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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone had the pleasure of the 97-04 Ford trucks with the Triton V8 blowing a spark plug? If so, what did you do to fix it? Short of head replacement.

Ours blew #3 at the end of April this year and then again last week then last night again. The threads must be messed up this time since it only lasted a week. Of course it was after filling the tank at the gas station that it blew and not before.

We move in December, it could of at least waited til we got moved and it was paid off first. We were discussing after it was paid off next April, possibly getting a loan and changing heads after picking up another cheap vehicle. But darn thing couldn't wait that long! Now we are down to just my Galaxie.

I almost feel like getting rid of it but don't want another few years of payments and not even sure if I'd want another Ford at this moment in time.

I did a search on the NHSTA site for investigations. Nothing listed but seatbelts for the Supercrew so just searched F150. This is the results of thier investigation and since it causes no bodily harm or risk of accident it concluded everything was fine and dandy the petition was denied. Just drive it with no spark plug.

Deb
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Make: FORD
Model: E250
Year: 2002
NHTSA Action Number: DP05005
Summary:
ON SEPTEMBER 6, 2005, ODI RECEIVED A PETITION REQUESTING THAT THE AGENCY INVESTIGATE ALLEGATIONS OF ENGINE SPARK PLUG EJECTION IN CERTAIN MODEL YEAR 1997 THROUGH 2004 FORD VEHICLES WITH TRITON V-8 AND V-10 ENGINES. ODI RECEIVED A TOTAL OF 474 NON-DUPLICATIVE COMPLAINTS ON THE SUBJECT VEHICLES WHERE THE COMPLAINANT, OR THE DEALER REPAIRING THE VEHICLE, REPORTED THAT A SPARK PLUG DETACHED FROM THE CYLINDER AND/OR EJECTED FROM THE ENGINE. AS OF DECEMBER 8, 2005, ODI IS NOT AWARE OF ANY ALLEGATIONS WHERE THE ALLEGED DEFECT RESULTED IN A LOSS OF VEHICLE CONTROL, A CRASH, AN INJURY, OR A FATALITY IN ANY OF THE 10,319,810 SUBJECT VEHICLES. IN ADDITION, ODI IS AWARE OF ONLY TWO INCIDENTS WHERE THE VEHICLE STALLED WITHOUT RESTART. INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THE ODI CONSUMER COMPLAINTS AND OBTAINED FROM 72 TELEPHONE INTERVIEWS WITH COMPLAINANTS SHOWED THE FOLLOWING: (1) 99% OF THE COMPLAINTS WERE ON MY 1997 TO 2002 SUBJECT VEHICLES. (2) MOST THE COMPLAINANTS REPORTED HEARING A LOUD POP WHILE DRIVING OR UPON STARTING UP THE VEHICLE FOLLOWED BY A LOUD, REPETITIVE CLICKING OR POPPING SOUND. (3) MANY OF THE COMPLAINANTS REPORTED THAT THE POPPING SOUND WAS ACCOMPANIED BY SOME LOSS OF VEHICLE POWER; HOWEVER, IN 99% OF THE INCIDENTS REPORTED, THE VEHICLE DID NOT STALL. IN THE VERY FEW INCIDENTS WHERE THE VEHICLE DID STALL, MOST VEHICLES COULD BE RESTARTED. (4) ONLY A SMALL PERCENTAGE OF THE COMPLAINANTS CITED THAT THEY SMELLED GAS OR A SLIGHT BURNING SMELL WHEN THE INCIDENT OCCURRED. (5) IN ALL BUT A VERY FEW INCIDENTS, VEHICLE DAMAGE WAS LIMITED TO THE ENGINE. IN ONE INCIDENT, THE COMPLAINT REPORTED THAT THE FUEL RAIL WAS DAMAGED AND REPLACED AFTER ONE OF THE SPARK PLUGS EJECTED FROM THE ENGINE; HOWEVER, THE COMPLAINANT REPORTED THAT THE DAMAGE DID NOT RESULT IN ANY TYPE OF FUEL LEAK OR FIRE. IN ANOTHER INCIDENT, THE ONLY INCIDENT WHERE A FIRE WAS ALLEGED, THE COMPLAINANT REPORTED THAT NO FLUID LEAK WAS OBSERVED, BUT THAT A FIRE RESULTED AFTER THE SPARK PLUG HAD EJECTED FROM THE ENGINE AND HE HAD RESTARTED THE VEHICLE AND DRIVEN TO ANOTHER LOCATION. NONE OF THE COMPLAINANTS REPORTED ANY DAMAGE TO THE VEHICLE HOOD. (6) ONLY TWO COMPLAINANTS REPORTED THAT THEY OBSERVED WHAT APPEARED TO BE SOME DROPS OF FUEL COMING FROM THE CYLINDER WHERE THE SPARK PLUG HAD FAILED OR ON THE SPARK PLUG ITSELF; HOWEVER, EACH OF THESE COMPLAINANTS REPORTED THAT THERE WAS NO SMOKE OR FLAMES AS A RESULT OF HIS INCIDENT. AS THE PETITIONER NOTED, AND ODI’S ANALYSIS SHOWED, IT IS POSSIBLE FOR A SPARK PLUG TO DETACH FROM THE ENGINE CYLINDER THREADS IN THE SUBJECT VEHICLES. HOWEVER, ODI’S ANALYSIS OF 474 COMPLAINTS DESCRIBING SUCH INCIDENTS FOUND ONLY A VERY FEW ALLEGED ANY SAFETY-RELATED CONSEQUENCES. NONE OF THESE SHOWED ANY EVIDENCE OF A SERIOUS SAFETY CONSEQUENCE. GIVEN THE LARGE POPULATION AND RELATIVELY LONG EXPOSURE TIME OF THE SUBJECT VEHICLES, THE COMPLAINT ANALYSIS INDICATES THAT THE RISK TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY FROM THE ALLEGED DEFECT IS VERY LOW. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, IT IS UNLIKELY THAT NHTSA WOULD ISSUE AN ORDER FOR THE NOTIFICATION AND REMEDY OF THE ALLEGED DEFECT AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE INVESTIGATION REQUESTED IN THE PETITION. THEREFORE, IN VIEW OF THE NEED TO ALLOCATE AND PRIORITIZE NHTSA’S LIMITED RESOURCES TO BEST ACCOMPLISH THE AGENCY’S SAFETY MISSION, THE PETITION IS DENIED.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·

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might have to heli coil the plug threads
tim
 

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There is an insert kit that can be bought to repair the failed hole...right on the engine. head removal not necessary. I like to read the F150online.com forums often, specifically the Lightning forum...plug blowing is more common on the '99-early '03 Lightnings than a regular 5.4...probably due to the increased cylinder pressure. I was talking to a friend (machine shop owner) about my Lightning..he asked me if I'd blown a plug yet...says that 90% of them do if they're the earlier models. Mine was built 1/03 and has more threads in the spark plug hole. I verified this by using a bore scope when I changed spark plugs at 48,000 miles. My father's 2000 F150 5.4 has a LOT fewer threads...probably half as many. In fact, I'm surprised that his truck hasn't blown a plug out yet. I bet there's not 3 threads in there on his truck. They make a heli-coil kit, and I believe troyer performance makes a permanant installation kit that fixes the hole once & for all. I hear (and read) that it works excellent. I may be wrong on the name of the company...but if you do a search over at F150online you'll find everything you wanted to know...and then some.

_________________
"it is better to appear ignorant than to open your mouth and remove all doubt"--Mark Twain

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: mavman on 10/31/06 4:34am ]</font>
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'll check it out. From what I've read it is sometimes a temporary fix but if it lasts til the thing is paid off in April I'll be happy.
Maybe they should start making emergency expansion plugs for spark plug holes like they do freeze plugs.

Thanks
Deb

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: ShotRod64 on 10/31/06 12:38am ]</font>
 

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how about using some lock tight??

 

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somewhat of a common issue in the V10s back in 2000-2003ish. I have a V10 in my dually but have not had a problem. I thought it was only inherent in the V10. There is a very goos repair kit like mentioned above that works great.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
After more reading I saw the timesert place and most seemed to prefer that method of repair. The 5.4's do it also.

Pedal, we tried locktite last week, didn't do much.

There isn't enough threads in the head either. The plug, no matter how many threads, bottoms out before it goes all the way, which is a good thing or there would probably be piston clearance problems. There aren't many threads in the head itself either which is the bigger problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
We took the truck to a local shop and had the big_sert by time sert put in. Less than $200 so can't complain. He said he had done several of them in the past. Hope that's the last of it.

Deb
 

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Lghtnings are notorious for blowing their plugs. They only have about 3 threads to keep the plug in. The 03-04 heads are supposed to have more threads to correct this problem. timesert is what a lot of people do, heli-coil is the other fix.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Update - We ordered a new head for the truck. Now to see if it lasts longer or not. Sure spendy things and so is the gaskets and all. Makes me appreciate that old beater of mine!

Deb
 

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WOAAHH hold on..
As stated before this is the way to go. A new head will still have a minimum amount of threads ,AND pluss you still have another head that could go bad! Ive seen the video of how this kit works and its sweet. Its real expensive but the fix is permenant and you can do both heads for the cost of the kit + a few extra inserts. While its still on the car no less!
Ive searched a few places for the kit and it prices around $500. Thats alot but considering the price of a new head and the labor to install it thats a bargin! IMO.

http://www.timesert.com/html/triton_repair.html

There is a video of the repair process that is Crystal clear on how it works and what is involved. Exept the leaning over the fenders for the entire day....

Good luck though..
 

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Deb, did you get the updated head or the older one? I believe (going off of my ailing memory) that the old part number has been superceded to the new style head so you may be OK.

BTW, the heads changed design in 12/2002 to the new style. That's most if not all of the 2003 year models, though, there may have been some leftover 2002 YM engines left over that got installed. The mfg date is on the driver's side valve cover.

I have several friends with Lightnings, I have one, my father has a 00 F150 and I know of at least 15 other people that have 5.4's...both early and late (pre 03 and post 03 YM) and I have not heard of any plugs coming out. That said, mine will probably launch one tomorrow with my luck! I did change my plugs at 50,000 miles though...it had originals in it and I put in the NGKs. Next project for me is to COMPLETELY service a friend's '02 Lightning....which has close to 170,000 miles on it now and has never been touched other than oil changes. I'm kind of scared to mess with it....
 

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I have heard that you MUST use anti-seeze on the new plugs and MUST torque them to the factory spec. It's the reaction of the aluminum threads against the steel plugs that causes them to fail.
I believe it's galvanic reaction that occurs when no anti-seeze is used, and too much torque weakens what few threads there are.

MR
 

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As long as you use the plugs w/ the full length threads (Ford has discontinued the 1/2 thread version) and use anti-sieze, they will not blow out (provided it isn't torque past 15 ft-lbs). In addition, remember to do this when the engine is cold (though since you're getting new heads, you don't have worry bout that yet). Also, did your F150 come w/ PI heads? If not, then it may be worth while to buy new PI heads otherwise, it is cheaper and more effective to use the timeserts.
 
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