Massive knocking/rattling from '05 F150

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Dec 4, 2004
Fargo, ND
Hello group,

I am the store manager for a quick lube and I have noticed an interesting situation with the new 2005 Ford F150. I believe the engine in question is the 5.4L Triton V8, but this may have happened with the 4.6L also. Only 2005 though... I think the engine saw a redesign for the new year?

Anyway, this has happened at least 4 times on 4 different trucks since I started seeing them in the shop. It hasn't happened on every single one, but enough of them for me to want to ask about it. A tech would change the oil, add the appropriate amount of 5w20 oil, and start it up, only to hear the most god awful knocking and rattling from the engine for about 1-2 seconds, then it quiets down and sounds normal. You have no clue how bad this engine sounds at first, louder and noisier than a diesel!!! Sounds like it is about to explode. I wouldn't even be posting this if it wasn't this massive of a scare. It never does it again after the first start-up from an oil change. And it's not like it takes a few seconds to start doing this - I would believe it if say, someone didn't add oil and 2 minutes later it starts knocking. But i'm saying IMMEDIATELY upon start up this engine is going NUTS!! No build-up what-so-ever. It just quiets down 1 or 2 seconds later.

Like I said, this has happened at least 4 times on 4 separate vehicles. I would love to know if anyone else has experienced this or if there is some kind of problem with these motors, just for my own professional curiosity.

I sense a service bulletin and/or recall coming.

It's probably a substandard oil filter.
Stick with Motorcraft - I believe it has two drainback valves internally.
I'm not familiar with your engine, but Fords in general are often 'fixed' by a Motorcraft, original spec filter. They also like a '5' - something oil, for quicker flow at start up.
I would prefill the oil filter to stop this.

Dry knocking that bad on startup is a severe sign of no lubrication.
Hmmm, maybe I am the only person who read the post.

As a quick lube manager, he isn't going to use RedLine and he isn't going to try something in somebody elses vehicle jsut to see what happens. The vehicle calls for a certain oil and that is what will be put in it unless somethign else is requested by the customer.

Can't blame this on the oil filter because even a motorcraft filter will be empty after an oil chnage.

Can't pre-fill these filters because they are mounted sideways. THis would make one huge mess.

Now, my opinion. While there have been a few changes made to these engines, they are still basically the same engine that was used in previous years. The timing chain tensioners on these engines utilize oil pressure to operate. Obviously, there is enough oil removed from the system long enough to require a few seconds for these tensions to tighten things up again.

It probably wouldn't hurt to write a letter to Ford questioning them on this new found problem. It may be something they want to look into.
Give Ford a jingle.You are doing what you are supposed to do and care enough to worry about this noise may-be Ford will be concerned also.If they don't care then let em' blow and let the warranty take care of it.The public gets to test new products in real world terms and thats why I like to get something thats been out a while...HOPEFULLY most of the bugs are gone.
I'm in agreement with Blazerlt.... You have got to prefill those oil filters. As the owner of two 4.6s and a 5.4, I feel resonably sure this is the problem. I prefill all my oil filters slowly to give the oil time to move through the filter material and fill the can.
I prefill my oil filters and most are mounted sideways. Simply fill and let soak-in then a little more. Not necessary to have full of oil. Surprising how much oil can be absorbed even in a fairly small filter.

Originally posted by BlazerLT:
I would prefill the oil filter to stop this.

Dry knocking that bad on startup is a severe sign of no lubrication.

My 99 f150 did that 1 time 3 years ago so i've been prefilling the filter ever since.

It's a V6 so it's a good idea to prefill on all models, not just Ford V8.

I have a new Mustang GT with the 4.6 and have changed oil twice with MC 5W-20 and MC filter with no noticeable knocking at start-up. I haven't pre-filled oil filter either. Maybe I've just been lucky.I did see on another website though that Ford was having some quality issues with the 4.6 last fall and some of the Mustang GTs coming off assembly line had a hold on them due to potential engine problems.
I don't know if this is feasible at a quick lube type of place, but I always try to roll the engine for 5 seconds or so before I fire it up after I change my oil. Easy enough to do on an engine that still has a distributor cap, but it would involve pulling a fuse or something of the sort on a DIS type of engine.
On a Ford ('97 on), if you depress the accelerator to the floor before you hit the key, it will not start but will turn over.
This way you can pump some oil through the system thereby avoiding the racket and any dry start damage as there are no real forces for the engine to deal with.
What brand of oil filters are you using? Most all quickie lubes around here use Mighty brand of filters which are made by Champion Labs.

Side note: I went to my local Ford dealer this week to have some repairs made on my patrol car's seatbelt. I was talking to the service manager about Ford using 5w20. The service manager said that it was a good oil but the dealership is having some problems with new vehicles puffing a small amount of blue smoke upon start up. My patrol car is a '01 crown vic (144450 miles) and has had Motorcraft 5w20 and a new Wix oil and air filter every 3k to 3.5k miles. It doesn't burn a drop of oil during it's change interval and it's been driven hard all it's life.
I would call Ford or a couple local dealers to see if they've either experienced the same thing or can give you some input.

Otherwise, if it happens for 1-2 seconds and then goes away, it's generallly a normal condition (post-oil change) due to zero oil pressure during this time. Should not pose a problem.

Originally posted by boxcartommie22:
first of all i would never listen to what the manufacturer says about 5w20... i would never use that lite wt. oil ...try 10w30 see what happens...use redline

Hey guys,

Thanks for all the input. The thing that blows my mind is how bad it bangs and knocks and does it RIGHT AWAY. I mean really, even when changing oil there is still enough oil on the various parts of the engine so it can run a few seconds to even minutes with NO oil before most engines will start knocking, especially like these do RIGHT AWAY. It's like it is 100% bone dry with no assembly lube or ANYTHING. And it's not like these trucks are draining for 10 minutes either.

I'm not sure if I believe the pre-fill oil filter idea either. The oil pressure gauge does not stay at zero for an excessive amount of time.

As for 5w20 versus 10w30 - thanks to those of you who see that I am a quick lube manager and these aren't my trucks. To the rest of you - in this business the last thing you want to do is stray from manufacturer's guidelines with ANYTHING that has to do with preventative maintenence, especially injecting your own opinions about 'proper' care and ESPECIALLY during the warranty period - we get sued over things like that. No way in **** am I going to tell a trucker that his dealership/manufacturer is stupid, throw out the owner's manual, and do what I think is best!!!

Now my question is this - is it mechanically possible for the engine to drain so much oil and lose oil pump prime during draining for 2-3 minutes to cause this racket? No other vehicle I have serviced has had this problem - and that's why I am here. A recurring situation with the same trucks with the same engines. And I have probably serviced tens of thousands of vehicles since I started working here!

If the oil pressure comes up normally after an oil change, even with the knocking, then it didn't lose prime. I've seen a couple other engines with hydraulic lifters that made crazy noises after an oil change; Nissan's Sr20de comes to mind (my buddy had a very high mileage SE-R). With that said, I'm with Medic. Either timing chain hydraulic tensioner, or hydraulic lifters that are malfunctioning/bledding down.
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