Powertrain Products Inc., a national distributor of rebuilt automotive engines, stumbled across some alarming news. The 2004-2010 trucks that came equipped with 5.4L, 3-valve engines are not meeting the projected lifespan given.
According to the company's CEO, Eddie Symonds, "Over the last 4-5 years, we've received hundreds of reports from our customers that these engines are having many issues. Most frequently, it's that they hear a 'ticking' from the engine, when the oil level is fine. They also experience a loss of power after the vehicle warms up, a check-engine-light or any combination of these."
Many “technical service bulletins” have been issued by Ford Motor Company regarding these issues, which are not usually covered under warranty by the time these issues start to arise and could cost the consumer thousands of dollars.
The root of the issue is defective engineering in the camshaft phaser with poor machining of these 5.4L 3-valve engines. Many dealerships and shops are in the practice of repairing these phasers. A poll that included over 500 customers that have purchased these rebuilt engines from Powertrain Products indicate that more than half have already spent about $2,000 to repair/replace the phasers, which may have provided a temporary fix if any at all.
2: Replace the cam phasers and cam sensors, re-machine the cylinder heads and replace worn camshafts at the same time.
Once labor and part expenses are evaluated, it would make sense to simply replace the engine with one that has been properly built and is backed up by warranty.
Before you should purchase a new engine, take caution. Cheaper options may be too good to be true. Without proper machining, you’ll be back to square one with engine failure much sooner than the original engine.
For a proper rebuild, not only will you need new phasers, but you’ll also need resized and machined camshaft bores, installation of OEM sized cam-bearings or an oversized camshaft with machining to zero runout (along with traditional re-manufacturing process). If the cam is not fixed in this exact manner, then the problems have not been fully resolved and the phaser failure will likely happen all over again.
When repaired properly (with regular maintenance), the vehicle is expected to exceed 300,000 miles.
"We really want to help Ford truck owners to avoid these costly and unnecessary repairs," says Symonds. "There's no reason they can't keep them running long enough to really get their monies worth."