Changing Ford 5.4L Phasers and Timing Chain

Basically, you will be tearing the front side of the engine down to get the front cover off to expose the timing components.

  1. Disconnect the battery. Always disconnect the negative terminal first and always connect it last.

  2. Drain the cooling system by the radiator petcock. I do not recommend reusing the drained coolant.

  3. Remove intake plenum tube. Held in by one bolt. The other end sits inside of the fender.

  4. Undo the upper radiator hose from the radiator and from the thermostat housing.

  5. Unscrew the fan clutch assembly. Special tools are required. Air Hammer Fan Clutch Kit

  1. Remove the fan shroud and fan simultaneously by removing 2 bolts at the top of the shroud and unclip the lower radiator hose from the bottom, hold fan and pull up on shroud.

  2. NON-ESSENTIAL STEP* Remove the radiator. Just gives you more room and prevents damage to the radiator from tools. Experienced technicians would not remove it. You could also slide in a piece of cardboard for extra protection.

  3. Remove the belt by using a 3/8 ratchet inside of the tensioner and turning clockwise. Remember the belt routing. It may be helpful to sketch a diagram. The belt tensioner is a common failure point and should be closely examined.

  4. Remove the tensioner assembly by the 3 bolts.

  5. Remove the idler pulleys. Remove water pump pulley.

  6. Remove the alternator.

  7. Remove the harmonic balancer. Special tools required Older models will need a Gear Puller Set - for newer models use 6" 3-Jaw Gear Puller. Remove the main center bolt, set the washer aside, reinstall bolt, install puller. The balancer will slide past the bolt without the washer. The bolt will be used to rotate the engine during disassemble/reassembly. I don't use it, but Ford does specify a crankshaft holder tool (303-674).

  8. Disconnect all coils and injectors. Remove all coils.

  9. **Non Essential Step** The intake does not need to be removed to perform timing chain replacement but some readers have noted that it makes removing the valve covers easier. This is somewhat of a time killer, but it will be easier to install the valve covers and new gaskets with it out of the way. Experienced technicians would not remove the intake. But here are the steps: Remove the fuel rail and injectors. Special tools Required. Master Disconnect Kit. Disconnect all other lines and connectors visible from the intake manifold. Unbolt and remove the intake manifold. Becareful! There are two connectors you must unplug from the back after you have tilted it slightly. Then remove the brake booster vacuum hose. Sometimes a long pry bar to push on the end of the hose is necessary. Note the routing of the wires THROUGH the connecting rods of the IRMC (intake manifold runner control).

  10. Remove the PCM and bracket. Lift the tabs to loosen all three connectors. 4 bolts securing PCM, 3 bolts securing bracket.

  11. Remove the 3 bolts attaching the power steering pump to the block, set aside. If vehicle is 2wd, it is easily accessible from underneath. If it is 4wd, a stubby 10mm ratcheting wrench or a 1/4 inch drive 10mm swivel socket from the top will suffice. Ford actually describes using a puller to remove the power steering pump pulley for easier access, but it is not normally required. This is probably the most irritating part of the process. Sometimes the bolts have corroded to the point that they are almost impossible to remove and removing the power steering pulley may be required.

  12. **2004-2006 Only** Disconnect and remove seals and VCT Solenoids. Seals must be replaced if doing this. Most agree removing these will ease removal of the valve covers but it is not required. The 2007-up can not be removed without removal of the valve cover first.

  1. Disconnect both camshaft position sensors. Ford recommends removing the sensors but its not necessary.

  2. Remove valve covers. This can be a tedious process. Becareful and do not damage other components or wiring. The brake booster line and transmission dipstick may need to be slightly relocated so that you can remove valve cover bolts. Becareful to not push thelinetoo far, as it will likely come undo from behind the intake manifold (if it is still on).

  3. Remove all bolts on the front cover. Using a 13mm, 15mm, 18mm, and 22mm. There are 4 oil pan bolts on the front bottom that also need to be removed with a 13mm wrench. Note the location of ALL the bolts. Dont forget the slightly hidden bolt under the water pump.

  4. Disconnect the crankshaft position sensor. It is located just below the A/C compressor. Move the harness out of the way. Do not forget to reconnect it! The engine will not start if you forget.

  5. Gently pry on the front cover to separate it. It should not take excessive force. Remove and safely set aside. Do not damage mounting surfaces on the block or timing cover or severe oil leaks will result.

  6. If engine is currently in-time, rotate the crankshaft so that the keyway is in the 11 to 12 o'clock position. Ford does specify removing certain cam followers, but it isn't required. If replacing phasers, you should loosen the sprocket bolts while the chain is still on. Recheck to make sure the crankshaft is still in the correct position. If chains are to be reused, mark direction of travel.

  7. It also helps to make sure that once the crankshaft is in the correct position the timing marks on the cams that are in the top of the gear are R for the passenger side of the engine, and L for the driver side of the engine.
  8. Remove two bolts holding the right front timing chain tensioner in place. Remove the tensioner. Tensioner should be replaced.

  9. Remove the tensioner arm (guide) by sliding it off the pivoting pin. Remove the two bolts on the other guide and remove.

  10. Remove the RH chain. Lay flat on table if reusing. Timing marks may be on the chain, if not, lay the chain flat into a straight line. Mark the one link that is sticking out alone on one side, and mark the two links that are sticking out together on the other side.

  11. Repeat steps for LH side.

By now, the chains should be off and you should have a pile of oily parts and bolts laid out onto your table. With all this off the top of the engine, it may be a wonderful time to replace the spark plugs. Easy access will be much appreciated with all that room. The 3-valve 5.4L spark plugs are known to break off in the head, and you will need a special tool to remove them. Check out my article Spark Plug Replacement of Ford 5.4L 3valve.

The next page is detailed installation instructions.