1968-2013 Full Size VansEconolines. E150, E250, E350, E450 and E550
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I have a 2000 E 250 van. About a year ago I started to try and pull and change the plugs and got frustrated that I could not get to the 3, 4, 5 and 6 plugs so I just put them back on my shelf. I plan on changing the spark plugs this Saturday and need expert direction from start to finish I would be grateful.
I remember that the fuel lines where in my way and there was no room to get a spark plug wrench in there also.
i did it on one a few months ago, here's what i remember
1. remove front seats (not required, but worth it)
2. remove engine cover (center console inside the van)
3. i remember there was something, maybe air duct or a bracket or something thats in teh way of the middle plugs on the left head, the fuel rail does not have to be moved, just work around it
4. remove coil units from above each spark plug (one at a time is ok), an assortment of extensions and universal joints will be required.
5. use compressed air to blow any dirt or foreign matter from spark plug holes before removing them
6. apply a small amount of your favorite penetrating oil to each spark plug, if desired, to reduce the risk of plugs grabbing onto the heads. the one i did had the rear plug on the right head grab (the most accessible plug), and with large amounts of BP blaster and back-and-forth action, i safely removed it. i used a harbor-freight air ratchet for removing most of the plugs, saves time but doesn't have enough torque to get you in trouble if one sticks.
7. find an assortment of universal joints, extensions, spark plug sockets, regular deep sockets, etc. and use them as required to remove spark plugs
8. apply anti-seize to threads of new spark plugs and install in normal way
9. install coils. you're likely to experience the hold-down screw of at least one of them cross-thread into its hole. when this happens, remove the screw and either cut off 1/4" (or as needed) from the end, or replace it with a shorter screw of the same size (and wrench size)
10. install remaining components, in order of removal
11. start engine and test-run until you're confident that it won't throw a misfire code
12. enjoy a good beer
as for your concerns about clearances, thats what the universal joints are for. i'd be hopeless without them. i remember that i unbolted the fuel rail, thinking i would need to move it, but turned out being able to work around it in its original position.
IIRC, i spent about 4 hours to do plugs, coils, filters, and maybe something else. my customer was tired of coils burning out, so he asked for all new coils, and got them, even though this isn't standard procedure
Josh has this pretty much very well described------I'd add this just as something else to consider, not at all disagreeing with him at all!
I hope you're using Motor Craft brand plugs? Nothing else works as well and they're not that expensive anyway.
1. Definitely remove the front seats--well worth the 15 (at most) minutes you'll spend doing it!
2. Personally I used 1/4" drive ratchets and extensions, nothing powered though even though for removal this shouldn't be an issue. Typically the plugs themselves can be removed with a socket and longer extension however the COP hold downs tend to be where finger acrobatics and contortions come in. Plenty of light, maybe a small mirror and extendable magnets are also handy to have around.
3. Carefully, gently remove the COP connector as these may be brittle due age---the locking tabs can break easily enough and give you a misfire indication. There are replacements available from NAPA, p/n EC259 for about $20 each. Not cheap but good to know they can be replaced if necessary.
4. Clean and inspect each COP boot---if in doubt change them. These have been shown to be the cause of many an issue with spark plug operation, often times after a change. Apply dielectric grease inside them, its cheap so use enough but of course not too much. Mostly you want the very opening of the boot coated sufficiently to give you a bit of a seal between it and the plug body.
5. The controversy rages whether to use nickel based anti-seize but its still a good idea IMHO. Permatex #771 is what I use---might be a bit tough to find but the forumula is recommended by Ford. I paid about $13 for 8oz from Amazon Ford dealers can order their spec'd brand for about $20, same amount.
6. Use an accurate torque wrench and slowly bring each plug up to torque, recommended between 14 and 21 ft/lbs.
7. Use a dab of anti-seize on the COP hold down bolts, assuming they all come out easily enough. This helps next time they need to be removed.
8. Restart engine, check for misfires or rough idle----typical signs the COP's might not be fully connected.
I might have simply repeated some of Josh's tips but with a bit of experience and all this info in these forums you should be good to go. It seems hard to do or daunting at first but after that first time you'll be an old pro, adding your own ideas to threads like this in the future.
Let us know how it goes for you-----always nice to read an encouraging story about this most dreaded of tasks!!
(The beer at the end of the job is optional but not a bad idea---AFTER the test drive that is!
Use a 7mm 1/4" drive universal socket for the coil hold-down bolts.Use ONLY Motor Craft plugs. ACCEL makes coils for this motor that are supposed to be better than Ford and they are about $20 less per coil.O'Reillys sells them.The job looks worse than it really is. Rick
I believe the plug gap is already set from the manufacturer (assuming its Motor Craft brand) and its not advisable to change it as it can damage the electrode. I've read this and while checked the gap on plugs I've installed (all spot on) so never had to adjust it to a spec.
COP's are available in a number of brands and I went with the Granatelli's because at the time eight COP's cost $200 + local tax. Ford was selling them for about $75 each, no discount for a set so I was money ahead. Today Ford OEM COP's are available many online sites (Rock Auto being one) and pretty much in line with my aftermarket cost for the set. In hindsight I wouldn't change them unless one or more is defective--there's not a lot of performance or gas mileage advantage over stock.
By all means give us your impressions and share the horror parts of it----its always interesting hearing from another first timer!
Gap is .052-.056 they are usually set quite close from the factory,but it doesnt hurt to recheck.Its such a PIA to get to them,that a little fore thought will pay for itself later. Plugs usually are good for 100,00 mi minimun.I usually try to gap them to the .052 setting...let them "burn in" to .056!As far as coils go; they are good until you start to feel a mis-fire. Go to a Ford dealer to diagnose the specific cylinder. The "generic" analyzers dont have the level of sofistication to really get to the heart of the problem. The factory diagnostics can get to levels far below the generics.It may cost a few bucks more ,but will more than pay for itself in time and labor savings.Rick
I did the same way but i remove fuel rails its easy just couple small bolds and you good to go, and also why to remove seats? its enought space to work on plugs, just my opinion...
Its strictly a matter of personal preference either way. With just four fasteners per seat and no O-rings to dislodge, fall off and need replacing its easier to me than fiddling with the fuel rails.
I'd disagree plugs are good for 100K miiles-----about 50K is all I go since my 5.4 gasser has the dreaded 4 threads per hole I won't take a chance on all the nasty things that happen to plugs left installed that long.
Well I started changing the plugs yesterday. Thank you all for the advice, the project is going well.
After running around picking up parts, I started yesterday @ 12:00. I removed the seats (well worth the time) my plan of attack was to remove then replace plugs and boots on each plug so not to get any wiring connectors crossed.
Removed the cover and found that a squirrel decided to make my van his nest for the winter; he had TONS of palm nuts stashed all over the motor and built a little nest under the manifold (I drive this van daily). After cleaning up that mess I managed to remove seats, replace 4 plugs and boots on one side of the motor in about 5 hours. Glad I did this job myself, there is no way a mechanic would have taken the time to clean everything as well as I did and stuff would have fallen into the motor.
I plan on finishing up this Saturday and will let you guys know how that went Monday.
To all that gave me confidence and directions…THANK YOU!
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