Why is my F150 engine making noise?
The three most common noises on F150 engines are exhaust leaks, timing chain component noise, or turbo noise.
1. Exhaust leaks can be tricky and make a noise that sounds like a major engine problem. It is very common to have the exhaust manifold gaskets fail, causing exhaust to escape between the cylinder head and the exhaust manifold. Due to the pressure and the location of these leaks, it will make a knocking or a ticking sound that many people would identify as an engine noise. Exhaust manifolds are constantly expanding and contracting due to the extreme temperatures they are subjected to. Eventually, the bolt/studs securing the exhaust manifold to the cylinder head stretch or break. This allows the exhaust manifold to distort a little and cause the gasket to fail. It is a very common repair to replace a leaking exhaust manifold gasket with a complete kit. The kit comes with a new gasket, a new exhaust manifold, and all new bolts. Unfortunately, if you just replace the gasket, it is common for it to not seal properly due to an uneven surface in the old exhaust manifold. Replace the manifold whenever possible, or at least use a good straight edge to inspect the mounting surface closely. Also, check closely for cracks in the manifold if you are leaning toward reusing
2. Timing chain components and variable valve timing components are very common failures across all engines available for F150s. As these components start to fail, they will cause a clicking noise, rattling noise or a ratcheting noise. Do not ignore this noise. You need to get to a trusted Ford mechanic before more damage is caused. On the 5.4L engine package that used to be available for F150, it is common to have oil pressure problems that cause them to rattle at idle and even stall when coming to a stop. This engine utilizes engine oil pressure to adjust the valve timing. There are valve timing solenoids as well as camshaft phasers in the cylinder head that utilize a computer signal and oil pressure to make timing adjustments. If oil pressure is below specification, if there is a computer signal problem or any other issue within this system, it will cause several concerns. Concerns are engine noises, check engine warning light, and/or engine running problems. Be sure to have an experienced Ford mechanic diagnose this system. It is very common in the auto repair industry for these problems to be diagnosed improperly. If you perform the needed tests on this system in the wrong order, it will likely lead to parts being replaced and problems not being fixed.
3. Turbo noises are a common engine noise on all EcoBoost engine models. A failing turbo can cause a whining noise, whistling noise, or even a knocking noise. We have also seen some cases where there are exhaust leaks around the turbo mounting area that causes some abnormal engine noises. Turbochargers are exposed to extreme temperatures and pressures that eventually lead to their failure. It is important to have your Ford mechanic look into minor noises before they become a bigger problem. Running a turbo until complete failure can allow the engine intake or oil to be contaminated and cause major engine problems.
My top 3 suggestions I have for you if you are hearing any abnormal engine noises on your Ford Truck:
1.Get it to your trusted Ford mechanic in a timely manner. As a repair shop owner, it is common for me to see customers allow a minor problem to go too long and turn into a major repair. Not only does this affect the safety and reliability of your vehicle, but it, unfortunately, hurts your bank account as well. A perfect example of this was a recent customer that brought his vehicle into our repair shop with the concern of a check engine light and an engine noise. In talking with the vehicle owner, they admitted they had been hearing the noise for the last three months, but the check engine light just barely came on. Our Ford mechanic did a thorough test drive and inspection of the vehicle. His findings were that the engine noise was caused by broken exhaust manifold studs and a major exhaust leak where the exhaust manifold attaches to the cylinder head on one side of the engine. He also retrieved code P0420 pertaining to the catalytic converter system on the truck. Exhaust leaks can commonly cause false P0420 cat codes, so we moved forward with the exhaust leak repair before worrying too much about the check engine light code. While the exhaust manifold was removed, our Ford mechanic could clearly see the inside of the catalytic converter on the same side as the leak had been so hot that it melted apart. By the customer running the vehicle for too long with an exhaust leak had caused excessive heat to damage the converter. Unfortunately, had the customer brought the vehicle in as soon as the noise started, I am confident their repair bill would have just been for the exhaust leak and not needed the very expensive catalytic converter.
2. Choose your Ford mechanic carefully. A lot of consumers feel that Ford vehicles are very common, so any mechanic is going to be experienced and able to diagnose engine noises properly. Ford engines are getting increasingly complicated, and unfortunately, we are seeing a lot of problems being diagnosed properly. We hate ever to see a consumer spend money on their vehicle and continue to have problems. Several times this year, we have had Ford trucks come into our shop after being at other shops for repairs. They have noise and check engine light concerns pertaining to the valve timing. Other shops have spent hundreds of customers' dollars replacing valve timing or timing chain components, and then the problem still exists. Once we get it, we perform the running oil pressure test and find that the other shop has mistakenly replaced valve timing parts on an engine with an oil pressure problem. This is always an unfortunate event for everyone involved. I truly don’t believe the other shops were purposely causing any issues, but they were just lacking a little bit of experience.
3. Do not jump to conclusions on engine noise. As mentioned above, just because you are hearing an abnormal “engine” noise doesn’t necessarily mean it has a major engine problem. We commonly have customers calling in to get a price on an engine replacement for their f150. Then once we get it into the shop for a proper diagnosis, our Ford mechanic commonly finds an exhaust, timing or turbo noise that is way less expensive than an engine replacement.