Feds Urged to Act on Ford Spark Plug Blow-Outs

A California lawyer is petitioning federal regulators to recall about 17 million Ford vehicles, including F-Series pickup trucks, because of a problem that can cause spark plugs to blow out. Full Story
Craig Peterson

United States

#177 Aug 14, 2006
I live in New Mexico and I was towing my boat from a lake after a few days of fun with my family. I left the restaraunt we stopped to eat at (leaving my family to finish eating) to get gas in my 2001 Ford Excursion for the rest of the trip home. I started it up and blat blat blat blat blat... My wife and I had noticed a ticking that sounded like a valve tapping increase in volume over the last few days. The 3rd plug towards the rear on the passenger side of the 5.4L Triton motor had blown itself right out of the cylinder head and broken the coil attached to it.

Luckily, we were only a parking lot away (The Super Lube in Bloomfield NM) from a auto repair shop and the mechanic had actually fixed 9 Ford Triton Motors this year (By Aug of 2006). Bloomfield boasts about an 8,000 population. He fixed it by using a specially constructed tap (he had ground down a standard one to fit in the 5/8" hole a socket would normally fit to replace the spark plug and constuction glued a small 3/8" socket receptacle onto the tap so he could place an extension and then tap the cylinder head and then easily withdraw it and then use a helicoil sleeve around a new spark plug for the newly tapped threads. Then he vacuumed out the cylinder head then blew it out using air pressure and then we started the motor without the plug in place to remove as much particulate matter as possible from the cylinder before replacing the spark plug with helicoil sleeve and coil.

Total Cost: about $80.00 including a used coil he had in the shop.

Total Value: Priceless! My family had to wait only about 4 hours for the repair and my wife had to get to National Guard drill the next day.
Travis Peters

Kingfisher, OK

#178 Aug 14, 2006
Craig Peterson -- Im glad it all worked out for you and your family. It sounds like he knows what he's doing. I do hope the helicoil lasts for you.
Rico Harris

AOL

#179 Aug 17, 2006
I own a 99 expedition and while sitting at a traffic light my 5.4 litre blew the #1 plug. If there is any class act suit then sign me up. When I contacted FORD they told me this was something new but one of the mechanics told me to get on line. I refused to pay $2500. to fix this so i'm looking to convert my motor to a chevy. I've done it before.
Ford Spark Plug Repair

South Bend, IN

#180 Aug 17, 2006
Rico Harris wrote:
I own a 99 expedition and while sitting at a traffic light my 5.4 litre blew the #1 plug. If there is any class act suit then sign me up. When I contacted FORD they told me this was something new but one of the mechanics told me to get on line. I refused to pay $2500. to fix this so i'm looking to convert my motor to a chevy. I've done it before.
Rico, as an owner of a '99 Expedition, I know exactly how you feel. Here's how you become part of the class action lawsuit http://forddefects.com/info.php

If you are interested in a permanent fix for the #1 plug at a fraction of the $2500 quoted, please contact Phil at imagine3200@verizon.net
KKC

Eugene, OR

#181 Aug 17, 2006
2000 Expedition - 4.6 Liter Engine - Blew spark plug out (I believe #1 - if not #8). Anyone every notice a "ticking" noise (sounds like lifter noise) a few days prior to plug blowing out? Dealer wants $3,800 to replace head (includes labor & additional parts) or why not just replace the engine for $5,000+. Trade-in value of vehicle (in running condition)$6,500 - private party sale value $8,000. Very disappointed Ford has not addressed this issue. Unfortunately, we never learn about this type of problem being wide-spread until we're a victim. Have been long time Ford fan/supporter. Really wanted a Mustang...no thanks for now. Researching the spark plug insert route.
Travis Peters

Kingfisher, OK

#182 Aug 18, 2006
Rico Harris -- I wish you well with your conversion. I would first suggest the timesert fix. A few hours or less and your truck is up an running again like it should. Google that.

KKC -- I hear you on those prices. Rather extreme. Please google timesert. Get with your mechanic and get back on the road for much less. Good news however, is that the later years new designed heads arent having this problem. The helicoil is another fix however its known not to last on the ford heads. Would be a waste of a 1000 dollars. For about half that you can get the timesert and back on the road. Good luck.
Rick Frederick

AOL

#183 Aug 24, 2006
This seems to be an extremely serious problem. I presently own a 2001 Expedition which blew a plug 3 days ago.
The vehicle I owned previously was also an Expedition. It too blew a plug and Ford said the plug must have been slightly stripped at the factory which eventually failed due to the combustions forces - duh!
The service people where I bought the vehicles are pondering the situation and informed me that they will get back to me with a resolve. I'll let you know the outcome once I receive that call.
wayne

United States

#184 Aug 25, 2006
my excursion did the same thing i live in tenn. and would be interested please contacted me at waynel@earthlink.net
Frank

Catlett, VA

#185 Aug 26, 2006
Add me to the list. A week ago while driving in heavy traffic, I blew a plug in my 99 Expedition with 88k miles. Long story short,$3400 to replace the passenger side head. The dealer said he only heard of a plug blowing once before, but it was on another make of vehicle. The funny thing is he said in the next sentence that they had some success using helicoils to fix the problem ( the problem he never heard of) but said it wasn't a sure fix like replacing the head.

Additionally, although I've seen the "check engine light" a bunch of times with this car, most being false alarms, it didn't come on when a spark plug was actually ejected from the engine. If this whole fiasco wasn't costing us so much money, it would be hilarious. So anyways, the NHTSA says that they won't force a recall because there are no safety issues. I guess stalling in traffic and having unburned gas vapors pumped into the engine compartment is nothing to be concerned about.

I guess it will take someone actually getting hurt or killed before the Feds or Ford will take action for this crap. As for me, I am done with Ford forever. I loved having the big, comfortable Expedition, but I think Toyota's Sequoia is calling my name.
Travis Peters

Kingfisher, OK

#186 Aug 26, 2006
Frank.... Was this your first issue with spark plugs ejecting? Did you have the plugs changed? Have you ever checked for proper torque on the plugs? If people would spend 10 minutes researching issues with thier vehicles they could save potential headaches and wallet aches. A little maintenanace goes a long way. And frank since your just set on leaving FORD. Please go buy something you like. But remember there will always be problems with EVERY vehicle. And when a problem arises you can act like a child while you complain about it, in thier forum. Good luck (good riddance).
JOHN H

Valrico, FL

#187 Aug 27, 2006
NO MORE ALUMINUM ENGINES FOR ME
KKC

Eugene, OR

#188 Aug 27, 2006
Everyone goes through the same process, distress, anger, more distress and then anger directed at Ford Motor Company. But you do get over it and can step back and review your options.
This weekend, my husband successfully installed a thread insert in head #8. He did not find it necessary to pull the head. He removed the air intake, air filter and fuel rail, which he determined later probably wasn't necessary. My 2000 Expedition is back on the road and it was cheaper than Ford's options or the price of a couple car payments. Yes, we will now live in fear another one will blow but we have the parts and know-how to repair the next head if necessary. There is no guarantee but then life doesn't come with a guarantee!
If anyone in the Pacific Northwest is interested in a quick repair, be sure to reply to this message.
Travis Peters

Kingfisher, OK

#189 Aug 28, 2006
KKC- Great to hear your success story. Rest assured, if it was a timesert that was used, it wont happen again in that plug hole. Have your husband check the torque tolerances on all plugs. That is THE best and usually only way to know what is going on with those spark plugs. If you hear a ticking noise, it could be a loose plug as well. Make sure your husband uses a torque wrench set proper. Good luck and thank you again for your success story.
Spades

Warrenton, VA

#190 Aug 28, 2006
My 2001 Excursion 5.4 V10 Triton completely blew out a sparkplug on the passenger side while traveling on the freeway. It's the second head from the front of the vehicle. I was amazed that it completely blew everything out leaving a golf sized hole exposing the cylinder head. Ford Dealership quoted me $2900 plus tax to replace the head. I found a mechanic that said he has run into this problem various times with Ford Trucks. He quoted me $690 to install a set timer or timer set (whatever) including the coil. This is the only problem that I've had with my truck since I've had it new. However, if Ford does not recognize the problem, I will be looking at other truck manufacturers for my next vehicle.
Travis Peters

Kingfisher, OK

#191 Aug 28, 2006
Spades-- The excusions are a nice truck indeed. However you did not have 2 of the 3 possible motors in that truck. So it was either the 5.4 or the 6.8 V10 . Since the powerstroke doesnt have spark plugs. Glad your truck will be back on the road again. Good day.
Spades

Warrenton, VA

#192 Aug 29, 2006
Travis Peters wrote:
Spades-- The excusions are a nice truck indeed. However you did not have 2 of the 3 possible motors in that truck. So it was either the 5.4 or the 6.8 V10 . Since the powerstroke doesnt have spark plugs. Glad your truck will be back on the road again. Good day.
I stand corrected....it is a 6.8 V10. I must have been thinking about my 2005 5.4L V8 F1-50.....which better not have the same problem. It's extended warranty expires at 90K and I have a little over 7k on it now.
Cindy Budrow

AOL

#193 Aug 29, 2006
Richard Trabisco wrote:
I have a 2003 F-250 pickup truck and a spark plug blew out. I had never heard of this problem- and I am now finding out it seems to be a problem in Ford trucks!
Not a lot of help nor cooperation from Ford...I live in New York - and chance of a class action suit here?
I have 2002 F-250 which a spark blew out and caused the #3 cylinder to be replaced at $ 3500.00. Note I only have a little over 30,000 miles on truck. I agree something has to be done. i live in CT.
Al B

Southborough, MA

#194 Aug 29, 2006
I just joined the club! I blew a plug last week on my 2001 4.6 as it broke 100,000 miles and went the heli coil route for $500....looking into inserts as a way to improve the fix and keep the truck...or maybe just give up and go Toyota instead.
Al B

Southborough, MA

#195 Aug 29, 2006
Travis, I ran my truck for 93,000 miles without touching the plugs. A FORD service center replaced my plugs 7,000 miles ago and I blew a plug last week....So much for your theory on proper maintenance....
Travis Peters wrote:
Frank.... Was this your first issue with spark plugs ejecting? Did you have the plugs changed? Have you ever checked for proper torque on the plugs? If people would spend 10 minutes researching issues with thier vehicles they could save potential headaches and wallet aches. A little maintenanace goes a long way. And frank since your just set on leaving FORD. Please go buy something you like. But remember there will always be problems with EVERY vehicle. And when a problem arises you can act like a child while you complain about it, in thier forum. Good luck (good riddance).
Edd

New York, NY

#196 Aug 30, 2006
My '98 F-150 just blew the #2 cylinder plug. I inspected and found the threads pretty much pulled. Looks like I will have to take to the shop and spend a few thousand dollars. I'm with Duane from IA, I want in.

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