2000 Ford Expedition - possible blown spark plug out of head?
last night I was traveling from Atlanta to Pensacola and got stranded in the middle of nowhere AL after I a big POP and whats seems to be a loss of compression.
at first i thought it was a really bad exhaust leak or Vac leak, so i decided to limp it to nearest gas station which was 18mi away. when I got to the gas station, I was looking at it and trying to trace the sound down and it seems the rearmost drivers side plug might have popped out. the coil is still on, a bit loose, but still bolted down an there. I decided to get it towed down to pensacola to make sure i didn't cause anymore damage.
can anyone help with some diagnostic help? only had this thing a few months as it was my dads since new (2000 expedition 5.4l XLT) and I got it after he passed on earlier this year to replace my stolen 2002 F250 7.3l. i mostly deal with pushrod motors, so the mod motor is a bit more complicated to me, so any help would be much appreciated.
BTW i have been searching, just in dire straights here as i'm stuck in Pensacola till this gets fixed basically.
Is the spark plug there? Some experienced folks will chime in later. I think there's a heli-coil type fix. Search on "blown plug."
thanks for the help, i haven't been able to check as i don't have any real tools at my parents place. the coil is still there and every thing looks like normal, thats why it took me so long to even think it was a blown out out plug. I'm going to go out and see if i can atleast take the coil off and take a look
i just went out to check and it definitely spit a plug out of the rear most cylinder on the drivers side. while the coil is till bolted down, i can see a small spring and what looks to be other bits of the spark plug wire next to the coil.
i can't even get to the coil to take it off with what limited tools i have here, so looks like i'll be looking for a repair shop in the pensacola area to fix it, or just sell it as is and try to find something to get me home.
I would not let the blown spark plug get to you. I know that right now an issue like this can fester thoughts such as selling the vehicle and moving on but there are a whole host of reasons why the plug ejected. I bought my Expy knowing of the potential plug issue but after researching it, in my opinion the plugs blow because of long intervals (over 100k miles) of changing the plugs, not using Motorcraft plugs, and also because of wrongful installation such as torquing the plugs too tightly in the aluminum head.
What we don't know is the current mileage of your Expy and whether or not the vehicle has undergone a recent tune-up which might explain why the plug blew. Unfortunately, the rear plugs are more susceptible to ejecting because they are difficult to torque to proper specs due to using extensions and universal joints.
The good news is this can be fixed and a dealership or a good private shop that has experience in the plug ejecting will be able to drill the head, install an insert, re-thread the plug and get you on the road. What is horrible is that it's Thanksgiving and few places will be open.
Common word on these forums is to change the plugs at 50k miles instead of 100k miles, use lots of anti-seize, and Motorcraft plugs only. If you are mechanically inclined, change the plugs and coil packs yourself and do the tune-up in a day and save the money. Use a 3/8" click-type torque wrench and set the plugs between 7 to 15 ft lbs. (I did mine at 12 ft lbs because its right in the middle of the spectrum.)
You will also read that people mention plugs loosening up over time. I can somewhat agree to this because I purchased my vehicle with 107k on the clock and when I did the tune up after buying, two plugs felt like they were barely snug. In addition, I rechecked the torque of my plugs after putting 10k on my plugs just to see if any had backed out - none had moved. I have put 13k on my Expy since the tune up and have experienced nothing but reliability.
Bottom line, don't fret. Get your truck fixed and go home and do a tune-up.
the 2000 expedition has 170k miles on it and it has been my fathers DD since he bought it new in 1999, i have personally done the plugs on it when i was in highschool around 2003 or so and hen i know he had all plugs and coils done before they moved to pensacola in may of 2009 or so.
it is very upsetting because this is the first major problem and it came at a very bad time. the reason i am thinking about selling it is that i don't trust it to pull the trailer, plus i would have to add a tow kit to it. and now i don't trust it on long trips.
i drive about 400-500 miles a week for my job and every other weekend or so i drive down to pensacola from atlanta. the truck just seems to not be worth putting in the money to make it reliable as i have to change out the ball joints soon and the trans s starting to shift harder into o/d. I was going to buy a 06ish f150 after my 02 f250 7.3l was stolen, but my father passed and i had to use the money to pay his final expenses and my mothers bills for a while. I was given the expedition in return.
anyway i had it towed to a shop and we'll see what they say, if it needs a new head, i think it will be better o just get a newwer truck and let this one go
Here's a thought...
If you can get the Expedition to an Auto Parts store there may be someone there who can slap a plug in for, say...$20 or so. These auto parts stores are usually staffed with shade-tree mechanics and they would definitely have the part and tools on-hand.
1. Gap plug to .054
2. Install, don't cross-thread
3. Put dielectric grease in boot
4. Torque plugs to (19 Nm.) or (14 ft./lbs) or (164.4 in./lbs)
5. Plug in COP wire
2000 Expedition XLT
White 2WD 4.6L
Flint Cloth Interior
Michelin LTX M/S2
180K miles, Draw-Tite Class IV
A little research will show you that this is not at all uncommon. It will also show you that a shop that knows what they are doing regarding this type of repair can make a permanent, reliable repair without removing the head from the engine.
Research would also show you that if you just thread in a new plug, it is a temporary fix at best, and if it appears to be ok initially, it will likely leave you stranded again.
Find a shop that has experience doing this repair with a Time-Sert kit. While they are fixing it, have them check the installation of the rest of the plugs.
I used to have a ranger that blew a plug. The ceramic blew out of the casing. It shredded the plug boot and the damn thing flew up into the insulation mat attatched to the hood. It took some chunks out of it too. It did no damage to the engine.
Plan on buying a new coil, it and the boot are surely shot. They aren't hard to do.
I wouldn't give up on her yet. My Expy has 170000+, and is doing great. It had a few minor hickups shortly after I got it, but is doing great now. I'd pull anything with it anywhere.
UPDATE: just got it back from the shop, the #8 plug ejected the head and was no where to be found. they fixed the threads and added a new plug (5.98) and a new coil (99.98) and tried to sell me a fuel induction service for $140, which i declined.
I decided instead of letting them charge me $400 to replace the other plugs, i'll buy some tools and do it myself this weekend. I got a 255 craftsman mechanics tool set for $159 from sears black friday sale to get me started.
so all total I have shelled out around $1000 for everything (tow, Parts, Labor, and tools) to get this thing back on the road. I feel a bit ripped off, but it was thanksgiving and atleast i can drive the thing back home now.
about to run out and get 7 more spark plugs, a fuel filter and whatever other maintenance items i can think of to hopefully make sure i have a smooth trip back. if anyone can think of anything to replace or some how-to guides for a 2000 5.4l expedition, let me know!
Also, I appreciate everyones input and help more then you guys know.
Glad to hear that it's running. But if you want a nickels worth of free advice, I wouldn't touch the other 7 plugs until you're home. The chances are high of stripping out another plug hole, breaking a plug, or tearing a COP boot. At least if something goes wrong at home, you're not going to get stranded again.
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