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Old October 26th, 2007, 01:50 PM   #1
dgilham0401
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Default 5.4L That sounds like a diesel

I have a 2000 F-150 4x4 with the 5.4L, at idle, under load such as going up a hill and when it is first warming up there is a ticking noise coming from the motor that makes it almost sound like a diesel. Has anyone had any experience with this or know what it may be? Any help would be appreciated, thanks!
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Old October 26th, 2007, 04:24 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by dgilham0401 View Post
I have a 2000 F-150 4x4 with the 5.4L, at idle, under load such as going up a hill and when it is first warming up there is a ticking noise coming from the motor that makes it almost sound like a diesel. Has anyone had any experience with this or know what it may be? Any help would be appreciated, thanks!
These motors are notorious for wearing out their timing chain guides....if they go through them and the chain rubs on metal it can make a hellacious noise.

The "diesel" thing makes me immediately think of spark knock though.

if it were mine I'd take a listen under the hood and try to pinpoint where the noise is coming from. You can use a screw driver to act as a stethoscope by putting the tip on something and your ear to the handle of it (or just get a diag stethoscope, they're not expensive).....if it's the front of the motor = timing chain.

Hard to tell without hearing the noise
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Old October 26th, 2007, 04:28 PM   #3
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Thanks I will check it out. At first I thought it was the plugs too but I recently replaced them and it still is doing it. I will take a listen and see if it is coming from the front and check out the timing chain.
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Old October 26th, 2007, 04:59 PM   #4
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it could be you injectors. My 04 f-150 has the ticking sound as well. I first thought something was wrong and was told it was the Injectors. The injectors on my truck open up .020-.025 thousands then snap close. which makes the ticking sound.
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Old October 26th, 2007, 05:08 PM   #5
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Ok I just got back in from checking and sounds more like it could be the injectors. When I put the screwdriver to the motor the noise is louder coming from the valve covers especially on the rh side.
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Old October 26th, 2007, 05:33 PM   #6
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it could be you injectors. My 04 f-150 has the ticking sound as well. I first thought something was wrong and was told it was the Injectors. The injectors on my truck open up .020-.025 thousands then snap close. which makes the ticking sound.
Injectors will sound more like a lifter tick, not a diesel (spark knock is about the only thing I can honestly think of that makes a gasoline engine sound like a diesel)
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Old October 26th, 2007, 05:40 PM   #7
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Any ideas on how to fix that then? I already replaced the plugs or would I have to take it to a dealership or shop? I mean I have 124,000+ miles on it but they are mostly highway (since I bought it) from driving back and forth to Texas. I have not noticed any significant loss in power or performance or anything its just the noise that annoys me at times.
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Old October 26th, 2007, 08:48 PM   #8
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Any ideas on how to fix that then? I already replaced the plugs or would I have to take it to a dealership or shop? I mean I have 124,000+ miles on it but they are mostly highway (since I bought it) from driving back and forth to Texas. I have not noticed any significant loss in power or performance or anything its just the noise that annoys me at times.
first you gotta figure out what your problem is....

While the noise could be spark knock (would make it sound like a diesel) I doubt it is...that PCM has a knock sensor that will retard ignition timing and richen the fuel mixture in an effort to prevent spark knock from occuring. Its possible, but I doubt it is the noise (because if it was and it was constant like you say, the motor would be smoked by now or well on its way out)

If it were me, I'd make sure it's not the timing chain.....if it doesnt sound like the noise is comming from the front of the motor (keep in mind the timing chain does run all the way from the crank up to the heads as its an OHC motor) I really wouldn't worry about it.

If it's a lifter tick, I'd drive it....

Something I would say is this.....I have heard these motors make noise without the correct weight oil in them....make sure it's got the specified oil in it....

I'm sure someone else will pipe in with a comment as well
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Old October 27th, 2007, 11:14 AM   #9
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I changed the oil and put it 5w-30 which is what was called for which quieted the noise for a little bit but about 1000 miles later it came right back. Ah well I'm gonna keep on runnin it, hopefully it's nothin big. Thanks for all the input!
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Old November 8th, 2007, 03:51 PM   #10
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My 98 ranger did this under heavy load, it turned out that the MAF sensor had lost one of its resisters...try checking that out.
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Old November 8th, 2007, 05:07 PM   #11
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Ok thanks
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Old November 16th, 2007, 04:42 PM   #12
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The last time I heard a Ford sound like a diesel it was a clogged pick up screen on the oil pump. The needle on the gauge stuck right at 55 psi and the oil pump failed... sounded like a diesel and drove him crazy for three days (not driving it) until the gauge got jostled and he nearly had a heart attack.


A long shot but possibly your valve train is being starved of oil? If you changed your oil to a lighter weight and it helped.. it's always a possibility worth checking into.
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Old November 16th, 2007, 05:55 PM   #13
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Well I just got back from the Ford dealership and found out that all 1997 and up 4.6L and 5.4L motors were changed to using 5w-20 oil in the motor due to the lower valve clearance, hence that could be a big part of what is causing the noise (according to them) because that is not what was used in my motor on the last oil change.
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Old November 17th, 2007, 10:19 PM   #14
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Cold piston slap they changed the piston wrist pin offset, I was told was one of the reasons that and short skirted pistons. My 99 got replaced at 25K for this reason going through a drive thru at idle and cold was when it sounded the worst. The oil suggestion was a band-aid fix imo.

Not anything that I was concerned about ruining the motor but it was annoying and did not give me much confidence. It was replaced under warranty with an older motor. So I sold it the next year :)
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Old November 18th, 2007, 05:59 PM   #15
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Not a ford, but my last 5.3 chevy sounded like a diesel on cold start up. 173,000 miles when i sold it. Piston slap was the cause. Seems that piston slap is a huge durability issue

As for your truck I would determine what is actually making the noise rather then just driving it and ignoring it.
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Old November 18th, 2007, 07:38 PM   #16
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Not a ford, but my last 5.3 chevy sounded like a diesel on cold start up. 173,000 miles when i sold it. Piston slap was the cause. Seems that piston slap is a huge durability issue

As for your truck I would determine what is actually making the noise rather then just driving it and ignoring it.
What year was your 5.3? I remember Chevy's having the same issue around 99.
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Old December 3rd, 2007, 05:33 PM   #17
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5.4l... ticking noise from right side.......... welcome to my world.


the notorious 5.4l broken manifold bolts. check your passenger side exhaust manifold for studs broken off.
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Old December 3rd, 2007, 09:27 PM   #18
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5.4L broken manifolds I thought it was teh 5.3 Chevys that had that issue? wait it was my buddies 6.0L
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Old December 5th, 2007, 06:54 PM   #19
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^ the mounting studs, not the manifolds themselves.

good excuse to do headers. ;)
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Old December 5th, 2007, 06:57 PM   #20
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are you sure it is comeing from in the motor alot of those break the studs holding the down pipe to the manifolds but usually only one at a time........my 4.6 did it to i ended up putting a set of headers on it wasn;t to bad .....(Yeah right)
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