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Ford 5.4L Triton V8 Teardown Reveals Engine’s Glaring Flaws: Video

In recent months, YouTuber Ford Tech Makuloco has spoken at length about the Ford 5.4L Triton V8 three-valve engine and its many flaws, while also talking about how important it is to replace the engine’s roller followers and use the right spark plugs. But he isn’t the only technician that has harped on the Ford 5.4L Triton V8 three-valve powerplant, as fellow YouTuber the Car Wizard – otherwise known as David Long – has also spent quite a bit of time talking about the ill-fated engine, including in this recent video that breaks things down rather nicely.

As a mechanic in Kansas, Long sees a lot of Ford F-150 models with the three-valve Triton come into his shop in various states of disrepair, including this 2005 model with a seized engine and a bad transmission. The owner of this pickup is having the drivetrain replaced, which Long notes is a $7,000 job, with around three-quarters of that going to the engine alone, mostly for labor. When removing the old engine, Long notes that the oxygen sensor was seized, while many other components are worn out as well.

Long doesn’t completely disassemble the old 5.4 as he is using it to cover the core charge for its replacement but does note that he was able to free it up by hand after taking it out of the truck. Before deciding to simply get a new engine, the owner had another shop replace the cam phasers, chain, oil pump, and guides on the old one, but to no avail. As Long notes, this is all wasted money that could have been saved by simply taking one valve cover off and peeking inside to see what was really going on.

There, a quick look reveals that there are metal flakes present in a large amount of sludge covering the engine’s internals, things that the last person that worked on this truck should have noticed. In this case, the F-150 was the owner’s dad’s truck, so it has some sentimental value, which is why he’s investing the money to get it fixed. But as Long points out, this is the 16th blown three-valve that he’s had in his shop, a truly cautious tale for anyone considering buying one in the future.

We’ll have more videos like this to share soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for the latest Ford F-Series news, Ford F-150 news, and continuous 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.

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Comments

  1. TheRetiredViking

    There is no more excuse for the follower issues as there is for the valve train issues Chevy is having now. Must be Chinese -sourced parts and no QC done stateside.

    Reply
  2. Bob

    The best sound a 5.4 Triton makes is when it is drooped into the SHREDDER!
    Furd screwed this up badly & blamed everyone but themselves.
    4.6 was a good engine once they got the kinks worked out of it.
    Then they cry because they are losing market share. IDIOTS!!
    Chrysler & GM are just as guilty of producing time bombs & laying blame on everyone but themselves.

    Reply
  3. NCEcoBoost

    Ford has far more engine issues (and has had for decades) than either GM or Stellantis. I remember a friend of the family needing two new engines (under warranty) on her ’95 Mercury Sable wagon with the 3.8L. The EcoBoost family was never engineered properly as well. And for the tiny gains (if any) in fuel economy, the decision to go EcoBoost was yet another poor decision by Ford, which is now at epidemic levels.

    Reply
  4. Mike

    What about all the transmission problems Ford has had as well?

    Reply
  5. Jukka

    O’ou.

    Reply
  6. Charles Horvath Jr

    My 2026 F150FX4 :
    At 60,000miles : Needed transmission rebuild.
    At 117,000 miles needed timing chain replacement.

    Reply
  7. Drew Ford Retiree

    Haters gonna hate. The sludge is a major clue that this engine was grossly neglected. And there was no mention of “miles on the clock.”

    Millions were produced. If 1/2% were neglected, there will 5,000 examples like this for each million made.

    Bottom line, change your oil regularly… every 5000 miles (every 7500 miles if full synthetic).

    Reply
  8. Jack Heaven

    I’m sure glad that my 2006 e350 with the 5.4 is totally unaware of how crappy it is. I currently have 425,000 miles on the original engine & tranny. I’m guessing that proper and consistent maintenance hasn’t hurt.

    Reply
  9. Steven Schiff

    Driven over 200,000 on my 5.4; no problems except for a leaking intake manifold gasket. Performed all maintenance myself. ( Note: neighbor drives a Chevy pickup and had the same issue.) Currently drive Super Duty now at 190 K.

    Reply
  10. Charles W Jackson

    Looks like oil change intervals were to long….sludged etc…my brother in law has a 5.4 with over 500,000 miles on it….he drives a lot…and keeps oil changed..

    Reply
  11. Ortha Birdsong

    I had a 2005 Ford Truck with the Trinton Engine worse truck I ever had had to take a 10,000. Dollar lose on it I want even look at a for Truck ever again

    Reply
  12. Jon A. Rindfleisch

    As a Retired mechanic I Used yo love these when they came in for repair, Usually meant god $$$$. I learned very early on to have a borescope even back when they were few and quite expensive. I found one back in 2005 on amazon for less than $20.00 That hooked to usb (back when Snap-on and the rest wanted $300.00+ for one with a tiny screen) Since I already was using an old P.C. with a 20″ monitor for keeping pictures and using with a cheap lab scope module it gave me a great way to look inside and determine a lot about engine condition without having to do an expensive teardown. I could justify charging an hour or two labor to inspect and save hundreds on a teardown, which usually ended up the need for a replacement engine anyway.

    Reply
  13. Deadarmadillo

    Had a 1999 Expedition with that engine. Went a little over 200,000 before one of the cam followers failed. Bought a new crate engine, drove it about 10,000 more miles and sold it. Very good vehicle, I thought.

    Reply
  14. Chris

    OMG the O2 sensor was seized up and they had to use a torch 😂, that’s not even an issue, happens all the time! ‘06 F150 5.4 3 valve w/190k never been opened up and run fantastic. Change your oil and change it often, it’s called maintenance for a reason. Be pro-active not reactive and it will treat well.

    Reply
  15. Alpha

    I have a 2010 F150 with 237534 as of last Monday. I bought this truck knowing it had the dreaded 5.4 but also knowing the previous owner took extremely good care of it by the time I bought it at 136,000. Oil changes with full synthetic at 5k on the dot, all fluid changes like transmission, differential and radiator per the owners manual and outside of the timing set starting to make some noise, it runs like a dream. It’s put up with some abuse too, pulling people out of ditches, towing at the limit, and taking me all over Kentucky, Indiana, Georgia, Alabama and Florida. I plan on keeping this truck for a long time and if it does pop. It’s earned it’s keep and then some. Also, the thing the Wizard did not mention is the sludge. That’s a telltale sign the whole truck was abused and put up wet. If you can’t afford a 60 buck oil change, there’s a chance you’ve not done anything else either, so it’s no surprise the engine popped and the transmission blue. Here’s something too…the 09-10 had an unannounced second generation of the 3v which largely fixed most of the issues. Larger oil galleries, passages, different phasers, better flowing heads with different thread designs as well as different tuning.

    Reply

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