Thursday morning the dreaded flying spark plug hit me. Yes, you heard me right, a flying spark plug. It seems that the Ford Triton engines from 1997 to 2003 had a problem where spark plugs would randomly fly out the cylinder head. This appears to be due to a few issues… First there are insufficient threads in the head to properly hold the spark plug. Second the threads in the head are not inserted, in other words the threads are in the aluminum and are not very strong. Many ford owners have had problems and the shop who repaired my head claimed to have done over 100 repair jobs on Ford Triton engines in the past 5 years. If you are faced with this problem here are your options…
1. Go to your dealer, bend over and pay up to 12 hours of labor to repair the hole (time quoted to me by my local dealer) or get two new heads with properly designed spark plug holes for $3500.
2. Buy the kit and do it yourself… from my research Timesert is your best option. This will cost you between $200 and $400 depending on which kit you buy. Lisle and Helicoil also make kits and are available online and from your favorite tool supplier.
3. Find a friend who already has the tool to do the job. I doubt a repair shop will lone you the tool, but you can check out this forum for some members who have bought the kit and will rent it out to other forum members.
3. Pay someone who already has the kit. I ended up spending about $75 more than the kit would have cost to buy. I was not in the mood to spend my Saturday under the hood, learning all the tricks to doing the job. Look for an independent repair shop in your area that does the repair. Ask how many repairs they have done, and how many have come back with problems. If you are in the Reading, Pottstown, King of Prussia area check out the shop I used…
Bill’s Auto Repair
1650 E Schuylkill Rd
Pottstown, PA 19465
Make sure you replace all 8 spark plugs and that they are torqued to factory specs. An interesting fact… as the spark plug loosens but before it flys out of the head, it will sound like you have an exhaust leak. I heard it on my Expedition, but never thought about a loose spark plug. I probably could have retorqued the plug, or replaced it, and saved me some headache if I would have known.
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Posted: 26th January 2009 | Author: Kevin Schappell | Category: Engine