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Old 08-18-2005, 07:52 PM
gnewby gnewby is offline
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Ford V10 engine

Company I work for has been buying a lot of the Ford 350 club cab pickups. We recently had one of them that the spark plug blew out of the back of one of the heads. When our mechanic contacted our local Ford garage he was told that they have had a lot of problems with this, due to the fact that this spark plug is in a very difficult location to get to.

I don't really know if we have ever had the spark plugs changed in this engine or not but our shop mechanic said it sounds to him like the truck will have to go in to the Ford garage and have the head removed.

Has anyone here heard of this problem on the V-10 engines? This is the first one we have had with this problem and it is also the oldest one of the V-10's in our fleet. Currently have about 7 of them.
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Old 08-19-2005, 09:28 PM
Saltmine Saltmine is offline
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Yeah, lots of them. The 4.6L, 5.4L and 6.8L engines all suffer from a very poorly designed cylinder head. The sparkplug holes face straight up, and are about five inches deep. Perfect for collecting water, and whatever, a nightmare for the service tech.
Adding to an already poor design, they saw fit to make the sparkplug hole shallow enough to only allow four threads to engage the sparkplug. Four threads, in aluminum.
If the plugs HAVE to be replaced, be VERY CAREFUL how they get changed. Let the engine cool off completely. Remove each plug BY HAND, not with power tools. Clean each plug hole and remove any debris in the threads. An anti-sieze compound should be applied to each plug's threads before they are installed, and a TORQUE WRENCH should be used to properly torque each plug (15 lb ft.). Running them down with power tools almost gurantee's a stripped out plug. There are repair kits available for these threads, but they are expensive, and if not installed correctly, can cost you a new cylinder head ($1200 to $1400 each for the head, alone).
Fords are very difficult to repair, some require the removal of the cab to gain access to the engine. Labor charges are high, and skilled techs are getting more and more scarce every day. Enjoy.
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Old 08-20-2005, 09:26 AM
gnewby gnewby is offline
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I imagine we are going to see several days downtime on this and a large bill to boot over it. I don't know if we had replaced the plugs on it or not if so I doubt if we will on any of the others. We will probably leave it up to the Ford dealership then if the problem happens again maybe they will take care of it on them.
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Old 08-20-2005, 05:50 PM
Saltmine Saltmine is offline
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I doubt if they'll take care of it. Ford has been swamped lately with thousands of consumer complaints and class action lawsuits, not to mention the numerous technical blunders their engineers have released on the general public.

Actually, you're lucky, in a way. Later model Ford Triton 5.4L engines went to a special three piece sparkplug. Fine bunch of engineering... Every time somebody tries to remove one of them, the retainer comes off, and the porcelin stays in the head, usually breaking off. Repair? Why yes! All you have to do is bring it into your favorite Ford dealer, and they will remove the head(s) and poke out the broken part(s).
These plugs are NOT designed to be replaced, ever. Ford says they won't attempt to replace any of them unless one is causing an engine miss, then they invariably have to resort to a cylinder head R&R to complete the job.

Nice to know, these guys think they're building some of the finest cars (and trucks) in the world... I wonder which world they're talking about?
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Old 08-21-2005, 01:11 AM
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Daniel Wood Daniel Wood is offline
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I'm a GM man all the way and I know that they have problems, I won't deny that at all. But this has to be the most ridiculous thing that I've heard of about Ford.

What did they do, design a poorly head, bolt the engine to the frame and build the cab around it? And I thought pulling the heads on a 351/400 in a 77 Ford truck was tough. Especially on the right side, if it had air condition.

Some jerk off sitting behind a desk, who thinks he's an engineer and never had a wrench in is hand is responsible for this junk. JMO
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Old 08-21-2005, 11:53 AM
Muddywoman Muddywoman is offline
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I had heard of this problem but only in the 5.4L. That's what made me wary about buying another F-150 with the 5.4L. I had the 4.6L in my '97 and other than the sometimes painful (I mean it too) process of changing the plugs (especially the one under the passenger side dash), I didn't have any plug problems. I heard its pretty costly to have a shop change them in the 4.6L. I'll stick with cut and scraped hands and my little 4.6L...until we drop in a bigger engine with properly designed heads!
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Old 08-21-2005, 12:20 PM
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I don't know anything about the three piece plugs, but if what Saltmine explained is only half true, the engineers should be shot and their assets distributed among their victims.

As for the 4.6 heads, Saltmine gave all good advice, but I do not agree that these heads are a huge problem. Since the plugs (16 valve) are between the intake runners rather than the exhaust, they are very easy to get to. There may be a couple vehicles that have something located in the way, but most are the easiest plugs to get to of any auto I ever worked on. The cars that I have experience with are: 92 crown, 2001 Grand Marqui, 95 Lincoln Continental (32 valve FWD car), and 2002 Mustang GT. The 32 valve heads have the plugs located in the center similar to the Mopar 426 hemi.

Yes, there is a long bore going down to the plug (both 32 & 16 V heads), but the plug wires are designed with O-ring seals. You can spray a ton of water on top of these engines and nothing leaks down into the plugs on my cars. You pull the wires off and look down into the plug and it's clean enough to eat in there. I'm certain it would only take the average idiot two minutes to screw this up, but using Ford parts properly will prevent any problems here, by my experience.

The most important thing you can do is never pull a plug out of an aluminum head while hot. Aluminum expands 4 times as much as cast iron. Twist the plug out on a hot head, and you will damage the threads. What manufacture doesn't sell aluminum heads?

Two few threads is a legitimate complaint. I agree. That is why the anti-seize and torque wrench is soooooo important on these heads. I have never had a problem. Maybe I'm lucky or maybe I followed the manufactures directions. I pulled the plugs out of the Lincoln at 105,000 miles after being in the engine for 10 years. They came out like they were put in yesterday.

If plugs were blowing out of these engines all over the place it would be on the news. I would say if a pug blew out, either the threads had been damaged or the plug wasn't tight. If it came that way from the factory, it would have happened inside the warranty period. My bet would be that it was serviced improperly.

Most of the rice burners, the north star Cadillac, and many more have head designs that are similar. Sounded more anti Ford (sour grapes) than true issues, but maybe there are real problems that I have just been lucky on. It has been my experience that Ford has owned up to there mistakes and made them right by the customers better than Chrysler and GM. That is why I started buying Fords in 1992. If they screw me over once, I'll switch to another manufacture in a heart-beat. I am loyal to good reliable design and customer service, not a name.

All the Ford, Chevy, Dodge, etc. jabs are fun for me. I donít take it serious. I just thought I would put some balance into the conversation. Saltmine donít take this wrong. I donít mean anything personal. I thought your comments were a little biased, but if this three piece plug thing bit you, I wouldnít blame you a bit. Feel free to shoot back if I said anything wrong.
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Old 08-21-2005, 12:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muddywoman
I had heard of this problem but only in the 5.4L. That's what made me wary about buying another F-150 with the 5.4L. I had the 4.6L in my '97 and other than the sometimes painful (I mean it too) process of changing the plugs (especially the one under the passenger side dash), I didn't have any plug problems. I heard its pretty costly to have a shop change them in the 4.6L. I'll stick with cut and scraped hands and my little 4.6L...until we drop in a bigger engine with properly designed heads!
The 4.6 and 5.4 are basically the same engine. The 5.4 has a longer stroke and the block is taller (and wider) by about an inch or so. The heads will interchange between these two engines. Although there are several heads in use.
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Old 08-21-2005, 02:37 PM
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Imrpoperly installed sparkplugs..... Hmmmm.

I guess I failed to mention that every incident I've seen where a plug has blown out of a cylinder head, on a Ford, the sparkplugs were FACTORY INSTALLED.

Sparkplug thread failures were common on 5.4 and 6.8 engines between 1999 and 2001.
Seems they somehow managed to redesign the cylinder heads since then.

All of the Ford "Modular" engines I work on (police cruisers, pickups, and Expeditions)
don't have sparkplug wires. They're known as COP (Coil On Plug) engines. The boot on the coil pack invariably always seals poorly against the head. And yes, we have numerous occasions where water, sometimes an inch deep, gets into a sparkplug well.
This gets interesting because when that sparkplug shorts out, the computer goes into "catalyst protection Mode" and shuts off fuel to all of the injectors on that bank, while flashing the "MIL" lamp on and off. The resulting loss of power is frightening, to say the least.
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Old 08-21-2005, 02:55 PM
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Interesting. I have not changed the plugs on the 2001 COP or the 2002 COP yet. I did take the 2001 to the car wash and washed it to shiny clean. No oil just road dirt. I didn't have any problems. I haven't pulled a COP coil off yet. Maybe there is something lacking in the seal design on the COP.

I have pickup up that you do work at a Ford dealership.

You said that the plugs blowing out were factory installed. Was my guess correct that it happened inside the 36 month 36,000 mile waranty period?

I work with a good many people that have the 5.4 and 6.8 engines, in Ohio. No one that I know of have had a plug problem. I see you are in Arizona. Perhaps the extream heat there is contributing to this. Especially since we are talking about aluminum. I could see how the COP seal issue could be impacted by the heat as well.

Notice Gnewby is is south Kansas. Another warm area.

Your Thoughts?
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Old 08-22-2005, 07:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Wood
Some jerk off sitting behind a desk, who thinks he's an engineer and never had a wrench in is hand is responsible for this junk. JMO
WOW, Daniel, I couldn't have said it better myself.....
The "LEAD ENGINEER" on the project which I'm involved in has a "Masters Degree".. well, what I didn't know (at first) is that the degree is in business administration. (maybe it's accounting).. I don't know what made him "qualified" for this position, but, he's made a lot of bone-head decisions over the past 2 1/2 years, and now that the assembly is in the process of being put together... ahhh.. people are surprised that there are problems... IT DIDN'T SUPRISE ME AT ALL... The new attitude is that things can always "be fixed".. personally, I've been involved in spacecraft design for many years, and unless the application is for a low altitude satellite, specifically designed for Shuttle compatibility, It can NEVER be "fixed".. (It's pretty hard to repair a spacecraft during it's 7 1/2 year voyage to Pluto) It simply has to be the best product possible for it's intended use. Today, this isn't happening for many, many reasons...
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Old 08-22-2005, 07:49 AM
Muddywoman Muddywoman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duffy
WOW, Daniel, I couldn't have said it better myself.....
The "LEAD ENGINEER" on the project which I'm involved in has a "Masters Degree".. well, what I didn't know (at first) is that the degree is in business administration. (maybe it's accounting).. I don't know what made him "qualified" for this position...
That's a problem even with people working in fields they've studied in. I work with officers all day, everyday who have degrees but many don't know what they are doing. My husband fixes laser printers for a company in Phoenix and the boys running around that office doing sales label people idiots just because they don't have a piece of paper. Having a degree does not give someone intelligence or mean they know what they're doing.

No offense to those with degrees who are intelligent.
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Old 08-22-2005, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muddywoman
Having a degree does not give someone intelligence or mean they know what they're doing. No offense to those with degrees who are intelligent.
My "MANAGER" is extremely intelligent... BUT, HE is the same manager that hired the accountant for a "LEAD ENGINEER" position... Skizzel-Frizzin-Frazzle-Brass... (4 curse words)... It's like hiring your milkman to do your brain surgery only because you think he's a nice guy. And, here I am, having to deal with the "lead engineer" (and some of his dumb suggestions) on a daily basis... maybe with some luck, he'll find a new job.. hopefully it's something he's qualified for..
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Old 08-22-2005, 06:10 PM
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Ovoid the temptation to get him promoted just to get him the hell away from you. We used to do that and now the idiots are running the company from the top down. What's worse is that with all the fast promotions, they believe they are superior experts in every way.

Take the time to set them up to be exposed for what they are and hopefully fired.
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Old 08-22-2005, 08:45 PM
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Duffy..... You ain't seen nothin' yet!

I work for a Vehicle Maintenance Division of the County Public Works Office....(Senior Tech)

If I'd know about the sleazy, back-stabbing, moronic, idiots that SUPERVISE these departments when I started 15 years ago, I'd have never taken the position.

We see bald-faced, idiotic stupidity on a DAILY basis.... Sometimes it's horrible. Sometimes it's hillarious... That's probably why I'm sticking around 'til retirement, just to see what's going to happen tomorrow...

Right now, we're trying to keep a fleet of worn-out Ford Expeditions running. The Department wants to pour thousands of dollars into them so they will last a couple of more months. Most agencies would have dumped all of them 100K ago. But we keep pouring in the cash......
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