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Old 08-16-2007, 10:43 AM   #1
Fish'nDude
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Default Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

I have a 01 Expedition E.B.with the 5.4 engine with 70K miles. I take extreamly good care of it, I just love the rig. While researching pricing on some ignition parts, (plugs/coils, don't need yet but common issue with my miles) I ran accross the following article. Upon further research of this issue, it seems that it has been quite a problem for Ford but expecially for the Ford truck owners getting stuck with the large bills (around 3k for head replacement) for repairs of an apparent design flaw that Ford won't admit to having-not enough threads in the head to retain the spark plug in the head. I haven't blown a spark plug yet but now I am very concerned that its just a matter of time. This is the last thing I need to have happen towing my boat over the coast range.

Anybody else have their spark plugs blow in their Ford?

Think I might be selling mine/trading in soon.

http://www.consumeraffairs.com/autom...ord_spark.html
http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news0...plug_fire.html
http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news0...ark_plugs.html
http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news0...ark_plugs.html
http://www.consumeraffairs.com/autom...ord_spark.html

Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs
By Joe Benton
ConsumerAffairs.Com
March 26, 2007

A Ford Motor Co. warranty inspector says the Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs and a Ford Dealer technician wants his customers to know it's not his fault.
"I am a Ford dealer technician. I would like to address the Ford spark plug blowout issue," the technician wrote as he was working on a Ford vehicle that had blown a spark plug out of its aluminum head.
"I would like the customers to know that it is Ford's defective engine design and not the fault of the technicians or dealerships," said the technician, who asked that his name and hometown not be used for fear that he would be fired if his identity was made public.
He had this warning for Ford truck owners: "The warranty inspector from Ford told me the 5.4-liter engines are dropping like flies referring to spark plug blowouts."
Despite spark plug problems in the Ford Triton engines, our Ford technician said his "hands are tied by Ford and Ford decides what it will and won't pay for even when people have warranties."
The Ford technician told ConsumerAffairs.Com that the Triton engines are very difficult and time-consuming to repair. He accused Ford of squeezing mechanics in the repair process with "insufficient flat rate times," and said, "the techs end up working free hours."
"It is not on our shoulders to repair these problems at our expense," he wrote, "even to keep a customer. I can tell you that we are seeing spark plug blowouts more and more often. At times 3 or 4 vehicles a week."
The Ford policy, he complained, unfairly paints the technician as the person refusing to stand behind the Ford product.
"The customers need to understand that these poorly designed engines are a huge burden on the people that fix them and I am tired of subsidizing Ford like some kind of welfare," the technician wrote. "The people that are fixing these engines are not at fault but we get beat up by the customers."
The Ford mechanic said no one at the automaker seems to be certain why the Triton engine, which is in widespread use throughout the country, spits spark plugs from its engine head.
"Everybody seems to have a different opinion on why the plugs loosen up and beat up the threads until the plugs get ejected but I don't know of a way to prevent it either."
His advice? Find another truck or SUV.
"I personally have a 2000 Expedition with a 5.4 and even though the cost in actual dollars would be significantly less because I would fix it myself if it blows out a plug I am planning on selling it soon to avoid the problem."
The Ford technician said he thinks the only way to solve the spark plug problem for consumers would be a costly and unlikely warranty extension by Ford.
"Ford needs to be held responsible for the repairs of spark plug blowout and should extend the warranty to 100,000 miles regardless of age on spark plug blowout issue," he wrote. "They also should be forced to pay a fair amount of labor time."
"Please convey to your readers that the dealer people do make an effort to help them to the extent that Ford allows," he said. "When Ford won't pay it would not be fair to us to repair the vehicles for free because we didn't build or design these engines but we are very sympathetic to them but we have to make a living too."

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Old 08-16-2007, 11:21 AM   #2
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

Have the plugs torqued correctly and replace at 60K and the vast majority of these engins will be ok. More threads were added in 2003. There is a problem but it is way overstated especially by the source you stated.

http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewNation.as...20070212a.html
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Old 08-16-2007, 11:34 AM   #3
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

Bobberman,
Your right, who would have thought attorneys were behind the sited issue!
Thanks.
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Old 08-16-2007, 11:38 AM   #4
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

Its a non-issue.

Sure,there have been some Fords that spit their plugs,but IMO its overblown.

This coming from a guy that doesn't like anything about Fords.
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Old 08-16-2007, 11:53 AM   #5
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

I had a 99 Superduty with a V-10 (very simular to the 5.4 Triton). I run it 268,000 miles and only changed the plugs once. The ones I took out at 170,000 looked fine. No problems there. I have a friend with the exact same truck, year, crewcab and all. It blew a plug at just over 100,000 miles. Ford wanted over $10,000.00 to replace the motor (the only fix they would offer at the time). He got it helacoiled at a small shop and the remaing plugs changed for $400.00 including the tow. He has changed the plugs once since and it is still riunning great.
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Old 08-16-2007, 11:56 AM   #6
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

It's slightly more than a non issue (otherwise they wouldn't have added threads). About 10% of trucks I see have had an issue, but all of them have had spark plug replacement previously, and it's the older trucks. It's also a problem on the V10s.

I think the problem is, they are just too sensitive to incorrect torque. A little to tight (especially when anti-sieze is used), a little too loose, and it becomes a ticking time bomb.
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Old 08-16-2007, 01:09 PM   #7
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

I've seen a lot of V10's withthe blown spark plugs. The company I work for has a very large fleet of trucks with these engines. Almost all of the ones I see have spark plugs that were incorrectly torqued.
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Old 08-16-2007, 03:25 PM   #8
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

mattpark.. I disagree with you.. that avatar is just too freaky on my brain. now stop it, it makes my eyes wig out Please change it now and I will support you in all your posts

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Old 08-16-2007, 03:37 PM   #9
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

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mattpark.. I disagree with you.. that avatar is just too freaky on my brain. now stop it, it makes my eyes wig out Please change it now and I will support you in all your posts

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Old 08-16-2007, 03:44 PM   #10
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

I belong to a F150 website that has discussed this in depth...a head replacement isn't usually required anymore....just a heli-coil type thread installed...don't remember what the technical term is but it's a fairly inexpensive repair compared to the 3k for heads.....I have 200k on my '97 F150 with a 5.4, great truck btw! Just don't get those COPs wet! Those of you that have pressure washed your engines and then get the chug chug, followed by a CEL know what I mean.
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Old 08-16-2007, 03:47 PM   #11
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

If the plugs are properly torqued, there won't be a problem. However, a little loose and >>BLAM<<< ... plug blown out. Since the specs on the engine only call for a plug/condenser replacement at 100,000 miles (at least in my '99).
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Old 08-16-2007, 05:23 PM   #12
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Smile Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

this a huge non issue. ive been a professional mechanic for 15 years and very few days go by where i dont work on a ford truck and have only seen a blown plug 1 TIME! i have seen far more aluminum heads with electrolosis on ford trucks. i have however seen several ford pickup with loose spark plugs that had been replaced by someone else. i feel that these were not tightened properly. this has mostly been on cylinders 3 and 4, the hardest ones to gain access to.
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Old 08-16-2007, 05:37 PM   #13
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

It is not a huge non-issue to those of us who have had this problem. It has occurred on 100% of the Ford Triton V-8 engines I've owned. It is, according to the half-dozen Ford management personnel I've talked to, a significant problem and a common occurence. Bait Dunker, I don't know why you think it's not an issue, but it is a very expensive problem that happens to far more people than it should happen to. It would be nice if you'd show a little consideration for other people's experiences.
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Old 08-16-2007, 06:14 PM   #14
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Smile Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

pete, im sorry, i did not mean to ruffle your feathers. i have met you at many a boat ramp and think your a very nice guy! you say you have had the problem with 100% if the ford triton v8 trucks youve owned, exactly how many is that? 1 maybe 2? i can tell you with all confidence that i have had my hands on at least 500 of these trucks and have seen it 1 TIME! i understand you take it personally because you had to pay the bill. i do sympathize, and i am sorry. i am not a fan of fords so i am not sticking up for them because i like them. if this is truely that big of a problem ford should have taken care of it. this seems to be a pattern failure, all car companys have them. chevy 4.3 liters had a balance shaft bearing problem. dodge, plymouth, 2.0 liter had a head gasket problem leaking oil from the pressure port in the rear. early 90's honda accords had distributor failures and main relay failures. the list could go on and on.
i do feel for the people who have bought a vehicle and have had problems, especially these expensive problems. i have been there myself. this problem has been blown completely out of proportion. not just based on my experiences but on overall numbers of affected vehicles. when the repair is as expensive as this is it just gets peoples attention. i can assure you ford pick up automatic transmissions will need repair far more often that spark plug holes, but because it is less expensive to replace a transmission than a cylinder head people will not complain as bitterly. the amount of complaining is directly related to the amount of the bill.
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Old 08-16-2007, 06:25 PM   #15
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

You caught me on that one ... I've had 1 Triton. And it's a sore spot because the problem was caused by a dealer who wouldn't make good on something that was clearly their fault, but which I had to eat. But when it happened, I called friends at 3 different dealerships and each told me that it was a common problem with the Tritons and each referred me to a mechanic who confirmed what they'd said. Given a choice, I would avoid this engine in the future.
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Old 08-16-2007, 07:41 PM   #16
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

I turned wrenches for a few years as a mechanic in the 70's. When aluminum heads first started coming out, we mechanics had a lot of the same problems. Improper torquing during the installation was a biggie.

Ford has provided very specific instructions for changing and torquing in spark plugs. My experience in the field has been that most mechanics either do not know the specs or choose not to take the time to do the job to those specifications.

Okay, I have now PO'ed most of the mechanics reading this thread. Now I am going to pour gas on the fire. The same mechanics that don't use the proper Ford install specs don't use the proper Helicoil install specs either.

I effectively used the Helicoil repair system to fix pulled threads in aluminum heads . This repair system is one of the best around if USED PROPERLY!

As a Tool Engineer, I have used the Helicoil thread system for years with great success. Properly installed Helicoils will always be stronger than the original threads.

To properly repair a spark plug hole in a head is a very expensive proposition. The head has to be removed from the engine, setup in a head cradle and articulated around to get good axial alignment to the spark plug bore. It is then drilled, tapped, Helicoiled, and the seat bevel is then recut to factory specs.

This bevel spec is critical for the spark plug to seat and tension properly. It cannot be recut properly if the head is in the vehicle.

This peeing contest between the factory and the mechanics has been going on for years. The factory provides the specs and the mechanics take short cuts to beat the shop rate. The vehicle owner is the one that gets shafted here.
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Old 08-16-2007, 07:50 PM   #17
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

Glad I have a chevy 2500hd quad cab duramax!!!
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Old 08-16-2007, 08:22 PM   #18
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

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You caught me on that one ... I've had 1 Triton. And it's a sore spot because the problem was caused by a dealer who wouldn't make good on something that was clearly their fault, but which I had to eat. But when it happened, I called friends at 3 different dealerships and each told me that it was a common problem with the Tritons and each referred me to a mechanic who confirmed what they'd said. Given a choice, I would avoid this engine in the future.
Why not Ford products all together? I drive a Chevy because Fomoco delt me dirt on a differential proiblem on a 99 F350. NO more Fords for me.
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Old 08-17-2007, 10:25 AM   #19
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

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Glad I have a chevy 2500hd quad cab duramax!!!
Good thing they warranty those injectors for 200k now!



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Old 08-17-2007, 05:36 PM   #20
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Smile Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

actually i got to thinking hard about this. if a spark plug was coming loose and working its way out, the cylinder would not fire corectly eveery time and you would eventually feel a miss. even if you didnt feel it the computer would take notice and set a code. i would imagine that the vehicles that had a spark plug blow out also had a po301- po308 code, i would further more expect that when the service engine soon light came on, the driver ignored it. had the driver taken the vehicle to a repair shop, this would have been found and the problem would have been taken care of inexpensively. just a thought.....
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Old 08-18-2007, 04:45 AM   #21
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

For those who think this is a non-issue.

Prior to 2003 the heads on the 5.4 motor had no more than 4 threads (thin head material) holding the plug in.

Since 2003 the heads machind with a thicker material increasing the number of thread holding the plug in to eight.

Those are undisputable facts. Given the fact that Ford would not make a design change for no reason at all.... makes you wonder if there isn't some truth to this.

I personally have known of several of these head failures. In a specific production model ('99-02 F150 Lightning models) the affected number is actually fairly significant. Which btw, is the group that initiated the lawsuit is CA

And no Baitdunker, you don't get the codes set and as these are a COP design, other that a slight tick.... which sounds more like the normal piston slap on startup or a minor exhaust leak, the condition proceeds rather quickly and ejects the plug. Research it a little more and you will find there is validity to these folks concerns.
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Old 08-18-2007, 07:47 AM   #22
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Smile Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

rusty, being intrigued about this topic, i did some reading and talked to a few other mechanic friends of mine to find out how serious of a problem this is.
i will stand corrected as this seems to be more prevelant than i had though, and i have seen a very low number of this problem ( 1 out of more than 500 trucks).
i do have to take issue though with the codes setting. in talking with other mechanics and reading a few things on the internet, it seems like codes were ALMOST always set. in some cases the misfire counts were in the hundreds of thousands during a single ignition cycle. the coil on plug design and computer system is one of the most sensitive when it comes to registering a misfire.
being that you say that lightnings are affected in greater numbers also makes me wonder. is it how the lightnings are driven, or maybe the type of drivers that model attracts? perhaps in some cases lack of maintenece or care of the vehicle, perhaps ignoring developing problems?
and by the way, piston slap is NEVER NORMAL! if you have piston slap, you have a worn engine. piston slap will also make the knock sensor ****** the timing, affecting your power and gas mileage. exhaust leaks of which you speak can also cause a list of problems such as catalytic converter failure.
like i have previously said, i am sorry for people who have had this problem and had an astronomical repair bill. i know how bad it can hurt, being a mechanic does not make me immune to repairs. i think owners of any vehicle need to accept some responsibility with some of these problems. with a little care and paying attention, perhaps some of these problems could have been caught before leading to several thousands of dollars in repair.
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Old 08-18-2007, 02:52 PM   #23
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

The bad news for ford does get worse. The redesigned 2004 - 2006 F150 with the 3 valve 5.4 (I own a 2004) does not blow plugs. It is the exact opposite in fact, the plugs will not come out of the head and break off. A simple spark plug replacement is costing guys well over $3000.00 There is a TSB out and even still plugs are breaking. I tested the theory to see if my dealer would do a spark plug change before the warranty was up and they won't touch it with a ten foot pole. This will get more attention as more trucks get up in miles as the spark plugs are supposed to be 100,000 mile plug. In my opinion this has the potential to be very bad for Ford, as the F150 buyer is what keeps them going. My next truck will be a Chevrolet or Dodge with out question. I do understand that things happen and mistakes are made, but how a company handles these issues is what makes the difference. If you want to see how wide spread it is just google F150 stuck spark plugs, breaking plugs, etc.

http://www.fordf150.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=40735

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Old 08-19-2007, 05:30 PM   #24
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

I have a 2004 F150 with the 5.4L 3V. I purchased in on December 2nd 2006. Tuesday it goes in the shop for the 7th time since I purchased it. I'm having all 8 plugs changed and an injector replaced. Ford wanted $17.50 per plug. I'm paying $11.20 per plug. Ford wanted $120 for the injector. I'm paying $90. Ford wanted $92.xx per hour for the work. I'm paying far less. Who's doing the work? A Chevy dealer! That's how well Ford has taken care of me!

All vehicles have problems. However, what matters is how they take care of their customers. How soon do you think I'll buy ANYTHING from Ford again?

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Old 08-20-2007, 09:25 AM   #25
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

So what would you all tell a guy with at 02 F150 and 70,000 miles on it. Change plugs...? Where and When?

(Please leave out the sell it and buy a.....!)

Thanks,
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Old 08-20-2007, 10:42 AM   #26
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

229.95 to change the plugs at ford -let them break them if their so hard to change If they were broke upon extraction wouldnt it be their fault??? I would rather have the dealer foul it up. I would also prefer a factory informed mechanic when It came to issues concerning a tricky repair. I have brought my fords to the dealer by the rose garden and have been very fairly treated. My back round is mecanical enginering so I can call them out on most issues and I have carfully inspected work done by them and never had any problems. I gess Im just lucky and my fords have run fairly flawlessly too, from brand new till the day I sold them, (t-bird, ranger, and f-150) for a cheap ride they have been a good value for me. I will take my 2004 -150 in and have the plugs changed for good measure its almost got 60000 miles. I also will get a new fule filter and change all the fluid transmission differentials and flush the cooling sys. If you take your ford to a chevy shop you will probably need to get a chevy soon after ( confucius say).

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Old 08-20-2007, 12:23 PM   #27
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

A good friend of mine had a '97 v-10 that ejected the plug as well. $3000 and he had to wait 2 weeks as there were 3 others at the dealer at the same time.

I own an 04 F250 v-10, only have 40k on it. I've got the same worries. Doesn't look good.

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Old 08-20-2007, 02:52 PM   #28
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

Spoke with some mechanics at a Ford dealership in Beaverton yesterday. The said they see more of the v10 with blown plugs come in than the v8's. They have a pretty good method of putting in inserts instead of replacing heads that has worked well for them.
I've decided to have this dealership change my plugs for me. 3 hr. job. $252 for labor. They offered to put my new set of coil over plugs on at the same time. Checked with some independent garages for changing plugs, they want just about the same as the dealer so I figured might as well go with the dealer.
This all has been a real eye opener for me in finding out how Ford has been treating their customers with these plug issues.
I just hope I can get a year or so more out of my rig without blowing a plug. Think I'll be getting a Tundra or Titan next. I've made my last purchase of a Ford.
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Old 08-20-2007, 08:22 PM   #29
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229.95 to change the plugs at ford -let them break them if their so hard to change If they were broke upon extraction wouldnt it be their fault??? I would rather have the dealer foul it up. I would also prefer a factory informed mechanic when It came to issues concerning a tricky repair. I have brought my fords to the dealer by the rose garden and have been very fairly treated. My back round is mecanical enginering so I can call them out on most issues and I have carfully inspected work done by them and never had any problems. I gess Im just lucky and my fords have run fairly flawlessly too, from brand new till the day I sold them, (t-bird, ranger, and f-150) for a cheap ride they have been a good value for me. I will take my 2004 -150 in and have the plugs changed for good measure its almost got 60000 miles. I also will get a new fule filter and change all the fluid transmission differentials and flush the cooling sys. If you take your ford to a chevy shop you will probably need to get a chevy soon after ( confucius say).

UHMW,

Just Remember if your trucks is past warranty and the Ford dealer breaks the plugs you will be left holding the bag as they will blame it on the plug not their faulty design. The broken plugs are also not covered by an extended warranty. Follow the link in my earlier post if you want to read of some horror stories. I do not belong to the chat board in my first post I simply came across it while doing a search after hearing of the spark plug issue in the 2004 new design. I think the fact is Ford cannot afford to fix all of these trucks so they are leaving it up to the customer. It really sucks knowing that I am sitting on a potential major issue with a truck that I was hoping to keep for 15 or more years. Oh well, it will be my last Ford. And by the way my dealer refused to change the plugs in my truck unless there was an issue. Why do you think they refused to change the plugs? Could it be that I am still under warranty and they don't want to be liable if they break? Why would they not want the business? Seems pretty obvious to me that this problem is occurring frequently.

Last edited by Cast Away; 08-20-2007 at 08:30 PM.
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Old 08-21-2007, 09:24 AM   #30
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

A non-issue that is pretty funny. Its very obvious that they had a defect otherwise why did they change the head design. Ford isn't immune to screwing up, neither is Chevy. About a year after I purchased by 2002 Chevy the dreaded non-issue piston slap showed up - funny how in 2004 Chevy redesigned the offending pistons by increasing the length of the skirt.

Neither company is going to eagerly pony up and replace every offending engine - both would be far more bankrupt than they already are - so they'd rather spend a fortune saying its a non-issue using the old adage that more people buy our cars than we can possibly make mad. So they bury it under the rug.

When you have a problem with a Ford and the warranty has expired - ask for the customer satisfaction manager - it is in essence Ford's answer to the Better Business Bureau which they do not subscribe to their arbitration process. For instance on our Lemonstar van and a million others and Taurus as as well the tranny explodes when the aluminum servo piston fails. Ford at first wanted to charge us full bill on a new trany (including the poor aluminum servo piston). Went to another shop and for $10 got a steel one. Anyhow, I then found out about the CS Manager at Ford and between calls to him and a letter to the owner from Channel 12 news wanting to do an interview - they covered my repair.

When you have a problem with Chevy, file a complaint with the BBB and take them to arbitration - the non-issue engine - well it started getting worse and worse miles and eventually frothed the oil. Lets just say Chevy was uncooperative until the BBB payed for an independent mechanic to inspect the engine and write a report. After that was submitted the day before my hearing, they volunteered to replace the engine with a 2004. Lets just say that engine has been awesome.

I just love it when folks say its a non-issue when 100's of people have a problem and then the company changes the design
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Old 08-21-2007, 05:09 PM   #31
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

I have a 99 F-150 with the 5.4. In 2002 while hunting elk in CO it blew a plug. Was able to limp to the nearest town with a dealership, gave them $3200, found a rental agency with a 4WD and continued my hunt. Got my truck back the last day of the hunt.

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Old 08-22-2007, 03:31 PM   #32
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

Update:

As of this writing the truck is still in the shop. As is typical for the 2004 5.4L, the #3 plug snapped off in the head. I'm now driving a rental, and the mechanic is trying to get the rest of the plug out without removing the head. I'm supposed to hear from them soon about the progress, but remain guarded.

:frown:
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Old 08-22-2007, 03:57 PM   #33
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

I have a 98 EB Expedition and just had this happen to me as well at 107K miles. I didn't realize how common this was until after it happened. I did notice an engine tick for about 2k miles before the plug blew. I thought it was a sticky lifter and my mechanic agreed, but in hindsight I think it was related to the plug being loose. Without doing any valve work, the noise went away when the blown plug was fixed. May be a warning sign that could help some one else.

Part of what is frustrating is the lack of guidance from Ford on how to fix this. I did a lot of research and came up with as many different answers as people I asked. In the end I trusted my mechanic (not a Ford shop) who recommended pulling the head and installing a helicoil via machine shop (about a $2K repair). The only sure thing is to replace the heads altogether and everyone I talked to said that was overkill. If I blow a plug on a different cylinder now, though I'll kick myself for not replacing the heads when they were off the first time.
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Old 08-22-2007, 04:19 PM   #34
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

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I have a 98 EB Expedition and just had this happen to me as well at 107K miles. I didn't realize how common this was until after it happened. I did notice an engine tick for about 2k miles before the plug blew. I thought it was a sticky lifter and my mechanic agreed, but in hindsight I think it was related to the plug being loose. Without doing any valve work, the noise went away when the blown plug was fixed. May be a warning sign that could help some one else.

Part of what is frustrating is the lack of guidance from Ford on how to fix this. I did a lot of research and came up with as many different answers as people I asked. In the end I trusted my mechanic (not a Ford shop) who recommended pulling the head and installing a helicoil via machine shop (about a $2K repair). The only sure thing is to replace the heads altogether and everyone I talked to said that was overkill. If I blow a plug on a different cylinder now, though I'll kick myself for not replacing the heads when they were off the first time.
CAST AWAY.

WHAT DEALER WOULD NOT WANT TO DO THE WARRANTY WORK...

THE DEALER GETS PAID STILL.

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Old 08-22-2007, 10:58 PM   #35
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

Quote:
Originally Posted by shoulda View Post
I did notice an engine tick for about 2k miles before the plug blew. I thought it was a sticky lifter and my mechanic agreed, but in hindsight I think it was related to the plug being loose.
There is a problem with the passenger side rear cylinders breaking the exhaust manifold studs off, and creating an exhaust leak. This will cause a tick, especially when cold. That could have been the tick. It's a common problem, and easy for anyone with basic knowledge to fix. Pull splash guard, unbolt exhaust pipe, manifold, then studs. New gasket, studs, and back together in about a half hour total.

Now I know this is going to come as a big surprise to everyone, but yes, they updated the new studs so they no longer break.
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Old 08-23-2007, 08:14 AM   #36
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

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Originally Posted by NWJet View Post
CAST AWAY.

WHAT DEALER WOULD NOT WANT TO DO THE WARRANTY WORK...

THE DEALER GETS PAID STILL.

YA MAYBE NOT BOOK TIME / FLAT RATE
BUT STILL MAKES MONEY.
NWJET,

When I first heard of the issue I did not realize that the plugs were breaking in most 2004 F150's, so I did not press the dealer to hard. I simply asked to have my plugs changed and was told it was not something that should be done so soon because they were a 100,000 mile plug, and they would rather not do it. I was also told by the dealer that it was rare for plugs to stick/break and not to worry about it. Now the truth is coming out as more trucks are getting up in mileage and the fact is most are breaking during the removal process. In fact Ford now has a recomended removal process which takes hours if not a whole day to remove 8 spark plugs and still there is a good chance one or more plugs will break. The dilema is if I do bring it in and have them changed before my warranty expires in Febuary of 2008 then I will most likely be out of a truck for a few weeks(see MikeMC's post above), which means no fishing during that time. I also am not confident that the dealer would even really change the plugs as they are well aware of the time it takes, the issues with the plugs breaking, and since my truck only has 18,000 miles they may just charge me and do nothing. How would I know, I can't stand there all day to make sure the work is actually done. I also have zero confidence in the dealer as each issue I have had already with the truck has been a hasstle to get fixed. Myself along with all other F150 owners are going to get shafted by Ford as they are in such financial peril that they will not own up to their horrible design. If they had to do a recall (which they will not because this is not a safety issue) it would be a huge expense because the F150 is their number one selling vehicle. I will never purchase another Ford product. Not because of the issue, but because of the way they are handling it.
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Old 08-23-2007, 01:28 PM   #37
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

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Originally Posted by Bobberman View Post
Have the plugs torqued correctly and replace at 60K and the vast majority of these engins will be ok. More threads were added in 2003. There is a problem but it is way overstated especially by the source you stated.

http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewNation.as...20070212a.html
PLugs should not need to be replaced at 60k.Under normal driving conditions.And it is a major problem.I have seen lots of them.Ford needs to step up to the plate.It was also a problem on the early v10.
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Old 08-23-2007, 02:57 PM   #38
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

Update-2

Okay, I have my truck back. The mechanic work all day yesterday trying to get the #3 plug out without damaging the head or having to remove it. Even replaced an o2 sensor just to be sure.

While the jury is still out...the truck sounds better than it ever has. So, 8 new plugs, 1 broken one, 1 injector, 1 o2 sensor, 3-days labor, and the total bill was $462.83. Ford wanted that much just to change the plugs - if nothing went wrong!

I'll wait a bit to see how things go with the truck - whether I keep it or dump it - either way, Ford has lost me as a customer.

Mike
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Old 08-23-2007, 08:30 PM   #39
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

What's the story on the injector? Those are by no means common failure points.
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Old 08-24-2007, 12:23 PM   #40
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

With an '04 F150 with the 5.4L, this whole thread is freaking me out. Especially since I just had a fight with the Ford dealer I bought it from when the transmission needed replacing three months purchase and at only 50k miles.

Great!! Now what? Keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best or try to sell it some unsuspecting fool (like me!) and get something else............hhhmmmmmm
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Old 08-24-2007, 12:56 PM   #41
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

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What's the story on the injector? Those are by no means common failure points.
Well, out of the whole thing the injector is the only thing my extended warranty actually would have covered. Nothing else!

While injector failure may or may not be common, it does happen. Ford (like everyone else), buys them from 3rd-party manufacturers. That doesn't bother me nearly as much as the whole spark plug issue, and their unwillingness to take care of me. Moreover, the dealer I purchased the truck from said they didn't know what the spark-knock sound was. As far as I'm concerned, they knew exactly what it was and lied because they didn't want to fix it.

I have had nothing but problems with this dealer from the beginning. I finally wrote a letter and handed them a video tape of the noise the truck was making under all contitions before they finally replaced the 2nd cam-phaser on the left bank. It was at this point they said they didn't know what the "other" engine sound was. I think they knew all along.

This morning I needed to use the defroster a bit on my way to work. Once there I see water on the floorboard of the passenger side. Looks like a heater core to me. Then, this afternoon I start it up and for just a second or two there was an engine rattle that I can't identify. At this point I really don't care what it is. I want out!
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Old 08-24-2007, 01:16 PM   #42
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

I had a 98' Superduty, V10 that I drove for 6 years, absolutely no problems. I traded it for an 04' F150 FX4 with the 5.4L 3V. At 27,000 miles I installed a Whipple intercooled supercharger with 8 lbs. boost. I have about 43,500 miles on it at present, no problems with the engine or Tranny. I burned through a new set of Toyo Proxies (305 VR 60 x18's) in 16,000 miles so it hasn't been babied. HP to the ground is 353.5.

I went in to Canby Ford service dept. when I first heard of this problem. I was told by the manager that the 04's did not have the sparkplug blowing problem.

I spent "several" years working and welding on racing motorcycles and stripped sparkplug threads were pretty common. We heli-coiled the plug holes and compression release holes quite often. I can't recall even one of them failing.

It is criticle that you use never seize when installing plugs! Also do not over tighten them! If the plug is difficult to remove, get some lube down into the hole and screw the plug "gently" back and forth from tighten to loosen and gradually back the plug out. Basically you have to use this same process to remove a bolt or stud with dissimilar metals in Aluminum. BE PATIENT, the alternative sucks! Keep lube in the hole through this whole process.

Also the spark plugs are really difficult to get at on these engines. I will be changing plugs to go to two heat ranges colder within the next year and also injectors to increase the boost a couple more pounds. I will do this all at once because the plugs are a lot more accessable with the fuel rail removed.

I'll still be worried....

Mike
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Old 08-24-2007, 01:16 PM   #43
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

I have 2 5.4 litre trucks. My 02 f150 and my wife's 05 expedition. This thread is stressing me out!! We haven't had any problems yet but the F150 is coming up on 100k miles, I am starting to wonder if I should unload the thing.

We have had great luck with these rigs so far!!
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Old 08-27-2007, 06:26 AM   #44
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

Hi
This is a e-mail sent to me from a Canadian friend and his FORD.




As you might know, my luck with Ford products is not very good. As an example, I have had the front left wheel bearings and seals changed out twice in the last six months. For the past two weeks, I have been at the Ford dealer six or more times for diagnosis and repairs.

On this last Monday, I was scheduled in at 9am for the latest bearing replacement work. ( Under warranty). At 1pm, I picked the truck up, drove around town and did my errands, approximately 5 miles or less and then home to the carport. On Wednesday, I was headed into town to do errands, as I hadn't been out since returning on the Monday. Driving down the hill towards the Ford dealer, I could hear some strange sound, rolled down the window, and guess what, the sound I heard was the bearing shot in less then 10 miles of driving. Stopped in at the Ford dealer, and they were busy, so booked it for yesterday, Thursday at 2:30pm for another diagnosis visit. Turns out it was the center rest bearing on the drive shaft. And of course, they don't have parts in stock for it. This means at least two more trips down there next week when they can locate them.

As a note of interest, all bearings in my "Built Ford Tough in Canada" Ford which came from the Tennesse manufacturing plant ( Last Ford 150 was built in Kansas plant) are supplied by Chinese manufacturing plants and shipped to USA and Canada. I know the electronics are from South America and Mexico, but was stymied to find out about the bearings.

As another point of interest: The local Ford dealer is one responsible for all oil changes and lubrication. Oh yeah, did I mention that the truck is now 3 years old and has just turned 28000km ( 17500 miles ).

So my good friend sent the email below to help with the blues of owning a Ford. Nice friend eh???????
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Old 12-03-2007, 04:35 PM   #45
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

its not just happening to fords i have a 98 4runner with a 3.4 v6 and had the same thing happen to me. plug came loose and wiped out the coil pack. i ended up putting a helicoil in it and havent had any problems with it since, but i havent changed the plugs since though. it will give you a warning though, mine started making a sound like it had an exhaust leak. i wish i would of looked into earlier but the threads were probably already messed up anyways. worse come to worse just spend a day and check to see if your plugs are tight. and always use neverseize on your threads.:grin: LEAD.
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Old 12-03-2007, 06:44 PM   #46
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Cool Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

If you put never-sieze on a sparkplug and use it in a aluminum head You are asking for trouble ... use a aluminum compatible anti-sieze compound instead and make sure its high temp....... Barney
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Old 12-03-2007, 06:55 PM   #47
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

A "non-issue" ???

Those of you who claim this isnt a common problem havnt done enough research to come to your conclusion... period. (including the mechanics)

My friend (a displaced IFish member) has a 99 5.4l triton and this happened to him about 16 months ago. After extensive research he found many sources online including several groups calling for a class action suit.

Not dozens, not hundreds......thousands of ford owners have had this happen to their triton. Is this a non-issue?

Though the condition can be experienced after plugs are installed improperly, a lose plug or over-tightened plug is not the *cause* and never-seize is certainly no remedy.

My friend chose to replace the entire motor and heres why:

No warranty on a head replacement. None.

The difference in cost?


It will cost you $3000k +/- for head replacement at the dealer (which most often includes at least one of the individual coils @ $135 plus labor because when a plug blows out, it destroys the coil on top of it)

With no mentionable warranty.

Or, A ford reman crate motor and new heads with a 3 year/35,000 mi warranty for $4500-$5000.

A heli-coil is no more than a quick fix and I can back that up. My friends ford blew the plug out of a heli-coiled cylinder.

Take this seriously folks. I cant guess the odds of it happening to your 1996 -2003 triton, but I'd say your rolling loaded dice.

One very important thing to remember.

If you suspect your truck has blown a plug, Shut it off (obviously) and DO NOT start it again!

The way the coil is mounted on the plug and held down to the head, when a plug is spit out it is more or less held in place by the coil.
What this means is, when you turn off the motor, its likely pieces of ceramic or steel from the broken plug will fall into the cylinder and destroy it along with the piston if you run the motor again.
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Old 12-04-2007, 06:46 AM   #48
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

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Its a non-issue.

Sure,there have been some Fords that spit their plugs,but IMO its overblown.

This coming from a guy that doesn't like anything about Fords.

several years ago had a'97 f-250 with 5.4 blow out a plug at 90k.Dealership said they were seeing a lot of 5.4,s with the same problem.IMHO it is not overblown.
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Old 12-04-2007, 10:22 AM   #49
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

I have a 98 F150, if it blows a plug and costs me 3000 to 5000 bucks to fix it I will not be getting out much...lol
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Old 11-26-2012, 01:03 PM   #50
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

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Originally Posted by RustySocket View Post
For those who think this is a non-issue.

Prior to 2003 the heads on the 5.4 motor had no more than 4 threads (thin head material) holding the plug in.

Since 2003 the heads machind with a thicker material increasing the number of thread holding the plug in to eight.

Those are undisputable facts. Given the fact that Ford would not make a design change for no reason at all.... makes you wonder if there isn't some truth to this.

I personally have known of several of these head failures. In a specific production model ('99-02 F150 Lightning models) the affected number is actually fairly significant. Which btw, is the group that initiated the lawsuit is CA

And no Baitdunker, you don't get the codes set and as these are a COP design, other that a slight tick.... which sounds more like the normal piston slap on startup or a minor exhaust leak, the condition proceeds rather quickly and ejects the plug. Research it a little more and you will find there is validity to these folks concerns.
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Old 11-26-2012, 02:38 PM   #51
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

Seems like spark plug issues and ford go back a long ways. After having to undo motor mounts, remove an exhaust manifold and lift the engine 6" in my 72 mustang, just to change spark plugs, I made a modification.

That is (4) 4" diameter holes cut in each inner fender skirt. After that the plugs were much easier to deal with. Before I got out the hole saw it was pretty much impossible to get to 3 of the 8 spark plugs. After the field modification jack it up remove both front wheels and game on.

Ford engineering does not give any thought to the guys who work on the vehicles. All fords I have encountered with one exception require many special tools you will pay top dollar for and only use once, a rocket surgery degree and some measure of mental illness to repair. Add to that expensive parts and nightmare order of assembly repair procedures and I will NEVER purchase another ford even if the only other alternative is walking. If you don't know what order of assembly is I am referring to the removal or replacement of parts during a repair in the only order it is possible to get all the parts back together or apart. Put the wrong part on first and you can't get another part back on later. The bolts are obscured, the part won't clear the other part or whatever. I am breaking out in a rash just thinking about it.

The only ford I have owned that does not have these issues also does not have a ford engine. It may be the one vehicle that actually was a better idea. It is an F250 4 x 4 truck and the engine is manufactured by Navistar. Or International Harvester if you prefer. I buy my parts at the NAPA, IH dealer or Brattain and save 20 to 40% over ford's price. For the rest of the truck there is still the issue of special tools. Luckily they build a hella strong truck and there is not much to do.

BTW I have an extensive collection of ford special tools for sale. Used once and hardly any wear on them. Anyone need a torx head bolt socket in 1/2 inch drive?
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Old 11-26-2012, 02:45 PM   #52
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

You can add me to the list. No damage though.
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Old 11-26-2012, 08:31 PM   #53
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

I drive a 2002 F 150, owned it since it was new. I have had the engine "motor-vac'd" every 20k miles. At 80k I had the plugs changed out, no issues, and that was several years ago. Mechanic stated that they ought to be changed out at 60k and keep the engine cleaned of carbon and there shouldn't be any issue. I have a cousin that adds seafoam to his tank every couple of fillups and says that works just as well.
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Old 11-26-2012, 11:57 PM   #54
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

Wow...a blast from the past.

I've bought, repaired, and sold a number of "blown" engined 5.4/6.8 trucks since then. Thanks Ford!
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Old 12-19-2012, 12:45 PM   #55
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

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Originally Posted by MattPark View Post
Wow...a blast from the past.

I've bought, repaired, and sold a number of "blown" engined 5.4/6.8 trucks since then. Thanks Ford!
I understand the Ford corrected the plug-blow-out problem in 2006. Do you know if a Ford 2002, v-8 Triton engine is interchangeable with a 2006 Ford V-8? I'm thinking about changing out mine. Thanks
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Old 12-19-2012, 01:31 PM   #56
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

My v10 blew a plug, 350$ and back on the road...
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Old 12-19-2012, 02:41 PM   #57
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

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Originally Posted by fishstik View Post
My v10 blew a plug, 350$ and back on the road...
Wow where did you take it to get done? I paid $900 and had no warranty whatsoever from a dealer in the area.
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Old 12-19-2012, 02:45 PM   #58
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

I just replaced a blown plug and the coil pack for $250.
I did not have it done at a dealer.
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Old 12-19-2012, 02:59 PM   #59
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

Grey Ford expedition for sale Hall blvd between 4th and 5th. $1600. Looks pretty new. I wonder if they have a 'spark plug' problem?
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Old 12-19-2012, 06:54 PM   #60
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Default Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

Mine blew two over time. First one fixed myself as I bought a kit and tapped it to put in an insert. The second one I bent a valve. Had a guy pull both heads and put inserts in all. The inserts were put in from the inside so they can't blow out and sweated on the outside to have a concave end so the plug will seat. That cost me $1550. They won't blow out now.
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