Changing Ford 5.4L Phasers and Timing Chain

Inspect all removed timing components. Look for damaged seals on the back-side of the tensioner assembly. They almost always break when removed from the block. Check for excessive wear on the chain or the guides. You should have a look at the lobes on your camshaft and take a peak at the rockers looking for any excessive wear.

At this point, it is almost always well worth it to replace all timing components. Seems like it would be a waste of time to reassemble just to find out you should have replaced something later. Ford does not sell these components in a kit. I recommend using Ford OEM replacement parts, athough aftermarket seem to work just fine all the while saving you some precious cash. A link to a aftermarket kit and a link to the Ford OEM parts list was mentioned on the first page.

If installing new phasers, you need to remove the old ones. Discard the banjo bolt. Be sure the locating pin is removed with the old phaser.Sometimes the locating pin slot on the camshaft has become damaged and will require a new camshaft.A commonly overlooked problem area that needs to be inspected is the camshaft bearings and caps. If you are competent enough, you should remove both camshafts to fully inspect the bearings, caps, and lifters. Specifically, the front camshaft bearing cap should be inspected for debris, scoring, an heat damage. Be aware that the phaser gets oil flow from the center of the camshaft. That oil comesthrough the block, through the bearing, and into the camshaft. Debris often gets stuck here and can be the root cause of repeat phaser failure. Special de-torque and torque sequence must be followed for the camshaft bearing caps! All caps must be properly marked and put back into the same orientation and locations as originally installed or engine damage will follow.

As mentioned earlier, this would also be the opportune time to replace the oil pump. Bending an 8mm wrench at around 50 degrees allows you to access the oil pickup tube bolts with the oil pan still attached. Oil pump only has 3 more bolts to remove because one of them doubles as a timing chain guide bolt. The oil pump should slide off easily once you clear the pickup tube. The pump must be properly aligned to reinstall. It has two flats that must align with the two flats on the crankshaft. It just takes a little wiggling and good eye to line up. Be sure the pump fits easily all the way against the block.CHECK! Will slide easily up to the block... If it does not, DO NOT force it as those tabs are not aligned. You will damage the pump. Remove and try again. Do not use bolts to pull the pump to the block. A link to the M340 pump was on the first page.

Clean all the gasket mounting surfaces. Do not use roloc discs. Use a plastic or wooden scrapper to clean away old gasket material. Clean the valve covers and the front cover. Insert new gaskets into valve covers and front cover. Replacement of the front main oil seal is highly recommended and easy to do.

Install your new phaser carefully. Do not drop. Be sure it is fully seated with the locating pin in the correct location. Using the phaser locking tool torque to spec of 30 ft.lbs and then an additional 90 degrees. If you do not have the locking tool, you must hand tighten the bolt and then torque it once the chains are in place.

Install the crankshaft sprocket. Find marks on the first chain. Put the chain over the crankshaft sprocket making sure to align the single chain mark to the dot on the sprocket. The first chain is the LH side and it sits on the furthest back on the sprocket. While holding the chain to the sprocket, pull the chain around the camshaft sprocket. Align the mark on the camshaft sprocket directly in between the two marked teeth on the chain. It may be necessary to use a 15mm and turn the camshaft to aid in alignment. Install the new tensioner hand tight and the new tensioner arm (guide) but do not pull the locking pin yet. Inspect your chain location to be certain that marks and links are aligned around the crankshaft sprocket and the camshaft sprocket. If they are not aligned, start the process over by removing the tensioner. The chain can easily slip on the crankshaft sprocket. If they are still aligned, tighten the tensioner and install the guide. Make sure there are no loose bolts. Pull tensioner grenade pin! Fire in the hole! For the visual learners out there, I did manage to grab a few pictures of the timing marks lined up. They are located Here1 and Here2.

The RH side installation is similar. It sits furthest forward on the crankshaft sprocket and is a little harder to be sure it stays in time. This side will definitely need you to slightly turn the camshaft sprocket to align the chain, and its somewhat difficult to hold the chain and turn the camshaft sprocket by yourself. Any slight movement in either direction and the camshaft will wan to "jump" because of valve spring pressure. Use of a breaker bar is preferred. This is a great time to call in backup. Follow remaining steps above.

Once you have checked and double checked that your timing marks are all still lined up (maybe a triple check?) then you can use the crankshaft bolt to rotate the engine clockwise. Rotate the engine a few complete revolutions to be sure no valve to piston contact will occur. The timing marks WILL NOT line up after you turned it. Based on the number of emails I have received please read this statement again: The timing marks WILL NOT line up after you rotate the engine. It is almost impossible to check the timing after the engine is rotated by using the timing marks on the timing chain. Continue to rotate the engine over a full few turns. If all goes well the engine will not come to a halt then install the crankshaft sensor ring (tabs facing outward). A dot of RTV needs to be put on the block before installing the front cover. The locations to put RTV are where the timing cover meets the cylinder head and the block at all 4 positions, and the corners of the oil pan gasket. I usually put a very small bead along the exposed oil pan gasket.

Install the front cover. While tightening the bolts, start at the bottom 13mm and criss-cross all the 13mm bolts. Then tighten remaining bolts. For detailed, and absolutely correct torque pattern, refer to WSM-303-01C. Now before you install the valve covers, you need to add a dot of RTV to where the cylinder head meets the front cover on both sides. Then install the valve covers. When installing the harmonic balancer, a new bolt should be used if following FORDS instructions. Put the harmonic balancer on (lining up the key way) and gently tap on it until it becomes recessed enough that the bolt will screw into the crankshaft. Damage to the crankshaft can happen if you are not careful. Tighten the bolt.

Rest of installation process is reverse of disassembly. Remember to change the oil, oil filter, and use new coolant to refill the cooling system. For detailed information on the correct procedure an type of coolant to use on your vehicle, refer to Coolant Refill Procedure.