2004 Ford F-150

Noise problem
2004 Ford F150 V8 Two Wheel Drive Automatic 42000 miles

F150 w/ 5.4l v8. Since I bought this truck it has make a diesel or rattle sound for a few seconds on initial start-up if the truck has sat a few hours. As the truck gains mileage, the noise level has increased and lasted a little longer. At this point a cold start will produce an engine rattle lasting about 3-4 seconds, includes a ticking sound, and thus far has no effect on performance after initial start.

I have seen some TSB's regarding this, but I am still unsure if I need to fix this now, or if it is just a crummy noise with no long term effects. I also do not understand from the TSB's exactly what is causing the noise, and what repair will fix the problem.

I would really like to avoid a timing chain skip and the valve damage that would be caused.
December 26, 2009.

Are you sure the sound is coming from the engine and not an exhaust component? Has the check engine light ever come on? Finally, does the oil filter you use have an anti-flowback valve? Does it sound like the engine is starving for oil pressre?

Let me know.


The fact that it goes away quickly and as the oil pressure builds makes me believe it is not exhaust, unless there is some exhaust noise that would only happen for 3-4 seconds on initial start.

I am using a Mobile 1 filter, and it appears to have a backflow seal. I am using 5w-20 part synthetic oil.

It reminds me of an old truck I once had where the valve lifters were noisy until the pressure came up. I have to believe that some component (timing chain tensioner, VCT, lifter) is not retaining pressure or residual oil, and I would like to prevent a catastrophic failure.

Dec 27, 2009.
My thoughts were dealing with the catylatc converter. At times they come loose inside and rattle when the vehicle is first started. As far as this posting, it does sound like a lifter is taking a few seconds to pump up. If you have a lifer that does this, it will most likely continue. The only fix would be replacement. There are products that you can get at most parts stores that is designed to help unstick lifters, but honestly, I've never had any luck with them. My concern is that you are maintaining good oil pressure after the engine is running. Have you checked the pressure with a mechanical gauge?

No, I have not checked with a mechanical gauge, but the gauge on the dash has always come up promptly and settled at the same spot. There is a TSB I just found, 06-4-7, at the end it addresses start up rattle and the VCT. Since my truck is out of warranty, I am assuming I am on the hook for this unless you know some trick that will get Ford to cover it? By the way, I looked at the Mitchell site for repair manuals, and it looks like a great deal for me. I will try it out soon, especially if I have to replace this VCT myself.

Dec 28, 2009.
Because a TSB is only designed to help a tech identify a problem and not an actual recall, there isn't anything Ford will do. I wish I had better news for you.