Skip to main content

How to Ruin a Ford 5.4L 3v Triton Engine with a Timing Job

Here’s an interesting case where a Ford 5.4L 3v Triton Engine winds up ruined not just by the mechanic doing a timing job, but also in part by this common mistake the owner made.

More often than not, when an engine repair or service goes south it is because the mechanic either did not know what he was doing or just didn’t care enough to provide the kind of service he should have.

However, there are also those times when the owner of a vehicle being repaired is also at fault.

Shoddy Work and Shoddy Parts Ruined This Ford Engine

That was the message in a recent Ford Tech Makuloco YouTube channel episode where the owner of a 2014 Ford Expeditioin with 112,000 miles on it developed the familiar roller follower and lash adjuster problem leading to a characteristic constant ticking and tapping sound from the valve area of the engine.

Related article: The Truck Engine Nobody Likes

Fortunately, the problem was caught early, and the engine had not gone through severe enough damage to require a new engine replacement.

Unfortunately, however, the owner of the truck thinking that now was a good time to have additional work done on the engine since the mechanic would have to take a deep dive into the engine anyway for the roller follower problem, why not just go ahead and have a timing job done as well ahead of time to save money? And to save even more money, forget about using OEM Ford parts and supply the mechanic with aftermarket parts as well?!

Big mistake. Which the mechanic should have warned the Ford Explorer owner not to do, but instead accepted whatever parts the owner provided for the repair and service.

Is It Acceptable to Save Money by Providing a Mechanic with Parts You Bought?

While some car owners will try to save money believing they can cut out a mechanic’s markup on parts, it really is a bad idea for two reasons:

  1. In reality you might not save any money doing it this way because the mechanic or garage can usually get the parts cheaper than you can. Yes, there is often some markup of the parts, but if the garage is honest, it will be a reasonable amount and well worth paying someone else to search for the correct part and order it for you.
  2. Garages and mechanics typically do not warranty non-OEM parts supplied by car repair customers. Due to inferior aftermarket parts being a big problem, no one wants to guarantee their repairs if they have no say in what parts are used. If a mechanic agrees to use your supplied parts, he or she is asking for problems.

How the Engine Was Ruined

As it turned out, within just 2,000 miles after the timing chain job and roller follower and lash adjuster repairs were completed, the engine began experiencing serious issues evidenced by loud engine noise and poor performance, which necessitated the owner of the truck to turn his vehicle over to the host of the channel who afterward discovered a nightmare of issues that explained why the engine was failing.

 Follow along with the host in the video below to see just how shoddy both the parts and the repairs made were to blame for the engine failure that includes:

  • Not cleaning gasket surfaces before applying new gaskets.
  • Not adequately tightening fasteners that experience a lot of force.
  • Mixing up cam caps during assembly, which is a basic no-no every mechanic should know when it comes to moving shafts in an engine.
  • Using the wrong parts.
  • And more…

The Value of This Video

The value of this video is understanding that although the mechanic is primarily to blame for the bad repair and service, the owner as well should share some of the blame. Non-OEM parts for a critical engine system are almost guaranteed to lead to problems eventually regardless of how well the work was done by a mechanic.

How to Destroy a Perfectly Fine Ford 5.4L 3v Triton Engine with a Timing Job!


For additional articles about Ford engine problems, here are three selected articles to learn from:

Timothy Boyer is an automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites  and Facebook for daily news and topics related to new and used cars and trucks.

COMING UP NEXT: Consumer Reports Popular Midsized SUVs to Avoid and What to Buy Instead

Image source: Deposit Photos