number of different people.
First off, I couldn't hear your motor like I wanted to due to the wind noise, so your going to have determine several things yourself, (by the way, I have rebuilt a few motors in my time, but mostly Chevys, and a few inline 6 cylinder Chrysler, I have never worked on a Ford till now, but, I think I have this 5.4 triton noise thing figured out.) I have your same motor and I successfully fixed the problem on my 5.4 triton.
I only mentioned that because, I have read some real BS about this issue from ford mechinacs and others on the forums and I don't think that many of these people answering are standing in front of YOUR TRUCK and they are telling people( YEP, THAT'S THE CAM PHASERS alright) they are assuming that is the issue without properly and thourghly checking out your problem, on your truck, they are just throwing the same old repeated answer,;(( "it's the cam phasers, they all do it", and then they tell you not to touch the motor, it will run forever like that, it's normal.)) so, if you are like me, someone popping the hood and yelling at you over the fan noise " it's deffently the cam phasers" at 1500rpm
Ain't cutting it for me. And the Ford dealer, ' Yea', good luck with that" if you go that route, I hope you bought a "value pack" of industrial strength zip ties, your going to need something like that to re-hymm,the O-Ring back in your ******* back up,after the dealer gets done with you on this repair. I have read anything from$2300-$12,000 repair cost from dealers and the noise either, never quit, or it came right back. You don't need the dealer if your problem and fix is the same as mine.
So, let's get started.
First off, do you hear a singular tick, coming from the wheel wells, very pronounced while going through a DRIVE THUR, ""the single tick sound only,"" bouncing off the resturant wall?
And when you accelerate? Then when you stand in front of your idling motor, you are pretty much only hearing the cam phasers?( IF YOU ANSWER YES) & You are not showing any codes? Also, make sure you clear all codes if any are showing before you begin and after you turn the truck off.
Also, when you first crank your truck in the morning, is there a tick, a much loader SINGLUAR sounding tick that increases greatly as the motor goes through the start up cycle to set the idle, that either goes away, or the ticking sound (once the motor calms down) blends in with the cam phaser noise, but doesn't go completely away) &(YOU ALSO ANSWER YES, TO THIS question)
Hears what you need to do to fix your problem, and I will explain why, well, let me say, what fixed my noise completely & why I believe these motors are making these sounds to start with.
Ok, you have 3 or more seperate but directly related issues going on with the motor.
The # 4 & 8 cylinders are not firing right, if at all.
1.st issue) On My motor both spark plugs at the rear, 4&8 we're loose, I removed these 2 plugs with only the socket and my hand. The coils on these 2 cylinders on my truck had a real bad gas smell to them, and Were badly discolored, brownish, I could see where the spark had been ARKING, shorting, misfiring, whatever you want to call it, to the base of the
coil pack, right above where the boot connects to the coil itself. Over time, that burnt a direct path for the spark to ark or jump to instead of the plug.
Here is my parts list so you can get everything in one stop. You won't be able to crank the truck to run get a part you may have forgot, or thought you might get by without buying.(Not gonna happen' if I list it you have to have it.) except for 1item, the torque wrench, if you start the job by removing the # 4 or #8 coil pack, IF ONE OR BOTH OF THE PLUGS IS AS LOOSE AS MINE WERE,((( blow compressed air to clean the cylinder plug inlet)) and shop vac it also. The plug will come right out using only you hand. TAKE THAT PLUG TO THE PARTS STORE & HAVE THEM LOOK THAT PLUG UP, if the parts guy can ID your current plugs as being the re-engineered plugs you won't BREAK OFF you won't HAVE TO HAVE the torque wrench, and you can save yourself about 1 1/2 to 2 hours of time on the job.
VERY IMPORTANT, YOU MUST LET THE MOTOR COOL DOWN TO ROOM TEMPATURE BEFORE PREFORMING THE JOB SO, GET ALL OF YOUR PARTS THE FIRST TIME. 12 hours or more.
1)) set of 8 of motor craft plugs $94.00
1)) tube of NICKEL based die-electrode grease and only this kind.
2)) coil packs at minimum, preferably all 8 coil packs, I highly recommend you replace all 8 coil packs.
1.)) mopar or better oil filter, and 5w-20w motor oil DO NOT BUY A FRAM OIL FILTER,!!
MOPAR oil filter and the correct weight motor only. There is a big difference and your truck will not quiet down with out the correct oil and filter. I will explain why at the end, it is important.
1)) correct sized spark plug socket, it is not a regular sized spark plug socket and it is a huge help.
A extension magnet, multipule socket extension sizes, a torque wrench set to 33LBs.
A 7mm socket with 6 to 10 inch ext. to release the coil pack screws.
A silver or light color fine point sharpe, to mark the injector,& coil plugs
1)) can of Barryman Carb cleaner it has lube in it that you need.
Disconnect the negitive battery cable and then turn your head light switch on, you have to drain the the various micro batteries so that the trucks computer will be fully depleted of power, IT NEEDS TO BE RESET THIS IS A IMPORTANT STEP IN THIS FIX. It will sit drained for several hours ,till the job is complete.
I FOUND THAT REMOVING ALL 8 COIL PACKS at the same time saved hours, get them out of your way and mark them with the sharpe as they come out. This will allow you to save hours of time. Use your compressed air and shop vac clean each plug hole thourghly. I even sprayed carb cleaner in all 8 holes after cleaning them and used a wire hanger and paper towels soaked with carb cleaner to try my best to clean around the base of the plug wells. Then sucked it out, blew it dry. Them filled the wells with carb cleaner for the soak time to take place on all plug wells at the same time.
Also, get the guy at the parts store to print you out a copy of the correct procedure to remove the spark plugs if they are the old plugs. Let mine soak for 1 1/2 and had 0 plugs break off at all. The tool to get the broken plugs out is $100 so let them soak, buying a carb cleaner like Barryman that has a lube additive in it is going to be the difference between you getting all the plugs out in one peice or spending many hours more digging the broken lugs out. Spray carb cleaner in all the plugs up to where the bolt meets ceramic in the plug hole. Wait 45 min, hit them with the torque wrench 1/8 no more than that or it will break the plug, and u know the problem that created. Let the carb cleaner sit after that for another 45 min. It will wick its way down around the threads to the carbon build up and soften it up. The carbon build up is what is sticking the plug to the engine wall causing them to break. I turned mine a 1/8 more let it sit 15 min. And 1/8 more for 15 more min. Every plug came out un broken, and the carbon was soft or gone on all 8 plugs.
Once you start to turn your plugs, as long as you feel; smooth, very very firm, they will probably squeak but, as long as you don't feel any variable pressure your ok, go counterclockwise 1/8 slow and easy your feel is important, stay aware to what your hands are feeling, as long as the turn stays smooth you should be good. ONCE YOU GET THEM to 1 1/2 turn stop and use the shop vac & the compressed air to remove the carb cleaner, keep at it till all cylinders are dry. Allowing a bunch of carb cleaner to drain into the cylinder itself can cause your motor to hydro-lock. NOT GOOD, BUT YOUR NOT GOING LET THAT HAPPEN.
I took a two foot peice of flexible hose and wrapped duct tape around the smallest shop vac tool And used it to get all around inside the piston. Then I pushed the hose over my blow gun tip and did the same with it. Did both processes twice each. Why, because carb cleaner will hydro lock a motor if enough leaked into the piston and that my friend is not good at all.
Also mark each injector plugs, and coil pack plugs with your sharpeand also triple check to be sure you have all plugs FULLY INSERTED when putting them back on. IF you are forced to reinstall some of the old coil packs because of the cost, Examine your coil packs very very carefully, remove the boot and check the silver coil itself. What you are looking for is not that obvious to the untrained eye. Mine had a very small area on the under side of the main coil pack. It had a brownish powdered burnt look to it with a slight tinge of white, looking up close I could see where it was ARKING through the boot wall and hitting the base of the coil leaving the faintest area . Remember it is electrify not a pen mark.
After replacing the plugs, & coil packs . I started the truck, don't touch the gas when starting it, listen, listen for any change in sound, if it still sounds just like before, just wait, let it idle for 10 minutes, it needs to burn a lot of built up carbon and other crap off the pistons that were not getting a steady timed spark. Let the computer have time to cycle through all systems at least ten minutes and make any timing and idle adjustments. remember, you now have all 8 cylinders firing as intended, things have changed, so let the computer have plenty of time to read the systems, it may take a part that wasn't getting oiled correclty a few minutes to work itself back into proper alignment, and then have the computer set the timing to all systems as it should be. After 10-15 minutes take it down the road, somewhere you can stomp that sum bitch hard fast and nasty. The more the better, your burning out a bunch of carbon build up from everything being off sync a 1/500 th a second. You should notice a vast improvement in the power, and the ticking should have gotten a drastically bit quieter . Mine had two things happen, the separate singlur tick I had;; totally disappeared, gone100% my cam phasers also, got much much quiter. I mean my engine now sounds like a brand new motor, with just the slightest amount of cam phaser noise, it does not caluck ca-luck, like a coffee grinder,
Then go back and do your oil change remove the cap where you put oil into the motor before you remove the drain plug for a little better flow, and try and jack the truck up so that the drain plug is at the lowest level to get as much of the old oil out as possible.
After that run it and listen to it. If the computer has not put everything back in sync, check for codes? If this doesn't sync everything back up, which is what you are hearing, coming from the cam phasers. My truck motor tick going 100% away and the cam phasers noise is gone by 90% proves that out to be a fact. Motors that have a tick are steel hitting steel either withou oil, or in the wrong position, the only way my motor could have a tick as bad as mine was, and it totally stopping, happens 1 of two ways. 1, it is a timing issue, 2, it gets rebuilt.
Two other outside longshot possibilities could be a leaking intake manifold gasket, ( you can verify that it is that quickly, let it idle, and spray carb cleaner around the intake gasket, you will hear a sudden jump in the idle.
2. A exhaust leak, that is allowing internal sounds out through it and the sounds are bouncing off the fire wall onto the valve cover making it sound as if the noise is coming from a location it really is not.
But I hope you have the same results as I did, I knew the sound I was hearing was can phasers, and a second sound, and my results prove the Ford guys wrong, and two other mechanics for that matter, it just sucks that none of the thre would take the time to properly determine the problem without the , oh' I know what that is'
I also meant to tell you why this problem is happening to start with. I read that the oil holes designed to move oil throughout the motor were not increased in size when ford redesigned this motor. Therefore leaving them with no choice but to switch owners to a very thin weight motor oil. According to several online stories I read.
But my theory behind this is problem is this : I think the spark plug boot design itself creates a path when there is a small air bubble inside the boot forcing the spark to take the path of least resistance. when a loose plug pushes up to much on the center coil causing it to bow out at the top and touch the boot just enough to temp the spark ark off the coil. Then the cylinder/cylinders are mis firing, this causes a compression change in that cylinder,or cylinders, compression is different, timing differs at the cylinder then at the cam shaft. Then the computer starts to compensate for the mis fire and timing change, which I turn alters the cam phaser timing on two of the valves making the chain to tight which intern, causes the sound you hear