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. You might want to read through some of my other articles on the 5.4L 3 valve engine, a few of them describe the Common Problems with the 5.4L and how the VCT System Works.
Essentially, what you should be aware of, is that low oil pressure ultimately causes some of the VCT rattling issues. I always recommend changing the oil pump when doing any timing job. These factory oil pumps are known for making inadequate pressure when hot due to various reasons. Sometimes increased bearing clearances and scored cam caps are partially to blame, but the pump itself usually leaks pressure out the front. Melling offers several pumps to fit the needs of this engine, but I recommend going with the M340 or the higher volume M340HV. You can easily change the oil pump without removing the oil pan when you have the front cover and timing components removed.
You will need a handful of new parts as well, such as timing chains, two tensioners, two phasers, all the guides, main oil seal, three front cover gaskets, and valve cover gaskets. I recommend purchasing quality products for these repairs. I have created a list of parts with Ford part numbers as well as links that can be found by going over to 5.4L Triton 24 Valve OEM Parts List. Not all components must be replaced, but usually it would be in your best interest.
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.