Let's do this. Change the engine oil and filter. Make sure it isn't overfilled and see if the problem comes back. My concern is the oil is very dark. This vehicle has what is called variable cam timing (VCT) which has a hydraulic valve that changes the timing in a specific camshaft based on engine speed, torque, and so on. When actuated, if there isn't sufficient oil flow, it can make a knocking noise, so it is important to keep the oil clean.
This is my theory. I have a feeling that oil to the VCT was restricted (dirty oil) causing the noise. I strongly recommend keeping the oil changed on a regular basis. If it is as black as you mentioned, eventually it will lead to bigger problems. If you use semi-synthetic oil, change it approximately every 3,000 miles. If you are using fully synthetic oil, run it for 5,000. The manufacturer indicates semi-synthetic is recommended.
Once you change it, drive it and see if there are problems. Please keep in mind, if the oil is presently black, the new oil will get dirty quickly because it has a detergent in it. Keep an eye on it and if it gets really dirty again before the next change is due, change it early. Do this until you can run at least 3,000 and it is not too dirty.
Here is a link you may find helpful:
Also, I attached the type of oil and capacity below. Note: Your vehicle will have a 5.4L. I'm not sure if you have the 4v or not. Note without 4v, it takes 6 quarts when the filter is replaced. The 4v takes 7. So, start with 6 quarts. Start the engine and allow it to run for 15 or 20 seconds. Shut it off, wait a few minutes, and check the level. If it does require the additional quart, just add it at that time.
Let me know if you have questions or if there is anything I can help with. Also, let me know if this helps.
See pics below.
Images (Click to enlarge)
Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022 AT 6:55 PM