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Over the years, a variety of engines have been put into Ford F-150 trucks. From 1997 to 2010, one of these engines was the 5.4-liter Triton V8. Depending on your experience, you may love or hate this engine. But one thing is for certain, not every Ford V8 Triton engine is created equally. And some may last 300,000 miles+, while others face premature failure. 

What is the 5.4-liter V8 Triton?

The V8 Triton engine was a power plant placed in a variety of Ford trucks, SUVs, and even cars. It was first introduced in the 1997 F-150 and remained an option until 2010. Over the years, the Blue Oval made various changes and improvements to increase performance and fuel economy. And it has earned a reputation for its reliability and longevity. 

When the Triton engine was introduced, it utilized a 2-valve SOHC configuration. This setup means a compression ratio of 9.0:1, and it’s good for up to 260 horsepower and 355 pound-foot of torque. 

The Ford SVT Lightning is a truck that uses a supercharged Triton V8 engine.
Ford F-150 | Bryan Mitchell via Getty Images

Overall, the 2V Triton V8 is seen as a reliable engine. But this is not an American-made engine; production was actually done north of the border in Canada. 

By 2003, Ford moved to a 3-valve setup in the F-150 full-size truck. And unfortunately, without proper maintenance, that engine is known to have some problems. Most notable is intake manifold cracking and leaking, but it looks like that can be avoided by staying on top of service. 

Is the Triton V8 SOHC or DOHC?

Although there is a DOHC 5.4-liter Triton V8 engine, in the case of the Ford F-150, it only got the SOHC variant. DOHC Triton engine has a 4-valve system, and performance is boosted. But, in terms of trucks, the Blue Oval opted to put that power plant in the Lincoln Blackwood. 

If you have a Ford F-150 with the 5.4-liter Triton V8 engine, it will have a SOHC setup and be either a 2 or 3-valve system. According to Torque News, the 3V Triton V8 can become problematic. But it looks like those issues are tied to being maintained poorly. 

A Ford F-150 featuring the Triton V8 engine is parked on the street.
Ford F-150 | Diane Barros via Getty Images

With higher mileage, the plastic guides can break down. And that causes small pieces of debris to lodge between the timing chain and its sprocket. If left unchecked, your Ford full-size truck can face serious engine problems. But, if the issue is caught soon enough, it is repairable at a lesser cost. 

The Ford 5.4-liter Triton V8 appears to be a good engine

So long as you keep up on proper maintenance, it looks like the Triton V8 can stand up to hundreds of thousands of miles. But without proper maintenance, the reliability of this power plant takes a big hit. 

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The better engine is considered the 2V Triton V8, but the 3V version has better performance on its side. Even though the 2V might beat out the 3V, it can face spark plug issues. Although, it is worth noting that those problems are repairable.