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WARNING Sparkplug problems- 5.4 Triton engine


arks
01-03-2011, 07:39 PM
I've owned Ford products for more than 24 years. Here's my story:
I purchased a '08 F250 Superduty new and it's now due for a tuneup. My regular mechanic won't touch the sparkplugs because of known problems removing them. I had no idea of the problem until today. According to my owners manual the plugs should be changed at 100k.
These sparkplugs are unique to the Triton V8 (and V10) and have an extended electrode and 2-piece construction. From what I've read this extended electrode collects carbon deposits and can make them extremely difficult to remove. Because of the OEM plugs 2-piece construction, often the force needed to remove the plug exceeds the breaking point of the plug, resulting in the bottom part shearing off below the threads.
Ford has issued a TSB concerning this 'issue' (they don't call it a 'problem') and has created a special tool for removal of broken electrodes inside the combustion chamber.

I've contacted my dealer and they refuse to give me a pre-determined cost for the removal/replacement of the plugs- they will ONLY perform this job as a time and material job due to the excessive time it can take to remove any broken plugs.
Seems to me Ford has made a huge mistake in the design of this plug and needs to step up and offer their loyal customers some relief.
I've posted this for others as a 'heads-up'. You may want to consider having the plugs changed earlier than recommended to minimize this problem.

way2old
01-03-2011, 08:20 PM
Ford started this in late 2004 or early 2005 and stopped the madness in 2009. We have broken our share of the plugs and they are a real pain to repair. Problem is you never know how many will break. We have swapped all 8 in some with no issues and have broken plugs off in cylinders beside one that came out easily.

snshddog
01-04-2011, 07:55 AM
Yes they can be a pain and a bit costly if they all break. It is a once thing though. Replacement plugs are a one piece design so it won't happen next time. If you just leave them in and hope they last a long time is not a good option. The longer they are in the more likely they will stick. The kit for the repair is available on the market so shop around for the price. More than just the dealer have the ability to fix it. It's not like it would make any sence to throw away an otherwise good truck just for spark plugs.

arks
01-04-2011, 09:47 PM
I've scheduled my truck to have the plugs changed Friday by my local Ford dealership. I'm having them install Champion 7989's:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DoSh9O3XOho

way2old
01-05-2011, 06:46 PM
I would have stayed with OEM plugs. Ford does not really like Champion plugs.

arks
01-08-2011, 12:01 AM
Nope. I'll take my chances with the Champs. THEY won't break off.
Dealer had 1 plug break (cylinder #1 thankfully). They charged me 3 hours labor.
I realize it could've been worse but geez, it shouldn't cost $440 to have a set of spark plugs installed.
I feel violated.

arks
07-24-2011, 02:42 PM
My original post 1s 6 months old so I figured it's a good time to give an update.
The one-piece Champion plugs have been A-OK.
It's been 16,000 miles since installation and they haven't missed a beat.

way2old
07-24-2011, 06:25 PM
Thanks for the follow up. I believe Ford/Motorcraft has also changed the design to a one piece.

davida6302
07-15-2012, 09:22 PM
I noticed on youtube there is a post from someone about an autolite approved procedure to remove, takes time but broken plugs could take more.

rivguy
08-18-2012, 04:53 PM
funny people will use champion plugs and risk an engine not running than use ford plugs that have been redesigned for this problem.

bearcat329
11-20-2012, 01:13 PM
another Triton engine spark plug problem? shocker! had an '97 Expedition with the 5.4, literally blew 2 spark plugs out of the holes, cost me almost 500$ to have a shop re-thread them, Ford would'nt give me the time of day, wanted to sell me a new head ...and it was a known issue......and in the 2 1/2 years I owned the thing, went thru 5 coil packs as well.....

caboclo3
11-25-2012, 12:01 AM
another Triton engine spark plug problem? shocker! had an '97 Expedition with the 5.4, literally blew 2 spark plugs out of the holes, cost me almost 500$ to have a shop re-thread them, Ford would'nt give me the time of day, wanted to sell me a new head ...and it was a known issue......and in the 2 1/2 years I owned the thing, went thru 5 coil packs as well.....
My dad bought a new Ford truck last year with the 5.4 Triton engine.Had 2 of the coil packs go before 36 K (under warrenty), and now out of warrenty but under 50K, one of the cam position sensors has gone bad.

DeltaP
11-25-2012, 09:34 AM
I can't remember ever working on a 5.4 Triton and didnt have at least 2 plugs break on removal. You're just happy if they aren't the rear ones. I always crack 'em a 1/4 turn,blow out the hole with compressed air,squirt an ounce or two of carb cleaner in there and let em sit a few minutes. Work 'em back and forth a few times then when you're removing them and they're jerking and screeching like they're gonna break,those are the ones commin out OK and in one piece. The ones that are turning out quietly and soft are the ones that break.

tjfordboyesser
12-01-2012, 02:40 PM
the `97-98 5.4l were notorious for shooting plugs out of the engine, and i woulda stayed with the motorcraft plugs, when my 01 had spark plug issues i put cheap autolite plugs in and within 1100 miles i was having missfires until i replaced them with stock ones

arks
01-16-2013, 09:10 PM
I appreciate the replies. The Champions, by the way, are still working fine at 161,000 miles (61K on the plugs). Overall, this truck has been uber-reliable to date- the only issue was a failed sensor in the tranny around 120K and the backup sensors (which I haven't had fixed).

My previous truck was a 2001 F250 with the 5.4 and I was aware of the plug blowouts. My mechanic was meticulous about torqing the plugs correctly and I never had any pop. Sold the truck to my employer at 262,000 miles and he used it for another 45,000 before selling it. Maybe I just got lucky....

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