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Reliability of the 5.4L V-8 w/ AutoTrans


Old 01-05-2000, 07:55 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Stallings, North Carolina
Posts: 96
Question Reliability of the 5.4L V-8 w/ AutoTrans

I interested in any information anybody can provide me or point me too on the reliability of the 5.4L w/ auto trans.

I currently drive an 88 F150 King Cab 4x2 with the 302 V-8. My father bought this truck in 1990 w/ 88K miles of harsh oil field service. At around 150k we had a rebuilt put in. I still have the original auto trans. in it though. My father has an identical truck and he was able to put 230k on his before he put in a rebuilt engine. He also still has the original auto trans. in his. My truck has only left me on the side of the road twice. One was a fried altenator and the other time was a shorted fuel tank switch (Both of our trucks have dual tanks). My fathers pick up has only left him stranded twice also. Once with a shorted fuel tank switch and once with a busted fuel pressure regulator.

I looking at purchasing the following

2001 F150 SuperCrew 4x2
5.4L V-8 w/ Auto Trans.
3.55 L/S Rear Axle
Captains Chairs
Tow Package

What kind of life expectancy are people getting out of the 5.4L? I've got my reservations since generally the more power you crank out of a given displacement the shorter the life of the engine. The old 302 V-8 didn't have a lot of power, but it was a very forgiving engine for a poor college kid who didn't have the money to do all the maintanence that I should have. I've since graduated and have the money to do the maintanence, but will the new line of Triton engines and specifically the 5.4L last like the 302 V-8? Any information you can provide me would be much appreciated.

I have a 88 F150 4x2 w/ 210K
I want a SuperCrew F150 5.4L 4x2
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Old 01-05-2000, 08:59 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Fast46TritonVille
Posts: 1,491

Two words: Very reliable
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Old 01-05-2000, 09:29 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Columbus, Georgia
Posts: 1,565
Thumbs up

Extremely reliable and nothing to worry about. This is my second of the new F-150s..and I think they are great.

In all...with the couple of million 1997-2000 F-150s sold..there are very, very few reported problems on the engine and tranny especially when you consider how many are on the road right now. There are quite a few people who have driven 90,000 - 150,000 or more miles with no failures from the engine or the tranny.

2000 F-150 XLT, 4x2, 5.4L Supercab, Styleside, Black with silver two-tone, 3.55, class III towing package with heavy duty cooling package, overhead console, sliding rear window, keyless entry, dark graphite interior, in dash CD, Pendaliner bedliner, K&N air filter, rubberized undercoating, cabin filtration system, Bugflector II, 5W-30 Mobil 1, engine build 10/4/99
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Old 01-05-2000, 10:00 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Posts: 165

Three words:

Buy the truck!!!

You won't regret it.......

(Ok, so that was 7 words...)

Seriously, Ford's Triton V8's are the most sophisticated gas engines available for full size pickups, period. Chevys OHV's are based (literally) on the same small block design from the 1950's. They are heavily refined, but dated in design.

Other that the piston slap issue, which has been remedied, there are no problems that I could find on the NHTSA web site, or any other site that tracks recurrent vehicle problems, recalls, etc., on these engines. You, (and all of us) should have no problems).

Good Luck!!!


2000 4X4 Lariat SC SB
Two tone black/silver
All options except LS differential

MODS so far:

-Westin step bars (powder coated matte black)
-Lund bug shield
-Gentex electrochromatic rear view mirror
-Cabin filtration kit

MODS to come:

-Superchip (of course!!)

-K&N or AirAid air plenum/filter (can't decide yet which one to get)

-Flowmaster Force II exhaust (series 50 SUV with duals out the rear)

-Mickey Thompson Classic 16" wheels with 305/75 BFG AT KO's

-4.10 gears (still thinking about this one ...anyone have any input?)

-diff or locker of some sort once they are available..
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Old 01-06-2000, 12:28 PM
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Flower Mound,Tx. USA
Posts: 63

The 5.4 is reliable up until you have to replace it with another at 30,000 miles.

No, seriously, it sounds like the 1999 models will not have to be replaced, as they have fixed what was wrong with it. At this stage in the game Ford and Chevy engines are very reliable with average use. I think the problem starts when new designs are introduced or you just flat out abuse it. It appears that Ford has the kinks worked out of the 5.4l motor. I am just crossing my fingers that my new Chevy engine is as reliable as my last two.

Let the flames begin!

Black 99 Silverado 5.3
HPP3, Stull Billet Grill, Gibson Super Truck, Custom Fresh Air Intake, GTS Tail Light Black Outs, "Leveled" 2" In Rear.
15.02 @ 90mph with 2.7 60'
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Old 01-06-2000, 05:25 PM
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 47

I was recently informed by a very reliable source at Ford about some reliabilty/ warranty claim issues. Apparently, even though alot of ppl have doubts about the auto. transmissions in the F150, warranty claims are quite low. The story is quite the opposite regarding the 5.4 however. F150's w/5.4 are not as reliable as their 4.2 and 4.6 counterparts. NOT INCLUDING PISTON SLAP, the 5.4 engine allegedly has numerous chronic problems. Most problems seem to concern seal, gaskets and some odd emmisions equipment. Also common are complaints that relate to drivabilty.
Sorry I can't be more specific.
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Old 01-06-2000, 07:07 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Fast46TritonVille
Posts: 1,491


The 5.4 has no major problems. Heck, Ive abused my 4.6l. No problems, ever.
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Old 01-06-2000, 08:32 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Central California
Posts: 460
Thumbs up

Cross...I'm at 6k and still going strong. My truck is similar to what you describe but without the capts chairs

'99 F150 SC, 4x2, Oxford white, flareside, 5.4, 3.55 rearend,
bodyside mouldings, Snugtop hard tonneau, K&N dropin and airbox mod.
Duraliner drop-in (gave up on the Penda Nascar). Gibson Supertruck
No door cracks yet at 5K!!!

Future mods: 2/4 lowering, bra and some Roush stuff.

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Old 01-06-2000, 10:51 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: pascoag, ri
Posts: 5
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Cross; I have a 97 4x4 f-150 with the 5.4lt in it. I just bought it back on Dec 1st it had 67,000 miles on it and now it has just over 69,000 miles. No problems with it at all. I called Ford motor co. customer service line and the guy thier said that by his records this truck was never in for any major engine repair. Just a couple of factory recalls, but nothing having to do with the engine. NO OIL LEAKS, or PISTION SLAP,,, NOTHING. It runs very strong. I think I got a good motor (HOPE I DONT JINKS MYSELF) But hay, If you are looking for a used one you should now no what to look for I wish I found this site before I went shopping.

97 F-150 Super Cab 5.4 Triton 4x4 Teal Green. 6 disk cd changer, Cobra 40ch cb with weather, 100ch Uniden scanner,Vent Shades & bug deflector. and love her to death. She is called "Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound too"
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Old 01-07-2000, 12:35 AM
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: seattle wa. USA
Posts: 35

From what I have gleaned from the message boards and present experiences from my buddies at work, The 5.4 engine itself seems to be ok. (other than some isolated piston slap and oil leakage problems) I think the trucks electronics might need some refining tho'
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Old 01-07-2000, 04:24 PM
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Flower Mound,Tx. USA
Posts: 63

You mean your Daddy's truck fast46?
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Old 01-09-2000, 12:02 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 1998
Location: Kalamazoo, MI USA
Posts: 191

Here's a post from an automotive technicians' group:

Q>Hello everybody! I'd like to know the good and bad
>experineces you guys have had and your costumers with
>Triton engines, because a costumer is going to buy 15
>trucks and he asked for my advice on them, but i asked him
>to let me ask the experts! thanks.

A I can relate NO experiences, as the few my customers have
had little problems with them, but I will relate what I
learned at the local Ford training facility where the
dealer techs are taught: These are modular engines and are
treated as one item by Ford. If it makes noise, it gets a
motor. If it blows a gasket, it gets a motor. If it leaks
oil, it gets a motor. There are NO internal repairs done to
these engines under warranty. There are several problems
with dealing with the internals of these engines- the first
being strict disassembly procedures involving detorque
sequences. If these sequences are not adhered to, the part
you just zipped off with your impact goes in the scrap pile
as it is twisted beyond use. This applies to pretty much
all engine parts- heads, lower crankcase (main cap
assembly), manifolds, even valve covers. The technology is
advanced similar to Jap where to order a main bearing
you're gonna have to know which size the crank is and which
size the block is, graded in tiny increments (maybe .0002"
?) which will make for boocoo part numbers for one bearing
shell. The lower crancase is scary to me- after the first
bolt is torqued, the crankshaft locks up and won't turn
until the last bolt is torqued. Structurally they remind me
of the Caddy HT4100/4500 series, aluminum block with cast
in liners, aluminum lower crankcase with cast in caps,
which I run like hell from. I thought this was all bunk,
but we had a V-6 there to prove it all, and it applies to
4.6 Crown motors as well. Where I see this going is a big
headache for owners. Being built as non-rebuildable engines
will make life very difficult for the aftermarket, both on
the garage end like us, and the remanufacturers like
Jasper. Ford is having very good luck with them at this
point, but they are in their infancy right now. What I'm
afraid of is motors blowing up from bad luck or being
overheated and the only options for many years being a
brand new motor or boneyard used. You might see people with
2-3 years left to pay on their vehicle out of warranty
being presented with a $6000-8000 repair bill. I'm not a
big Ford fan, you can tell, and I don't know what the
latest generation of Chevy motors is like, but I'd be
interested in knowing. Their CPI sure sucks, but I'd take
it over Ford's latest engine series.
(author unknown)

BTW, check out:
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Old 01-09-2000, 12:34 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 4

The 5.4L engine in my 1999 F150 shelled a piston at 7800 miles. Apparantly, the spark plug cracked, and the end of the plug went into the cylinder, and through the piston. I received a new 2000 engine, and so far (1000 miles), no problems. I believe that my incident was very rare; however, it did happen.
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Old 01-11-2000, 12:03 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Stallings, North Carolina
Posts: 96

Well I ordered my new pickup tonight. I ordered a new 2001 Supercrew F150 4x2 XLT, 5.4L V-8, Auto. Trans., 3.55 L/S Rear Axle, Tow Package, Deep Wedgewood Blue with Silver Two Tone. I should have it in 6 to 8 weeks if everything goes ok. I let everybody know how it goes when I get it. Know I have to figue out what I want to do for upgrades
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