ford f150 5.0 engine problems

Ford F150 5.0 Engine Problems: Should You Avoid This V8?

The Ford F150 has been the king of the pickup truck segment in America for over 4 decades. As you might have guessed, this truck has been offered a wide variety of engines throughout the years. The 5.0 liter V8 has been one of the best sellers. But, are there any Ford F150 5.0 engine problems you should know about?

You can argue that there is nothing more American than a pickup truck with a good ol’ V8 under the hood. The F150 with the 5.0 brings the perfect mix of practicality and power to the table. However, people expect pickup truck engines to be reliable, yet there have been some doubts cast over the reliability of the 5.0.

After going through this article, you’ll know everything there is to know about the common problems of this American V8. This information will surely come in handy once you are making a purchase decision down the line. With that in mind, let’s begin our discussion on this hot topic. First up, we’ll take you on a tour of the 5.0 Coyote engine and its origin.

5.0 Coyote Engine

The roots of the 5.0 Coyote engine date back to the 80s. 1987 saw the debut of the first Ford Modular V8, which was the company’s brand new flagship powerplant of the time. It was made at the Ford engine plant in Romeo, Michigan. This 4.6 liter V8 equipped with single-overhead cam technology made its debut in the 1991 Lincoln Town Car.

ford f150 5.0 engine problems

The Modular V8 found its way to the Mustang in 1996. However, a more powerful four-valve dual-overhead-cam version was the engine of choice in the Mustang Cobra. Various revisions of this engine found their place under the hoods of different Ford models throughout the following year. Finally, things took a turn in 2011, when the first Coyote engine made its debut.

1. Gen 1 Coyote Engine

The 2011 Ford Mustang was the first model from the blue over to come with the new, 5.0 Coyote engine. This was Ford’s answer to the Chevrolet LS3 and Dodge’s Hemi engines of the era. This new V8 by Ford made 412 horsepower along with 390 lb-ft of torque. Moreover, there were two features that set the Coyote engine apart from its competitors.

The first one was the twin independent variable cam timing technology, which is referred to as Ti-VCT by the manufacturer. This technology allowed the Coyote to control the time in which the intake and exhaust valves open. There were many benefits of this such as improving fuel efficiency, producing more power as well as reducing harmful emissions.

Ford replaced the F150s’ 5.4-liter Triton engine with the Coyote as well. Here, the engine produced less horsepower but made more torque on the low end. 2012 saw the introduction of the Mustang Boss 302. This souped-up pony car had an upgraded Coyote engine, which was nicknamed the “Road Runner”. New heads, a lighter valvetrain as well as a revised air intake increased the power output of this engine all the way to 444 horsepower.

2. Gen 2 Coyote Engine

2015 was an important year for the Mustang, as it is the year in which the new S550 generation of the legendary muscle car made its debut. With this new Mustang generation, Ford also introduced an updated Coyote engine dubbed the “Gen 2”.

The second-generation Coyote engine came with Charge Motion Control Valves (CMCV). These valves were more advanced than those of the previous generation and worked within the intake manifold. This new CMCV system improved the Mustangs’ fuel economy, stabilized idle control, and lowered emissions.

The Gen 2 Coyote produced 435 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque under the hood of the 2015-2017 Ford Mustang GT. The third generation Coyote debuted in 2018, and we’ll talk more about that powerplant in a later section.

Ford F150 5.0

Not only the Mustang, but the F150 also benefited from the introduction of the 5.0 engine. All 3 generations of the Coyote have found their way into the popular pickup truck. The first generation Coyote engine was offered with the F150 between the years of 2011 and 2014, where it made 360 horsepower.

Similarly, the Gen 2 Coyote engine was available in the 2015 – 2017 Ford F150. Here, the power output has increased to 385 horsepower, along with 387 lb-ft of torque. Furthermore, F150 pickups from 2018 onwards are equipped with the third generation 5.0 engine, which makes an impressive 395 horsepower paired with 400 lb-ft of torque.

This powerplant is both powerful and efficient. However, there are some Ford F150 5.0 engine problems that have come to light. Some of the most widespread issues include,

Now, we will go through each of these engine problems.

Ford F150 5.0 Engine Problems #1 – Rattling Noises From The Engine

No one wants to hear their engines make a weird noise, as it always leads to an expensive repair bill. For some unlucky F150 owners, this was the reality. The 5.0 engine of F150 trucks affected by this problem made scratching, ticking, and rattling noises as the engine got up to operating temperature.

If these noises go on for a prolonged period of time, these issues can end up causing the engine to file out of time by loosening the tension on the timing chain. To fix this problem, almost all of the timing chain assembly has to be disassembled. Expect a repair bill of around $2000 to get that work done.

Ford F150 5.0 Engine Problems #2 – Rough Running

Due to an issue with the Mass Air-Flow sensor (MAF), the 5.0 engine in the F150 can start to run roughly once the vehicle reaches the 100,000-mile mark. The sensor failing due to getting dirty is the main cause of this problem. In addition to rough running, the 5.0 also tends to backfire, misfire, shake when idling as well as hesitate under acceleration.

To remedy the rough running engine, there are two possible solutions. The first one is to clean the MAF sensor using an electronic cleaner. The other, and more expensive option is to replace the sensor entirely with a new one. You can either pay a shop around $165 – $250 to do it or do it at home for around $100.

Ford F150 5.0 Engine Problems #3 – Faulty Spark Plugs

Bad spark plugs are behind some of the most widespread Ford F150 5.0 engine problems. In fact, these are the main culprits of the engine misfires (to learn more, check out our guide on how to fix engine misfire) and backfires encountered by a majority of F150 owners. Additionally, spark plugs also cause the engine to falter when accelerating.

Ford F150 5.0 Engine Problems #4 – Coolant Leaks

Another common engine problem plaguing thousands of F150 pickups is coolant leaks. The source of these leaks has been identified as a plastic “T” connector. This connector makes use of an O-ring paired with a threaded connection to form a seal. The connection fails over time, leading to a coolant leak.

coolant leaks

Replacing the O-ring temporarily fixes the issue. But, you’ll have to pay around $250 to get the leak permanently fixed. On the other hand, you’ll only have to spend around $60 for a new connector if you plan to replace it by yourself.

Ford F150 5.0 Engine Problems #5 – Head Gasket Oil Leaks

Early versions of the 5.0 Coyote engine suffered from an issue where oil leaked out from the head gasket. The issue was traced to a design defect, which was corrected in later versions by updating the head gaskets, valve covers, front gaskets as well as the O-rings.

Engine oil leaking out from the right side head gasket is one of the most widespread Ford F150 5.0 engine problems. Not only that, there is a risk of the oil leaking into the starter motor and other critical components of the engine.

Head gasket oil leaks are an issue that should be addressed quickly, as leaving the oil leaks unfixed can lead to permanent head gasket damage. Sealing off the affected area using an engine block sealant is the most cost-effective fix. A block seal can be bought and applied for a cost of around $35. However, this is only a temporary solution and is not sustainable at all.

Installing an updated head gasket is the only permanent fix for the oil leaks. As you might have guessed, this is not a cheap repair. A head gasket replacement on a 5.0 Coyote engine costs in the ballpark of $2250 to $2600.

Ford F150 5.0 Engine Problems #6 – Throttle Body Issues

The 5.0 engine uses an electronic throttle body to turn the engine on and off. On some occasions, this component becomes faulty, giving owners a headache. On most occasions, the issue can be fixed by simply reprogramming the truck’s ECU. But, there have been situations where the entire throttle body had to be replaced with a brand new one.

Ford F150 5.0 Engine Problems #7 – Stalling

Engine stalls are a relatively common complaint among F150 owners. This can happen either when the vehicle is idling or under acceleration. A faulty exhaust gas recirculation valve is the most probable cause of F150 5.0 engine stalls.

Ford F150 5.0 Engine Problems #8 – Engine Knocking

Excessive valve float or a piston slap can make knocking noises inside the 5.0 engine. This is a serious issue that can lead to catastrophic engine damage. Usually bearing, gasket or crankshaft replacements have to be made to get rid of the engine knocking issue.

These are a few of the most common Ford F150 5.0 engine problems. If you are on the lookout for an F150, keep these issues in mind.

Ford F150 V8

The 5.0 V8 engine first became available with the Ford F150 in the truck’s 12th generation. Although, it was not the only new engine option for that generation. A new 3.5 liter EcoBoost also made its first appearance with this generation. Both engines have been available on the subsequent 13th and 14th generation F150 pickup trucks as well.


Although these two engines made their debut at the same time, there are some major differences that set them apart. Let’s explore some of the key areas of difference.

1. Towing

Both the EcoBoost and the Coyote engine are very capable when it comes to towing. However, the 3.5-liter EcoBoost edges out the V8 in this aspect. Thanks to its turbocharged technology, the EcoBoost excels in the lower-and-mid rev ranges, making it an excellent choice for people looking to tow heavier weights for longer distances.

There are other factors that have an effect on the towing capacity of the F150 as well. The choice of the drivetrain (2WD or 4WD), the generations as well as optional extras like the towing package are some examples. Furthermore, if you want a truck that can handle the heaviest weights, consider either the F-250 or the F-350.

2. Fuel Economy

Fuel economy is another key difference between the two engines. The F150 is not the most fuel-efficient vehicle in the world, so getting an efficient engine can help you save a few bucks. When it comes to the F150 engines, the EcoBoost is more efficient than the V8. However, other factors like transmission, vehicle generation, and even the way you drive all have an effect on the fuel economy.

3. Performance

Both engines are among the top performers in the pickup truck segment. The EcoBoost excels in the lower to mid RPM range as it uses turbocharged technology. Yet, the 5.0 V8 comes alive above 5500 RPM. You can’t go wrong with either of these engines, still, the 3.5-liter EcoBoost has the edge when it comes to daily driving.

We previously mentioned the third generation of the Coyote engine. Now, let us take a deeper dive into it and see what it has under its sleeve.

Gen 3 Coyote Engine

The third generation 5.0 Coyote engine was the first to use the Plasma Wire Arc Transfer cylinder liner technology. This new innovation replaced the cast iron sleeves used in the earlier generations. The bore diameter of the engine also received a bump, from 92.2 to 93.0 mm. Additionally, the total engine displacement increased to 307 cubic inches as well.

The gen 3 Coyote was outfitted with new camshafts and a new intake manifold. Furthermore, the engine intake and exhaust valves were enlarged too. These new modifications resulted in a redline that was now at 7500 rpm. Other updates from the second generation to the third include high-pressure direct injection as well as an increased compression ratio.

Best Years For Ford F150

There are some model years that suffer from fewer Ford F150 5.0 engine problems than the rest. Here are our choices for the best years of this legendary pickup truck.

  • 1994
  • 2018
  • 1996
  • 2009
  • 2012
  • 2001
  • 1993
  • 2003
  • 1998
  • 2015

Best Years For Ford F150 #10 – 1994

1994 was one of the first years of the F150 to take passenger safety seriously. This model year bought with it a driver-side airbag for the first time in the truck’s history. On top of that, extra door side beams also added to the safety of the 1994 F150.

Under the hood of the truck was a 190 horsepower, 4.9-liter naturally aspirated V8 engine, which gave it plenty of power. The truck was stylish on the outside and came with a CD player on the inside to keep the passengers entertained. A CFC free air conditioning system, as well as a center-mounted stop lamp, was the other noteworthy features.

Best Years For Ford F150 #9 – 2018

Next, let’s move on to the newest truck on this list. The 2018 F150 is special because it is one of the least recalled model years of this best-selling pickup. The truck is filled to the brim with the latest technological features and comes with many personalization options that help to make the truck your own.

Best Years For Ford F150 #8 – 1996

1996 was the swansong of the F150’s 9th generation. The engine that came with this model is an upgraded 5.0 liter V8 that produced 205 horsepower. On the inside, there was a new, comfortable seat design with an integrated headrest as well as an automatic locking seatbelt restraint mechanism to keep you safe in the event of an accident.

Best Years For Ford F150 #7 – 2009

Powered by a 248-horsepower V8, the 2009 F150 was a popular choice among pickup truck buyers in the late 2000s. Additionally, even the base models came packed with great features, which only added to the appeal of the truck.

The 2009 model year also saw the debut of the top-of-the-line Platinum trim level, which was the go-to option for luxury pickup truck buyers of the era.

Best Years For Ford F150 #6 – 2012

An eye-catching boxy design is what set the 2012 F150 apart from the competition at the time. However, this generation was not lacking in the equipment department either. Options like neutral tow-assist and hill assist increased the capability, while the 9 different trim levels on offer made the truck appealing to a larger audience.

Best Years For Ford F150 #5 – 2001

2001 is well known among F150 owners to be one of the most durable and longest-lasting model years. It was very well built, as proven by the examples still kicking around with over 200,000 miles on the odometer.

Best Years For Ford F150 #4 – 1993

The first performance pickup truck saw the light of day in 1993. We are of course talking about the first generation F150 SVT lightning. It had a 5.8-liter V8 heart and was capable of sprinting to 60 mph in just 7 seconds. For people who wanted something more rational, there was the capable XL trim level.

Best Years For Ford F150 #3 – 2003

With a 75% improvement in town capacity over the previous year, the 2003 F150 was the vehicle to get if you wanted to haul a heavy load across the country. However, the impressive towing capability took its toll on fuel economy, as the 2003 F150 could only get 12 miles per gallon (to learn more, check out our guide on how many miles per gallon).

Best Years For Ford F150 #2 – 1998

The 1998 F150 is the perfect truck if what you seek is a reliable engine and a robust body design. These trucks are powered by the beloved Triton V8s, which are some of the most reliable powerplants the American manufacturer has ever produced.

Best Years For Ford F150 #1 – 2015

As with the Mustang, 2015 was a turning point for the F150 as well. This was the year in which the F150 shifted to an all aluminum construction. As a result, the weight of the truck was reduced by around 700 pounds. This had a positive effect on the truck in several areas including performance, efficiency, towing, and payload capacity.

Ford 5.0 Engine Problems: Facts You Need to Know

  • The 5.0 engine, also known as the “Coyote,” is a popular engine option in the 12th generation F-150 for its power, reliability, and ease of ownership.
  • Although this engine has comparatively few problems, it’s important to be aware of some of the most common issues if you’re considering purchasing an F-150 with this engine.
  • The most common problems with the 5.0L F-150 engine include a rough running engine, metallic clicking or rattling, coolant leak, and oil leakage from the head gasket.
  • A rough running engine is often caused by a dirty mass air-flow sensor (MAF), which needs to be replaced or cleaned for about $100-250.
  • Metallic clicking or rattling can be a result of a lack of tension in the timing chain, which requires the replacement of the timing chain tensioner assembly and can cost over $2,000.
  • Coolant leak often comes from a plastic “T” connector, and the total replacement cost is around $250 for parts and labor or about $60 for DIY repairs.
  • Oil leakage from the head gasket is a common problem in earlier 5.0 engines and requires the installation of a new, updated head gasket for about $2,256-$2,632.
  • To avoid buying a used F-150 with problems, listen carefully for ticking or rattling noises, check for coolant leaks, and get a pre-purchase inspection report from a local mechanic.
  • The pre-purchase inspection report is essential in catching any hidden problems and can save you thousands of dollars worth of repair costs.
  • Despite these issues, the Ford 5.0 engine is a great engine that can go well over 200,000 miles with relative ease.

Ford 5.0 Engine Problems and Repairs Facts:

  • The Ford 5.0 engine, also known as the “Coyote,” is praised for its power, reliability, and ease of ownership.
  • Despite having comparatively few problems, some issues should be on the lookout for if you own or are planning to purchase an F-150 equipped with this engine.
  • The most common issues with the 5.0L F-150 engine are rough running, metallic clicking or rattling, coolant leaks, and oil leakage from the head gasket.
  • Rough running can be caused by a dirty MAF sensor, which can be cleaned for around $100 or replaced for $165 to $250 by a shop.
  • Metallic clicking or rattling requires a timing chain tensioner assembly replacement that can cost over $2,000 if the vehicle is not under factory warranty.
  • Coolant leaks are typically caused by a faulty plastic “T” connector that can be replaced for $250 in parts and labor or $60 for parts alone.
  • Oil leakage from the head gasket is a design issue corrected by Ford, but it may still occur in earlier models, costing between $15-$35 for temporary blockage and $2,256-$2,632 for a long-term solution of installing a new head gasket.
  • To avoid buying a used F-150 with these problems, listen for ticking or rattling noises associated with timing chain issues, check for coolant leaks, and have a mechanic perform a pre-purchase inspection report.
  • Overall, the Ford 5.0 engine is an excellent engine with the potential to go well over 200,000 miles with proper maintenance and repair.

Conclusion On Ford F150 5.0 Engine Problems

The Ford F150 equipped with the 5.0 V8 engine is one of the best trucks on the market in terms of both practicality and performance. No matter if you want a truck to haul cargo, go on a highway cruise, or tow a trailer cross country, this truck has got you covered.


However, there are some widespread Ford F150 5.0 engine problems that every potential buyer should keep in the back of their mind. The best way to avoid these issues is to select a truck from the most reliable model years which we discussed with you here today.

FAQs On Ford F150 5.0 Engine Problems

Here are some popular FAQs:

What Is The Coyote Engine

The Coyote engine is a lineup of naturally aspirated V8 engines by Ford. The first generation of this engine made its debut in 2011 in the Mustang GT of that model year. It is one of the most powerful and fuel-efficient high-performance engines, getting around 14 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway.

How Many Miles Can A Ford F150 Last

With proper maintenance, an F150 can last you a long time. The average lifespan of an F150 is between 150,000 – 200,000 miles, although there have been examples that have been recorded to last over 300,000 miles.

Are Ford Trucks Reliable

Ford trucks are generally considered to be reliable. Yet, the reliability largely depends on how you take care of the vehicle. Carrying out regular maintenance and not overstressing the engine are two options you can take to prolong the lifespan of your Ford truck.

What Engine Can Replace A 5.4 Triton

There are several engine options that can replace the 5.4 Triton Modular V8 engine that comes in F150s. Some of the most popular choices include the 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V6, the 3.0-liter Power Stroke diesel V6, 2.7L EcoBoost V6, and of course the 5.0-liter V8.

Where Is Ford F150 Made

Currently, Ford produces the F150 in two production facilities located in the United States. The first facility resides at the company’s home base in Dearborn, Michigan. The Claycomo, Missouri plant is the other location where the F150 is made.

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