The Pros and Cons of a Installing Cam Phaser Lockout Kit on Your Ford

When you have a failing cam phaser, simply replacing it doesn’t always do the job. Cam phasers in Ford 3-valve Triton V8 engines aren’t very durable. So if you replace your cam phaser, it’s only a matter of time before it fails again.

You need a safer, more permanent solution, and a good cam phaser lockout kit fits the bill.

What’s a Cam Phaser Lockout?

When the vanes in a cam phaser break, the cam phaser fails to function normally when the engine is running. If left undetected long enough, the breakage can cause lower amounts of oil pressure in the engine’s front cylinders. This results in cylinder wear, piston wear, and other serious engine issues.

Dealing with this problem can be really expensive. You could drop a few thousand dollars or more on a full cam phaser or engine replacement. However, there's a much more affordable solution. Spend $30 on a Forbidden Diesel cam phaser lockout kit instead.

Cam kit parts

A cam phaser lockout kit gives you the means to lock your cam phaser into the advanced timing position. The lockout is a machined metal block inserted between the vanes of the phaser. You can also customize your kit with a few add-ons, like a programmer that lets you tune your ECU to register the lockout. Here’s more information on how a cam phaser lockout works.

Pros of a Cam Phaser Lockout

Locking your cam phaser into the advanced timing position is beneficial because it:

Removes the Tapping/Knocking Noise

A tell-tale sign of a failing cam phaser is a tapping or knocking noise coming from the engine, and it can get annoying. The noise is caused by the cam phaser’s inability to stay in one place. Because it’s cracked or broken, the cam phaser is loose and rocks back and forth while the engine is running. Locking the cam phaser ensures that it stays in one place, which removes the noise.

Prevents Engine Damage

Locking your cam phaser into the advanced timing position prevents the cam phaser from getting worse and starving parts of the engine for oil. Replacing the cam phaser prevents engine damage too, but only temporarily. As we previously mentioned, the replacement cam phaser is only bound to fail again due to its faulty design. The cam phaser lockout is a permanent solution.

Cons of a Cam Phaser Lockout

Installing a cam phaser lockout kit comes with a couple of drawbacks, as it:

Slightly Decreases Fuel Economy

Because the cam phaser is locked into the advanced timing position, the engine uses a little more fuel than usual. Most Ford owners report a gas mileage loss of 1 mpg or so after locking their cam phaser. However, most people also report that their vehicle feels faster/peppier.

Trips the Check Engine Light

When you lock your cam phaser, the ECU may think that the cam phaser is stuck or broken. It will warn you by illuminating the “check engine” light. Sometimes, the ECU may even send the vehicle into limp mode. Limp mode is a survival mode designed to prevent any further damage until you get your engine repaired. Being in limp mode is no fun, as your engine’s performance is drastically reduced.

However, there’s an easy way to prevent this from happening. You can program your ECU to adapt to the lockout. If you buy a Forbidden Diesel cam phaser lockout kit, you can add a programmer with custom tuning that will let you do this.

Conclusion

Many Ford owners would agree that the pros far outweigh the cons. The only alternative to locking your cam phaser is replacing it. Replacement is an expensive and temporary solution, while locking your cam phaser in place is an inexpensive and permanent solution. It's a no brainer.

To learn more about locking your cam phaser into place, check out this comprehensive cam phaser lockout buyer’s guide.