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2004 F150 5.4 broken spark plugs


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#1 erw

 
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Posted 23 December 2007 - 08:26 PM

After careful review and following the Ford TSB for spark plug removal using Kroil penatrant, I still managed to break 2 spark plugs in my 5.4.
On one plug the nut and threads separated with the center ceramic part still stuck in the hole. And the other one broke the ceramic center atthe base of the threads leaving the remaining ceramic inside the shield at the tip. I know the special tool for removing the broken plugs requires the center ceramic section being removed with just the empty shield at the tip in the hole.
Can anyone give me some ideas about how to go about getting the remining portion of the plugs out so I can use the OTC tool to get the shield out?
Please don't tell me I have to pull the engine and remove the cyl head!\Thanks! any-help.gif

#2 Karrpilot

 
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Posted 23 December 2007 - 09:07 PM

If you are REALLY lucky, you can chip away at the ceramic portion with a long punch and try to either blow out the pieces with an air blow gun or vacuum them out. Then the tool should fit into the shield. Some other tech left me with a mess and dropped the ceramic parts into the engine. I had no choice but to pull the engine out and remove the heads. Good thing i did. A few were lodged between the valve face and seats. As well as laying on top of the pistons. Another better idea courtesy of Ford.

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#3 erw

 
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Posted 24 December 2007 - 01:46 PM

Thanks for the reply.
I'm working on a suction tube to use down the hole while I chip it out hoping I catch it all. Once the shield is removed I'll suction out the cyl, then blow air in the cyl to dislodge anything that might be laying on the valves, then suction again. I have acess to a borescope to see what I can see then............its up for sale!

Does any of that make sense?

#4 m-chan68

 
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Posted 24 December 2007 - 03:52 PM

QUOTE (Karrpilot @ Dec 23 2007, 11:07 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I had no choice but to pull the engine out and remove the heads. Good thing i did. A few were lodged between the valve face and seats. As well as laying on top of the pistons. Another better idea courtesy of Ford.

Did you remove the engine, and then remove the heads? Or did you lift the cab and yank the engine? It would've been easier to just lift the cab, and then remove the heads on this particular body style. You don't even need to touch ANYTHING inside the cab for this. I've only seen issues with phasers and P0011 and P0022 with these engines. Haven't had the pleasure of dealing with broken off spark plugs in the heads, YET.
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#5 Karrpilot

 
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Posted 25 December 2007 - 12:25 AM

I pulled the engine out. Good thing i did. The other tech broke off 2 plugs and then stopped. After i got the engine out on the stand, i broke off 4 more. Heads came off. Everything got cleaned up, and i timed it right the first time on the engine stand. Seems alot of guys are having that trouble getting it right the first time in chassis.

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#6 stevef150xlt

 
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Posted 25 December 2007 - 10:53 PM

QUOTE (Karrpilot @ Dec 24 2007, 11:25 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I pulled the engine out. Good thing i did. The other tech broke off 2 plugs and then stopped. After i got the engine out on the stand, i broke off 4 more. Heads came off. Everything got cleaned up, and i timed it right the first time on the engine stand. Seems alot of guys are having that trouble getting it right the first time in chassis.


So what happens when a customer brings one of these in for a tuneup once it's out of warranty, and couple of spark plugs break off? Does the dealer pick up the tab for getting out the remains of the plugs, even if it means pulling the heads? If not, I could see alot of angry customers. Somehow I think I would avoid buying anything with a 3V engine in it.
SteveF150xlt
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#7 Ron W.

 
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Posted 26 December 2007 - 07:09 AM

QUOTE (stevef150xlt @ Dec 25 2007, 09:53 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
So what happens when a customer brings one of these in for a tuneup once it's out of warranty, and couple of spark plugs break off? Does the dealer pick up the tab for getting out the remains of the plugs, even if it means pulling the heads? If not, I could see alot of angry customers. Somehow I think I would avoid buying anything with a 3V engine in it.


The last shop I worked in did, customer was still,,,well really upset (putting it very mildly) seeing the cab off and the engine disassembled. Dealership ended up eating the repair, hard to believe Ford designed such a nice tuck with something as simple as a spark plug change causing such a huge problem.
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#8 carnut

 
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Posted 26 December 2007 - 08:07 AM

What is the root cause of plugs breaking off? Is it the extended change intervals? Years ago, I used to put anti sieze on plugs when I changed them. After the plug thread stripping fiasco I gathered that this is no longer recommended.
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#9 Jim Warman

 
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Posted 26 December 2007 - 10:40 AM

QUOTE (carnut @ Dec 26 2007, 06:07 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
What is the root cause of plugs breaking off? Is it the extended change intervals? Years ago, I used to put anti sieze on plugs when I changed them. After the plug thread stripping fiasco I gathered that this is no longer recommended.


I think the extended change interval is the single biggest cause.....

One important thing that we have learned.... having the engine "hand warm" helps a LOT... If the job is taking a little long, I have the guys plug in the engine heater....

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#10 stevef150xlt

 
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Posted 26 December 2007 - 11:37 AM

QUOTE (Jim Warman @ Dec 26 2007, 09:40 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think the extended change interval is the single biggest cause.....

One important thing that we have learned.... having the engine "hand warm" helps a LOT... If the job is taking a little long, I have the guys plug in the engine heater....


Would starting the vehicle and letting it run for a couple of minutes accomplish the same thing? Maybe you could take an IR thermometer (point-and-shoot, like a Fluke), and check the head temp, to get it right.
SteveF150xlt
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#11 Jim Warman

 
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Posted 26 December 2007 - 11:44 AM

QUOTE (stevef150xlt @ Dec 26 2007, 09:37 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Would starting the vehicle and letting it run for a couple of minutes accomplish the same thing? Maybe you could take an IR thermometer (point-and-shoot, like a Fluke), and check the head temp, to get it right.


I'm not sure there is a "right" temperature that is measureable... though the temperature range isn't going to require a thermometer... Run the engine until the temp starts to rise.... remember that when it is shut off, the "hot soak" will increase the cylinder head temps for the first bit...

From what I can tell, the "ideal" temp is where the head is obviously warmer than room temp, but you can hold your hand on it without feeling "uncomfortable"... something akin to a nice, warm bath.

Jim Warman
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#12 carnut

 
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Posted 26 December 2007 - 02:05 PM

That was something I learned never to do with aluminum heads although hand warm would be something between 98 degrees and 106. If it were cooler than your hand (98.6) it would feel cool. A hot jacuzzi is generally 104-106. I learned not to take the plugs out of a hot aluminum head. Are these heads aluminum?
Jay Kellogg

#13 rdjb2000

 
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Posted 30 December 2007 - 09:05 PM

QUOTE (erw @ Dec 24 2007, 01:26 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
After careful review and following the Ford TSB for spark plug removal using Kroil penatrant, I still managed to break 2 spark plugs in my 5.4.
On one plug the nut and threads separated with the center ceramic part still stuck in the hole. And the other one broke the ceramic center atthe base of the threads leaving the remaining ceramic inside the shield at the tip. I know the special tool for removing the broken plugs requires the center ceramic section being removed with just the empty shield at the tip in the hole.
Can anyone give me some ideas about how to go about getting the remining portion of the plugs out so I can use the OTC tool to get the shield out?
Please don't tell me I have to pull the engine and remove the cyl head!\Thanks! any-help.gif


If this is th 04 style with th long plugs the otc tool works great when the ceramic tip stays behind I use a punch slightly smaller than the tip bore & push the ceramic down enough to get the tap started cut afew threads & use the puller never have i pulled heads I'm in a ford shop & we break them everyday.
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#14 M.C.

 
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Posted 31 December 2007 - 11:11 PM

Here's how I get the plugs out. First shave the tip off the tap in the rotunda kit- it gives you more room to cut threads. Then chip away the ceramic until you see the circumference of the electrode shell. Cut threads with the tap until you feel the ceramic insulator touches the ground electrode. There should be about 3 threads and enough for the tool.

The biggest thing with tune ups on these vehicles is experience. A person experienced in plug removal on these engines knows the feel of the thread shell crimp pulling off of the electrode shell. It takes a certain touch, and a person without the feel will wreck some plugs and make the customer all pissed with extra labor. Take it to the right guy they may get them out just fine. Just another example that taking the truck to the dealer will probably save you boatloads of money over independant because they have more experience than anybody in getting these plugs out and most times quicker.

I dont think all the spark plugs broken at less than 75,000 miles have much to do with extended plug change intervals. More likely is the big scab of carbon deposit wedgied to the electrode. I've had a couple of stuck injector trucks a while back that broke plugs off with less than 40,000 and solvent sat in the cylinder for a couple days!
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