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Thread: 97 -03 Ford blown out spark plugs

  1. #1
    Member Daveintheburbs's Avatar
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    Angry 97 -03 Ford blown out spark plugs

    I hesitate to introduce auto info to the forum, but vehicles are integral to our activites.

    I had to rescue 8 members of my family after my 2003 expedition with a 5.4l gas engine blew the spark plug right out of the block at 80 K miles. Apparently it is a common problem. I suggest searching "ford blown spark plug".

    zillions of pickups and expeditons manufactured betweem 97 and 03 have the same issue. Ford is well aware of the problem, but will not adress it.

    While there are obviously lots of these engines having no problems. the major anchorage area ford dealer I work with sees "one a week at least".

    The repair runs between $3,500 and $5,200. Given this price I am actually flying a mechanic in from San Diego july 28th to try use technique. more on this later.

    In the mean time forewarned is forarmed.

    And PS if you already have issues, PM me the mechanic has lots of extra time. I'll probably try to catch the late red run with him.

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    Dave, welcome to the world of tritons. I have my own Heli-coil kit made for the tritons spark plugs just for this reason. I figure the best $160 I have spent. Its a pain pulling the fuel rail off but its alot cheaper than paying a mechanic for about 6 hours of labor (depending on how fat they are).

    5.4's very possibly will have this problem, the V10's, plan on it.

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    Member KRS's Avatar
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    Old thread revival

    I had a V10 blow a plug.

    I purchased the Big-Sert kit from Time-Sert.... way better than a Helicoil (IMHO), and it worked great.

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    Member jmg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRS View Post
    Old thread revival

    I had a V10 blow a plug.

    I purchased the Big-Sert kit from Time-Sert.... way better than a Helicoil (IMHO), and it worked great.

    For other F150 owners, f150online.com is a great site for information on these trucks, and the blown out spark plug has come up a number of times. At least once a month or so.

    Like KRS - many on that forum swear by the Big-Sert kit as being THE answer to the problem. The price quoted below by Daveintheburbs is usually to replace the entire head --> with a head that has the same spark plug problems. Go with the Big-Sert for sure.

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    Member wolfkiller's Avatar
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    Default You guys got off easy

    My 2006 f250 burned to the ground in my drive way. It took the front of my garage, my shed, and a lot of tools with it. Google ford truck fire. It has happend a lot. They burn for no aperent reason when they are parked and not runing.
    The upside is I bought a toyota and will never have to return to Seekins.
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    Must be that wonderful cruise control wiring issue that they are recalling. I guess it tends to set thing afire.

    Hoping mine does the same thing but away from the house <grins>. glad it wasnt more serious for you and at the same time, sorry for your loss.

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    Is this only the 5.4 in pickups or were any 4.6's involved in the spark plug shooting? I've got a car with a 4.6 I hope they don't have the same problem.

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    Member jmg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkb View Post
    Is this only the 5.4 in pickups or were any 4.6's involved in the spark plug shooting? I've got a car with a 4.6 I hope they don't have the same problem.
    Yep, they also had similar problems. It is kind of hard to say if it is more common or not. Some have speculated that 4.6's have the least amount of power, with 5.4's having more power/compression, and thus more blow outs. These same people then naturally say with the big V10 you are sure to have the problem. My opinion, which is purely based just on having read a ton of posts in a forum similar to this about the issue, is that it happens to the 5.4 more often just because there are far more of them on the road, so the law of probabilities hits them more often than 4.6's and V10's. But yes, it has happened numerous times on the 4.6.

    Good luck.

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    Member H_I_L_L_B_I_L_L_Y's Avatar
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    Default wolfkiller

    That burning down problem was a recall. The cruise control was staying energized and over heat causing allot of fires.

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    Here is a bunch of good information. This is also the guy who did mine. Seems to be working well: http://blownoutsparkplugs.com/aboutus.htm

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    Member Daveintheburbs's Avatar
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    Here is a bunch of good information. This is also the guy who did mine. Seems to be working well: http://blownoutsparkplugs.com/aboutus.htm

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    So do I have the big-sert put in now or is it a repair thing after it blows a plug? Is there anyone who will install this around ANC?

    Thanks in advance

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    Member jmg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ripnlip View Post
    So do I have the big-sert put in now or is it a repair thing after it blows a plug? Is there anyone who will install this around ANC?

    Thanks in advance
    You should definitely wait because you don't know which plug may or may not blow out. Pretty costly to do all 8 of the up front. You never know, you might not have the problem either. Not all of them do it, just many of them. Don't worry or waste your money until it happens, if it ever does. But, if you change your own plugs, be sure to follow torque specs pretty close. Too tight and you'll jack up the threads. Too loose and it will back out and blow.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmg View Post
    You should definitely wait because you don't know which plug may or may not blow out. Pretty costly to do all 8 of the up front. You never know, you might not have the problem either. Not all of them do it, just many of them. Don't worry or waste your money until it happens, if it ever does. But, if you change your own plugs, be sure to follow torque specs pretty close. Too tight and you'll jack up the threads. Too loose and it will back out and blow.
    I did these fixes in an engine rebuild shop I worked in for 12 yrs as a head rebuilder. It really is a delicate job. Usually you end up with 4-5 threads in the head after the fix with a heli-coil. I have managed a couple in vehicle repairs with cut off coils but they are really tricky. I had a special insertion tool just for this which was fabricated by extending and grinding down a regular tool to allow for it to get into the tube. I would recomend taking the head off!
    My biggest suggestion is to wait till the engine is completely cooled when changing plugs. This is where I figure most the problems start as when the head is warm threads can get damaged. Also I put a small amount of Anti-Seize on the plug threads. Be careful tightening as there is not alot of threads in the head.
    Robert

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    Member KRS's Avatar
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    IF your blows... and you need to get home...

    1) find the plug, it's probably on top of the engine somewhere.

    2) disconnect the electrical lead to that cylinder's fuel injector.

    3) enjoy the "bwappy" drive home. Not sure what "bwappy" is? You'll know it when you hear it. I drove 5 hours in my van with it's V-10 (err, V-9) to get home.... it was great [insert sarcasm here].

    4) if you have coils for each spark plug, the mount is definitely trashed because the plug launch would have sheared it off. So get ready to buy another coil plug.

    Been there, done that, Cheers,
    KRS

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    Member jmg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by naturerules1 View Post
    I did these fixes in an engine rebuild shop I worked in for 12 yrs as a head rebuilder. It really is a delicate job. Usually you end up with 4-5 threads in the head after the fix with a heli-coil. I have managed a couple in vehicle repairs with cut off coils but they are really tricky. I had a special insertion tool just for this which was fabricated by extending and grinding down a regular tool to allow for it to get into the tube. I would recomend taking the head off!
    My biggest suggestion is to wait till the engine is completely cooled when changing plugs. This is where I figure most the problems start as when the head is warm threads can get damaged. Also I put a small amount of Anti-Seize on the plug threads. Be careful tightening as there is not alot of threads in the head.
    Robert
    Not to discount your experience with these at all - my understanding is that there are several tools on the market to do these heads, including heli-coils and the previously mentioned Big-Sert. I believe the Big-Sert is a superior product, and provides more threads than the heli-coils for better protection after the repair is done. I've also known several that have used the Big-Sert without taking the heads off, as the tool pulls the aluminum shavings up, instead of putting them into the cylinder.

    Also, my understanding is that anti-seize should not be used on a 1997 5.4. I can't remember the reasoning, and whether that applies to all 1997-2003 models, as there is a slight difference in some of the motors through those years. I know there are some you do want to put anti-seize on the threads, but a 1997 is not one of them (I just know this because I have a 1997, so that is the one I keep track of).

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    Member jmg's Avatar
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    Wow, talk about some irony. When I posted the above threads, I had a 1997 F150 that never once had the infamous spark plug blowout issue.

    Fast forward six years and I now have a 2002 F150 with the 5.4 Triton. Driving home from work tonight - BOOM!!!! #3 plug blew out. Kinda wishing I would have bought the time-sert kit back then. Now either looking for a kit to fix it, or a mechanic in town that will do the same. Not really a good time for this to happen, but I suppose there never really is a good time.
    Never count your days, but rather, make all of your days count.

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Sorry jmg. My brother had the same problem w/ his F150 and had to keep it parked. What a deal huh? Hope you get this taken care of with a minimum of trouble.
    Steve

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    Member Daveintheburbs's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear another one go. Looks like my original guy has gone into stealth mode.
    Good luck,
    Dave

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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfkiller View Post
    The upside is I bought a toyota and will never have to return to Seekins.
    There ya go.
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