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2018 Ford F-150 5.0 Engine Problems: Everything You Need to Know 

2018 Ford F-150 5.0 Engine Problems

Ford upgraded the 5.0Ll engine for the 2018 F-150 model year. The 2018 engine featured a 395-horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. It featured a port and direct fuel injection system that helps improve overall fuel efficiency and driveability while reducing emissions. It also had spray and bore liners to enhance durability and pulled 20 more horsepower than Ford 375-horsepower  twin turbo 3.5 L Ecoboost V6 engine. On the other hand, the V8 suffered a lack of torque compared to the EcoBoost which offered 470 lb-ft of torque.

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The 5.0 engine could get your Ford pickup from 0 to 60 in just 5.9 seconds which was almost on par with the 2017 Ford F150 and its 3.5 L EcoBoost. That made it faster than the 2016 SuperCrew 4X 4 which also had used a V8.


Even though the 5.0 L V8 is clearly a powerful engine, and it has proved itself to be pretty reliable for most drivers of the Ford F150 it's not been without its faults overall. You can't produce the number of vehicles that Ford produces without suffering some criticisms and technological failings from time to time. With that in mind, let's take a look at the 2018 Ford F150 and see what kind of engine problems the vehicle faced.


Fuel Economy


To start things off, the fuel economy of the F-150 fitted with the 5.0 engine is about 15 miles per gallon. When you hit the highway, you're getting up to 90 miles per gallon. That's not to be unexpected for an engine of this size. Outfitted with a 23-gallon tank you're getting 430 miles on a tank of gas, which isn't too bad at all. 


Compared to your standard economy car a hybrid vehicle on the road and the fuel economy of the Ford F-150 is pretty laughable, but no one is fine a Ford F-150 outfitted with a V8 engine in the hopes of trying to pull 30 miles per gallon city driving either so it's not really a fair comparison. 


Engine Stalls


Some drivers reported a problem with the XLT 5.0 litre engine in their Ford F-150 stalling out on them seemingly for no reason. One driver reported that every time they came to a stop the engine would shut off and a message with display saying that the engine auto stop-start function was engaged. They had to put the vehicle in park and then restart the engine. That's not a problem if you're parked in your driveway, but if you stop at a light or stop sign in heavy traffic then this could be particularly dangerous. Worse, if you're just stopping behind a car that might be turning and you need to go again then this would be a serious concern.


Other drivers reported a similar issue with the same engine, although Ford hasn't made any statements about it.


Engine Knock


Many drivers experienced issues with engine knock at a fairly low mileage. This typically occurred below 25,000 miles when it popped up. There were also issues in the same engines with excessive oil consumption. One driver reported having to put in about a quart of oil every 1,000 miles. Another driver reported a knock that was so loud on start-up that it would actually startle anybody who was outside the vehicle at the time because it sounded like a piece of the vehicle had fallen off. While driving it became so loud that the driver had to actually turn their engine off when they're at drive-thrus just so the person could hear them to take their order.


Engine knock occurs when pockets of air in fuel are mixed and explode outside of the normal zone of combustion in the cylinder. This can create a chain reaction that is not unlike fireworks going off or small bubbles popping. Each explosion that occurs is a knock in the engine. This can cause serious damage over time and even in the short term is extremely bothersome if nothing else because of the sound it makes.


Ford did issue a technical service bulletin related to 2018 to 2019 Ford F150s equipped with the 5.0 litre engine. The TSB indicated a light to moderate knocking noise at idle that they likened to the sound of a diesel engine. The noise level would increase as the engine got up to temperature. The technical service bulletin also said that the noise was not detrimental to engine function in any way and had no long-term effects on durability. According to Ford this was just an operating characteristic of the engine and no repair should be attempted.


An additional technical service bulletin was issued for the same engine for a chirping noise, presumably distinct from the engine knock that others were experiencing. This also happened when the vehicle was at idle and increased as the engine warmed up. In this case it was determined that it was likely due to a problem with the primary timing chain tensioner. However, it wasn't presumed to cause any problems with engine durability and the dealers were instructed to not worry about doing any repairs as a result. 


Yet another technical service bulletin was issued for this engine because of a problem with an engine rattling noise. As you can see this has become a common theme for this particular engine that is going to produce noises that you don't want to hear. In this case the rattle noise occurred during deceleration from 1500 RPMs down to 800 RPMs or sometimes during acceleration. Vehicles that were determined to be affected had the powertrain control module reprogrammed with newer software to help fix the issue. 


Ford's Response to Engine Noises


Ford never issued a specific recall for the 2018 5.0 litre engine relating to this problem with knocking, rattling, ticking, and chirping, but they did acknowledge it in more than one way. At least one driver reported that they got a brand new 2018 Ford F-150 and noticed these rattling noises fairly soon afterwards. After doing some research the driver took the vehicle in to get repaired because there was a technical service bulletin issued for just this problem. After bringing it in for the fix, the same problem continued and at that point the dealer just assured the driver that this was a normal characteristic of the 2018 5.0 L V8 engines that Ford was using in the F-150s.


A second opinion from a different mechanic at another dealership diagnosed it as a problem with the variable camshaft timing solenoids. The solenoids allow the engine timing to be adjusted and function thanks to oil pressure and various electronics. Because Ford itself had not recognized this as the cause of the problem however there was no prescribed fix for it, at least not one that Ford was willing to pay for on their own. 


In this driver's case, after contacting the Better Business Bureau they were able to engage in arbitration with Ford and Ford ended up buying their F-150 back from them without explicitly acknowledging that there was a problem. It is still Ford’s position that all 5.0 litre engines that  were updated for the 2018 model years and used in vehicles such as the F-150 or the Mustang make this noise and it's simply a normal part of how the engine operates.


Throttle Body Replacement


Another technical service bulletin was issued for the 2018 F150 as well as 2019 Mustangs that were equipped with the 5.0 litre engine. In some of these vehicles there could have been a badly installed torsion spring. That can cause the illumination of the wrench light or the service engine soon indicator which would reduce engine power. Dealers were instructed to replace the electronic throttle body to fix the issue in the affected vehicles.


Fuel Injection System


This affected models from 2017 all the way to 2020 featuring the 5.0 engine as well as 3.5 L EcoBoost and 3.3 L as well. There were issues with stalling, lack of power and low fuel rail pressure after repair. It required the removal of the fuel line that connects the high-pressure fuel pump to the port injection rail. The line had an internal one-way check valve and if it was installed incorrectly it could cause these problems. The fix for this was simple enough and just required that a mechanic go in and reinstall the line correctly.


Excessive Oil Consumption


Ford issued a technical service bulletin related to F-150s with the 5.0 litre engine that were experiencing issues with increased oil consumption. That meant more than one quart for every 3,000 miles even though there were no visible oil leaks. The exact reason for this problem wasn't known but it could have related to problems such as high intake manifold vacuum during deceleration fuel shut off events that cause oil to be pulled into the combustion chamber from the crankcase. The solution that dealers went with involved reprogramming the powertrain control module and installing a new engine oil level indicator as well as changing the oil in the oil filter. The new calibrations for the powertrain control module would reduce the engine vacuum during the deceleration fuel shut off events.


History of Complaints


On the website f150forum.com there are several hundred threads and posts from F150 owners who had the 2018 model with the 5.0 litre engine. One thread is well over 100 pages long featuring owners all complaining of the same problem with their 5.0 litre engine. All of these drivers experience the same problem and we're also unable to get any satisfactory resolution from Ford.


Because the engine makes noise but doesn't actually suffer any functionality problems as a result of it, it's not considered to be a serious issue and likely won't be addressed anytime soon.


This is something to keep in mind if you're interested in picking up a Ford F-150 or Mustang that features the 5.0 litre engine at some point in time that is almost guaranteed to make this noise it seems and it's simply a par for the course matter as far as far as concerned.


While many drivers have experienced noises at what could be considered a tolerable level, it's also worth noting that there are those few whose engines made noises that were so loud it became a noticeable distraction in the vehicle. 


The Bottom Line


The Ford F-150 is the best-selling pickup truck in America. In fact, Ford sells nearly 1 million F-150s every year in the United States alone. It's been the best-selling truck model in the United States since 1977 and also the highest selling vehicle of any kind since all the way back in 1981.


By 2018, the F-series of vehicles, which does include the F250, F-350 and so on has generated $41 billion worth of revenue for Ford. As you can see, Ford has a vested interest in making sure that the F-150 is a well running automobile that does what drivers expect it to without a lot of problems.


Unfortunately, with so many vehicles on the road at any given time, it's also difficult to ensure that all of them are going to be running perfectly fine all the time. If every 5.0 litre engine in the F-150 makes some amount of noise, then Ford could arguably consider it just a statistical anomaly if there are a number of engines that are making excessive noise. Even if 1,000 drivers complain that they are experiencing an unusual amount of sound from their engine, when it's 1,000 vehicles out of nearly 1 million that were sold you could see how Ford might not have considered this as big an issue as the drivers of those vehicles did.


There is a reason that the F-150 is the best-selling vehicle in America. It's stylish, and performs well, and it usually proves to be reliable for drivers. Any vehicle is going to have problems at some point in time, but you need to decide for yourself if the number of issues that the 2018 F150 is had with his engine are worth it for you. If you're interested in buying one for yourself, definitely take it for a test drive and get a skilled mechanic to look it over before you commit to anything. 

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