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Spark Plugs & Aluminum Heads


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My wife came across this statement by an obviously unhappy poster concerning spark plug removal problems with Ford aluminum heads.

 

"The big 3 have been making crap vehicles for years, and they are totally overpriced. How about Ford selling vehicles with known manufacturing defects like spark plugs blowing out of the heads. try to get your spark plugs changed on vehicles with aluminum heads. The spark plugs break in pieces, then you need a special $300.00 tool to remove the broken pieces. Then on top of it you will need either a helicoil or head replacement. It should cost about $100 to $150 to remove and replace spark plugs. But hundreds of people have had broken plugs with repairs costing over $3,000 with no reinbursement from Ford. These engines should have a recall, but Ford insists that there are no problems. I buy a $30,000 vehicle, and cannot get my spark plugs changed without breaking. As far as I am concerned, I will NOT BUY any more American made vehicles. The US automanufacturers continually are pumping out junk, and they do not stand behind their products. at least the foreign manufacturers back their products."

 

Is there any validity to these statements? Our our 4.6L engines one of the problem engines? If so, what can we do to alleviate the issue?

 

Thanks!

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My wife came across this statement by an obviously unhappy poster concerning spark plug removal problems with Ford aluminum heads.

 

"The big 3 have been making crap vehicles for years, and they are totally overpriced. How about Ford selling vehicles with known manufacturing defects like spark plugs blowing out of the heads. try to get your spark plugs changed on vehicles with aluminum heads. The spark plugs break in pieces, then you need a special $300.00 tool to remove the broken pieces. Then on top of it you will need either a helicoil or head replacement. It should cost about $100 to $150 to remove and replace spark plugs. But hundreds of people have had broken plugs with repairs costing over $3,000 with no reinbursement from Ford. These engines should have a recall, but Ford insists that there are no problems. I buy a $30,000 vehicle, and cannot get my spark plugs changed without breaking. As far as I am concerned, I will NOT BUY any more American made vehicles. The US automanufacturers continually are pumping out junk, and they do not stand behind their products. at least the foreign manufacturers back their products."

 

Is there any validity to these statements? Our our 4.6L engines one of the problem engines? If so, what can we do to alleviate the issue?

 

Thanks!

 

 

Ya know....I don't buy it. I had a 4.6 in a mustang myself as well as many aluminum headed

engines. If performed properly, one should have very few problems changing spark

plugs in these motors. There are some guidelines to adhere to, but I don't

believe there is a mass problemwith changing plugs in any aluminum cylinder head.

Try using the correct tools to do the job.

 

Andy

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Wow. That was a very "ahem" thorough instruction on changing spark plugs.

 

I have heard of this being a problem on the GM 100,000 mile spark plugs, as they would tend to seize in the head.

 

Just a thought: pulling out the plugs now, and applying a bit of anti-seize to the indicated area, AND to the threads may be a good idea.

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'99-'02 Lightnings had 3 threads in the heads for the plugs. It was common for them to blow out with enough force to go through the hood. (It happened to my '01!) They changed to a 8 thread head in late '02 that cured it. The plugs in the 4.6, designed to last 100K, will be hard froze in their bores if not removed and coated with anti-seize early on in the mileage. Ford changed late in '08 to a different plug design that they say will not seize. Good if you have a model with the new gear but they do nothing if you are stuck with an old design. Also hard to get a dealer to pay if out of warrenty.

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We have numerous 3V EXPEDITIONS & trucks at work, many with high mileage. One of the techs had

to replace plugs on an Exp. the other day, broke 4 off, not a fun job. The key seems to be getting at

them before the lower part of the plug builds up with carbon. So yea, probably would be a good idea

to pull'em & anti-sieze with low mileage, I'm going to in the spring. BTW, the tech followed the TSB,

but I think with a 100k+ on the eng., they were going to break anyway. Good Luck

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We have numerous 3V EXPEDITIONS & trucks at work, many with high mileage. One of the techs had

to replace plugs on an Exp. the other day, broke 4 off, not a fun job. The key seems to be getting at

them before the lower part of the plug builds up with carbon. So yea, probably would be a good idea

to pull'em & anti-sieze with low mileage, I'm going to in the spring. BTW, the tech followed the TSB,

but I think with a 100k+ on the eng., they were going to break anyway. Good Luck

 

Would my 2006 5.4L Expedition be a 3V engine w/ similar potential issues?

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Would my 2006 5.4L Expedition be a 3V engine w/ similar potential issues?

 

 

I currently have a 98 Expedition with the 5.4 and have personally changed

the spark plugs myself. I'm not saying anything that can go wrong will not

go wrong, but if the correct procedure is adhered to, breaking can be kept to a

minium. On the Expedition with 5.4, especially the 98 design, the engine is

tucked underneath the front cowl making plugs 4 and 8 difficult to change.

I changed plugs twice on this unit, once at 100K and another at 200K.

Each time no broken plugs. Always use anti-seize. Our GT500 plugs should

be installed with anti-seize/ I also put dielectric grease around the coil/plug boot

as well as within the path leading down to the plug. Each time I changed the plugs

I noticed the back two cylinders plug paths have a tendency to corrode due

to the numerous heat/cool cycles in an engine's life.

 

Andy

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I was aware of the plug issues when I changed the plugs at 70K on my 2006 GT and I had a plug break off. I was very careful and did not have any problem with the first 7. The lower part of the plug builds up with carbon and causes them to sieze. FYI it was a pain in the A$$ to get the broken plug out.

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'99-'02 Lightnings had 3 threads in the heads for the plugs. It was common for them to blow out with enough force to go through the hood. (It happened to my '01!) They changed to a 8 thread head in late '02 that cured it. The plugs in the 4.6, designed to last 100K, will be hard froze in their bores if not removed and coated with anti-seize early on in the mileage. Ford changed late in '08 to a different plug design that they say will not seize. Good if you have a model with the new gear but they do nothing if you are stuck with an old design. Also hard to get a dealer to pay if out of warrenty.

 

Will the new 08 plug design work in the 07 heads? Should we replace with the new plug? Does the new plug require anti-seize compound?

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Most people probably avoid it because they never change their plugs before they sell their cars! Then the poor fellow who buys it bears the burden....

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I have been using aluminum heads on various vehicles since my first motorcycle when I was a kid. I have never seen this. Antiseize is the answer usually. I guess we all should pull and antiseize our plugs now while we still can get them out?

 

I don`t think that is the problem of the plug seizing in the head . The problem is that the carbon builds up on the portion in the head & break when they are removed although it is a good practise to apply antiseize on the threads.

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I don't think the new plug works in the old heads but I have to research it more. I do know that just applying anti-seize to the old plug is suposed to work o.k.

 

Anti-Seize is the answer and the correct tools to do the job. Dielectric grease around

the Coil on Plug boot will keep the corrosion down within the plug pathway. Of course,

never perform this type of work with the engine warm/hot. Stone cold is the best approach.

 

Andy

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Would my 2006 5.4L Expedition be a 3V engine w/ similar potential issues?

 

Yes, 05-08 Expeditions. In fact, 4.6L motors built before 11/30/07, and 5.4 & 6.8L before 10/9/07, 3V

are involved. The main issue is with the "electrode shield" that lies below the actual threads of the

plug. Its about a 3/4" cover that lies below the plug threads, carbon builds up between it & the head,

when you try to remove the plug, it snaps off where the threads & shield meet. If your lucky, the

whole electrode, porcelin & all comes out, if not, you first have to remove the "guts" of the plug, then

go in after the shield, and has been said before, the tool for doing this is quite expensive.

Perhaps the best way to tackle this is to follow the removal procedure in the TSB, then coat the shield,

but not the electrode itself, with anti-sieze that contains nickel. A little on the threads sure wouldnt hurt.

 

Hope this helps.............

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Because of this I replaced the ones in my 5.4 '03 Nav with Autolite double platinums at 50k. Didn't have any problems removing them and used the anti-seize and dielectric stuff when putting back together. In another 15k I'll do it again...hopefully it will be just as easy. The Shelby will probably get the same treatment...changing at 50k intervals seems to be a safe plan. For people that change their vehicles before 100k they never have to worry about it...it's the NEXT owner that gets that fun :)

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