news for 2004 is the new 5.4-liter SOHC Triton V-8 featuring 3 valves
per cylinder, along with variable cam timing, electronic throttle control,
and a trick new spark plug that will be setting the standard for all Ford
products to come. The result is an engine that produces 300 horsepower
at 5,000 rpm and 365 lb-ft of torque at 3750 rpm. That’s a 40-hp
and 15 lb-ft bump over the current model.
features an all-new aluminum cylinder head and cast iron block, and the
highlight is the 3-valve design: two intake and one exhaust. The new 5.4
also is the first Ford modular V-8 to use variable cam timing. Ford claims
it’s the industry’s first mass application of dual-equal variable
cam timing, where the intake and exhaust valve timing shifts together.
to make the 3-valve system work, Ford had to reengineer the spark plug,
which now resides in a center position surrounded by the valves. The plug
is longer, narrower, and features a fixed-gap U-shaped terminal at the
electrode end, which means no more adjustments needed. The spark plug
in the center provides the shortest path for the flame to travel, providing
a four-valve design is preferable, Ford acknowledges that the setup requires
dual cams that add weight, cost and parts. The engineers achieved many
of the same benefits of the four-valve design, but in a more compact,
less complex design, with the added benefit of reduced weight. Because
of the dual intake valves, breaking is improved by 40 percent over the
old 5.4-liter, with peak airflow at 350 cu ft per minute versus 250 in
the old engine. The redesigned intake port aids in airflow improvement
as well. The three-valve head design is dimensionally smaller than the
old 5.4 head, but offers more rigidity and strength. In addition, Ford
notes that it is easier to manufacture, with simpler drilling angles and
cam timing feature allows the cams to operate at different points during
the combustion cycle, allowing the engineers to tailor the performance
for specific engine speed and loads. The cam timing is altered via oil
flow in the hydraulic cam timing mechanism, which is controlled by the
powertrain control module (PCM). In milliseconds, the unit can shift between
fully advanced and full retarded timing points. The result is improved
efficiency under no or low-load conditions, as when idling or cruising,
and more power on demand for speed or heavy load.
the variable timing, the engineers also were able to create a higher compression
level in the chamber than in the two-valve engines, again contributing
to increased performance and efficiency.
use for Ford is the Charge Motor Control Valves (CMCV), which features
electronically controlled metal flaps at the ends of the intake runners
to add air when needed for power, and run economically when under normal
One of the
biggest changes is the addition of an electronic throttle control system,
standard on all Ford trucks. The ETC is another segment first, and has
no mechanical linkage between the accelerator pedal and the throttle control.
The linkage is replaced by an accelerator position sensor in the cabin
and an electronic control circuit and actuator at the throttle valve on
the engine. Using algorithms, the current operating status of the engine
and ambient conditions are taken into account, and throttle output is
delivered instantly, as requested by the driver.
to the ETC system include consistent response, improved fuel economy,
and better communication between engine operating systems. Tip in should
be smooth and driveline lash should be non-existent. Imagine how nice
this will be when towing. In off-road situations, the engineers have provided
a special calibration for low-range throttle input. This will help modulate
the engine more accurately for perilous rock climbing excursions. Only
the Range Rover SUV offers the same system.
the ETC features redundant sensor and double return springs on the throttle
pedal, as well as and other software for fail-safe operation and limp-home
As far as
reducing NVH, the new 5.4 features vibration-resistant ribbing and reinforcements
in the composite intake manifold, reshaped pistons with longer side skirts
to reduce slap, smaller cylinder heads that reduce radiant noise, roller-finger
cam followers that are quieter than non-rollers, and new magnesium cam
covers for vibration resistance.
did make sure the V-8’s engine produced the good sound quality that
drivers who mash the pedals want to hear. The exhaust note from the F-150
is tuned to sound like a “tough truck,” and Ford insists it
is not the same sound as generated by a Mustang or even a Thunderbird.