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Timing chain noise or Cam Phaser noise

45717 Views 7 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  WideMudder
New guy in town just want to start out with a big howdy to everyone on this forum i am looking forward to get to know all of you or at lest some of you . I know a little about forums and how they work so heres my question.
I have a 2004 f-150 with a 5.4 and when i start it up cold it sound like a diesel untill it gets warmed up than it sounds normal i have been told that it could be the timing chain or the cma phaser. How do i tell which one it is . I had planned on putting in the timing chain this weekend untill someone said something about the cam phaser now im not sure what i should do. I dont have money to waste so i want to make sure whats wrong before i dive in im sure you all understand were im coming from so any help would be awesome. Thanks Jay
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First, welcome to F150 Forum!

How many miles do you have on it? The oil pressure should be the highest when cold, so I would expect a worn timing chain/tensioner to make noise
when hot. This would be the same with the cam phasers. First thing I would
do is use a "real" oil pressure gauge, and see what the oil pressure is doing cold & hot.
You're not running a Fram oil filter are you?
Welcome to the forum!

While I'm right there with Bob's assessment I would have to start with the most simple of questions first, so, bear with me. My daughter came to me the other day complaining of the exact same issue you describe, a lot of noise when it first starts up and then quiets down after a bit of running. I asked her when her last oil change was and she said she was a bit overdue.

I changed her oil and went with the recommended oil for her engine (5W 30) and where we live instead of the heavier oil she was told to use (10W 40) by an ex-boyfriend and no more noise.
hey man, you tackle that timing chain yet? that's an all day'er huh? i just finished one on my son's truck, same thing, several causes though, FIRST, the manufacturer calls for a synthetic blend oil 5w20, and the oem filter has a back flow valve. i didn't know that until a friend at ford told me, i compared the filters, and it is true, that is why the one gentleman asked if you had a fram filter. my wife's expedition did the same thing after i changed the oil and i filled it with 10w30. NEXT tuns out when i got it apart the timing chain guide on the right side was broken in half. this was the top guide so the chain was constantly slapping the timing cover or catching the guide flapping it around. THEN, when i took the tensioners off to replace them i found that they have a rubber o ring that sealed them against the block, these were completely gone! since it is oil pressure that keeps the tensioner pushed out tightly against the guide, it could not keep the chain tight because it was leaking oil from behind it.
the fact that yours quiets down after a few minutes tells me these tensioner o rings are probably close to gone and it is just taking some time for the oil pressure to catch up to keep tension on the chain. thing is, if you don't fix it, you will probably end up jumping a tooth on the timing chain, which is what happened to my sons truck, hope this helps!
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Sounds like we should use the aftermarket tensioner I have seen advertised that has a ratchet device that keeps it from backing off due to oil pressure loss when we replace. Watcha think??
I am on my third 5.4L 3V engine (all with well over 100k miles) and none of them had an issue with the tensioner. Cam phasers, that was another story!
There is a really good thread, that I cannot find now, titled Final fix for 5.4 phaser... any way, if anyone could direct me to that, that would be great. I did everything he said, found I had a broken tensioner arm but still changed everything! Started her up and she was worse then before. Changed the vct solenoid, fixed it, except now there was a loud clunkING for a second when first started. Ran for 2 whole days, was going down the highway and I felt it miss and then a bad did noise and shut down immediately. So got it towed home, took it apart, cam phaser on driver's side cracked, puked a roller, hopefully didn't destroy motor. Looking to replace phasers again, can anyone suggest a brand? My local ford delear Mechanic says they're junk and not guaranteed!? What do I do with that!?! Should I just drop trying to fix this and put my 5.0 in and is that doable?
You don't always have to use 0W20 or 5W20 oils. Ford did that for C.A.F.E. standards and to try to squeak out every bit of MPG. Usually if you use a 20 weight oil and have no leaks or problems, you can stick with a 20 weight. I've used 30 weight oils because I have found the 20 weight to sometimes be too thin of a viscosity. I'd only use a 40 weight if I had bad noise or leaks. Never use a cheap, bargain priced oil. That causes damage over time. Changing timing chains is no fun. Been there, done that. But once it's done, you should hopefully get a good 150,000+ miles of driving out of it.
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