Common problems with Ford 5.4 engine

The Ford 5.4L Triton engine has been around for more than a decade. With more than one million units produced worldwide, the 5.4L is a well-known Ford powerplant. Even though Ford stopped making the 5.4L in 2010, it is still a really popular option on the used car market. Before you decide to buy one, be sure to consider these issues.

All in all, the 5.4L Triton engine is fairly dependable and it should be able to last all sorts of abuse for quite a while. The most common Ford 5.4L engine issues are associated with the ignition system, the fuel pump driver module, the engine timing system, spark plugs and issues with the cam phaser.

The key to owning this engine for decades is to properly maintain it all the time. It is a relatively large engine that needs constant maintenance and prompt fluid changes and flushes. Most owners state that these can last a few hundred thousand miles, but only if they are maintained well.

Either way, be sure to consider these issues before you decide to buy the 5.4L engine so you have a broad understating of what could potentially go wrong.

Ford 5.4 V8 – Ignition system issues

There are a few different versions of the 5.4L V8, the 2-valve V8 Triton, the 3-valve V8 Triton, the 4-valve V8 Triton, and all of these seem to be suffering from ignition system issues. The 5.4L V8 uses a coil-on-plug design in which a coil is being used for each individual cylinder. These are positioned directly on the spark plugs.

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The issue here happens when the rubberized covers on the coil boots start deteriorating and causing the spark to hit the well as opposed to hitting the plug. If you notice engine misfiring or loss of power, chances are that your ignition system is to blame. Thankfully, fixing this issue is rather easy as you only need to replace the coils.

Ford 5.4 V8 – Fuel pump driver module issues

The 5.4L V8 found in the F150 is known to suffer from fuel pump driver module issues in which the fuel pump stops supplying the engine with fuel and causes the car to stall. This also cuts power to pretty much all essential systems which can sometimes be dangerous and even cause an accident. The worst thing is that this typically happens while driving on the highway.

The fuel pump driver module is located directly on the steel frame which means that it comes in contact with dirt, debris, and all sorts of contaminants which can slowly eat away at the housing. This causes a short circuit which results in the module failing to do its job. Ford recognized this issue and they offered a redesigned replacement housing which solves the issue.

Ford 5.4 V8 – Engine timing issues

The 5.4L V8 also sometimes suffers from a few different timing system-related issues such as a blown-out tensioner, an issue with the cam phaser, or a loose timing chain. All three of these parts need to be operating without any issues if you want your 5.4L engine to do its job properly. If not, the engine can literally destroy itself.

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The easiest way how one can notice these issues early on is to listen to the chain rattling. If this is not taken care of early enough, it could potentially start a domino effect and cause the other two systems to fail as well. If this happens, your engine is likely going to blow, so be sure to pay close attention to these three components.

Ford 5.4 V8 – Spark plug issues

Blown-off spark plugs are not exactly a common issue, but the 5.4L V8 seems to be on the other side of the story, especially pre-2004 models. When a spark plug blows, it usually strips the entire threading of the aluminum head. Moreover, a blown spark plug can also break the “coil-over spark plug” system we mentioned in the first problem.

The fact of the matter is that issue is so common that many aftermarket mechanics even made a fix. Ford also recognized this issue and even offered a solution with a Lock-N-Stitch thread insert.

 Ford 5.4 V8 – Cam phaser issues

A cam phaser is designed to operate the camshaft a move it a few degrees in order for the cam lobe to open and close the valves properly. The camshaft moves depending on your driving style which means while you are driving at low RPMs, the valve shaft stays in one place, but it changes position whenever you need more power.

However, the phaser is known to fail on the 5.4L engine which requires you to replace it with a brand new unit.

FAQ Section

How long can the 5.4L Ford V8 last?

The Ford 5.4L V8 can easily last a few hundred thousand miles without needing major overhauls. This engine is designed to be a workhorse which means that it can haul and tow without experiencing too many issues.

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As such, the 5.4L V8 can last a long time if you take proper care of it. It can’t be overemphasized that these engine needs to be maintained to last a considerable amount of time.

Why did Ford stop making the 5.4L V8?

Ford stopped making the 5.4L V8 because the engine is dated and fairly inefficient. There simply is no need these days to make a large 5.4L V8 to make the amount of power that this engine offers. There are many 6-cylinder and 4-cylinder engines these days half the size of the 5.4L V8 that offers pretty much the same power output.

How much does it cost to rebuild a 5.4L V8 Ford engine?

According to a few online sources, it costs around $3,800 on average to rebuild the 5.4L Ford engine. Rebuild prices range between $1,800 to $5,000 depending on the nature of the issue. This is certainly a lot of money, especially when a brand-new 5.4L usually costs around $6,000 to $8,000 depending on the availability.

All in all, the 5.4L Ford engine is good, but it is now a fairly outdated engine and one that simply can’t keep up with current Ford offerings.

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    Marko Mikulic

    Why do you love writing about cars? I love writing about cars as cars are a huge personal interest of mine. I was raised in a car enthusiast community and ever since I was young, I always wanted to do car-related work.

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