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F150 Sounds Like a Diesel

I have a 2004 Ford F150 FX4 5.4L that sounds like a diesel. Every time I leave the engine running and someone walks by they stare at it because of the noise and I often receive comments from people in the know that it sounds like a diesel pickup.

Exhaust noise is normal but there is a distinct clicking noise from the engine that makes it sound exactly like a diesel pickup. The only time it doesn’t make this noise is occasionally, but not every time, at initial startup to within an hour of run time on a cold morning. Truck currently has 63K miles and has made the noise since I purchased two years ago with 34K. No other problems noticeable.

Any thoughts?

If you find out the “exact” cause of the noise then please post back. I suspect a worn camshaft and lifters. I hear early 90’s Rangers with the 2.9 engine making this noise all the time.

Wow, that seems like low miles for a noise like that, especially if it’s been going on since 34K. Do you have any idea if the previous owner did timely oil changes?

It may be worth adding some Seafoam to the oil about 50-100 miles before you do an oil change to see if it helps. I wouldn’t leave it in any longer than that.

I would have a dealership mechanic listen to the noise and offer an opinion. This is an overhead cam V8 with a timing chain. perhaps the chain tensioning system has malfunctioned and is allowing the cam chain to flop around. A mechanic who works on these everyday will know the answer…Have you removed the serpentine belt to see it THAT stopped the noise?

Previous owner was a friend and very good about oil changes and other maintenance but hadn’t noticed the noise before.

Serpentine belt not a problem. Timing chain was my first suspect but time and financial reasons have kept me taking it to the shop. Small town and the local mechanics charge too much for their incompetence, next nearest shop is 60 mi. away. I might dig into the problem myself a little more if I had the time and wasn’t so intimidated by all the stuff they pack under the hood of a newer vehicle.

to all: the comments are much appreciated, thanks.

It does indeed sound like a worn camshaft and lifters, but I’m hoping that’s not the problem! I’ll post back if I find out more. Thanks.

sorry for getting back so late.

The noise is a clicking sound made by the timing phasers. Apparently it’s a Ford thing and if it had showed up while still under warranty it would have been Ford’s fix. Average customer repair cost around 1500 bucks. However annoying it can be, it’s merely a preference issue and if left alone will simply continue to annoy for the life of the vehicle without concern for engine damage.