I did both my cam phasers today in my 2004 F-150. They've both been rattling since I bought it a year ago with 45k on it, and I've been researching the last few weeks before deciding to tackle this job (mostly) by myself. I had my neighbor's help turning some wrenches (we tackled both sides mostly at the same time), as well as a mutual friend who is a master tech at a local Ford dealership. Before starting, let me say that the replacement of the phasers themselves is very straight forward. It's getting to the phasers that's the time consuming part. The job took approximately 7 hours, which included an hour to pull the driver's side valve cover during reassembly after realizing the #8 injector plug had managed to get stuck under it. This writeup assumes that you have basic mechanical knowledge when it comes to your truck. If I mention something like unplugging the coil pack and fuel injector connections, I'm not going to go into detail on that, I'll assume you can figure that out on your own. I'll be focusing on the driver's side job in this writeup, as it's the simpler side, and the techniques can be applied to the passenger side. I'm going off memory here, so this should be used as a general outline, not an every last detail step by step procedure. I might miss minor things here and there, but nothing that common sense can't fill in the blanks for.
A few things to note:
- You do not have to put the motor to TDC or anything since you aren't removing the cams themselves in this procedure
- Try not to run the truck immediately before doing this, this should (probably) keep the lash adjusters somewhat bled down and relieve tension on the cam
Tools needed (recommended, going off memory):
Rotunda/OTC Ford Timing Wedge (new style) #303-1175 - Without this you need to pull the front cover, it's truly worth its weight in gold, although that probably explains why this simple piece of delrin on the end of a stick costs $150+
assorted sockets and wrenches in 7mm,8mm,10mm, 13mm,15mm,18mm
1/4" drive socket wrench and at least two extensions and a swivel
3/4" driver socket wrench, extensions galore, swivel
torque wrench that measures in foot-pounds
1/2" breaker bar with 3/8" adapter
large vice grips
gloves (your hands with thank you)
zip ties (longer the better)
Advil for your back
your beverage of choice
an extra set of hands (helpful for some of the steps)
Cam phaser kit (3R2Z-6A257-DA) (per side)
Valve cover gasket (3L3Z-6584-EA) (per side)
1) Disconnect battery
2) Remove air intake tube
3) Unbolt power steering reservoir (3 10mm bolts) and move out of way
4) Unbolt power steering reservoir bracket (2 13mm bolts, and 1 18mm bolt at bottom, attached to head)
5) Remove PCV tube from valve cover
6) Unplug main harness on driver's side valve cover (includes cam position sensor, VCT solenoid, fuel injectors, coil packs (you might label the plugs, but the harness is only long enough for them to go to their respective injector/coil) TPS, throttle control, and maybe or two other things)
7) Zip-tie the power steering reservoir and the harness out of the way
8) With the valve cover exposed, used compressed air to blow any dirt away from it, this will keep you from getting dirt in the valvetrain when you pull the cover off
8) Loosen the valve cover bolts (8mm). You do not need to completely remove them, as they retain themselves in the covers just fine once they're unthreaded. The ones that are out in the open are easily accessible. The rearmost will be a challenge. I used a combination of 1/4" extensions, an 8mm deep well, and a swivel to get the back/center bolt loosened, and that was while sitting on the radiator core support with my feet in the engine compartment, and my head resting against the cowl weatherstripping. All I can say is good luck, it isn't fun.
At this point you should have something resembling this:
9) Remove the bolt from the dipstick tube (8mm, you don't need to remove the tube itself)
10) Remove the ignition coil packs (7mm, give them a good twist to free the boot)
11) Remove the Cam Position Sensor from the front of the head
12) At this point, use a pry-bar or screwdriver to break the valve cover loose from the head (be careful to not damage the mating surfaces) and lift the cover off. Make note of the VCT solenoid, you must be careful not to damage this as you remove the cover (see red arrow).
13) Take your timing wedge tool and note the shape of it
14) Insert the timing wedge into the engine in front of the phaser, in between the two paths of the timing chain. The flat portion should be facing the center of the truck, I've tried to illustrate this below. Make sure it is snug, it should not be easily removed. If you mess this up, when you pull the phaser/sprocket off, the timing chain will go slack and you'll end up pulling the front cover and re-timing the whole motor.
15) Use some sort of marking device (I prefer Sharpie silver/metallic markers when working on motors) to index the cam phaser relative to the timing chain, as well as the camshaft itself (this mark is optional since the camshaft is indexed already with the cam phaser, thanks to the dowel pin)
16) Install the vice grip on the front of the camshaft, just behind the cam phaser (not on a lobe!), you'll be needing this to help offset the load on the timing chain when you break the phaser bolt loose
17) Using a breaker bar (or 1/2" drive socket wrench), break the phaser bolt loose while having another set of hands hold the vice grips steady
18) Remove the cam phaser bolt
19) Now's where you find out if you installed the timing wedge correctly. Gently pull the phaser off the end of the camshaft, while working the timing chain off of the sprocket. Hopefully there isn't any tension on the camshaft, although that's why you should have another set of hands holding the camshaft steady, just in case. In my instance, the camshaft had practically zero load on it and stayed put.
20) Transfer the indexing mark on the old cam phaser to the new one
21) Install the new phaser, making sure to line up your reference marks on the new phaser to the timing chain link that you marked before removing the old one. Slide the phaser onto the camshaft (there's a dowel pin that will seat in the camshaft, there's only one way for this to go on). You may need to have your assistant move the camshaft a degree or two one way or the other while you're doing this to get it to seat. Once it is on, install the NEW phaser bolt that came in the kit, finger tight.
22) Have your assistant hold the vice grips while torquing the new TTY bolt to 30ftlbs. Then, using a breaker bar, tighten the bolt an additional quarter turn (90 degrees). I recommend marking the bolt at 12 o-clock after intially torquing it (see second pic below), as you maybe have to make 2 1/8 turns (there's limited room to move a breaker bar in this engine bay), and that'll help keep you situated correctly.
23) Remove the timing wedge
If all went well, and if I haven't left anything out (I'm running on 3 hours of sleep at the moment while writing this), then you should have been successful in changing out your driver's side cam phaser. Start it up and see how it runs. If you messed up your timing marks, you'll know pretty quick as the computer will start throwing codes.
As far as the passenger side goes, a few notes:
- Unplug the PCM and remove it as well as the bracket
- Have a shop discharge/recover the R134 in the A/C system so you can unbolt the hard line that's above the valve cover, you'll need to do this for clearance
- Space is a premium on this side, even more-so than the driver's side
- Don't forget that the timing wedge should be installed opposite of how it was on the driver's side
I'm totally brain-dead at the moment, so that's all I've got right now. If there's any questions, post up and I'll try to answer them, or update this writeup.