Ford F-150 Makes Strange Noise While Accelerating: What Gives?

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Ford F-150

What would cause a rattling or clanging noise in an F-150 over 45 mph? Apparently, a lot of things!

There’s nothing, and we mean nothing more frustrating than experiencing a strange problem with your truck that you can’t figure out. Well, except maybe losing your 10mm socket for the 1,000th time. But there is hope, and we aren’t talking about your disappearing tools. Here in the F-150 Online Forums, we have lots of folks who own and drive the same truck you do, and they often experience the same issues. Thus, member RI04F150 headed there when his F-150 started making a strange noise.

“I have been getting a rattling/metal clanging noise when I am accelerating over 45 mph. When I let off the gas, the noise stops. This started last week as very intermittent and now is very regular. I currently need new u-joints, but I am not sure if this is associated with it. No vibration either, just a rattling/clanging noise. Any ideas?”

After other members ask for some more details, the OP reveals that he has an ’04 Ford F-150 with the 5.4-liter V8. At which point Matts ford is able to offer up some possibilities.

“I doubt it’s your exhaust shields if it’s happening at higher speeds, but you could still check them. You may not be getting enough oil pressure to the timing chain tensioners.”

Ford F-150

That theory receives further credibility from jbrew.

“The older pre-04s would do that at or just above idle. I just had a Crown Vic fixed under the emissions warranty for someone else that did the same exact thing the OP describes. The problem wound up being the cat heat shield, so they replaced the whole cat under warranty.”

However, dirt bike dave thinks the problem might be fuel-related.

“Sounds like pinging/detonation to me. Could be from a bad tank of gas or not enough octane. Easy to rule out by switching fuel suppliers and putting a tank of premium in at your next fill up. If the sound goes away, it was pinging. If the sound remains, explore other problems. Can also be caused if your cooling system is not working properly and the motor is running hot.”

Other members have had the same exact problem, but with two different causes.

“I just had this done on mine,” said tannerismyhero. “Weird thing is, it was the pinion bearing in the rear end. When I was able to get the sound going, I would stick my head in the back seat and I could hear it a lot better. Bad thing is, it is $700-$1,000 to fix. Mine was under warranty.”

“My truck had the exact same issue,” adds sluggo1974. “The problem was the actuator on the four-wheel drive went bad and the vacuum line had a crack in it. I replaced everything so I couldn’t pin point it exactly. A mechanic told me that the vacuum pressure drops at 45 and the hubs weren’t all the way disengaged, which is what caused the noise.”

Ford F-150

So far, we’ve got a lot of great theories and potential causes of the problem. But we want to know if you’ve had something similar happen to your F-150, and what you did to fix it. So head over here and let us know! If nothing else, you’ll be doing fellow F-150 owners a great service!

Join the F-150 Online forums now!

Brett Foote has been covering the automotive industry for over five years and is a longtime contributor to Internet Brands’ Auto Group sites, including Chevrolet Forum, Rennlist, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among other popular sites.

He has been an automotive enthusiast since the day he came into this world and rode home from the hospital in a first-gen Mustang, and he's been wrenching on them nearly as long.

In addition to his expertise writing about cars, trucks, motorcycles, and every other type of automobile, Brett had spent several years running parts for local auto dealerships.

You can follow along with his builds and various automotive shenanigans on Instagram: @bfoote.

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