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Post Info TOPIC: 2004 - Up 3 Valve Triton V8 engines found in F-150 have Spark Plugs that break off due to poor design by Fords


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2004 - Up 3 Valve Triton V8 engines found in F-150 have Spark Plugs that break off due to poor design by Fords


I been getting reports about the newer 2004-up 3 valve Triton V8 engines having a problem with the spark plugs getting seized in the head. Due to a poor design they break the lower electrode and then stay lodged into the bore.

This is not the first time I have heard about them being a problem, and while I have been LUCKY and not broken any spark plugs to date, the newer design on these 2004 2005 2006 2007 and 2008 Triton 3 valve engine tune-up's are not for the faint of heart. Spark plugs breaking upon removal is well documented as being designed poorly, and will often times break off in the head while trying to remove them. This causes a simple $200-400 maintenance tune up to turn into a major $1,100 and up repair.

I find this kind of poor craftsmanship or design on Fords parts to be typical. Prior to 2002 the older Ford Triton 2 valve V8 engines would become lose and blow the spark plugs out of the head, often times requiring special inserts to repair the threads. The ultimate danger was if the coil ignited the fuel/air mixture as a result of the plug shooting out of the head.

In the case of the newer 2004 and up 3 valve Ford V8 trucks that have the funky spark plug design it seemed to have addressed the issue of them shooting out of the head, however now you are lucky to get them out of the head without them breaking.

Rumors of $1,100 tune up's are not uncommon, and even more if the heads have to come off.

So to sum it up, the early 2 valve Triton engines have a problem blowing plugs out of the head, and the later 3 valve engines have a problem with the plugs getting seized in the head.

Can't Ford's get anything right? I mean c'mon! Were talking about a freaking spark plug here! It's not rocket science!

Here is a photo of what happend to the early Ford Triton V8 trucks prior to 2002 when they would throw a plug



http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2007/03/ford_spark_plug_fire.html

Here is a photo of the newer spark plugs found in the 2004 and newer Ford Triton V8's engines with the 3 valve heads that are known to break off in the head.





Looks to me like these plugs were made in China! What the hell Ford's was thinking when they come up with the design is beyond many, but I feel it's another one of Ford's famous engineered obsoletion attempts. None the less as a mechanic, I don't mind the extra money, but if you are a shop owner it would be a good idea to make customers sign a waiver prior to performing a tune up on newer 2004 and up 3 valve V8 Triton engines or you could end up eating the repair due to Ford's poor spark plug design.

Here is an image of the near $100 tool that is needed to remove the broken plugs.



http://www.denlorstools.com/home/dt1/page_17932_520/lisle_ford_broken_spark_plug_remover_lis_65600_alt.html

The link above is an alternative to the Rotunda part numbers 303-1203 and 303-1398 used at the dealers.

While the dealers claim this is not a problem Ford will cover, they certainly know it's a problem if Rotunda is making tools to fix the problem.

Seems that Ford couldn't keep their plugs in the head on the early Triton engines, and now with the batch of later 3 valve Triton engines you can't seem to get them out without serious labor cost. Leave it to Fords to engineer a way to turn a simple job like a tune up, into a major repair that could cause you to have to remove the heads.

Good luck guys!


-- Edited by SELLC on Thursday 6th of January 2011 11:34:35 PM

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The Lisle tool works really nice - it's what I have. The Rotunda tool sucks. When one of the 04 and newer 3v Tritons rolls in, we advise the customer of the likelihood that at least a couple plugs will probably break, and we charge an extra half hour each to extract any broken plugs. When this problem first became evident, head removal was often necessary. After the Lisle tool came about however, we haven't needed to remove cylinder heads anymore... At least for broken plugs. Those engines are obsolete now anyway. Now Ford has gone back to traditional style plugs.


















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PowerStroker wrote:

 Those engines are obsolete now anyway. Now Ford has gone back to traditional style plugs.


Gee PowerStroker, you are aware that the 3 valve V8 Triton engines are found in 2004-2008 Ford Trucks aren't you?

So Fords managed to make a 2 year old engine Obsolete? That's not bad, considering many of them are still under warranty! What a joke!

Then there is the fact that some people will go well beyond the 100,000 mile mark to have their tune up's done, thus resulting in much more carbon build up, which could make for a real fine mess when the independents have to do them. While you might charge an extra half hour to remove broken plugs, (which I think you are lying about) it's normal for more than just a "few" to bust off. As shown in the video the plugs are proven to break off at 34 ft. lbs. and the factory installs them at 33 ft. lbs. when they roll off the line.

There is also the fact that should you be unable to remove them with the special tool, the head will have to come off. So I will say it again, "Get the customer to sign a waiver" or you could be eating one hell of a job, especally if they have gone well over 100,000 miles. 

What I find funny is that Ford can not manufature quality parts for their own vehicles. Seems the Champion plug is far superior to that of the Motorcraft, and you have stated that the Rotunda tool is also worthless. Can Ford's do anything right PowerStroker?  

 



-- Edited by SELLC on Friday 7th of January 2011 06:46:21 PM

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SELLC wrote:

Gee PowerStroker, you are aware that the 3 valve V8 Triton engines are found in 2004-2008 Ford Trucks aren't you?

So Fords managed to make a 2 year old engine Obsolete? That's not bad, considering many of them are still under warranty! What a joke!

It's 2011 now, that's 3 years.  We rarely do plugs under warranty.

Then there is the fact that some people will go well beyond the 100,000 mile mark to have their tune up's done, thus resulting in much more carbon build up, which could make for a real fine mess when the independents have to do them.

Sucks to be you guys

While you might charge an extra half hour to remove broken plugs, (which I think you are lying about)

Not lying at all.  My preference would be an hour each, but the dealer only charges .5 for each broken... which is still very profitable for me with the Lisle tool.

it's normal for more than just a "few" to bust off. As shown in the video the plugs are proven to break off at 34 ft. lbs. and the factory installs them at 33 ft. lbs. when they roll off the line.

You're partially right...  Yes sometimes they ALL break off, but idea that they are only in there with 33lbs of torque is false because the dis-similar metals: Aluminum cylinder head and steel spark plug sleeve, tend to cause corrosion which bonds them together requiring much more than the 33 foot pounds of torque to remove them.

There is also the fact that should you be unable to remove them with the special tool, the head will have to come off. So I will say it again, "Get the customer to sign a waiver" or you could be eating one hell of a job, especally if they have gone well over 100,000 miles. 

Not a bad idea, but I haven't had the Lisle tool fail me yet, and I've done a bunch of these.

What I find funny is that Ford can not manufature quality parts for their own vehicles. Seems the Champion plug is far superior to that of the Motorcraft, and you have stated that the Rotunda tool is also worthless. Can Ford's do anything right PowerStroker?  

 Can you?




 



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PowerStroker wrote:

It's 2011 now, that's 3 years.  We rarely do plugs under warranty.

Depends on the production date. Late production models can technically be 2.2 years old. Then again things of a technical nature are beyond your comprehension aren't they? wink

Sucks to be you guys

Not really, because we will get the full hour! Or a complete head job biggrin

Not lying at all.  My preference would be an hour each, but the dealer only charges .5 for each broken... which is still very profitable for me with the Lisle tool.

Oh I bet it is profitable... FOR THE DEALER! LoL! What do they charge per hour now days? $120 per hour? Let's say all 8 break, that's 4 hours. Something like 15 bucks per hole YOU get? Have fun with them back plugs pluto! What is the warranty labor rate? Because not all customers are going to pay for Ford's poor design. Just think when the masses find out about this, Ford will be forced to recall them, thus you will be doing them for .2 each all day long! LOL 

You're partially right...  Yes sometimes they ALL break off, but idea that they are only in there with 33lbs of torque is false because the dis-similar metals: Aluminum cylinder head and steel spark plug sleeve, tend to cause corrosion which bonds them together requiring much more than the 33 foot pounds of torque to remove them.

Um... They are in there @33lbs from the factory. What it takes to remove them after the fact is only relevant when you break them. At that point it's safe to say you realize they are a poor design. Then again you already knew that because of that big blue oval you had to climb over to get at them. doh

Not a bad idea, but I haven't had the Lisle tool fail me yet, and I've done a bunch of these.

How many have you done? 3 or 4? Check the link provided, they Lisle tools are known to wear and or break. They even sell replacement parts for your tool. Lest we forget that you work at the dealer and most of the vehicles you see have well under 80,000 miles. That's hardly a challenge.

Can you?

Sure can, I make right all kinds of Ford's screw ups! Hell if it wasn't for Fords my tools would rust! 



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SELLC wrote:



Not really, because we will get the full hour! Or a complete head job biggrin

Better to over repair than under repair I guess.  Or better yet, bring it to the dealer and get a proper repair.

Oh I bet it is profitable... FOR THE DEALER! LoL! What do they charge per hour now days? $120 per hour?

$129/hr for most things.  Things like alignments and brake work are done at a reduced menu rate to be competitive with local tire shops.

Let's say all 8 break, that's 4 hours. Something like 15 bucks per hole YOU get? Have fun with them back plugs pluto! What is the warranty labor rate?

The back ones don't bother me.  Ford pays my dealer $102.65/hr for warranty work.  Ford sets the labor times on warranty work.

Because not all customers are going to pay for Ford's poor design. Just think when the masses find out about this, Ford will be forced to recall them, thus you will be doing them for .2 each all day long! LOL 


This isn't exactly breaking news here Rex.  This problem has been well known for years now, and it's the reason for Ford returning to traditional style spark plugs.  If customers don't want to pay to get their problems fixed, they can fix it themselves or just push their vehicle around.

Um... They are in there @33lbs from the factory. What it takes to remove them after the fact is only relevant when you break them. At that point it's safe to say you realize they are a poor design. Then again you already knew that because of that big blue oval you had to climb over to get at them.
doh

What are you getting at exactly?  Would you prefer Ford torqued them to a different number, and what would that number be?

How many have you done? 3 or 4? Check the link provided, they Lisle tools are known to wear and or break. They even sell replacement parts for your tool.

Good to know, if my Lisle tool wears out, I will purchase replacement parts for it.  It only cost me $70 and has saved my ass many times.  I'd say I've extracted about 40 broken plugs with it so far.

Lest we forget that you work at the dealer and most of the vehicles you see have well under 80,000 miles. That's hardly a challenge.

Most of the vehicles I see in general have less than 80,000 miles, but it's a moot point because the ones that come in for a tune up, come in at the same mileage as they would come in anywhere else for a tune up.

Sure can, I make right all kinds of Ford's screw ups! Hell if it wasn't for Fords my tools would rust! 

What's up with your Ford bashing today anyway?




 



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PowerStroker wrote:


Better to over repair than under repair I guess.  Or better yet, bring it to the dealer and get a proper repair.

PowerStroker, I have had a great deal of customers come to me with horror stories about the dealership ripping them off without fixing the problem. It's frustrating to me because if they gave the dealership all their money there is a good chance I am not going to be able to help them when they come to me broke. The same holds true for people buying Fords who get stuck making costly repairs before they are even done paying for it.

$129/hr for most things.  Things like alignments and brake work are done at a reduced menu rate to be competitive with local tire shops.

So if you don't mind me asking, what does the average tech get paid per hour out of that $129? I know the dealership often pays the most depending on seniority, which is a crock of shit, but what would you say the average hourly rate for a mechanic working at the dealer? $18-29 per hour? Depending on the amount of time they have been there?

The back ones don't bother me.  Ford pays my dealer $102.65/hr for warranty work.  Ford sets the labor times on warranty work.

We all know nothing bothers you PowerStroker, but let's not change the facts. 1st the amount of time a tech is paid for warranty work is LESS than customer pay and often times the amount the tech is paid per hour is also less too.

This isn't exactly breaking news here Rex.  This problem has been well known for years now, and it's the reason for Ford returning to traditional style spark plugs.  If customers don't want to pay to get their problems fixed, they can fix it themselves or just push their vehicle around.

You are right, this is not exactly breaking news for the dealerships, however a lot of these trucks are going out of warranty and hitting 100,000 miles, so it will be breaking news soon enough. Nice of Fords to return to a traditional style plug, however anyone with any kind of brains would have known the design was crap. I am sure during testing they were well aware of this problem, yet instead of making it right, they just let it go. This kind of engineering will ensure Ford truck owners are pushing their trucks around soon enough.

What are you getting at exactly?  Would you prefer Ford torqued them to a different number, and what would that number be?

You know what I am getting at! These engineers at Fords must be pretty fucking ignorant not to realize that the design of these plugs were going to be a problem. It really does not matter what they torque them to, the problem is weather the plug could hold up to being removed.

Good to know, if my Lisle tool wears out, I will purchase replacement parts for it.  It only cost me $70 and has saved my ass many times.  I'd say I've extracted about 40 broken plugs with it so far.

Yeah you can pick them tools up for about $60.00, I rounded up to $100 because most parts stores and tool suppliers will charge a premium. Glad I could help you save some money on replacement parts should yours ever break.

Most of the vehicles I see in general have less than 80,000 miles, but it's a moot point because the ones that come in for a tune up, come in at the same mileage as they would come in anywhere else for a tune up.

Not true PowerStroker. If you have only removed 40 some plugs then its safe to say you have not done a whole hell of a lot of them since 2004. You do realize that's close to 7 years by your 2011 standard used above. I think these plugs are rated at 100,000 miles before they call for a maintenance tune up. Average miles per year is 15,000 X 7 years = 105,000 miles. Trust that you will be hearing about this problem more as the months tick by in 2011. Hope you enjoy doing them as much as you claim.


What's up with your Ford bashing today anyway?

I don't know, I have had a hair up my ass all week. I guess we could blame it on the holidays that got screwed up by family members that flew in. Guess I am just in a bitching mood.




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