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Victor
01-06-2008, 12:18 PM
I'm in the market for an extended E350 Ford van and recently became aware of a tendency 5.4 liter (V8) and 6.8 liter (V10) Triton engines have of spitting their spark plugs. I was just wondering how many of you reading this have a Triton engine in your truck, or trucks and if you've had this spark plug ejection happen to you?
Apparently, there aren't enough threads in the spark plug bores in these engines' heads and that can cause the spark plugs to come shooting out of the heads when the engine is running. When this happens, the head has to be replaced, leaving you with a repair bill in the neighborhood of $3000, to $4200!
I'm looking forward to any feedback I can get on this. This really has me nervous about the idea of getting a van with one of these engines now. Thanks guys.

capetrees
01-06-2008, 12:51 PM
I have a 99 F350 with a 5.4 triton w/ 122K miles and never a problem of spitting spark plugs. I've never heard of an engine doing that anywhere ever. Is there a record officially somewhere that that happens often, a site on the web or somewhere? I'm interested in a new truck next year and if this happens, maybe I'll look elsewhere.

AtoZ
01-06-2008, 12:57 PM
I own a 5.4 V8 and a 6.8 V10 - Never one single problem. Love that V10!!!

Dstosh
01-06-2008, 02:05 PM
Im not entirely sure, But I beleive that that problem was with the earlier years. I beleive that the newer models don't have that much of a problem.

Victor
01-06-2008, 03:08 PM
I'm pretty sure that the '97 through '02 model year Tritons were the ones that most commonly experienced this problem. Here are some links mentioning this problem. From what I've read, it happens quite a bit. Let's put it this way. I've read about it happening enough to have me really worried about owning one of these engines.

Here are some links to show you what I mean about this problem:

http://www.consumeraffairs.com/automotive/ford_spark.html
http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2007/03/ford_spark_plugs_inside.html
http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=7on_your_side&id=4757786
http://mikescartalk.com/cartalk/modules.php?name=News&file=print&sid=1

capetrees
01-06-2008, 03:47 PM
On one hand, I'm not shocked that Ford doesn't want to admit the issue considering the nuiumber of vehicles out there with Tritons. But then again, one by one, they should fix the problem or maybe pinpoint the issue, perhaps the plant was the same where all these engines were made or at a certain time of the year or years. Reallty makes me wonder what to do for my next purchase. Diesel? That has even more pressure in the cylinders than the gas engines.

Tscape
01-06-2008, 05:14 PM
I owned a 99 F350 that spit 2 coil-on-plugs out and stripped the thread when they did. They are only in there with 3-4 threads anyway. It required a helicoil to fix, which Ford specifically recommended against in a TSB. This only happened on 5.4 and 4.6 engines up until the middle of 99. Everything post 1999 has "performance improved" heads that flow better and don't have this problem. You will get no help from Ford if you have one of these crap engines.

backhoe1
01-06-2008, 05:58 PM
While I was a full time wrench turner from '99 through '04 I saw this happen once,other than being a OHC engine, it's pretty straight forward, remove head, install helicoil, replace head. EVERY brand has their common problems, just pick your poison. I myself prefer to stick with the GM lineup, but that's just me and my .02

clay duncan
01-06-2008, 06:27 PM
alot of the problems were caused by the shadetree mechanic that was unaware that the earlier triton engines only had 4 threads for the plug. the plugs have to be installed on a COLD engine, use anti-sieze and have to be torqued to 14 ft. lbs.. the heads were fixed (more threads) in 2003. there is another fix for stripped threads specifically for the triton engine made by timesert. i believe that most of the spit plugs are caused by the plug being installed wrong, although ford should have never designed a head with only 4 threads in it either.

Oasis-Outdoor
01-06-2008, 07:00 PM
I have a 2001 F250 Super Duty with the V-10. I read through the consumer affairs websites before reading this post. It is quite a problem. I have 92,000 on my engine. The service manual shows that the plugs should be replaced at 100k miles. I am getting mine changed in about a month. When I spoke to the service advisor at Ford, he said he had not seen too many cases of the blown spark plugs coming into the local shop here. I have been loyal to Ford for many years, but I am disappointed in the way they handled this debacle. I am having the plugs changed at a Ford service center so they are the last ones to have laid hands on the engine. I know that will not specifically provide any recourse if my plug threads fail later! I'll keep you posted!

Tscape
01-06-2008, 07:56 PM
Mid year 1999 the PI heads came out. You will not have the problem on any engine 2000 and newer. Even half of the 99's had PI heads.

clay duncan
01-06-2008, 09:46 PM
i am aware of the PI heads. but i dont believe they fixed the thread shortage problem until the year 2003. i have a 2000 5.4 and a 2003 5.4. the 100,000 mile service interval for the plugs is just a sales pitch. they should be replaced around 75,000 miles and i would only let ford do the work. it will only be guranteed for 12 months though. i dont believe it happens as often as it sounds like. the key is proper installation and unfortunately just because you take it to ford it doesnt mean it was done right.

Victor
01-06-2008, 10:45 PM
The heads with more threads weren't used until the 2003 models came out. 2000, 2001 and 2002 Triton engines all had those 3/4 thread heads topping them.

SiteSolutions
01-07-2008, 12:06 AM
Wonder if high cylinder pressures from something like pre-ignition (detonation / "pinging") is enough to push the plug past it's limit? Or do they just fail at random? Seems like it's a weakness that could more likely be revealed under certain conditions? I dunno. I have an '03 5.4 and I haven't thought much about it but I think I will be sure to put good gas in it. That's only an extra 8 bucks per tank; when you're spending over 120 bucks anyway to fill it, seems less significant.

clay duncan
01-07-2008, 12:28 AM
Wonder if high cylinder pressures from something like pre-ignition (detonation / "pinging") is enough to push the plug past it's limit? Or do they just fail at random? Seems like it's a weakness that could more likely be revealed under certain conditions? I dunno. I have an '03 5.4 and I haven't thought much about it but I think I will be sure to put good gas in it. That's only an extra 8 bucks per tank; when you're spending over 120 bucks anyway to fill it, seems less significant.

the problem is just not enough threads 4 vs. standard 8 to hold the plugs in place. you just need to make sure the engine is cold, use anti-sieze and torque it to the required spec. you dont have any worries in your 2003 and i would use a good name brand regular unleaded gasoline. a higher octane will not help you at all and only cost you more money....clay

LawnBoy89
01-07-2008, 08:47 AM
I have a 2002 V-10 with 47k miles on....I think this weekend I might go buy some new spark plugs and some anti-sieze and tork them to 14 lbs. Do you think anti-sieze will solve this probelem?

TXNSLighting
01-07-2008, 09:02 AM
i only heard about this on the v-10 engines. not the 5.4's. and it was the earlier ones. i only heard this affected the 02 and down. 03 and up were fine. if i were you i would find an 05 or better. they uped the power in those, and they run quite well! and get a little better fuel economy.

Victor
01-07-2008, 10:02 AM
I'd love to get an '05 E350, but it's not in the budget.

TXNSLighting
01-07-2008, 04:14 PM
why do you want a van?

capetrees
01-07-2008, 06:17 PM
I have a '99 w/ 5.4 triton. What do you guys get for milage? I get 11 around town and 14 highway.

Victor
01-07-2008, 07:29 PM
why do you want a van?

I do lawn applications. An extended van is far superior to a pickup for the work I do.

TXNSLighting
01-08-2008, 08:47 AM
interesting...alright then.. theres some cheap vans out there tho...just get on the hunt, and dont rush.

Tscape
01-09-2008, 09:53 PM
The heads with more threads weren't used until the 2003 models came out. 2000, 2001 and 2002 Triton engines all had those 3/4 thread heads topping them.

I am fairly certain that you are wrong on this. The PI heads have the added threads to cure the problem, post 1999. You haven't convinced me that you know what you are talking about vs. the guys at www.fordtrucks.com

Victor
01-09-2008, 10:19 PM
How many testimonials would you like for me to post of people with post '99, but pre '03 5.4 liter Tritons with this problem TScape? Tell all these people that Ford had fixed the problem in '99. I'm sure they'd love to talk to you about it.

David of South Barrington IL (01/04/08)
Add me to the list of blown spark plugs on Ford 5.4L Engines. I have a 2001 Ford Expedition w/ 76,000 miles. While driving cross country with my family on a holiday ski vacation, around midnite the #3 plug blew out of the engine. We were able to safely exit the expressway to a small town in Colorado where there was a Ford dealer. We were stranded in the middle of nowhere while we waited for the repair. The repair techs seemed very aware of this problem.

Joe of Toms River NJ (01/03/08)
I have a 2002 Ford F-150 Supercrew with a 5.4L Triton V8. I was driving home last night when I heard a loud bang and popping noise, sounded like an exhaust manifold problem until I started smelling gas in the cab, I immediately pulled over, shut the engine off and opened the hood to investigate. What I found was VERY disturbing, the #3 spark plug had been ejected out of the cylinder and was lying on top of the engine. I had the vehicle towed to my local Ford dealer for repair and was told that it would cost around $700 to repair and extra to replace the cylinder coil (I have replaced two already @ $280 each), that is a problem as I have less than 44,000 miles on the engine, the #3 plug was factory installed and upon reading into this problem online found that this is a very common occurance. The NHTSA says there is no safety problem (fuel blowing out of a cylinder while the engine is running, a spark could mean the end of this vehicle and possibly anyone inside) to issue a recall and Ford refuses to recognize this problem even though it has been happening for the last 10 years, I am going vehicle shopping next week, my family's life is much to important to risk on a problem that should have been corrected long ago. I have owned Ford pickups for 30 years and I will NEVER buy another.

Ashton of Grass Valley Ca CA (01/03/08)
on jan 3 2008 just 5 days after buying a 2000 ford F-250, the spark plug blew out of the cylinder head. apparently the 3 month warranty wont cover it. it covers the head but not a spark plug. i am arguing that a head replacement is required which would be covered.

Don of Nashville TN (01/03/08)
spark plug blew out of out 2001 FORD V8 engine - nothing much to say except that FORD dealer says they've only seen a few engines do this in their entire time at FORD - they charged me $85.00 to tell me that, Yup, you lost a plug. They wanted to replace the engine, at least the cylinder head. minimum $4000.00 just for the head - I took it to a private garage and had a helicoil installed - so far so good except that I'm really irritated that FORD woud design something so stupid - I guess we'll see how it holds

Betty of Logan OH (01/01/08)
I got a 2001 Ford F250 4x4 Superduty with a 5.4 liter truck and it blew the spark plug out of the head on cylinder number 1.

Chester of Oakdale MN (12/27/07)
Blast from engine, quick turn, bounced off snow on bridge, and momentum carried to other side. Highway patrol found me and diverted traffic. Made me drive further out of traffic with engine mis-firing and banging all the way. My 2001 Ford Excursion is now at dealer who says he has seen a lot of these. Too few threads hold spark and they blast out over time. Mine were torqued to 11 ft-lb. per manufacter service manual just under 20,000 miles ago. They will not warranty thread repair but require full head replacement. Current cost is $4,057.69 just for one side head in engine. Suspension and alignement check after banging snow/bridge curbing on hold until finding ways to pay for engine repair. Complaints on this issue reached over 600 in 2005 (see NHTSA site). Now in 2007, can somthing be done? Recall or not need compensation funds from Ford.

Another link that states the same '97 - '02 range of model years I listed. >> http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=7on_your_side&id=4757786

This is a link the the Ford-Trucks.com website (which I'm a member of). >> http://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/113366-time-serts-get-to-know-them.html

They say in the Ford-Truck.com forum that '03 was when the modified heads came out with more threads in the spark plug bores.

clay duncan
01-09-2008, 10:49 PM
I am fairly certain that you are wrong on this. The PI heads have the added threads to cure the problem, post 1999. You haven't convinced me that you know what you are talking about vs. the guys at www.fordtrucks.com

the PI heads did not address the thread shortage problem until the year 2003. i lurk at fordtrucks.com all the time and i have two 5.4 engines. both have PI heads but the 2000 has fewer spark plug threads than the 2003. i still believe that the problem is very few and far between considering how many superdutys are on the road.....clay

Luvs2Play
01-09-2008, 11:03 PM
I had a 97 5.4 with 225,000 miles, never blew a plug. People that own it now have over 300,000, never had any problems. They love the truck. Nearly all miles are pulling trailers.
My 02 V10 has 95,000 miles, never blew a plug. I would worry more about the transmissions.