Ford 5.4 3V Cam Phaser Fix

A well known problem with the Ford 5.4 3V engines is the dreaded 'phaser rattle' This happens when the variable cam timing phasers can no longer be controlled by the ECU due to wear in the phaser or lack of oil pressure / volume being delivered to them. Replacing phasers will sometimes cure the problem but often rattle comes back within a few months. The sure fix to phaser problems is to lock the variable cam timing by essentially turning the phaser into a fixed timing gear. The WMS Cam Phaser Lockout kit will solve the phaser issue permanently. Our Billet Lockout Blocks are inserted into the stock phaser, locking them in the fully advanced position, then a WMS Custom Tune is loaded using the SCT X4 programmer. Phaser noise is fixed and once programmed, your truck will have improved low end torque, mid range power and throttle response.


  • F150, F250, F350
  • E150, E250, E350
  • Expedition 5.4 3V
  • Explorer 4.6, 5.4 3V
  • Explorer Sport Trac 4.6 3V
  • Lincoln Trucks and Navigator with 5.4 3V

Cam Phaser Lockout Products:

Cam Phaser FAQ

Why Ford phaser fail and rattle?

There are two main reasons why phasers fail - wear inside the cam phasers and wear in the engine, typically it's a combination that causes excessive phaser noise. Wear inside the phaser means the oil cannot be properly controlled and the computer cannot control the variable cam timing. Replacing phaser will sometimes cure this problem but often the fix will only last for a few months. Wear in the engine means not enough oil can make it to the phaser, so even a new phaser cannot operate properly. As the engine wears, more oil is lost though crank, rod and cam bearings with the phasers being the last component to receive oil. Not enough volume is delivered to control the phaser so it basically rattles back and forth.

Why lockout the phaser instead of replacing?

The phaser problem is typical is higher mileage engines where engine wear and oil pressure is part of the problem. So replacing phaser may not solve the issue as described above.

Can I reuse my phasers?

In most cases yes you can install the lockouts into your stock phasers. If the phasers have been rattling for an extended period it is possible to damage the locating pin and replacement phasers would be required.

What's the difference between Ford and Dorman phasers?

There are two styles of phasers when it comes to fitting the lockout blocks inside. The stock Ford and replacement Ford phasers all use the standard Ford lockout blocks. Aftermarket phasers from Dorman use a different shaped block as shown in the pictures below. There are some aftermarket phasers that use the Ford style lockouts as well. If you're not sure what phasers you have, open the back plate and compare the internal shape. If your phasers are still installed, we do offer both sets of lockout blocks at a discount so you don't get stuck with the wrong set.

Why replace the phaser to cam bolts?

The stock bolts are torque to yield and should only be used once. For the few dollars it's worth replacing to be sure the job is done correctly. The stock torque is 30ft.lbs + additional 90 degrees turn.

Do I need to replace chains, guides or tensioners?

Good question and really depends on the overall condition of the engine. Certainly something to consider when doing the phaser lockout. Prolonged phaser rattle is hard on the guides and tensioners.

What is my PCM Code?

This is a four digit code that is on a sticker on the ECU that is the original calibration that Ford loaded into the ECU. There are hundreds of different calibrations used in these trucks and we must know the calibration in order to write the custom tune. It is always 3 letters followed by 1 number, example codes are: EAY4, TEM5, MHE1, MMR0, PKP2, BNJ1 etc. It is also referred to as a box code or tear tag. For more information where to find the PCM code for your specific vehicle Click Here

What is my Strategy Code?

The Strategy code is the actual calibration that is loaded into the ECU that can be read by the SCT programmer as well as other shop level diagnostic tools. It is a 7 digit code that is a mix of letters and numbers, example codes are RXAP9B6, RXAQ3B4, TENF0N3, TADP5N2

What if I need an updated tune?

If a tune needs to be updated we can email tunes to you and you can easily load them onto the SCT programmer yourself.

Why do you use the SCT Programmer?

SCT is certainly one of the leaders in the Ford custom tuning world and the X4 is a full function programmer that will do much more than just load the Lockout Tune. Some of it's features include:

  • A large backlit display thats easy to read with instructions that lead you through the programming
  • Reads and clears trouble codes
  • Can be dash mounted with gauges for stock sensors
  • Reads real time vehicle data so you can view sensors
  • Datalogging of factory sensors
  • View and Datalog external 0-5v sensors
  • Stores up to 10 custom tunes
  • The SCT will work on other vehicles in the future if the current truck is put back to stock

Are there options on the SCT Programmer

Yes there are options that you can select with our custom tune. Depending on year and model, these include: Tire size, axle ratio, speed limiter, rev limiter, idle speed and transmission shifting

Can I use the SCT on more than one truck?

The SCT will only work on one vehicle at a time. So when the tune is loaded it will not be able to program another vehicle. If you put your truck back to stock then you can program another vehicle. You can use the SCT to read codes on another vehicle anytime

What will the performance be like with the phaser lockout kit?

The cam phasers are locked at full advance which aids in low / mid range power and torque, generally what most truck owners are looking for. Because the cam timing cannot retard you do have to give up some top end horsepower but mainly 5000+ rpm. Our custom tune is best thought of as a performance tune specifically for having the cam timing locked and is the key to increased performance with the cam phasers locked.

Click here to download installation instructions : Ford 3V Phaser Lockout Instructions

How To Check Strategy Code

The strategy code is the actual calibration in your ECU, these are sometimes updated by Ford so checking it is necessary before loading the custom tune.

How to Program Vehicle

Programming is quite simple with the SCT programmer. WMS has developed a custom performance tune specific for the Cam Phaser Lockouts and this is loaded onto the SCT under Custom Tunes.

Cam Phaser Lockout Products: