TSB 18-2354 Didn’t Fix my 2018 Ford F-150 V8, and Ford Bought It Back

In March of 2018, I was in the market for a new-to-me truck. The 2010 Range Rover I’d been driving was a kickass, reliable vehicle (truly) but not quite up to towing the enclosed trailer that had been purchased at the end of the 2017 racing season. I’d started a new job and decided to spend some of that new-job salary on a brand-new truck. My 2011 Ford F-150 had treated me very well, and I decided on a 2018 F-150 with the revised Coyote 5.0L V8 engine and 10-speed automatic.

2018 Ford F-150 Ruby Red Lariat
Sitting on the showroom floor the day I took it home

This was a big purchase. The dealership happened to have a truck specced exactly as I wanted, and it was the one sitting in the showroom when I walked in. I elected to lease the truck for 39 months and 15,000 miles per year, thinking it could be smart to always have a tow vehicle that is newish, under warranty, and worry-free for longer trips.

The F-150 was an excellent tow vehicle and truck in general. Mine had all of the driver assistance technology, which even worked while towing. The 10-speed had teething pains, but they were quickly resolved after a month or two of ownership with a software update. The revised 5.0L Coyote V8 also displayed some “teething pain” issues, and it took me down a very long, frustrating path that culminated in a buyback (or “repurchase”) of my 2018 F-150 V8.

My 2018 F-150 V8 Develops a Noise

My 2018 F-150 V8 visited two dealership service departments in 2018, and over the course of four trips to address various recalls or small issues, spent eight days out of service. I knew the engine and transmission were both new for the 2018 model year, though, and figured some shop time might be necessary as with any new hardware. But, as the F-150 and I rounded the corner into 2019, a noise developed from the engine bay.

When the engine and engine oil were cold, I observed a rattle coming from the top of the engine every time I accelerated to 2,500 rpm and lifted off the throttle. It was easy to hear, as I parked the truck in the concrete parking garage under my apartment. Any abnormal noises reflected off of the concrete walls and were amplified back into the cabin. After hearing the rattle, I started taking note of when it would happen. A warm engine with hot oil circulating produced no noise, but sure enough, every morning, I got to listen to something rattle as I made my way out of the parking garage and down Wilson Boulevard. It made for a very annoying couple of miles, especially given I was driving a brand-new truck with about 10,000 miles on the odometer.

Ford Releases TSB 18-2354

Ford TSB 18-2354

As I noticed this mysterious rattle, I started doing some research. Ford doesn’t publicly release Technical Service Bulletin information, but published TSBs are often found on web forums with quick searches. I came across a thread on F150Forum.com discussing my exact issue and – great news! – Ford had issued a TSB for the problem. For the uninitiated, a Technical Service Bulletin is manufacturer-speak for “they don’t all have this problem, but if the customer complains of this problem on their particular vehicle, here’s a fix.”

Ford’s TSB 18-2354 applied to the 2018 F-150 with the Coyote 5.0L V8 engine. TSB 18-2354 claimed “Some 2018 F-150 vehicles equipped with a 5.0L engine may exhibit an engine rattle noise during a deceleration tip-out throttle maneuver from 1500 RPM to 800 RPM and/or during an acceleration tip-in throttle maneuver around 2000 RPM.”

The suggested fix was a software update to the engine computer. On January 10, 2019 with 13,817 miles, I took my truck to the local dealership and reported the problem. They applied the TSB fix to my F-150’s engine computer. The service writer noted “The noise is a lot better, but some is still present. Some noise is a normal characteristic of this engine.”

In Which “Some” Does Not Equal “All”

After retrieving my F-150 from the service department, I woke up the next morning eager to leave the parking garage with a quieter engine. Nope. Once the oil had cooled, the rattle was as loud as before – even with the TSB’s software fix applied.

I returned to the same dealership a few weeks later, and asked them to diagnose the issue further as the TSB fix didn’t seem to do anything to my particular truck. While my service advisor was sympathetic, he and the technician claimed the noise was just a normal characteristic of the 2018-and-newer 5.0L V8 engine.

If you need a refresher of TSB 18-2354, the first sentence of the “Issue” paragraph states “Some 2018 F-150 vehicles…” have this problem. If every 5.0L F-150 had this engine rattle going on, the TSB wouldn’t use the term “some.” I returned to the F150Forum.com forum thread and checked in. The thread had blown up, with many other V8 F-150 owners reporting the same thing. TSB 18-2354 does not fix the V8’s rattle when cold.

On To The Next Dealership

Finding the “they all do that” response from the first Ford dealership to be unsatisfactory, I gave Ford’s customer service hotline a call. The gentleman on the other end of the phone suggested I get a second opinion from a different service department. Off I went to my selling dealer – a 40-mile round-trip drive in DC metro traffic, but worth the drive if I could get a service advisor who’d listen and communicate effectively.

Dave, as it turned out, could do those things. He was very candid and willing to have actual discussion, instead of simply parroting whatever Ford’s computers told him. On February 21, 2019, Dave took my truck for the first time and identified the rattle using a stethoscope. According to the paperwork, “Found rattle noise internal to VCT solenoids. Performed hotline research, found multiple cases of similar noise reported with no results.”

VCT stands for Variable Camshaft Timing. The solenoids allow the engine timing to be adjusted and rely on both oil pressure and electronics to make adjustments. Ford updated the Coyote V8 for 2018 to include direct injection, and the VCT solenoids were apparently updated for 2018 as well.

Although Dave was far more empathetic to my case, he told me that without Ford corporate’s approval, there wasn’t much that he could do to immediately help. I took the truck home and vowed to keep investigating on my own.

Back for an Extended Stay

Two weeks later, I called Dave back and expressed my frustration. The F-150 was still making this noise, Ford’s fix didn’t work, and he was the only person willing to talk to me like I had a shred of intelligence. I asked that he take the truck back and keep it for as long as necessary to figure out a solution. He agreed to press Ford harder and put me in a loaner F-150 with the 3.5L EcoBoost V6 while doing so.

Dave kept my 2018 F-150 V8 for a month and provided updates as he investigated. He indicated this issue also affected 2018+ Mustangs, which a brief Google search confirmed. Otherwise, though, Dave hadn’t been able to make much progress. “I can replace your timing chain, the VCT solenoids, and everything in between, but there’s no guarantee that the noise won’t come back as the new parts break in.”

Although Dave had been a saint, Ford in general had expressed little desire to admit their fix was a failure. I needed help from people with more influence than one annoyed customer. My owners’ manual indicated the Better Business Bureau would be “those people.”

Opening a Case With the BBB Auto Line

The Better Business Bureau’s Auto Line program is, more or less, a “Lemon Law” program without the lawyers. The BBB defines cases in which manufacturers must repurchase or replace a customer’s vehicle, and manufacturers voluntarily participate in the program. On April 29, 2019, I opened a case with the BBB Auto Line.

After a phone call with my BBB Auto Line advisor, I was elated. Finally, someone on my side! The advisor reached out to Ford with the details of my case, and I was told to bring the truck back in for an inspection by Ford’s corporate technicians. After that inspection on May 30, I waited for next steps.

All communication between myself and Ford was through the BBB Auto Line. On July 2, 2019, following the inspection about a month prior, I was advised that Ford still considered the noise normal because “they all do it.” Again, “some” does not equal “all.” The BBB asked if I was satisfied with the answer, and if not, what it would take to achieve a resolution. I requested Ford buy the truck back and terminate my lease.

A Repurchase on Principle

On the surface, this entire process sounds a little silly. Yes, I asked for Ford to take my truck back because they couldn’t fix a noise. However, the noise was coming from engine timing components. There was no way to know if internal damage was taking place. Ford had admitted some trucks had a problem, issued a fix, then thrown their hands up when the fix didn’t do anything.

This truck represented years of hard work and career growth. I had reached a place, income-wise, where I could go pick out nearly any new F-150 on the lot and bring it home. I was proud to call Clifford my own, and the wind had been knocked out of my sails as I went through this whole process.

We Moved to Arbitration, Sort Of

On July 11, I received a phone call from the BBB Auto Line. A date had been set and my case was moving to arbitration! My case was set to be heard on July 26 by an independent arbitrator. Ford and I would each have 20 minutes to present our sides of the story, I would be able to demonstrate the rattle to all parties present, and a decision would be made. Being the consultant I am, I prepared a short PowerPoint deck that summarized everything to date. In the end, I never had to share it.

Ford elected to send a letter prior to the hearing, establishing their position and recommending against a buyback. Per BBB Auto Line policy, I received a copy of the letter and eagerly scanned it. The amount of misinformation was shocking. Ford’s position featured incorrect details from one repair order, ignored another entirely, and miscounted the number of days my truck was out of service.

I amended Ford’s letter with the correct information and sent it back to the BBB Auto Line, who shared it with Ford the next morning. Two days later, on July 18, my Auto Line representative emailed me with an update. Ford had received my response and elected to offer a buyback while skipping the arbitration process entirely.

After examining the initial offer, I accepted. Ford put me in a rental car while they worked out the details of my settlement. Per BBB Auto Line rules, Ford had 30 days to process the settlement and provide details. Naturally, they took about 29 days to get back to us. The details were favorable, though. I received all of my lease payments back, save for a “usage fee” that correlated to the truck’s mileage. This worked out to about half of the lease payments being returned.

My 2018 Ford F-150 V8, by The Numbers

My 2018 Ford F-150 V8 was out of service for 54 days, which amounted to nearly 11% of my ownership. I made over $1,500 in nice-truck-money lease payments while driving base model Focuses, Escapes, and F-150s. I spent 12 hours of my paid time off driving between dealerships.

At the time of my arbitration, the F150Forum.com forum thread reached 133 pages in length, with 104 individuals reporting the same problem and lack of resolution. The thread is up to 151 pages and 1,508 replies. I cannot say how many additional folks have reported the problem, as I went through all 133 pages back in July to hand-count user names and have little desire to repeat that process.

Moving On

On August 29, 2019, I returned Clifford, my 2018 Ford F-150 Lariat 502A with Technology Package to the dealership where I had excitedly picked it out about 18 months prior. I was sad to see it go, but happy that Ford finally made things right. The BBB Auto Line process was drawn out, but did work in my favor. The entire process required diligent record-keeping but cost me nothing, monetarily.

I struggled with the decision to write this piece. My intent is not to drag Ford through the mud, given they did make things right after some coercion. The bigger issue at hand, though, is that non-luxury brands are selling vehicles – trucks, in particular – that cost as much as luxury cars. The service experience needs to reflect such pricing. My F-150 had an MSRP around $61,000. Would Mercedes-Benz or BMW have treated me the same way, or would they have tried harder to solve my problem?

39 thoughts on “TSB 18-2354 Didn’t Fix my 2018 Ford F-150 V8, and Ford Bought It Back”

  1. Way to go you! It’s sad that Ford made you jump through all these hoops vs. just doing the right thing once it was established that this was not a model-wide problem. This proves that persistence coupled with good paperwork can carry the day. Congrats!

  2. You had your work cut out for you with presenting your case, and in the end it played out in your favor. I watched the video and wholeheartedly support the initiative you took to get buyback underway – that sound would’ve driven me nuts.

  3. I went through the exact same process with a lariat 501A and the arbitrator rejected me. My car was only down for about 8 days of 3 repair attempts but also had the oil consumption issue. I still have the rattle and only 8700 miles. 2018 purchased in Nov 2018.

    • Check to see if you are within the BBB’s criteria (problem first reported to Ford within 18 months or 18,000 miles since new). If so, go for it.

      • Thanks Jake. Great article by the way, thanks for taking the time to post everything, it’s really going to help with my situation!

  4. I was wondering if that would apply to my truck as well. I have a 2018 f150 5.0l and I’ve been through the dealership thing as well, the dealership even replaced my cam phasers before Ford told them not to do anymore work which never fixed the problem. I do live in Canada which I don’t know if that makes a difference. I would greatly appreciate some advice.

    • Unfortunately, the BBB Auto Line program only applies to vehicles in the United States. Not sure if there is a Lemon Law type of program in Canada but I would encourage you to explore that. Every program has criteria that the vehicle must meet to be bought back so you’d have to fall under those regardless. BBB required the problem be reported to a dealership within the first 18 months or 18k miles of new ownership.

  5. It was manufactured in the states and it only has 15000 miles on it. In March 2020 I will own it for only 12 months and the problem was reported probably within the first 6 months for ownership. After they replaced the cam phasers I brought it back to the dealership stating that it didn’t fix the problem within a couple days. After that Ford send the dealership a letter telling them not to attempt anymore repairs basically telling me that I’m piss out of luck.

  6. Jake —

    If possible can I reach out to you privately I have a few question about process as i’m currently going through it right now.

  7. Having the same issue in Canada. 30k Kms on the truck but has had the issue for over a year with repeated visits to the dealership. Dealer has said there is nothing more they can do, so I’m at a loss here.

  8. I have a 2018 F-150 Lariat with the 5.0 that I bought new in March 2018 from Leckner Ford in Marshall, VA. Well, Lecker dealerships have all been shut down, at least the 3 that I know of. I like to ride around town with my window down when weather permits. At low RPMs, like when I’m just pulling out, my engine knocks like crazy. I describe it as driving a manual transmission car and starting off in 3rd gear or something. I did ask the head mechanic about it one day while passing through Marshall, and he pulled up something on his laptop written by Ford which basically described my issue. He further advised that there was nothing that could be done and it was not detrimental to the engine. So I left and didn’t think much more about it. Recently had my oil changed at Front Royal Ford in Front Royal Virginia. I asked the service advisor if anything new had come out and he stated no. I also get a loud noise very high pitched when I am accelerating. I was told back a year or so ago that it was the fluid going through the high pressure transmission lines. These two noises just drive me crazy considering I bought the truck brand new. I guess I need to decide what I need to do like stated earlier is it doing harm to my engine?? Any help anybody could give me would be greatly appreciated.

  9. Please I’ve also been to 3 different dealerships 🙁 all they said is that’s it’s common with the new 5.0 litre 10speed transmission” if so why didn’t the one I test drove do it or anyone I know with same truck. Like it’s embarrassing to drive and I spend $1000 a month for this :(((((

  10. Hi folks,

    The notion is that this only affects the 5.0 which is not the case. When I took mine to the dealer, they pulled a brand new one out of inventory, which was NOT at 5.0, and it exhibited the exact same symptoms as the attached video. This issue is systemic in my opinion and NOT normal as the engineers are saying.

    In Canada we don’t have any lemon laws so we’re SOL which is extremely frustrating!

  11. Hello
    I am having the same problem in Canada with my 2018.
    It started making same noise at about 5000 km
    Any suggestions….very frustrated

  12. I’m in canada aswell. Have the same problem with mine. Started around 1000km. Been in and out of ford service way to many times to count. Noise is still there, ford says they arent able to do anymore fixes. My dealership has tried I’ll give them that, but still sucks to have a new truck with a terrible and loud sound!

  13. I live in new bern North Carolina bought a used 2018 f150 5.0 10 speed and it also has the knocking in the engine burning oil and transmission whistle truck has 50,000 miles

  14. you can win in arbitration i took nissan canada to our arbitration[camvap] and won they had to buy back my 2018 frontier because the spray in liner had an open seam in the floor they too stalled and denied there was a problem but after a year of stalling they were forced to buy back at full price no your rights and stand up to these guys

  15. I am on my second 2018 F-150 5.0 1st one ford bought back and the second one is on it’s second engine. Ford replaced @ 7,000 miles and has had the pcm reflash done and I din’t hear any change timing chain still sounds like it is just slapping and banging around I have put 11,000 miles on it and constantly wonder when it will fail, today,tomorrow, or 5 years from now it will fail I bought the truck to supercharge it but my lack of confidence is holding me back

  16. There are two reasons they bought back Jake’s vehicle. 1. its a lease, they were going to get it back anyways because he sure as hell isnt going to buy it with this issue, and 2. he publishes on this website and people will see it, so the sooner they shut him up and give him less to write about the better it is for Ford. Us regular people, we dont stand a snowball’s chance of getting our vehicles bought back for this issue. As for arbitration, its a joke. I went thru arbitration with Ford and the BBB, the arbitor didnt even pay attention to what was happening in our arbitration hearing, other than to tell me to stop my line of questioning to the Ford people because my questions about my F150 and how it should function were not relevant. Huh? He didnt tell them to stop when the Ford people were asking me if I was a mechanic and how much experience I had working on cars!

  17. Yes,
    My 2018 F150 5 Litre has major ratcheting noise now. I have 75 000 km’s on it and thought nothing about the problem until my Dad said he noticed a noise. I heard it since new, but I never realized the big question. (WHY ?) Today easily heard when echoed off a building, getting someone else to move it, leaving the window open, or by simply stepping on and off the throttle. I live in Canada and I feel that its a hush-hush thing with Ford, not willing to recall a future headache. Can’t wait to bite the bullet by taking a hit on a trade in on a new 2021 and roll the dice another time with a years salary. FORD, the 2017’s were apparently bullet-proof. My 2018 sounds like a tin can being opened, I now need another truck before mine croak’s at 120 000km. 2021 or 2017?

    • Don’t do it ,the 10 speed transmission is horrible ,I have a 2020 f150 5.0 with 10 speed and its the worst I’ve ever driven . I’m a 26 year ASE certified master mechanic and man this thing aint right.

  18. I currently have a 2016 Lariat 502a with only 40k for miles. It has the 5.0. It has a subtle knocking noise from the motor which I heard was common. It is very frustrating. I was thinking of trading it in for a 2021 but I am now very hesitant based on all the issues I am hearing about.
    Thanks for all the postings

  19. Out of curiosity where are you located? I’m curious as I have 55000 kms on my 2018 f150 with several unfixed issues and the same response normal operation of the truck. Would love too chat as I have call ford Canada and what not, think I may go your route with th bbb.

  20. You guys all realize these gen3 5.0’s have dual injection right? There’s both port and direct fuel injection with a crossover period during tip in. The rattle sound is the cam driven mechanical high pressure fuel pump ramping up pressure in that mid phase. The port injectors are still spraying so not much DI pressure is needed. I.e. the pump operates at a lower duty cycle of required fuel. It’s annoying but really is normal for 18+ 5.0’s. Had it in my mustang, have it in the f-150 Tuning could shift when it occured with crossover blending adjustments but regardless of when it happens, it’s mechanics.

  21. Don’t do it ,the 10 speed transmission is horrible ,I have a 2020 f150 5.0 with 10 speed and its the worst I’ve ever driven . I’m a 26 year ASE certified master mechanic and man this thing aint right.

  22. Gotta love a google search. I have a new 2020 F150 5.0 with 3,400 miles with this cold decel rattle, along with a bunch of other unfriendly sounding mechanical/metal on metal noises that I’ve never before heard come from an internal combustion engine (my last truck had an ecoboost 3.5 and it was quiet). I have to say, it truly amazes me that even with all of the complaints Ford has had to field because of these engine noises they still decided it was too costly for them to put a sound deadening engine cover over the engine, sound insulation on the underside of the hood, or any sort of rubber flaps in the inner front wheel wells, all of which would reduce the noises leaving the engine compartment. I won’t even get into all of the issues with the 10spd transmission programming, just know that there is no way to correct those without going to a reputable tuning company.

  23. Issues with the timing chain, cam phasers, and bad crankshaft sensors date back all the way to at least 2012. I have a 3.5 liter V6 EcoBoost 2012 XLT and am about to have everything replaced next Wednesday. Going to set me back about $4,000 from the dealer. Nobody else will touch it. It’s not just the V8s. Ford for some reason can’t get the issue with their faulty design fixed for almost a decade. I started having the rattle of death in my 2012 at about 100,000 miles. There’s no getting around it. Ford doesn’t care and it’s forcing their unsafe and bad designs on consumers and not fixing it. A timing chain breaking while driving is a SERIOUS safety issue and will cause significant damage internally also. It’s sad these car companies bully their customers who really just want a safe car to drive.

  24. Just remember, once you agree to settle by arbitration, you will be unable to sue if you lose the case in arbitration. The reason is, you will have to give up your right to sue if both parties agree to let an arbitrator decide the case. If it were me, I would start by having a good lawyer write a demand letter and see if Ford responds favorably. After all, they don’t want a sympathetic jury deciding the fate of the case for the underdog.

  25. I ‘m on my second F-150, first one ford bought back, (which I lost about $6000 on the buy back) and the second one has the rattling noise or pinging noise bad. I’ve always been a ford truck owner, but I’m probably going to another truck manufacture. It’s very frustrating to be told your engine is working correctly when it makes all kind of damaging noises and you just paid 45K. Beyond frustrating, Ford should be embarrassed with the product they are currently selling. The customer is who’s hurt the most. Shameful on Fords part to sell and manufacture a bad product. This is the reason that the Ford truck isn’t the number one selling truck anymore. Ford needs to get there sh……t together. They’re failing there customers right now.

  26. I had the same rattle, the dealer said it is normal and won’t damage the engine. That was at 25000 miles. I now have 167000 on the engine and every time it does a cold start it sounds like it has large steel ball bearings knocking in the engine for the first five seconds and then settles to a steady knocking (bottom) and two sets of loud tappets (top end). Sounds like the engine is ready to blow up. The 2500 rpm valve train rattle (all valves rattling away) still exists with the very light throttle in the 1500-2800 rpm range, especially prevalent in “sport” mode. I am unsatisfied at the least with this model and regret ever buying this truck and can’t sell it to anyone knowing it has this problem. So, I’ll drive it till it blows up and tear it apart to find the real problem.

  27. This guy is one of those customers that any auto manufacturer rather not have. They pick anely and revert squeak, rattle, bump , wind noise, tire noise, road noise and bring it in for repairs for every noise.. Some even return them for road noise on rough uneven pavement. This guys OCD 100%. He’s expecting more from an auto than any manufacturer can produce. I’d love to know what vehicles he’s owned before this F150. How satisfied was he with them? Were they purchased new or used? Please let’s let us get that information..

    • Hi Randal! Please tell me how Ford issuing a Technical Service Bulletin – which admits a known problem and provides a solution – is “expecting more than any manufacturer can produce.” The issue with this truck is that the solution Ford provided in the TSB did not actually fix the problem they admitted the new 5.0L had, and once that was recognized, the tune changed to “oh it’s not a problem now.”

      I owned a 2011 F-150 with the earlier 5.0L that was flawless, the 2018 was replaced with a 2016 Ram 1500 that I loved, and I’m now in a 2013 Porsche Cayenne Diesel that has only been irritating thanks to one dealer service visit that went poorly. All three of those tow vehicles have been very good. And the 2018 was also very good. But if you, a Very Big Company, say there is a problem and a solution with my vehicle, the solution doesn’t work, and then you gaslight me about there being a problem at all… not okay.

      Not like I have to prove a thing to you, but my personal ownership history is 20+ vehicles long. They’ve generally all been great, even my 100k+ mile L322 Range Rover that the entire internet says is hot trash. I’m not OCD, I simply expect others to conduct proper business and do as they say.

  28. Four years later and Ford still hasn’t fixed this problem. Furthermore, the list of problems is growing. Similar to you, I reached a point in my life where I could afford to finally purchase the truck I always wanted. In July 2021, I traded in my 2010 Lariat 5.4L Triton V8 for a 2020 Lariat 5.0L Coyote V8 Sport tricked out with all the extras. I didn’t drive it much for the first 1.5 years of ownership due to teleworking and having a Fusion Hybrid as my commuter vehicle. My truck was reserved for night and weekend local driving. In May 2023, I received a check engine light and found the oil dipstick dry. It wasn’t due for an oil change and I was perplexed. I took it to the dealership and long story short, they performed a TSB for this known issue which had them replace the dipstick with a wider ranged one, change the oil, and reprogram the PCM. It reduced the oil consumption, but didn’t eliminate it, but I’ve had the same rattle you described and what is depicted in your video ever since. To top things off, I had a rubbing/vibration sound coming from the driver’s side front wheel. After two dealerships service centers tried 4 times to figure out what was wrong, I finally convinced them it wasn’t tire noise and they finally admitted the IWEs had failed. One of the dealerships even charged me $167 for labor the first time I brought it there just to tell me they couldn’t hear any noise and it’s probably just the tires (they’re oversized off road tires). Now my truck is experiencing severe power loss, drastically reduced fuel mileage, transmission issues, a “popcorn” sound while accelerating in addition to the rattle when letting off the gas. I’ve been keeping all the service invoices but after reading your story, it looks like I need to get in touch with the BBB and start documenting everything. Forget the naysayers who say you’re just being “too OCD”. Your problems were legitimate and I appreciate you sharing your story.


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