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2004 - 2008 F150 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 Ford F150's with 5.4 V8, 4.6 V8 or 4.2 V6 engine
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Old 12-28-2010, 09:40 AM
larscar larscar is offline
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cost of changing spark plugs

I have a 2005 f150 4wd 5.4 v8 with 110k miles, which means I need to change the spark plugs. The dealership where I (religiously) get oil change says it will cost $500. Is this realistic, and can I do myself? Should I change the wires with the plugs? Can I get it done cheaper elsewhere? I typically quit working on my own cars years ago. Any help is appreciated.
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Old 12-28-2010, 10:20 AM
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The reason the dealership charges so much is the number of hours required to get to all the plugs. There is a lot to remove and, if I remember correctly, you also have to remove the fuel rail. But the plugs are not difficult to change, just time consuming. You will need the special tool to release the fuel lines (not difficult to do, just a difficult reach). And you will need a proper spark plug socket to hold onto the plugs when you remove them. The are recessed a ways down into the head. The other thing you have to watch for is putting the coil packs back on. Some of the screws that hold them in place may not want to turn all the way in and could break (I know, I did it). Lubricate them when you put them back in. Give yourself a few hours and have fun.
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Old 12-28-2010, 02:23 PM
Twinsdad98 Twinsdad98 is offline
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I've changed plugs on several 5.4Ls and have never removed the fuel rails. $500 is in the ball park. I've heard anywhere from $400-$800. Main issue is the risk of breaking the plugs off in the heads. Not a big issue, if you have the proper tool (Lisle). You can do it yourself. Several auto shops will rent out the tool, so you want to make sure you have it on hand and follow the tsb.

Our engines have coils on plugs, so no wires, but it would be worth replacing the boots when you do the plug change.
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Old 12-30-2010, 12:55 AM
pelphrey pelphrey is offline
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My local dealer wanted 300, however they wanted 75 per plug that broke. I took it to a shop that tunes mustangs and they charged me 150 + 25 per broken plug. I had to pay for 2 out of the 8! This is an 04 with 103,000 at the time.

I'd shop around!
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Old 12-30-2010, 07:29 PM
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If you plan on keeping the truck around for a long time, I would recommend buying the Champion replacement plugs. They are the only 1 piece spark plug available (to my knowledge). Any other plug for this engine is crimped together just like the OE set. Also apply anti-sieze compound to the threads and ground shield being careful not to get any on the electrode.

But if you don't intend to keep her around too long, then just get the cheap Motorcraft / Autolite plugs and let it be the next owner's problem!
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Old 12-30-2010, 07:30 PM
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I know this is for a 5.4 but i had mine changed in my 4.6 which doesnt have a plug problem, and my dealership charged me $165 out the door. But the next closet dealership wanted over $300 for it. But just saying cause it has to be similar work to get to the plugs and replace them, baring a break.
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Old 12-30-2010, 10:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AspenGreenMetallic View Post
But if you don't intend to keep her around too long, then just get the cheap Motorcraft / Autolite plugs and let it be the next owner's problem!
I replaced the stock plugs with those and didn't have any problem changing them. To date, I haven't broke a plug while changing them.
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Old 12-30-2010, 10:29 PM
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Your one of the very few lucky ones.

The majority of people changing the plugs, dealerships, and myself included break at least one plug off no matter what method used.

I backed mine out an 1/8th turn, sprayed with Kroil and let sit for 24 hours. Then cranked another 1/4 turn and let sit for yet another day being super cautious. And I still broke 3 and had to use the extractor tool. Even for the Ford Technical Service Bulletin, I was being very conservative. Now, that being said, I'm never putting those garbage OE plugs back into my truck. I love my truck to death and I never knock on Ford, but wow they really messed up with that design, and only making themselves look worse by not upgrading their Motorcraft spark plug into a one piece design.

Just my opinions of course. Can you tell I had a lot of "fun" having my truck sit almost 3 days soaking plugs and still needing to extract 3? I got a little jaded after that project.
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Old 12-30-2010, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Ultramagdan View Post
I replaced the stock plugs with those and didn't have any problem changing them. To date, I haven't broke a plug while changing them.
Couldn't help but notice your signature says you have a 1998 F250 LD. Is this the truck you are talking about changing plugs in? Just wondering because that generation of 5.4 doesn't have the 2 piece spark plugs that we are discussing here...
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Old 12-30-2010, 10:48 PM
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Busted I am. A slip of the mouse put me here. Yes, I have done the plugs in my 98 and in a 00. Talked to a friend that has an 04 and he paid $600 to have his changed and they broke 4 of them.
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Old 12-30-2010, 11:13 PM
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Yeah I've heard around $500 to $600 rough average for the dealership to replace. I read on a thread somewhere of a few horror stories where dealerships / independent shops charged over $1000! That's just not cool!
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Old 12-31-2010, 01:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AspenGreenMetallic View Post
Yeah I've heard around $500 to $600 rough average for the dealership to replace. I read on a thread somewhere of a few horror stories where dealerships / independent shops charged over $1000! That's just not cool!

Not when they make a tool to remove the broken plug!
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Old 12-31-2010, 07:48 AM
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Too be honest, using the Lisle tool is so easy that I just except it now, that that's how they come out. The time though is taken up by vacuuming out and scraping out and vacuuming again and blowing out with compressed air the spark plug holes before you even start. Then soaking the plugs. All in all it's probably a days work, several hours if you're lucky.

You don't have to remove the fuel rail on the 3V but it helps to remove the battery and ECU and ECU bracket. It just makes working back there easier and less back breaking. I also remove the CAI and the power steering reservoir and tie it back to aid access.

Place a rolled up blanket on the front bumper to save pain later in your kneecaps. Buy the Lisle tool in advance and also the special spark plug wrench tool. Only costs $12 and makes the job easier. You'll also need a mirror on a stick to check the spark plug recesses are clean before you start, they may be full of sand and crud. You need a flashlight to see.
You'll need a medium sized screwdriver for scraping out the plug recesses and also to knock the plugs over after they've separated so you can pull them out.
Lots of extensions and ratchet sets. Long nosed pliers. Motorcraft carb cleaner, and printout of the Ford instructions of how to get them out (won't help much though). Compressed air and a powerful vacuum cleaner.
Start Saturday morning after leaving the truck standing overnight. Do it indoors, things may take longer than you think but work out the hourly rate you're saving. It's more than most people earn an hour so just do it and think of how you can spend the money you've saved.

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Old 12-31-2010, 02:01 PM
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the easiest way to remove plugs is still to use a 3/8 impact and very little trigger pull, I've broken 3 plugs in the past 3 years. and we charge around 400 I think
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Old 12-31-2010, 05:55 PM
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Not when they make a tool to remove the broken plug!
Doesn't matter if they have the tool or not. They will get their money any way possible if the customer is dumb enough. Some dealers/shops have been known to screw people over and I've heard about it multiple times with the plug issue on these trucks.
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Old 12-31-2010, 05:55 PM
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