AR15.Com Archives
 Changing spark plugs in a Ford 5.4 liter Triton V8?
pale_pony  [Team Member]
9/19/2004 9:26:43 AM
My 1999 Ford P/U with 5.4 liter Triton V8 is getting up to about 90k miles and I figure it's time (or well past time) to change the spark plugs. It has the "coil over plug" design and I have never changed a setup like this. Does anybody here have any experience that they could share before we get started?
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cduarte  [Team Member]
9/19/2004 9:37:23 AM
replace the plug boots. Standard Ignition makes an enhanced one that you should use, since the OEM ones generally don't survive their first removal. Other than that, remember that you're dealing with sparkplugs in a deep well in an aluminum head, caution is the word and antisieze is a great idea.
BigT  [Member]
9/19/2004 9:40:53 AM
I took mine to the dealer for a 100K tune-up. It cost me my left nut.
Daytona955i  [Member]
9/19/2004 9:45:50 AM
Make sure the boots go back together on the same plugs, aka don't change the firing order!
ScrubJ  [Member]
9/19/2004 9:50:15 AM
Hit the Snap-On guy for the plug socket that you will need (9/16 hex IIRC). As stated in an above post, use anti-seize
bvmjethead  [Team Member]
9/19/2004 10:03:01 AM
I'll let the dealer handle that.
oneshot1kill  [Team Member]
9/19/2004 10:09:39 AM
Unfortunately I have plenty of experience with this system. Mostly in the Ford E250 vans that I service, but it's the same motor, only on the P/U it's not jammed into a small enclosed space.

Thankfully you have a little more room to operate in a P/U body, so that's not an issue.

Here's a few things that I can think of that may be helpful, cduarte already touched on two of them but I'll list them again. I'm sure you are very capable or you wouldn't be doing it yourself so don't be offended if I break it down too much, it's a habit from work.

>With 90K miles it may be a good idea to change the boots if you can find them. We like to change the entie coil set @ 100K+. Always use spark plug lube on the boot end that goes on the plug. For some reason I can't remember the name of that stuff.
>Before removing the coil packs, which are bolted to the valve cover, unplug the electrical connector or you will be fighting with the short connector cable while trying to pull up the coils. Always try to twist the coil pack left and right while pulling up gently.
>If the boot comes off and stays on the plug when you pull off one of the coil, no problem, just remove the rubber boot from the plug and pop it back on the bottom of the coil. (This is where new boots come in handy because they have a tendancy to rip during removal when they are stuck)
>On some coil packs you may have vacum lines or electrical connectors in the way. Not sure about the P/U body but the vans are very enclosed and I had to either move or remove one or two connections to make room for my big hand to get in there!
>Always use anti seize, but be very carefull not to let it touch the electrode area or you may have a misfire on that cylinder.

It may be a good idea to disconnect the battery before you start. I have seen check engine lights come on during this job, and if you don't have a scanner to clear it...

Happy wrenching.
oneshot1kill  [Team Member]
9/19/2004 10:12:09 AM

Originally Posted By ScrubJ:
Hit the Snap-On guy for the plug socket that you will need (9/16 hex IIRC). As stated in an above post, use anti-seize




Not yet(1999 model), but coming soon to a Ford in your driveway! I don't even have that socket in my box yet, although I will be getting one very soon.
macro  [Team Member]
9/19/2004 10:13:30 AM
With the right tools and practice, I am told that it can be done in 30 minutes.
The same person also said to plan for at least 4 hours the first time, and expect to break at least a few coil caps. I really struggled with letting the dealer do mine.....it was a hard day when I had to admit to myself that engines have gotten so complicated that I cant even change my own fkn spark plugs any longer

I hate to say it.....and I feel like less of a man for doing it, but call around and let the dealer do it....I paid a little over $100.....if they break any coils, make them pay for the new ones!

Good luck....specifically, good luck at getting the ones buried in the back by the firewall!

Let us know how it turned out. If you have a positive experience changing your own, I may rethink my next tune up.
TexRdnec  [Team Member]
9/19/2004 10:15:11 AM
#2 reason i don't like fords...............
pv74  [Member]
9/19/2004 10:16:47 AM
Try www.f150online.com

Sparkplug blowout problem:
www.f150online.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=103042&highlight=spark+plug+blowout

I have heard that the 4.6 and 5.4 motors have a spark plug blowout problem. Supposedly, Ford does not reccomend using antisieze, and recomends using a torques wrench.

I have the 4.6 V8 in my F-150, and I am not looking forward to changing the plugs. It looks as if you have to take the fuel injection system off to get to some of the plugs! I may just have the dealer do it.
oneshot1kill  [Team Member]
9/19/2004 10:18:54 AM

Originally Posted By Daytona955i:
Make sure the boots go back together on the same plugs, aka don't change the firing order!



That's good advice, but with individual coils like the Triton 5.4 uses, it's actually the electrical connector on the coil that must be watched. Usually the lead is too short to be connected to the wrong plug/coil.

The coils are interchangeable except where the bolt pattern dictates the position of the connector. This usually doesn't matter, but some coils have to go back in the exact spot to facilitate connecting back the (very) short lead on the connector. If they all bolt in the same way(position), then it doesn't matter where you put them.
oneshot1kill  [Team Member]
9/19/2004 10:26:29 AM

Originally Posted By pv74:
Try www.f150online.com

I have heard that the 4.6 and 5.4 motors have a spark plug blowout problem. Supposedly, Ford does not reccomend using antisieze, and recomends using a torques wrench.

I have the 4.6 V8 in my F-150, and I am not looking forward to changing the plugs. It looks as if you have to take the fuel injection system off to get to some of the plugs! I may just have the dealer do it.



I've seen blowout on the 4.6, but only once in hundreds of motors but never the 5.4 and I service plenty of them as well. Antisieze is not the problem, it's caused by a mechanic/s who does not tighten the plugs properly. We once had a new guy that either cranked the piss out of them or left them loose. He is no longer with us, but I'd rather see them slightly overtightened than not tight enough.
pv74  [Member]
9/19/2004 10:34:10 AM
I heard that Ford redesigned the cylinder head with more threads for the '03 models, and the issue is not a problem for the new '04 F150s which have a completly redesigned cylinder head.

I have never even heard of this issue with older V-8's.

Anyhow, It is nice to know that the problem is somewhat rare.
AeroE  [Member]
9/19/2004 10:40:16 AM
I don't know about the 5.4 l engine, but the fuel rail has to come off on the 4.6 l engine to get access to the rear plugs. Get new boots; I had one that leaked even though it wasn't torn and water will absolutely get under the coil. There is no way the plugs can be changed in 30 minutes on the 4.6 l engine (at least not in a 2001 Supercrew).
sgtar15  [Team Member]
9/19/2004 10:41:53 AM

Originally Posted By bvmjethead:
I'll let the dealer handle that.




+1....or at least a good garage.


SGtar15
fritzthecat  [Member]
9/19/2004 11:31:26 AM
Reason for letting the dealer do it:
4 to 6 hours of your life gone
You need the correct tools to do it (1in, 3in, 12in ext, univ joint, sparkplug socket, metric wrenches)
You will loose blood doing it
There is a good chance you will destroy at least one coil (U$80 each)
There is a 12 month /12k mile warranty on dealer work (if the plug blows out = U$3000 head repair)
If anything gets messed up the dealer has to fix it.

Reasons for doing it yourself:
You know it's done right
Save U$300 in labor
Job satisfaction


Fritz - has a 2000 F150 with 4.6l
1776  [Member]
9/19/2004 11:36:55 AM
On the V10 it looks like you have to remove the fuel rail. Is that right?
Glock31  [Member]
9/19/2004 11:44:56 AM

Originally Posted By macro:
I really struggled with letting the dealer do mine.....it was a hard day when I had to admit to myself that engines have gotten so complicated that I cant even change my own fkn spark plugs any longer



+1

If you can change them without taking half of the engine apart, then do it. Otherwise, suck it up and let the dealer do it.
Specop_007  [Member]
9/19/2004 11:49:33 AM

Originally Posted By macro:
With the right tools and practice, I am told that it can be done in 30 minutes.
The same person also said to plan for at least 4 hours the first time, and expect to break at least a few coil caps. I really struggled with letting the dealer do mine.....it was a hard day when I had to admit to myself that engines have gotten so complicated that I cant even change my own fkn spark plugs any longer

I hate to say it.....and I feel like less of a man for doing it, but call around and let the dealer do it....I paid a little over $100.....if they break any coils, make them pay for the new ones!

Good luck....specifically, good luck at getting the ones buried in the back by the firewall!

Let us know how it turned out. If you have a positive experience changing your own, I may rethink my next tune up.



Dont hand in your man card just yet. Theres a big difference between CANT do it, and not worth doing it. I'm sure everyone on this board could do it, but really, is it worth the hassle and headache? Or would you prefer to sit in the waiting room for half an hour sippin coffee and thumbing through a NewsWeek.
Gimme NewsWeek and a coffee please. I have enough stress in my life to not need to deal with a bit more in the form of a sparkplug.
cartech  [Team Member]
9/19/2004 3:52:38 PM
I do this job all the time. After the first few it gets pretty easy. It helps to have the real long plug socket from Snap-on or Matco or whoever( it actually comes past top of hole). All the coils on that engine are the same so they can't get mixed up. Just unplug them and pull them out. I use a "wobble" ext. on the socket on the back plugs to get around the obstructions. Don't mess with the fuel rail unless you absolutly have to. We have never had to move one, yet. If needed you can get boots from the dealer also, seems like they are not very expensive. If you have a big problem with one it will probably be #4(last one on passenger side for those unfamiliar with Fords). That seems to be the one most likly to stick in the hole, in our exp. anyway. You will ned a 7mm socket to get the coils off, I use a swivel socket and about a 12" ext. for that. A longer ext. will make the back ones easier. As mentioned before a little dielectric grease in the boot and maybe a little around the outside where it seals to the head would help. If you see one that has been leaking water into the hole be sure to replace the boot.
Remember, finger tight + 1/8 turn on the plugs.
OBTW, the 9/16 socket is for the new 2004 3-vavle heads.
WOW, I think this one post is longer than all my previos ones combined
Wolfpack  [Team Member]
9/19/2004 3:58:02 PM

Originally Posted By TexRdnec:
#2 reason i don't like fords...............



Ford is the only make that needs a tune up ever?
warlord  [Team Member]
9/19/2004 4:02:03 PM

Originally Posted By ScrubJ:
Hit the Snap-On guy for the plug socket that you will need (9/16 hex IIRC). As stated in an above post, use anti-seize


I think you can get the home edition of the spark plug socket at the local Sears & Roebuck Craftman.
M4-TUNA  [Team Member]
9/19/2004 10:07:44 PM
Damn you waited for 90,000 for a plug change Jeez the U see the loss in Fuel OVER the YEARSSSS.
chrome1  [Member]
9/19/2004 10:22:35 PM

Originally Posted By pale_pony:
My 1999 Ford P/U with 5.4 liter Triton V8 is getting up to about 90k miles and I figure it's time (or well past time) to change the spark plugs. It has the "coil over plug" design and I have never changed a setup like this. Does anybody here have any experience that they could share before we get started?



Yeah ...... They suck , and most likely if you have a check engine light on and a misfire , it's going to need a coil or two .... Very Common .

If you have never done it before , expect 4+ hrs , the coils will fit past the injector rail even if it doesn't look like they will .
CFII  [Team Member]
9/19/2004 10:28:00 PM
Its not that bad over time. Just have to have good extensions.
TexRdnec  [Team Member]
9/20/2004 9:55:16 AM

Originally Posted By Wolfpack:

Originally Posted By TexRdnec:
#2 reason i don't like fords...............



Ford is the only make that needs a tune up ever?



ummm, don't think that's what i said, but thanks for playing
CS223  [Team Member]
9/20/2004 10:04:48 AM
Yeah, installing one set of plugs every 100,000 is a reason to hate a product. I'll sitck with Ford.
TexRdnec  [Team Member]
9/20/2004 10:13:15 AM
alright, listen up oh ye who draw dumbassed conclusions

i don't like that ford crams the fucking engine up under the dash and overly complicates shit so that its hard as hell to do anything on it yourself

funny how my 8.1L isn't crammed up under the dash and i don't have to pull shit off of it to even see the fucking spark plugs

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