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2009 Ford F-150 engine problems: engine clatters like a diesel at low rpm

Engine Clatters Like A Diesel At Low Rpm

2009 Ford F-150

This problem may be covered under warranty. Ask your Ford dealer.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
66,600 miles
Total Complaints:
12 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (6 reports)
  2. replace engine (6 reports)
2009 Ford F-150 engine problems

engine problem

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2009 Ford F-150 Owner Comments

problem #12

Apr 302015

F-150 FX4 5.4L 3v

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,235 miles


April 2015 had noise listened to and dealer said NORMAL NOISE! Mileage was 93235.

May 2015 heard noise felt sputter and smelled burning. Road test 53 miles Passed Power Balance Test CNV. Mileage was 93864

July 2015 Heard noise again and it got loud, took it in and they replaced both vct solenoids. Mileage 96266

Sept. 2015 noise is returning, i had the listen to it and they claim it is normal phaser oscillation and pulsing of oil pressure inside camshaft phaser chambers. once again they claim NORMAL NOISE! Mileage 103169.

Feb 27 2016 noise came back as loud as it was the time they fixed it with VCT solenoids. Mileage 106622.

Today is Feb 29 2016 oil change is at 7%. Will be raising hell tommorrow at Bill Brown Ford, if anyone cares to join the party. My truck still has warranty. I bought it used at 83000 w/ 3year36000 premium extended.

- Ronald D., Garden City, MI, US

problem #11

Dec 292016

F-150 XLT 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 148,000 miles

The Ford F-150 crew cab I bought 12/16 has a crappy knock which in the 4.6 v8 I have learned is normal. Well I'll never buy another Ford.

- Eric E., Berryville, AR, US

problem #10

Jun 012016

F-150 5.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,351 miles

What I can tell you this is not the first Ford F150 5.4 that has this problem. Here in Abitibi-Témiscamingue Province of Québec we call them 5.Claque which is not a very good publicity for the Ford compagny. We are a region were we find one out of four resident who owns a Truck. Ford lovers are turner to other truck compagnies with this pubilicity going around and we don't even have to say a word, the noise (coming from the motor) is doing all the job.

If I we are well know compagnie like Ford, I would make a recall on all 5.4 in order to fix this before it be becomes a major problem.

I really hope my complaint will be taken seriously, I really like the F150 but if I don't get a good service on something that is not my fault, I will change for a similiar truck that won't not be a ford.


- Benoit G., Rouyn-noranda, QC, Canada

problem #9

Apr 082016

F-150 5.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,000 miles


I have done all the maintenance on this truck, never missed an oil change or tune-up.. my mechanic worked for ford for 15 years, ford has known there is a problem with this engine. it dies in traffic, or runs and clatters like a diesel when it is warm. was told about 5000 - 7000 to fix. the problem is in the cam bearings. and because not enough oil gets to the bottom of the engine. I am so upset. tried to call ford, they would not talk to me. I think they owe me a new engine. the ford ads say it should be good for over 150,000 miles and it is the best selling truck in America. I don't see how if FORD doesn't back up it's product. .

I am going to have the whole engine rebuilt and pay for it with my social security checks and loans from family. shame on you FORD. I never owned a ford before and will never have another one.

- joycemarshall, Springdale, WA, US

problem #8

Feb 182016

F-150 Lariat 5.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,000 miles

There is a very embarrassing ticking coming from the motor at low speeds. After researching I find out the only way to fix it is to replace the motor. It's the cam shaft seals or something and if I replace them it will just come back. This is my first Ford that I have owned and apparently I have to replace the engine??! I am out!

- beaux, Little Elm, TX, US

problem #7

Nov 152015

F-150 XLT 4.6L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 109,800 miles

This vehicle was regularly maintained for the six years we owned it making scheduled oil changes etc. No problems until on a road trip 11/15/15 when the vehicle suddenly began clattering noise.took it to the dealership promptly on Monday morning the next day thinking I needed an oil change but ultimately was told a rocker arm came loose and there were metal shavings in an engine which was basically ruined! This engine only had 109000 miles on it but since it was out of warranty, I am stuck with a $7000 repair bill.This was not what I expected from a vehicle that was built " Ford Tough"!!

- stankimble, Athens, AL, US

problem #6

Aug 012014

F-150 Lariat 5.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles


the engine taps constantly from the time you start it till the time you shut it off, not sure if its lifters or manifold exhaust leak!!!

- Steve W., Madisonville, LA, US

problem #5

Dec 222013

F-150 XLT 5.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,438 miles

Bought a used F-150 09 with a 5.4 at 53000 km from local Ford. At 60k it started to sound like a diesel which I never though much about. Had a knock a few times at idle but later at 86 k it shuddered badly and was trying to stall, blipped the gas and it went away. Brought to Ford next day and was surprised to get a call from them saying engine was badly damaged inside, lucky for me I had 3 months left on warranty so it's covered.

They told me a brand new block was coming with upgraded parts including timing chain VCT sprocket and cam shaft. Admitting there is a parts or setup problem within those engines! But yet no recalls? Wtf Ford! Was always a Chevy guy but decided to try the built tough Fords out as they were better price! I guess not! But I do have a new engine on the plus side, hopefully it won't blow up!

- Ryan H., Lk Cowichan, BC, canada

problem #4

Jun 152011

F-150 XLT 5.4L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 36,000 miles

Today I spent $7,000 on a 2009 F150 engine replacement that should have been covered by warranty. I was having a knock at low RPMs while under stress. They replaced my cam phasers twice free of charge. The problem still occurred. Then it was proved to be lack of oil pressure to the cam. Ford then tried to blame it on lack of maintenance and asked me to provide receipts for oil and filter changes. I gave them the receipts. A Field Service Engineer said they could not find a manufacture default; therefore, it was not covered under warranty. They then tried to say at one point in time there was NO oil in the engine. I have the receipts to prove that I have changed my oil and filters more than recommended for a warranty to stay in tact. Jack's Ford was no help and Ford motor company was quick to throw us under the bus. I then towed the truck to Glenn Bush Ford who treated us well and didn't understand what the problem with the warranty claim was. They said it should've been covered but they could not overturn Ford's Field Service Engineer's decisions. As a loyal Ford buyer, I can say that I will NEVER give them a dime again!!! Keep this going. Help protect your friends and family. A warranty for Ford is obviously worth nothing!!

- Cory G., Butler, PA, US

problem #3

Sep 032010

F-150 XLT 5.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 14,000 miles

Sound like a diesel motor at low idle. Issue popped up at 14,000 miles and dealer keep telling me everything was normal. I keep taking it in every few thousand miles and complaining but no action till 35,400 when they replaced the cam phasers and that helped for 1,500 miles when I took it in that time they pulled the motor and found low oil pressure (caused by the poorly running motor) had caused complete motor failure and then I had to wait 2 1/2 weeks for a new motor with not even as much as a loaner car nor a "Were are Sorry". It happened just after the 3 year 36,000 mile warranty was up but was covered under the 50,000 mile powertrain.

The part that chaps me the most is I had it in to 3 different dealers and all of them were pretty much the same attitude that I was taking up their time. I have had 3- F150’s before this one I am pretty sure this one will be my last. I bought it when the car companies were having problems in 2009, so I did my part by buying a new truck to help them out. Where was my help???

- Todd F., Roland, IA, US

problem #2

Oct 012009

F-150 F-150 5.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,000 miles

No help from ford or dealer where I bought it. They keep saying the noise is normal. I have found that not all of them have this issue

- Greg S., Tullahoma, TN, US

problem #1

May 262009

F-150 Lariat Supercrew 5.4L 3v Flex

  • Automatic transmission
  • 300 miles

This problem has been getting worse at the truck gets older. The manual says that you might hear an occasional light knocking sound but this is getting crazy. Once the engine is warmed up the sounds starts. It happens a little at idle but mostly at slower speeds in when cruising. As the engine gets hotter during warm summer days then the noise gets louder at idle and starts to happen under light acceleration. The truck sounds like a diesel engine clattering very loud except more harsh. I get people turning around from two blocks away giving me weird looks and passengers ask what the noise is. I've talked to the dealership who says they need me to bring in back in again after other problems and have them take a look at it. They say it sounds like they will need to take apart the engine to replace the cam phasers but they won't know until their tech looks at it. This is crazy to have a brand new truck that needs engine work.

Update from Sep 11, 2010: The dealership has since replaced the cam phasers and the problem has deminished. It is still there but I the weather has been a little cooler too so it is hard to tell the overall success of the fix except to say it only partially fixes it. At least I am not getting the embarrassingly loud clatter anymore.

- Craig B., Killeen, TX, US

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