The proper rebuild must contain not only new phasers, but also resized and machined camshaft bores, with the installation of OEM sized cam-bearings or an oversized camshaft with machining to zero runout (along with the traditional re-manufacturing process)
Powertrain Products Inc., a national distributor of rebuilt automotive engines, reports on an alarming trend in Ford 2004-2010 trucks, equipped with 5.4L 3-valve engines, failing before their projected lifespan is up.
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.”
The Ford Motor Company has already issued numerous “technical service bulletins” regarding these issues, which are typically not covered under warranty by the time they start occurring, and can still cost the consumer thousands of dollars in repairs despite Ford’s acknowledgement of the problem.
Apparently, the root cause of this issue is defective engineering in the camshaft phaser, as well as poor machining of the 5.4L, 3-valve engines.
Many dealerships and repair shops are still in the practice of replacing the phasers, but after a poll of over 500 customers that purchased rebuilt engines from Powertrain Products, it was discovered that more than half had already invested the nearly $2,000 to repair/replace the phasers – which either only temporarily relieved the symptoms, or did nothing at all.
Powertrain Products recommends the following procedures when these vehicles start having problems:
Your technician should first clear the codes and road test the vehicle to confirm the complaint is not of another drivability related component.
Once the phasers fail, they begin to wear on the camshaft bearing surface. These camshafts ride in an aluminum cylinder head which increases the speed in which the damage is done. To correct the ticking and hydraulic issues, the head must be re-machined and a new camshaft installed (as well as phasers and sensors).
If it is determined that the phasers are bad, then there are only two viable options:
1: Either replace the engine.
2: Replace the cam phasers and cam sensors, re-machine the cylinder heads and replace worn camshafts at same time.
Once the overall expense for parts & labor is evaluated, it generally makes more sense to simply replace the engine with a properly rebuilt unit that is backed by a good warranty.
Consumers are cautioned however, to take care before purchasing a remanufactured engine. Cheaper options, that have been processes without the proper machining, will result in the same failure again (but much sooner than the original engine did).
The proper rebuild must contain not only new phasers, but also resized and machined camshaft bores, with the installation of OEM sized cam-bearings or an oversized camshaft with machining to zero runout (along with the traditional re-manufacturing process). If the cam is not fixed in this manner, then the problems have not been fully corrected and the phaser failure will happen again.
When the proper repair is made (and provided regular maintenance is performed) these vehicles can be expected to run for another 300,000 miles or more!
“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.”
About Powertrain Products Inc.
Powertrain Products Inc. is one of the United States’ leading suppliers of rebuilt engines, used engines and surplus engines, transmissions, transfer cases, cylinder heads and differentials. The company is manned by drivetrain professionals with more than 75 years of in-house experience the replacement drivetrain industry.
Visit the Powertrain Products website or call the number below for more information about cost-effective options for replacing your Ford 5.4 truck engine.