Ford Authority

Major Ford 5.4L Triton V8 Issue Detailed By Veteran Technician: Video

YouTuber Ford Tech Makuloco has covered the Ford 5.4L Triton V8 in a number of videos in the past, including one explaining why he believes the Jasper remanufactured engines should be avoided, another highlighting the importance of roller follower replacement, and a third discussing which spark plugs are best to use in the troubled three-valve version of this powerplant. Now, the Ford technician is back with a new video that takes a deeper dive into the Ford 5.4L Triton V8 3V roller follower issue.

The idea behind this video is to get it in front of the eyes of folks that own Ford F-150 models equipped with this engine so they can be aware of the warning signs before roller followers fail and cause major damage to their engines, not to mention huge repair bills. The engine’s roller followers are in fact rocker arms, but they have a roller in the center that’s supported by needle bearings and actuates the intake and exhaust valves.

An extreme amount of pressure is applied by the cam load to the roller follower to actuate the valve, and, over time, that wears out the needle bearings. This leads to a ticking and tapping noise that continues for anywhere from 5,000-15,000 miles. As our tech points out, this is a big warning sign that something is wrong, giving owners a chance to replace what is essentially a $9 part before catastrophic engine damage can occur.

If the drooping roller followers aren’t replaced, eventually, the bearing will seize and start chewing into the cam lobe. Over time, the lobe can become detached and wind up in the head, which leads to cold start misfires and head damage. Eventually, the spring goes flying, the valve drops into the cylinder, gets smacked by the piston, and an expensive engine replacement is suddenly rearing its ugly head. But, thanks to this informative video, hopefully some owners will be able to replace the roller followers before that happens.

We’ll have more interesting videos like this to share soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for 24/7 Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

Subscribe to Ford Authority

For around-the-clock Ford news coverage

We'll send you one email per day with the latest Ford updates. It's totally free.


  1. crabbymilton

    Sounds like something that happened to my former ’04 MERCURY GRANS MARQUIS back in April. The 4.6L spit out a spark plug when I started it. But I noticed that the engine had a ticking valve sound in the days before that. I concluded that it was just age since the car had close to 200k at the time. Well I had it repaired for close to $1000 and ran perfectly after that. But that unnerving episode caused me to plan to replace it. Over 17 years and just over 205k miles, I’d say it was a great run.

  2. Mark L Bedel

    Wow, what kind of testing protocol was employed prior to the prototypes being approved for production! If these begin to fail at 5,000 miles, clearly very little or parts where changed from the original mules to save $$$.

    1. Jean-Francois Rivard

      Not 5000 total miles since new. After making itself known, the noise continues for 5,000 – 15,000 miles before something drastic happens. The 5.4 Triton was in the F150 from 97 – 2007 or 24-14 years ago… So it’s safe to say that those issues most likely happen well into the 100-200K + miles range..

      1. Roy Chile’s

        Your right

  3. Lealand

    Man, time for somebody to come out with a bushed follower instead of the needle bearing follower. That would go a long way toward improving the reliability of the engine well at least for people who want to stick with the 5.4 3v.


Leave a comment