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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/automotive/ford_spark.html
http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2007/03/ford_spark_plug_fire.html
http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2007/02/ford_spark_plugs.html
http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2005/ford_spark_plugs.html
http://www.consumeraffairs.com/automotive/ford_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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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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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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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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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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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 :smash: Please change it now and I will support you in all your posts :twocents:

gus
 

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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 :smash: Please change it now and I will support you in all your posts :twocents:

gus
Plulllllleeeeeezzzzz:


Guess I might as well keep driving around my '96 with the 351.
 

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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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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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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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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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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.:twocents:
 

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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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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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Re: Ford Triton V-8 engines are "dropping like flies" because of blown spark plugs

Glad I have a chevy 2500hd quad cab duramax!!!:cheers:
 

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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.
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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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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