The Final Repair Guide to 5.4 Cam Phaser Tick/Knock Sound
Ever since hearing my first 5.4 Tick, I have been online looking for an answer.
The First truck I did, I changed the phasers (one of them had the spring "sprung") Noise went away for 2 months and came back, just not as loud.
Upon inspecting the phasers again, all looked okay, but I read about oiling problem, possible sludge, other issues.
Could the 5.4 just be this big of a pile of junk? NO! I didnt buy it. Why are some people getting 300,000 miles and others so few??
I noticed that the one chain had slack, when I removed the tensioner I saw the seal was questionable. Could this have been causing low oil pressure to the VCT system and a tick? Or was the new tick the chain not pumping up fully?
Well the chain set and tesioners fixed it. Its been almost a year and the truck runs great!
Reasons you get a 5.4 Tick
(other than normal injector noise)
-Bad chains or guides
-Low oil pressure to phasers (most often the failing tesioners!!)
-Failing tesioners not putting proper tension on chain
-valve train problems (sticking lash adjuster, bad roller rocker, broken valve spring)
Now the good news, this can all be fixed during the same service!!
Don't just pull the valve covers, change phasers and hope the problem goes away.
Lets check all the possible trouble spots and fix your truck properly.
Please do not buy the "sludge is making your engine tick, you need a new one"
Look for sludge, if extreme sludge is present after removing the valve covers, it could be true, but many techs are telling customers this and IT IS NOT TRUE. Low oil pressure is often caused by these pesky tensioners, I have seen it more than once.
My next post will be a complete guide to repairing it, If you don't want to tackle it yourself, print this guide and show it to the tech working on your truck.
I know from being a mechanic, we don't like customers telling us whats wrong. Do yourself a solid, and make the tech aware of the problems.
Too many people are getting ripped off by a $1200.00 Phaser job that fixes nothing, or a simple "you need a new engine"
...Please wait I will upload photos and post the guide below this
This guide was meant to help people attempting to repair, please dont attempt to do this if you are not comfortable. Always follow a service manual and double check all specs.
This is a basic guide, not step by step, but if you are mechanical contains all pertinent info
-Remove all Items in the was of the front cover (like the belt, power steering, fan, and other stuff in your way)
-remove crank pully
-remove the valve covers
Great time to check the rocker and lash adjusters!! (possible reason for tick)
Check all rollers for wear, feel for pumped down lash adjuster.
May be good practice to replace. (i have a guide available for that if any of you are attempting this)
-Remove all bolts for chain covers and remove
-NEXT remove all parts in order of their number on the following pictures!
Now! Lets Check for broken stuff!
Check seals on both Tensioners! If one is blown out or cracked, Bingo!
Next check Phasers (A-is still good B-Messed up! I reccomend replacing both no matter what, but its your time)
Visually inspect the camshaft phaser and sprocket for squareness (A). If the trigger wheel or spring is deformed or damaged (B), install a new camshaft phaser and sprocket.
Inspect for missing or worn roll pin.
DO NOT RE USE PHASER BOLT! THROW AWAY AND BUY A NEW ONE IF YOU ARE USING OLD PHASER (now one comes with bolt btw)
Now lets put it back together!!! This guide is for use with new parts (chain, tesioner and guides. Some steps changed if reusing parts... but DONT DO THAT, we are trying to fix your engine)
Install the camshaft variable timing sprocket assembly and loosely install a new bolt and washer.
CAUTION: Only use hand tools to install the camshaft phaser sprocket assembly or damage may occur to the camshaft or camshaft phaser unit.
CAUTION: Damage to the camshaft phaser sprocket assembly will occur if mishandled or used as a lifting or leveraging device.
Install guides and torque.
Install the crankshaft sprocket, making sure the flange faces forward.
Position the lower end of the LH (inner) timing chain on the crankshaft sprocket, aligning the timing mark on the outer flange of the crankshaft sprocket with the single copper (marked) link on the chain.
NOTE: Make sure the upper half of the timing chain is below the tensioner arm dowel.
Position the timing chain on the camshaft sprocket with the camshaft sprocket timing mark positioned between the two copper (marked) chain links.
NOTE: The LH timing chain tensioner arm has a bump near the dowel hole for identification.
Position the LH timing chain tensioner arm on the dowel pin and install the LH timing chain tensioner.
Remove the retaining clip from the LH timing chain tensioner.
Position the lower end of the RH (outer) timing chain on the crankshaft sprocket, aligning the timing mark on the sprocket with the single copper (marked) chain link.
NOTE: The lower half of the timing chain must be positioned above the tensioner arm dowel.
Position the RH timing chain on the camshaft sprocket. Make sure the camshaft sprocket timing mark is positioned between the two copper (marked) chain links.
Note: The camshaft phaser and sprocket will be stamped with one of the illustrated timing marks for the RH camshaft.
Position the RH timing chain tensioner arm on the dowel pin and install the RH timing chain tensioner.
Remove the retaining clip from the RH timing chain tensioner.
NOTE: Both camshaft phaser sprockets are identical, refer to the R timing mark to identify the RH camshaft phaser sprocket and the L timing mark to identify the LH camshaft phaser sprocket.
As a post-check, verify correct alignment of all timing marks. Make sure the R and L timing marks on the sprockets correspond with the above note.
Install the crankshaft sensor ring on the crankshaft.
NEXT I WILL POST PART NUMBERS AND ROCK AUTO PRICES
Timing Chain Set
Part # 90391SB ($189.00 both chains, tesioners, guides, lower sprocket) Made by Cloves... Very nice quality
Front Crank Seal
Part # TCS46117 ($5.36) Fel-Pro
Part # 917250 ($139.19 each so X2) Comes with new bolt
$474.36 total.... Dont forget about the 5% off rock auto too :)
You wont see the crank seal in this guide, but its in the front engine cover!
Also- DONT FORGET TO PUT ENGINE TO TDC
Here is a picture of bolt locations on front cover
This calls for about 10 shop hours so TAKE YOUR TIME
and I reccomend blue loctite on all bolts inside timing cover except phaser
Great comprehensive write up. Kudo's. One question though. Do you have a p/n for the tensioner seal? If you go that far, I would change that seal as a part of the job!
The seals are included in the chain kit. They will be installed on the new tensioner.
Very important to change this part, as a leak in the seal will cause the chain to not tension properly and the oil pissing out of there reduces oil pressure to the top of the motor.
Good write up.......
Its worth considering new gaskets for the front cover and valve covers but these are good thick types and can be re-used if okay.
Factor in Oil and filter change at the same time. (air fitler and throttle body clean too maybe).
Clean and visually check cam sensors and crank sensor.
Pullies and serpentine belt
Adequate puller for the crank pulley
Torque wrench that allows light torque for camshaft and timing parts 89 inch pounds in not a lot!
May be a good time to do your spark plugs too with better access with the valve covers removed!
I know I just covered the very basics, and as I think of more I will add it.
This write up is nice because if you are doing the labour you can do it for under 600$
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