Changing Ford 5.4L Triton Phasers and Timing Chain
As a forewarning, this is not a job for a novice because it is an interference engine; if the camshafts are aligned incorrectly serious mechanical engine damage will result. I have supplied you with a detailed guide explaining how to properly change the timing chain, guides, tensioners, and phasers on a 5.4L Triton 3 valve engine.
These 5.4L Triton 3 valve engines are known for their distinctive rattling noise, likely the most commin issue listed on Common Problems with the 5.4L Triton article. Some noise is normal but excessive noise warrants an inspection. The timing components are the likely source of the noise. The camshaft phasers, tensioners, and guides all can fail. There is no maintenance schedule for timing component replacement, however I do recommend proactive replacement.
This article is written with the 5.4L truck engine in mind, but the 4.6L used in trucks, vans, and cars are very similar. Definately be aware of how the VCT System Works.
Low oil pressure ultimately causes most of the VCT issues. I recommend changing the oil pump when doing a timing chain replacement. The factory oil pumps are known for making inadequate pressure when hot. Sometimes increased bearing clearances and scored cam caps are partially to blame, but the pump itself leaks pressure out from the front plate.
Melling offers several pumps to fit the needs of this engine, but I recommend going with the Melling M340 or the high volume M340HV. You can easily change the oil pump without removing the oil pan with the timing components removed. If you have had guide failure with plastic peices broken, you might want to take the pan off to clean the oil pickup. The Melling M360 or M360HV has a higher pressure release spring but generally isnt required. I have used all four types in various projects with no noted differences.
You will need a handful of other new parts as well, such two timing chains, two tensioners, two phasers, all the guides, main front oil seal, three front cover gaskets, and valve cover gaskets, and variable cam timing solenoids. I recommend purchasing quality products for these repairs, AKA Ford parts. I have created a list of parts with Ford part numbers as well as links that can be found by going over to Common 5.4L Triton 3v Parts List. Not all components must be replaced but it would be in your best interest to do the whole timing job.
Repairing this stuff can get really expensive, but I can help. Get an easy $100 bonus if you apply for a Discover Credit Card. Even bad credit can get easy approval, but you could also try Capital One if your credit is a bit shakey.
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. You can modify a florescent bulb light fixture to hang from the hood of the vehicle shining down to your work area, or you could invest in something I recommend like the DeWalt Cordless Hood Light.
Here's a disclaimer: This is not a complete all-inclusive guide to all 5.4L Triton 3 valve engines. Each year and application varies slightly, including the process of tearing down to the timing components. However the process of actually setting the components is the same. The 5.4L Triton 3 Valve 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 2004-2008 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 to the next pages.