Go Big? Common Problems With the Ford F-150 5.0L V8

The big F-150 “Coyote” 5.0-liter V8 is the first engine that Ford developed with its ti-vct or Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing technology. It allows for the timing to change for both exhaust and intake actuation independently. The 5.0-liter V8 first appeared in the 2011 F-150 and continues today. It is also available in Ford’s Mustang. 

Is the F-150 5.0-liter V8 a good engine?

Ford 5.0-liter
Ford 5.0-liter Coyote V8 | Ford

This is a dual overhead cam design, with the most recent revisions showing up in 2018 F-150 trucks. The revised 5.0-liter V8 featured plasma wire arc transfer cylinder liner technology. Earlier versions used the more traditional cast iron cylinder sleeves. This increased bore, which in turn increased the displacement. The downside is that the spray-on liners cannot be redone with traditional engine-building shops. 

In all, this is a good, stout engine, versatile enough to power both its Mustang and pickup truck. But there have been common problems over the years that run the gamut from fairly easy, relatively cheap fixes, to just the opposite. We’ll cover the big ones here.

F-150 5.0-liter Ignition coil failure

2022 Ford F-150 towing a trailer on the highway
2022 Ford F-150 | Ford

Ignition coils are known to fail on the Coyote engine. It can cause poor running engine functions and will always light up the Check Engine light. Diagnostic tests will reveal which coil pack needs to be replaced, or if it is something unrelated. 

Head gasket leaks

Ford 5.0-liter
Ford 5.0-liter Coyote V8 | Ford

Though not a catastrophic problem, it can lead to low oil levels if engine oil is not monitored. But it also causes that burnt oil smell which can also pose problems for your health. It is normally easy to spot, and also fairly easy to fix. 

5.0-liter V8 noises and knocking

A blue 2018 Ford F-150 with mountains in the background.
2018 Ford F-150 | Ford

Engine knocks can be as simple as running cheap gas, carbon buildup, faulty spark plugs, clogged fuel injectors, or stuck valves. While Ford says it is aware of the noise but says it is not detrimental to the engine’s performance, it did issue a technical safety bulletin informing its dealers of the concern. 

Ford also purchased back some 2018 and 2019 F150s experiencing problems associated with the knocking. Most of the issues appeared on engines with under 25,000 miles. As of now, it has not issued a recall. But it should be noted that it is a loud-enough knock that some drivers report turning the engine off in drive-throughs to make their food orders. 

Throttle body issues

Ford 5.0-liter
Ford 5.0-liter Coyote V8 | Ford

Improperly functioning throttle bodies are another problem that plaques these engines. It is because of a poorly-installed torsion spring. If the service department determines a problem, it will replace the entire throttle body free of charge. 

The NHTSA compiles owner complaints about every make of vehicle. According to its website, the F-150s with the most complaints are 2004, 2005, 2006, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2011 2007, 2002, and 2010 trucks. The best Ford F-150 years were in 1993, 1994, 1996, 2009, 2012, 2003, 2001, 2014, 2018, and 1998.

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