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)
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
24) Now that the cam phaser is installed, remove the old valve cover gasket from the head and make sure the mating surface is clean. Scrape the old black RTV from where the head meets the timing cover and put a fresh dab on there. Install the new gasket in the valve cover and set the valve cover in place. Be sure to keep your harness out of the way when doing this, I ran into a slight problem with the valve cover eating my #8 fuel injector plug, which meant lifting the cover and reinstalling it (that took another hour).
25) Tighten the valve cover bolts, they should be just past snug, I'm not sure of the torque spec but it's probably around 12-15 ftlbs. Have fun with the rearmost bolts, again.
26) Reinstall CPS, ignition coils, and plug everything back in. Just reverse the first couple steps, should be pretty self explanatory, don't forget to hook your battery back up, last.
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.
Last edited by Steve Bassen; 11-30-2008 at 12:31 AM.
Reason: WAR GRAMMAR!!
I might start loaning out my timing wedge to those that are about to do their phasers, just do deposits via paypal or something.... It's a lot quieter than it used to be. Even when properly functioning, the cam phasers do emit an audible noise, but with the hood down you can barely hear them, now. It used to be embarrassing to pull into a drive through. At this point the injectors make more noise than they do
Well it looks like this thread has been around for a long time, but im still glad I found it so I could post up my question. I have a 06 F350 5.4, and it has a loud ticking on I believe the drivers side, but could be both. Sometimes its there sometimes its there and loud. When I change the oil it is loudest until pressure builds up and it quiets down. Is this a cam phaser issue? Local dealer said it was and its very, very expensive to have them do it, hence the diy thread interest. Thanks
2005 F450 CCLB Lariat 4X4 12V Cummins
Super 60, S110, 6" lift, 24" accurides, 37x13.5x24" toyos
Too much more to list...
Steve, thanks for this write up as it almost makes me want to do it myself. Some questions;
1. How has this affected the normal performance of your truck has it improved or has it stayed pretty much the same.
2. Has your gas mileage improved, stayed the same or gotten worse.
3. What harm is the ticking doing and does that need to be addressed after the phasers have been replaced, mine has been doing this a while now.
I would really like to know if there is anyone in the Houston Area that has had this repaired by a dealer or reputable service shop in the area and if so how much?
Nice write-up. You can make a wedge. When I did a cam gear/reluctor ring swap on one of our Rams with a SOHC motor I had to use a wedge. I took some plastic, some string and some tape and made a wedge. No sense paying $150 for a wedge.
Chris - Avid Winter Hater
2007 F-250 XLT 4x4 CC SB 6.0 PSD - ARP, IPR Gen2 EGR Delete, 4" turbo-back, no muffler, no cat, 6.4 banjo bolts, SCT X3, EA 270A Alt, coolant filter, air bags, Ranchos, etc.
1994 Mustang GT - HCI, Novi2k blower, MM suspension parts, etc
Hope & A Prayer Motorsports
k i have a 2007 250 5.4 3v, i had to pull head to remove plug ground sleeve did tensioners timed as best i could usin paint markers, n it ran pretty good, month n half later its givin me codes 22 n 20 i think left n right timing n so ford told me do my phasers n so i pulled my valve covers n the passenger n driver side phazers look to be at diff degrees can send pictures to any one who might have an idea wat the phazers should be sittin at, right now the pass one is like 5-10 degrees before where the driver side is sittin, if someone could help me out w this one this weekend im tryna get it finished so that i can give the ford dealership their wedge back on tues like i promised any help would be much appreciated
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