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Old 02-27-2014, 03:44 PM   #1
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Default 2004 F150 - Variable time issue, new engine??

So my check engine light came on recently, and my engine started idling roughly. It rides smoothly when I'm driving, but when I stop at a red light or stop sign it will shake and it feels as if something is misfiring.

AutoZone's diagnostic test revealed a code of P0012. Here's the explanation:

camshaft timing over retarded - bank 1
Cam timing incorrect
VCT solenoid stuck open

Took it to O'Reilly's to get a second diagnosis and they revealed several timing issues.

Dropped it off with a local mechanic that somebody recommended to me.

He said it was running low on oil, so he changed the oil and took it for a test drive. I don't really speak the language, so I can't completely recall what he told me, but I know he said a bunch of stuff about a cam phaser problem, the duty cycle (and it's -27 degree to 27 degree range), and how when the cam shaft starts advancing it starts running badly.

I have no idea what any of this means or how severe the issue is, so I asked him what the next step is beyond replacing the engine. He told me I'm stuck in the ol' Catch 22. He can do everything externally to the motor to try to fix the problem, but it might not fix the problem.

I asked him if I continue to drive the truck like this will the engine eventually just die. All he said was "It could. It's hard to say when that might happen or how long you can drive it like that."

He's going to get me a quote on a Jasper engine that he'll give me when I pick it up.

First of all, I don't know that I would ever be comfortable spending $5000+ to put an engine in a 10 year old truck.

Second, I need a bolder statement than what I've been given to truly believe replacing the engine is my only option.

Any advice or thoughts? I'm guessing a should take it to a local Ford Dealer to get their opinion?
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Old 02-27-2014, 03:56 PM   #2
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Well, based on the VCT Solenoid code, it could be a big part of the problem here, and it is a relatively easy fix. Since you have a 2004, replacing the two VCT solenoids only means having to unbolt them from the driver and passenger side of the engine and swap them out, preferably with new seals as well. Ford has a new VCT solenoid that is redesigned and is supposed to operate better anyway. All this, parts plus labor, I'm guessing will only set you back about $300, if that. That being said, this would definitely be worth trying before you even consider an engine swap, it's a PITA on these trucks.

Just my $0.02. Hope this helps!
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Old 02-27-2014, 04:17 PM   #3
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Thanks. He also told me it had a couple of bad coil packs but right now that was "the least of his concerns."

Said the Motorcraft coil packs were $100 each. I asked if I could supply my own, and he said that if I did that he'd have to charge more for labor.
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Old 02-27-2014, 04:21 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by arbryant1 View Post
Thanks. He also told me it had a couple of bad coil packs but right now that was "the least of his concerns." Said the Motorcraft coil packs were $100 each. I asked if I could supply my own, and he said that if I did that he'd have to charge more for labor.
If you were to go that route, I'd just let them supply the coils. $100/each isn't too bad, considering they are Motorcraft, and I wouldn't use any other brand for coils on my '04. Again, just my opinion.

In addition to the coils and the Solenoids, I would recommend a new PCV valve too. They are only about $15 and they are cheap insurance in a 10 year old vehicle.
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Old 02-27-2014, 04:26 PM   #5
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If you were to go that route, I'd just let them supply the coils. $100/each isn't too bad, considering they are Motorcraft, and I wouldn't use any other brand for coils on my '04. Again, just my opinion.

In addition to the coils and the Solenoids, I would recommend a new PCV valve too. They are only about $15 and they are cheap insurance in a 10 year old vehicle.
A buddy recommended another mechanic to take it to. I think I'll get him to look at it and then take it to a dealer and have them run a diagnostic.

I know this is ultimately my decision, but IF the consensus is "new engine," do you think it's worth paying $5000 - $6000 to put a new engine in a 2004?

If I can get another 100,000 out of the vehicle then it's probably a cheaper route than getting a new vehicle, but my fear is this is a 10 year old vehicle, what else is going to break down?

The mechanic used a lot of scare tactics telling me how poorly made the 2004 F150 is.
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Old 02-27-2014, 04:40 PM   #6
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Well, this is where factors only you know come into play. If the truck could use a new engine and that is a viable solution, you have to make sure whoever puts it in knows their stuff. However, if you can afford a newer truck with less miles, that would be a good way to go too. Personally, I have a 2004 Lariat Screw with the 5.4L. I love it to death and still enjoy waxing it every month. Despite these being the first of the newer body style of the generation (mine built in October 2003), the first trucks built in a particular generation (like the 04-08's) tend to be over-engineered before they start to cheapen the parts up.

Also, it comes down to how well the truck has been maintained and how much rust, stains, blemishes, etc are on it. If it is still in good shape and you are willing to keep it that way, a new engine might be viable.

Anyway, this is all my opinion and obviously it is something only you can decide. I'm just trying to give you some things to think about, but try and get a second opinion from another mechanic before you decide anything too drastic.
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Old 02-27-2014, 05:10 PM   #7
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$100/coil is ridiculous.

Assuming you have the 5.4, rockauto.com has the coils for:

MOTORCRAFT Part # DG511 - $45.89 (Coil)
MOTORCRAFT Part # WR6131 - $6.18 (Boot)

Total - $52.07/each
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Old 02-27-2014, 06:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acdiecast View Post
Well, this is where factors only you know come into play. If the truck could use a new engine and that is a viable solution, you have to make sure whoever puts it in knows their stuff. However, if you can afford a newer truck with less miles, that would be a good way to go too. Personally, I have a 2004 Lariat Screw with the 5.4L. I love it to death and still enjoy waxing it every month. Despite these being the first of the newer body style of the generation (mine built in October 2003), the first trucks built in a particular generation (like the 04-08's) tend to be over-engineered before they start to cheapen the parts up.

Also, it comes down to how well the truck has been maintained and how much rust, stains, blemishes, etc are on it. If it is still in good shape and you are willing to keep it that way, a new engine might be viable.

Anyway, this is all my opinion and obviously it is something only you can decide. I'm just trying to give you some things to think about, but try and get a second opinion from another mechanic before you decide anything too drastic.
No rust, stains, or blemishes. Looks practically brand new. I bought it used about 4 years ago, and it only had about 48,000 miles on it.

Here's hoping there's an alternate to a new engine.

As for the coils, my researched showed the same thing. When the woman at the front quoted me $100, I balked. When I asked if I could supply my own she said, "If you supply you're own then we'll have to charge more for labor because part of what we make comes from what we charge for parts."

A $50 up-charge on top of labor seems a bit much. They never gave me a quote on how much labor would be. I'm supposed to get their estimates when I pick it up later today.
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Old 02-27-2014, 07:32 PM   #9
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Dude, sounds to me like you are getting jerked around. You can get the vct solenoids and seals for about 125. The coil packs I would get from rock auto. That garage is a piece of crap if they are going to charge you more because you supplied your own parts. They should have a flat rate for labor and shouldn't matter about parts. They up the price so they can rob your pockets.
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Old 02-28-2014, 12:51 PM   #10
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Anyone know the cost of the cam phaser fix? DIY or garage?
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Old 02-28-2014, 12:51 PM
 
 
 
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