6 Common Problems with the Ford F-150 5.0 Engine

As you might already know, the Ford F-150 is one of the most popular vehicles on the planet. Ford offers many engine options with their flagship pickup, and the 5.0 V8 is one of the most popular options. But that is not to say that this engine is perfect.

As with all powerplants, the Ford 5.0 also has its fair share of issues. Today, we’ll be taking a look at the most common Ford F-150 engine problems you are bound to come across.

Some common problems with the 5.0 engine that many F-150 owners have come across include poor acceleration, head gasket oil leaks, engine shutoff on idle, and engine knocking. If you own one of these beasts or planning to purchase one shortly, it is important to keep all these issues in mind.

History of The F-150 5.0 Engine

What Ford Trucks Have The 5.0 Engine?

The 5.0 is one of the most popular engine choices among Ford F-150 buyers. So, we thought it’s better to start this discussion by giving you an overview of this potent powerplant.

The 5.0 modular V8 engine made its first appearance with the 12th generation F-150, all the way back in 2011. Some gearheads among you might also know this engine as the first-generation Coyote.

Initially making its debut in the Mustang, the Coyote V8 had some unique features that set it apart from the competition. Ti-VCT (Twin independent variable cam timing technology) is one such feature, and it helps the Coyote engine to reduce emissions, increase fuel economy, and produce more power.

The first-gen Coyote replaced the 5.4 Triton engine in the F-150 lineup. Here, it produced 360 horsepower, which is slightly less than the 412 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque it made in the Mustang. This 5.0 V8 powered the F-150 till 2014 when it was replaced by the second-generation Coyote.

With this new engine, the power figures increased up to 385 hp and 387 lb-ft torque. The addition of Ford’s Charge Motion Control Valves. This is a modern take on the previous Ti-VCT technology, that optimized the fuel consumption. Not only that, but it also helped to lower engine emissions and to stabilize idle control.

However, this was not the final 5.0 Coyote to find its way into the F-150. In 2018, Ford replaced the Gen 2 Coyote with the third-generation model, which further increased the performance. “By how much?” you may ask. Well, the final power output increased by 10 for a total of 395 horsepower, while torque figures rose to an impressive 400 lb-ft.

Now that you know all about what this V8 has to offer, let’s dive into the common Ford F-150 engine problems.

Most Common Ford F-150 5.0 Engine Problems

When talking about the Ford-F150 5.0 engine, there are some major issues that we simply cannot ignore. These include,

  1. Engine Cranking Without Starting
  2. Engine Shutting off While Driving
  3. Poor Acceleration
  4. Engine Shutoff on Idle
  5. Oil Leaks
  6. Knocking & Rattling Noises

Engine Cranking Without Starting

Are you having trouble cranking up your F150’s engine? Well, you’re not alone! The engine cranking without firing up is one of the most common complaints among F-150 owners.

On most occasions, this startup issue is caused by a burnt fuse in the F-150’s electrical circuit. This obstructs the fuel pump operation, resulting in your truck refusing to start. This problem is so common that Ford had to issue a service bulletin regarding it. Not only that, but they also sell a kit that relocates the fuse’s location, which costs about $20.

In addition to the fuel pump fuse, other issues like a clogged fuel filter, faulty fuel pump wiring, ignition system issues, and problems with the inertia switch can also cause your truck’s engine to keep cranking without starting.

Engine Shutting off While Driving

On top of being a nuisance, the 5.0 engine shutting off while driving can be a major safety hazard too. You see if the engine shuts off while you are driving down the road, you’ll lose access to important systems like power steering and brake pedal assist, making controlling the truck more difficult than ever.

Several causes can lead to this outcome, with throttle body problems being one of them. The 5.0 V8 comes with an electronic throttle body which causes the engine to shut off when you are driving down the road. Although most owners mention reprogramming the ECU is enough to resolve the issue, you might have to replace the throttle body if the problem gets severe enough.

Alternator failure is another problem that can cause the F-150 5.0 engine to die while driving. A failed alternator won’t recharge the battery or provide enough electrical power for the vehicle, which leads to this common issue. Replacing the alternator is the best fix for this issue, but keep in mind that you’ll have to spend around $550 for parts and labor.

Poor Acceleration

Acceleration issues are another common complaint F-150 drivers have about their 5.0-liter V8 engine. Just like the other engine issues we discussed so far, there are some major causes for this issue as well.

Problems with the spark plugs are among the most common issues behind poor acceleration with the F-150. As you might already know, spark plugs are responsible for lighting the air-fuel mixture when it enters the combustion chamber.

But, when the spark plugs go bad, this combustion process won’t happen efficiently. This is what causes the lack of acceleration you feel when you put the pedal to the metal. In addition to abd spark plugs, clogs in the catalytic converters may also result in poor acceleration.

Engine Shutoff on Idle

Different engine issues like faulty Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensors, vacuum leaks, Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) valve issues, or a dirty throttle body may result in the F-150 stalling while idling. Oftentimes, the stalling will be accompanied by an illuminated “Check Engine” light on the dashboard.

In this case, taking your pickup truck to a certified mechanic and having them scan the error code by plugging in an OBD2 scanner will help you pinpoint the source of the issue.

Oil Leaks

Head gasket oil leaks are a common defect with the Ford 5.0 V8, especially the early Coyote variants. The engine oil mainly leaked from the right side head gasket and was caused by a design defect during production.

On top of that, the escaping engine oil would sometimes fall onto the starter motor and other engine components, which had the possibility of setting the entire engine bay alight!

Oil leaks from the head gasket should not be taken lightly. Leaving the issue unfixed for long can permanently damage the head gasket as well as the engine block itself. Replacing the head gasket is a major repair that requires the entire engine to be dismantled, and will bite a $2500-shaped hole in your pocket.

Knocking & Rattling Noises

The final problem we’ll be taking a look at here today is knocking sounds and rattling noises coming from the Ford F-150 5.0 engine.

The 5.0 V8 is prone to making rattling, scratching, and ticking noises as it is warming up to its operating temperature. If this goes on for too long, the timing chain will lose tension and cause severe engine damage. Re-tensioning the timing chain is a significant repair that will cost you around $2000.

Engine knocking is another common Ford F-150 5.0 engine problem mainly caused by piston slapping and excessive valve float. Common fixes for this problem include replacing the crankshaft, bearings, and head gasket.

Preventative Maintenance Tips To Keep Ford F-150 5.0 Engine Running Smoothly

Want to keep your Ford F-150 5.0 engine last longer? If so, here are the two best maintenance tips you should follow.

  1. Change Engine Oil On Schedule
  2. Keep the Fluids Topped Off

Change Engine Oil On Schedule

Bad engine oil causes poor lubrication, leading to some common issues we discussed here today. The easiest way to avoid them is swapping out the engine oil on schedule. Ford recommends changing the engine oil every 5,00 to 7500 miles.

However, the mileage may vary depending on the type of engine oil you use, as well as your driving behaviors. Remember to also keep an eye on engine oil health by taking dipstick readings often.

Keep the Fluids Topped Off

Similar to engine oil, other lubricants like coolant are also essential to keep the 5.0 V8 functioning properly. So, make sure to inspect the fluid levels and top them off when required.

Being a powerful V8, the Ford’s 5.0 engine is prone to some reliability issues. But, by having a good understanding of them beforehand and following our preventative tips, we’re sure that you’ll be able to enjoy your F-150 to the fullest.

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