Granted, hearing these noises is likely to concern you, but as long as you timely deal with the issue, all should be well. It also helps to note that cam phaser noises are some of the most common engine issues. That is to say that you are not alone in this, and you have tons of research material working to your advantage.
What are the symptoms of a bad cam phaser?
It starts as a clapping or ticking noise coming from the engine. For most people, that is all the sign they get that there is an issue with their car. But for others, it goes beyond this as they also get engine malfunction lights as well as fault codes. These codes may also relate to camshaft sensors and the VCT system. Now, here lies the issue.
If you have already noticed the issue with the cam phaser, there is a high likelihood that it is too late, given the level of damage to the engine. Often, by the time you hear the noises or see the fault codes, the engine has sustained so much damage that a repair is not economical. In such a case, you would need to replace the whole engine.
What causes this issue? Well, it all starts with reduced oil pressure at the top of the engine. When this happens, cam phasers are unable to operate as they usually would as there is inadequate lubrication for the bearings. This lack of oil pressure is likely a result of a failure of the oil seal. This failure can be present in one or both of the timing chain tensioners. When this happens, the cam phasers, as well as the bearings, get damaged. Hence, the noises and fault codes begin.
It can also be a result of using 5W-20 viscosity oil, as studies have shown in recent years. Ford is now working towards fixing this by recommending the use of 5W-30 viscosity oil. You will find that they are now supplying new engines with this oil, in the hope of preventing damage to the cam phasers.
Do cam phasers need to be replaced?
The lack of adequate lubrication eventually wears out the bearings. When this happens, the only way forward is to replace the complete cylinder head with a camshaft. Where this issue has persisted for long, there is a likelihood that metal shavings may get into the engine system. In this case, the entire engine would need a replacement owing to the level of contamination. You can choose to have separate repairs but note that the replacement of the whole system would be the most economical option.
Now, many people will choose to avoid replacing the entire engine. It owes to information on the internet where people talk about replacing phasers and chains. You will also find phaser lockout kits on the market, which guarantee you an easy and affordable fix to the issue. While this may seem to work for a while, it does not do so in reality. It only blinds you to the constant and silent damage to your engine over some time. In the end, you will have to replace the entire engine, yet you will have already spent money on a temporary fix.
Without adequate oil pressure at the top of the engine, it is only a matter of time before the cam phasers get damaged. It owes to the lack of a damp environment, and this puts the internal phaser components at risk of damage. Note that you can replace the phasers without having to replace the entire engine. However, this is not a cheap affair, and it will not fix the issue in entirety.
Why is that?Well, you will not have fixed the oil pressure issue, and the new phasers will operate in this unsuitable environment. Eventually, they, too, will get damaged, and you will be back at the repair again. Also, where you fix the phasers without repairing the bearings, the issue will persist. They will reduce the oil pressure such that the new phasers have almost nothing to operate with, leading to damage.
How much does it cost to replace Cam phasers on f150?
If you choose to replace the cam phasers by yourself using the kits available on the market, you can spend anything from $500 to $900. If you use the dealership, you will end up spending about $1500 on the same. Remember, this will not fix the issue, but rather, it will suppress it for a while before the situation becomes dire. So, if you wish to fix the issue, you should also replace the tensioners and the bearings.
It is also vital that you check the oil pressure before working on anything. You may find that there is an issue with the pump or bearings, and there will thus be metal shavings in the oil. In this case, contamination is in play, and you will need to make some replacements.
It is best to replace the tensioners when an issue presents itself. In this way, oil pressure will not escape, and you can avoid making costly repairs in the future. Timing is essential when making these changes, as there is no set time for the same. Most people come across cam phaser issues after covering one hundred to two hundred thousand kilometers. As such, you should time your replacement with this in mind.
How much does it cost to replace a 5.4 engine?
Replacing the tensioners will set you back about one thousand dollars. It might seem like a lot, given that you are doing so as a preventative measure. However, it would help if you thought about it like this. New phasers will cost you at least $1500, and you will not fix the whole issue in the engine. Cylinder heads will set you back about $3000 going up, and an engine costs $8000 upwards. So, taking preventative measures is an easy way to avoid all these costs. But where you already have issues with your engine, figure out the level of contamination and the source of the pressure issue. You can then decide if it is more economical to replace the entire system or to get a kit and fix the issue at hand.
Also, when fixing the issue, you will come across many cheap parts on the market. Do not use these and, instead, opt for genuine parts. In the end, the cheap parts will not hold up and will leave you frustrated. As much as shortcuts are available, avoid taking them. Good luck!