Engin oil cleanout

I have a 2004 F150 pickup with the 5.4 engine. It has 81K miles on it. When I start the engine I can hear a noise and after a few seconds it goes away. It is like the engine is having a problem with circulating the oil. Is there a product that is recommended for engine oil cleanout?

It is not likely that this noise is being caused by lack of oil circulation. Can you describe the sound some more?

There are products that you can buy at the parts store. Follow the directions on the bottle to the letter and they may help.

What’s probably happening is that you have a gumed up lifter. The lifter (or tappet) is a device that fills with oil to take up “slop” (for lack of a better term) in the parts between the cam lobe and the valve stem such that they don’t loosely bang against one another. Generally they stay pretty much filled with oil, but as parts get old they sometimes get a bit worn and/or gummed up and the lifter will drain out when you shut the engine down for the night. It then takes a moment in the morning for the lifter to refill and swell with oil, again filling up its space.

Your condition is really nothing to lose sleep over. Others may disagree, but what you’re describing doesn’t sound serious.

Now realize that since I cannot hear the sound from here I’m only describing what would be a common cause of the type of sound you’re describing. If you’re unsure, have someone listen to it and get an on-site opinion.

What kind of filter are you using. The stock Motorcraft filter has a good anti drainback valve in it. Others may not be as good. The Motorcraft filters are widely-available and inexpensive outside of the Ford dealer. Get one and try it out of you are not using them.

What type of oil are you using and how often do you change it?

If your really worried about slow build-up of oil pressure, you may want to talk to your mechanic about using a shop gauge to check and monitor the oil pressure. You may need to leave it at the shop overnight, so you can monitor the start-up oil pressure under the same conditions.

However, I think your hearing the valve lifters at start-up. They can start to get noisy at start-up like this. This is a common Ford complaint, although Chevy’s do it too. My advise is not to worry about it. As long as they quiet down after a second or two, there is no damage being done. My 2000 Ford Explorer has been doing this for the last few of years. I did notice that switching to 5W-40 synthetic reduced the noise to a split second at start-up. I hear it just as the engine catches, and then it is gone that quick. My truck has the 4.0L SOHC and 180,000 miles.

I’m with Beads on this one . . . an oil filter without an anti-drainback valve will allow all of the oil to drain into the pan almost immediately after shutdown. Did you recently change filter brands? However we are just guessing . . . a better description of the noise might help . . . what part of the engine? Dull thunk or light metallic tapping? How long until it goes away? Does it happen if you shut it off and go into the Mini-mart for a cup of coffee? Rocketman

One old trick for noisy hydraulic lifters is to add a quart of ATF (Automatic Transmission Fluid) to the crankcase oil just before you change the oil. ATF has a lot of detergents and will help clean out the little nooks, crannies and small orifices.
I used it to help quiet noisy lifters in an Isuzu Trooper. I usually left it in for about 500 miles. The first time I did it, I thought the old oil was really dirty looking, which I attribute to the extra detergents. I always used synthetic oil, so I used synthetic ATF. I doubt that really matters.
AND, I’ve also seen Seafoam recommended as a cleaner, but never tried it.

I, too, would bet on the oil filter.