Cam Phaser Lockout Without Tune [Clarified!]

Cam phaser lockout is a modification that is gaining popularity among car enthusiasts all around the globe. However, many are confused about the post-modification tuning that this lockout requires. We totally understand if you’re wondering the same thing.

So, is it okay to conduct cam phaser lockout without tune?

No, it’s not. Without tuning, the engine’s computer cannot compensate for the locked cam phaser. It leads to reduced power, poor fuel economy, and increased wear and tear. Additionally, it can cause engine knocking, poor idle quality, premature timing chain wear, and valve-to-piston interference as well.

That’s not all. There’s much more to uncover before you dive into this exciting modification. This article has all the information that you need with relevant guidelines to help you do it yourself.

What are you waiting for? Keep reading!

Should You Do Cam Phaser Lockout Without Tuning?

No, you should not lock out the cam phaser without tuning it. Cam phaser lockout can be a popular modification for 4L, 5.4L, and 6L engines, but it should never be done without tuning.

Cam Phaser Lock

In this section, we’ll explore why proper tuning is crucial for engines that have undergone cam phaser lockout.

4L Engine Cam Phaser Lockout without Tuning:

The Ford 4.0L engine is a popular engine used in various Ford vehicles, including the Ranger and Explorer. The risks associated with conducting cam phaser lockout without tuning for 4L engines are:

  1. Reduced Power And Torque: Without proper tuning, the engine’s computer cannot compensate for the locked cam phaser. Then the engine will operate at optimal conditions, resulting in reduced power and torque output.

As a result, the engine may feel sluggish and unresponsive, especially during acceleration.

  1. Poor Fuel Economy: The cam phaser helps optimize fuel efficiency by adjusting cam timing based on load conditions. Without it, the engine may consume more fuel than necessary, resulting in poor fuel economy. 

This can lead to increased fuel costs and 20-25 hp power more on your average engine performance. 

  1. Increased Wear And Tear: The cam phaser is designed to reduce engine stress and wear by adjusting cam timing based on load conditions. A locked cam phaser without tuning can cause increased stress on engine components, leading to increased wear and tear. 

This can result in premature engine wear, reduced engine lifespan, and costly repairs.

5.4L Engine Cam Phaser Lockout without Tuning:

The Ford 5.4L engine is a powerful V8 engine used in various Ford trucks and SUVs, including the F-150 and Expedition. If you own one and decide not to tune it after the cam phaser lockout, the following risks may arise:

  1. Timing Chain Wear: The cam phaser plays a crucial role in adjusting cam timing, which affects the timing chain. Without proper cam phaser tuning, the timing chain can wear prematurely, causing engine damage. Ford timing chain replacement can be quite a hassle. 
  2. Engine Knocking: A locked cam phaser can cause engine knocking or pinging due to incorrect timing. This can lead to engine damage and reduced performance. 
  3. Poor Idle Quality: Without proper tuning, the engine may experience poor idle quality or even stalling. This can result in an unpleasant driving experience and make it difficult to drive the vehicle in stop-and-go traffic. 

Poor idle quality can also lead to increased emissions and decreased fuel economy.

6L Engine Cam Phaser Lockout without Tuning:

The Ford 6.0L engine is a powerful V8 engine used in Ford heavy-duty trucks. Like the other ones, these vehicles will also face consequences if the tuning is skipped. These consequences can be:

  1. Reduced Low-End Power: WIthout the cam phaser tuning, your ford will lose power and struggle to accelerate from a stop or climb steep inclines.
  2. Reduced Fuel Efficiency: Without the cam phaser tuning, the engine will consume more fuel than necessary. 
  3. Valve-To-Piston Interference: A locked cam phaser can cause valve-to-piston interference, where the valves come in contact with the pistons due to incorrect timing. This can lead to significant engine damage and even failure like bent valves, damaged pistons, and other severe engine damage.
Cam Phaser Lockout
Source: Youtube

How To Lockout Cam Phaser on Your Ford F150?

Here is a simple guide to help you lockout the cam phaser on your F150:

  • First, disconnect the battery to prevent electrical shocks.
  • Now, locate the cam phaser. It is usually behind the timing cover at the front of the engine.
  • Then, remove the bolts that hold the cam phaser in place.
  • Depending on the engine type, use a locking pin, a locking tool, or a special kit to fix the cam phaser in position.
  • After that, install the locking pin, tool, or kit according to the manufacturer’s instructions. As for the kit, you can go for the ‎Comp Cams or Ford Cam Phaser Lock Out kit for the best experience.
  • Then, reinstall the cam phaser and tighten the bolts.
  • Now, reconnect the battery.
  • Finally, start the engine and check for any abnormalities, such as engine knocking or valve-to-piston interference.

It is highly recommended to have the engine tuned by a professional. It is important to optimize performance and avoid any negative effects of the cam phaser lockout. 

How To Properly Tune After Cam Phaser Lockout [Step-By-Step]

After locking out the cam phaser, the engine needs to be tuned to optimize its performance. Here are the steps to tune after the cam phaser lockout:

Step 1: Set Up The Engine For Tuning

Before tuning the engine, ensure that it is set up correctly. This includes checking the fuel system, ignition system, and all sensors. Make sure everything is in good working condition and there are no leaks or loose connections.

Step 2: Baseline Tune

Start by tuning the engine using a baseline tune. A baseline tune is a rough estimate of the ideal tune for your engine. This will provide you with a starting point to adjust from. Use a dyno or a wideband air-fuel ratio gauge to measure your engine’s performance.

Step 3: Adjust Ignition Timing

After locking out the cam phaser, the engine’s ignition timing must be adjusted. This is because the cam phaser will no longer be advancing or retarding the camshaft. Adjust the ignition timing to optimize performance at high RPMs.

Step 4: Adjust Fueling

Next, adjust the fueling to achieve the ideal air-fuel ratio. With a locked-out cam phaser, the engine may require more or less fuel than it did before the modification. Use a wideband air-fuel ratio gauge to ensure that the engine is running at the ideal air-fuel ratio.

Step 5: Test And Fine-Tune

After making the necessary adjustments, test the engine to see how it performs. Use a dyno or take the car for a drive to see how it runs at different RPMs and under different driving conditions. Make fine-tuning adjustments as necessary.

Step 6: Repeat Until Optimal Performance Is Achieved

The tuning process is iterative. Repeat steps 3 to 5 until optimal performance is achieved. This may take several attempts, so be patient.

Some Recommended Tuning Brands for Ford F150

SCT Performance X4 Tuner– High-performance tune for boosting the torque and horsepower of your Ford F150 and increasing engine performance. 

5 Star Tuning– Recommended tune for better fuel mileage and higher horsepower and torque 

MPT– High-performing tuner for smooth shifting, improved driving style, and engine power. 

Livernois Motorsports– For improvement in performance and smooth tow and fuel economy

Hypertech 3000 Tuner– Adds maximum horsepower, torque, and performance for any kind of driving.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Why do cam phasers malfunction?

Cam phasers malfunction due to insufficient oil pressure for which the engine fails to receive the necessary power at the right time. This issue might be caused by an oil pump failure or filthy oil. The viscosity of the oil must be clear for it to provide the right oil pressure. Any sludge or debris will affect oil flow as well as pressure.

What does Ford Cam Phaser Rattle mean?

The Ford cam phaser rattle is a problem caused by a pin that is intended to lock into place when the engine shuts off in the cam phaser design. Nevertheless, sometimes this pin won’t lock into place. This allows the phasers to spin freely before sufficient oil pressure has been produced and resulting in a rattling.

Are cam phasers installed on every engine?

No, not all engines have cam phasers that are used to adjust the timing of the camshaft. Some engines may use other types of variable valve timing systems. Whereas, others may not have any such system at all. It ultimately depends on the design and intended use of the engine.

End Note

That’s all for today. Hopefully, now you know all about cam phaser lockout without tune and its consequences. 

Make sure to wear proper gear before working on the cam phaser. We will see you in some other article soon. Till then, goodbye!

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