Ford Cam Phaser Noise and Oil Types

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Alberta
Ford 5.4L 3V engines produced from 2004-2008 (or up to 2010) are known for cam phaser issues. A cam phaser is a mechanical device that changes the valve timing depending on engine rpm. They are activated by oil pressure through a solenoid and oil path into chambers inside the phaser. With the engine warm, they have a tendency to "clatter" from 800-1300rpm on these year's engine. 160 pages of info Some companies make a lockout for them to get rid of the noise and potential damage that can result if they fail: livernoise lockout I bought a used 2009 F150 with this engine 1.5 years ago with 70k miles on it. It now has 93k miles on it. We use it to tow our travel trailer and other longer trips without the trailer as well as being driven to work 2-3 days a week. This truck has no actual phaser problems, but I want to keep it that way. The engine is inherently noisier than most, but runs well and has been maintained. I have tried the following oils over the last 1.5 years: mobil 5w20 mobil 5w30 QSUD 5w20 PP 5w30 (old formula) PP 5w20 (old formula) PP 5w20 (new formula) 70% mobil 5w20EP, 30% mobil 0w40 70% TGMO 0W20, 30% mobil 0w40, 150ml LM moS2 As you can see, I've been hunting around a bit. I can't get ford 5w20 semi-synth as easy as I can get the other oils, so I haven't run that. I suspect the engine internals will never have a problem, but as far as the noise from the phasers (the lock/unlock pin clicking and limiting vanes smacking against their stops) goes, they are quietest with the mobil 0w40 blends. I actually can't can't hear them even with the oil at full temperature with the last two blends. They clatter terribly with any of the PP in the sump (5w30 or 5w20) and to varying degrees with the others. My hypothesis is that it has something to do with the group 4/5 contents of the mobil 0w40. Both blends seem to be in the 30weight range when hot, but a regular 30wt oil seems to clatter anyway. I know I am totally over-analyzing the phaser noise, but am interested in other's thoughts.
 
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4,882
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Lakeville, MN
Originally Posted By: tcp71
I know I am totally over-analyzing the phaser noise, but am interested in other's thoughts.
You are over analyzing it, but that seems normal around here. I have a 2004 F150 with the 5.4. It is a noisy engine. Almost sounds like a diesel in some situations. No other issues other than the noise. I run name brand oil that I buy on sale. Currently Formula Shell 5w20 - picked it up for 1.99 a quart. I've got nearly 150,000 miles on this way, and plan to stay the course...
 

tcp71

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Originally Posted By: Greasymechtech
Mobil1 0w40 is the best snake oil additive out there. Stick with whatever dose that you are using. Other 0w40's and 5w40's can be tried too.
In the same percentage or increase the 0w40?
 
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IIRC Ford had a TSB to just put 10w40 in the engines to reduce the noise to shut people up, but that didnt make the parts last any longer.. just less noise.
 

tcp71

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I've been trying to keep within a 20-30 weight range when hot. On a side note, I got the TGMO for $5.75Cdn/liter at the toyota dealership. That's cheaper than most other synthetics I can buy here...certainly in that weight.
 
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Lakeville, MN
Precisely Rand. I believe that TSB was rescinded, but copies of it are still floating around. More or less it reduced the noise but little else. From past experience in a 4.6l in an older '99 F150, I ran 5w40 in it for a year. I took a hit on the fuel mileage side that was more than just statistical noise. The UOA results were statistically the same as 5w30 or 5w20, so I went back to using those oils. Lest you think I just don't like thicker oil, at the same time I was running 5w40 in my '88 Cherokee, and it made no difference to my fuel mileage if I had 10w30 or 5w40 in the sump...
 
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Nowthen, MN
I've got the 3V 5.4 in my 05 F-350. I bought it in 2011 with 85K miles, and am now going on 125K. I did one OCI with Amsoil XL 5W-20, one with Mobil Super HM 5W-30, 2 OCIs with Maxlife 5W-20, and now on my second OCI with PP 5W-20. It seemed to be a bit quieter on the Maxlife than the others, and consume a bit less too, so I think I'm going to go back to the Maxlife for my next OCI. However, it hasn't been anywhere close to what I would consider to be excessively loud on any of these oils. I have considered running an OCI on Rotella T6 or M1 0W-40 just out of curiosity, but so far I haven't done it yet.
 
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Maricopa Arizona
Originally Posted By: Rand
IIRC Ford had a TSB to just put 10w40 in the engines to reduce the noise to shut people up, but that didnt make the parts last any longer.. just less noise.
This TSB you are referring to has never existed. It was an OASIS message in this case a mechanic decided to act on his or her own and claimed using 10W40 quieted the noisy engine down.
 
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35,689
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NY
Originally Posted By: dave1251
Originally Posted By: Rand
IIRC Ford had a TSB to just put 10w40 in the engines to reduce the noise to shut people up, but that didnt make the parts last any longer.. just less noise.
This TSB you are referring to has never existed. It was an OASIS message in this case a mechanic decided to act on his or her own and claimed using 10W40 quieted the noisy engine down.
I heard the same thing recently. It does appear in many cases that it worked [band-aid fix], and has grown in popularity due to the www.
 
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Curtice, OH
Originally Posted By: cknight49090
I wouldn't go much thicker I have heard they are very sensitive to viscosity that's why 5w20 is recommended.
That's what I'd heard as well. I no longer have my 08 F150, but I always ran synthetic 5w20 in mine and had no issues. Mostly PP 5w20, but also a few runs of SynPower. Changed around 8-9k.
 
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My F-150 is not of that generation, but, my neighbor used to have one of that generation and I was astounded at how much it sounded like a diesel when it idled. So, I'm guessing this doesn't actually cause any harm - that it's just noise? I'm just glad my F-150 doesn't have that noise since it's the 2V version of the previous gen Triton engines. However, it did just recently develop an exhaust leak that is bugging me alot, and I need to get it fixed.
 

tcp71

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Just a quick point. My 2009 (5.4 3V) has NO clatter with the last two oil changes and just a bit (just off idle - 800-1300rpm) with the other oils. certainly doesn't sound at all diesel like in regular driving. I heard a mid 2k navigator in a parking lot once that could have competed with an old cummins for noise. Mine certainly isn't like that.
 
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495
Location
San Antonio, Texas
I have a 09 5.4 3v i bought used last year that will literally barely run and sounds like a bucket of bolts at idle or just off idle on the top end if after it warms up if i put 5-20 or 10-30 in it...tried rotella 15-40 helped a little not much...now I use mobil 1 15w/50 in it and its very quite and smooth....oil pressure is good/steady and bottom end of motor is not worn out...uses no oil...bout 170k on the engine now....the thick oil is a crutch but it works and runs everyday.....only one out of a bunch of used ones Ive bought thst I have had issues with...good engines other than the phaser deal...
 
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13,194
Location
Maricopa Arizona
Originally Posted By: demarpaint
I heard the same thing recently. It does appear in many cases that it worked [band-aid fix], and has grown in popularity due to the www.
You may find it interesting on a ford truck forum a member claimed he stopped his phaser issue by using a mixture of kreen, mmo, and seafoam to clean his engine out.
 
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9,056
Location
Houston, TX
Meh...I run 0W-20 M1 in mine (it has never had anything in it thicker than 5W-20) and it is smooth and makes no more noise than any other non-phaser fuel-injected V-8. OP, use what you like, but you are likely over thinking a problem (that may not ever be one).
 
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495
Location
San Antonio, Texas
Its a [censored] shoot whether they are gonna get noisy or not from what I have seen...some do...some dont...change your oil/filter like you are supposed to and cross your fingers..ehhhhh.....and you DONT have to pull the front cover off of engine to do phasers...thats only if your doing chains,guides and tensioners.....check youtube.
 
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