As a forewarning, this is not a job for a novice. This is an interference engine: If you do not align the camshafts correctly, serious mechanical engine damage will result. Therefore, I have supplied you with this is a step by step guide explaining how to properly change the timing chain, guides, tensioners, and phasers on a 5.4L Triton 3 valve.
These 5.4L Tritons are known for their distinctive rattling noises. Some noise is normal but excessive noise warrants an inspection. On these engines the timing components are the likely source of the noise. The camshaft phasers, tensioners, and the guides can fail. Although there is no maintenance schedules set up on these for timing component replacement, I do recommend pro-active replacement. This article is mainly written with the 5.4L truck engine in mind, but the 4.6L used in trucks, vans, and cars is very similar.
There is definitely a handful of tools that you will need. Any pneumatic or power tools can and should be used to save you valuable time and energy. I have compiled a short list of useful and required tools, although there may be some that you need that are not on the list. Some specialty tools are listed during the step requiring their use. Here is a list of basic recommended tools to have in your toolbox: Master Recommended Tool List.
Of course, you will need a handful of new parts as well. You will need a timing chain, two tensioners, two phasers, all the guides, main oil seal, three front cover gaskets, and valve cover gaskets. A excellent aftermarket kit that contains it all is Ford 5.4L 3Valve Timing Kit but the components can be found individually as well. I have created a list of parts on this particular engine with Ford part number as well as links to after market replacement parts and can be found by going over to 5.4L Triton 24 Valve OEM Parts List. Not all components must be replaced, but it is wise to do so.
A couple little bits of advice. Pick a work area with bright overhead lighting, keep your work area clean, and have plenty of rags and cleaners available. Its also nice to lay out your parts onto a nice large table or workbench to prevent losing bolts or parts. Friends of mine have been known to modify a florescent bulb light fixture to hang from the hood of the vehicle shining down and it works quite well.
Here is a bit of a disclaimer. This is not a complete all-inclusive guide to all 5.4L Triton 3valves. Each year and application varies slightly between the process of getting down into the timing components, however the process of actually changing the components is the same. The 5.4L Triton engine was used in several models, including the F-series pickup trucks, E-series vans, Expedition, and Excursion. This particular guide was written with a 2006 F150 in mind. Double check fitment of any parts listed here.
Please read through everything before starting your project. There are extremely valuable tips and information located on the next few pags, the installation part of the article. Now, let's get started.