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Ford 5.0 V8 Engine Problems | F150, Mustang

Summary

This article covers common problems that affect Ford 5.0 L V8 engine, also known as the Coyote engine, which is found on models such as the Ford Mustang and F150. 

Ford 5.0 L Coyote V8 engine came out to replace the 5.4 Triton and 4.6 Triton Ford engines. 

Common Problems

Ford 5.0 l v8 engine problems

Common problems that affected the Ford 5.0L Coyote engine are:

Spark Plug Failures

One of the most common problems is Check Engine Light (CEL) flashing. When the codes are read, yoEngine Light (CEL) flashing. When the codes are read, you will get misfire codes P0301-P0308 or no stored Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs). 

The most common cause is due to spark plug failures because of:

  • Blistering on the porcelain,
  • Cracked porcelain, 

sometimes there is no evidence at all visually.  

Ignition Coil Problems

bad ignition coil

Coil-on plug failures are another common problem with the Ford 5.0L engine.

Coils fail due to ignored spark plug failures, internal shorting, or open circuits. There may be connector issues from heat as well. The high heat can also affect the fuel injector connectors. 

Timing Chaing Issues

Timing chain and guide noise caused by out sync timing is an issue with the Ford 5.0. 

This is a common symptom on neglected Ford 5.0L engines with high milages. Timing chain issues are common on high mileage Ford Mustangs and F150 with the 5.0 when the owner waited too long between oil changes. 

Going over 10,000 miles between oil changes is not recommended as it can lead to timing chain issues. It is recommended to use full synthetic engine oil and a quality oil filter

Carbon Deposits

Ford 5.0 l engine problems

Ford 5.0L engine uses direct fuel injection, which sprays fuel into the head. This leads to carbon deposits.

Most often, if a top-tier fuel was used, the engine has less carbon build-up. On a high mileage Ford F150 or Ford Mustang, you may notice hesitations and stumble on a cold engine due to carbon build-up. Use a fuel treatment additive occasionally to avoid carbon build-up. 

Valve Springs

Valve springs breaking just like the 5.4L and 4.6L and that occasional valve dropping that ruined a few Friday afternoons!

Catastrophic engine destruction due to a broken valve spring that let go and the valve dropped into the cylinder is possible but not very common. 

Throttle Body Failure

Throttle bodies had some early issues, mostly due to contamination; they would stick or cause the engine to shut down or limit throttle when the wrench light came on.

There is a  Technical Service Bulletin (TSB), and I would suggest checking to see if it had any open TSBs, calibration, or updates that could be performed.

Erratic transmission shifting issues can be related to throttle body failure. 

Oil Leaks 

The head gasket leaks oil out the rear of the head. This was a design issue they have corrected with updated gasket sets, including valve covers and front timing O-rings and gaskets.

It is recommended a professional do this repair because of the complicated timing procedure. You might want to consider replacing the entire timing set that includes the chains guides and hydraulic tensioners at the same time.

Maintenance Tips

Ford Mustang Reliability Problems

Ford 5.0 V8 Coyote can be a reliable engine when maintained as per the recommended maintenance intervals. 

  • Always change the engine oil and filter at 3000 when using conventional oil and 5000 when using full synthetic. 
  • Air filters need to be checked often. Replacing engine air filters before they are contaminated will help avoid Mass Air Flow sensors from failing and improve fuel economy.
  • Run a Fuel Treatment Additive through your fuel tank every 15000 miles. To avoid valve issues and hesitations. Decarbonizing with a quality de-carb treatment via fuel tank every 15000 miles can keep those deposits from building up. 
  • Replace spark plugs with the coil boots and make sure that Dielectric Connector Grease is applied on the boot when installed to prevent moisture from contaminating the plug end. Also, place a light film of that same grease around the sealing edge of the plughole top and the boot top edge to prevent moisture from entering. This will still allow the boot to (breathe) let any condensation out if it happens to get in. 
  • Finally, flush the cooling system if you see it getting discolored and test for acid content and condition. Preventing radiators from scale and restriction will keep the heat issues from damaging the water pump and heater core. A good power flush done by a professional who you trust is recommended. 

Maintenance is always cheaper than costly repairs; think of it as an investment of confidence.  When you take off on a trip, your vehicle, whatever make or model, needs to be in the best possible condition.

Sometimes things happen out of even the best-maintained vehicles, but why wait for something to happen that could leave you or a loved one stranded or worse. 

Applications

  • Ford F-150 (2011 to 2014)    
    • Six-speed automatic    
    • Rear / four-wheel-drive    
    • 360 @ 5,500    380 @ 4,250
  • Ford F-150 (2015 to 2017    
    • Six-speed automatic    
    • Rear / four-wheel-drive    
    • 385 @ 5,752    487 @ 3,850
  • Ford F-150 (2018 +)    
    • Ten-speed automatic    
    • Rear / four-wheel-drive    
    • 395 @ 5,750    400 @ 4,500
  • Ford Mustang GT (2011 to 2012)    
    • Six-speed automatic / Six-speed manual    
    • Rear-wheel-drive    
    • 412 @ 6,500    390 @ 4,250
  • Ford Mustang Boss 302 (2012 to 2013)    
    • Six-speed manual    
    • Rear-wheel-drive    
    • 444 @ 7,500    390 @ 4,500
  • Ford Mustang GT (2013 to 2014)    
    • Six-speed automatic / Six-speed manual    
    • Rear-wheel-drive    
    • 420 @ 6,500    390 @ 4,250
  • Ford Mustang GT (2015 to 2017)    
    • Six-speed automatic / Six-speed manual    
    • Rear-wheel-drive    
    • 435 @ 6,500    400 @ 4,250
  • Ford Mustang GT (2018 +)    
    • Ten-speed automatic / Six-speed manual    
    • Rear-wheel-drive    
    • 460 @ 7,000    420 @ 4,600

Jeff Litwiller, a Former Ford Engine Master Certified Technician, contributed to this article.