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Old 02-23-2014, 05:10 AM
SaneSyco SaneSyco is offline
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Smile 5.4 Spark Plugs

Hello all, I just joined this forum, I have read a LOT of posts on changing the plugs on a 06 5.4. I was terrified of trying it myself from all the horror stories i read about them breaking off. I went to my mechanic he said he would not touch it but referred me to a garage down the road from him. I took my truck in and they gave me a quote of 280.00 + 70 for each one that broke off + the cost of the new plugs. Not knowing this mechanic and not being able to be there when they would change them i opted to do them myself due to the cost if everyone of them broke. 950.00!!!! I spent the money on the spark plug remover tool at o'reilly's for 100.00. yes i know i could get the plugs and tool way cheaper on ebay or amazon but my truck started bucking really really hard and did not want to wait. 100k on the OEM plugs. I bought seafoam deep creep to soak on them before i pulled them. Me and my Brother Inlaw we set to change them. I showed up at his house at 430 and we were done by 730. I only had 2 break off ( 2 of the hardest ones to get to)& with the tool they came out with ease. long story short it is not as bad as the stories you read on the net. we did have to disconnect a few wires and the left side of the pcm in order to get to them. All in all it was really not that bad. FYI Ford now recommends to change them every 60k.
So if you need to change your plugs your self jump on in just be sure you have the right tools it is not that bad at all.
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Old 02-23-2014, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by SaneSyco View Post
So if you need to change your plugs your self jump on in just be sure you have the right tools it is not that bad at all.
Very, very true!

Yes there are indeed seemingly a million threads here about plug problems---some of them quite scary if new to these engines. The 3 valve versions seem to have issues unique to themselves, those of us who still have the 2V motors don't face.

Adding my own two bits I'd NEVER let my plugs in any modular motor go past 50-60K miles. Yeah I know they're claimed to go 100K but c'mon---can they really? I'd love to know the gap measurement on a plug left in that long.

Changing plugs a bit sooner after that first time seems a lot more reasonable and in reality isn't that expensive. Besides renewing the ignition its a great time to inspect any other potential performance issue like vacuum hoses, loose wiring connections, PCV, etc etc etc.

While so many will claim using nickel based anti-seize isn't necessary I do it without hesitation. I also increase plug torque to 21-22 ft/lbs which in combination with the anti-seize seems to be pretty much perfect. Keep in mind most of my 2V motors are of the earlier head design, those with only 3-4 threads per plug hole.

Thanks for sharing your experiences---good to know one more of us has joined this club!
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Old 02-27-2014, 11:34 AM
Floresville1969 Floresville1969 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaneSyco View Post
Hello all, I just joined this forum, I have read a LOT of posts on changing the plugs on a 06 5.4. I was terrified of trying it myself from all the horror stories i read about them breaking off. I went to my mechanic he said he would not touch it but referred me to a garage down the road from him. I took my truck in and they gave me a quote of 280.00 + 70 for each one that broke off + the cost of the new plugs. Not knowing this mechanic and not being able to be there when they would change them i opted to do them myself due to the cost if everyone of them broke. 950.00!!!! I spent the money on the spark plug remover tool at o'reilly's for 100.00. yes i know i could get the plugs and tool way cheaper on ebay or amazon but my truck started bucking really really hard and did not want to wait. 100k on the OEM plugs. I bought seafoam deep creep to soak on them before i pulled them. Me and my Brother Inlaw we set to change them. I showed up at his house at 430 and we were done by 730. I only had 2 break off ( 2 of the hardest ones to get to)& with the tool they came out with ease. long story short it is not as bad as the stories you read on the net. we did have to disconnect a few wires and the left side of the pcm in order to get to them. All in all it was really not that bad. FYI Ford now recommends to change them every 60k.
So if you need to change your plugs your self jump on in just be sure you have the right tools it is not that bad at all.
I ALSO AGREE...Just did my plugs on my 5.4 2007 Lariat....I had a wonderful time! I too had ONLY 2 break off. I noticed when I was unscrewing the plug...the 2 that broke were the ones that I would screw and un-screw like we were taught to do with stubborn studs or plugs by Dad.....lol.......I would thread and un-thread to loosen them. Well, these 2 broke. Bought me the extractor kit...Awesome tool for $100...just follow directions.... The other 6 that I did, once I broke the seat and heard some screeching going on with that aluminum head down there....I just kept unscrewing or unthreading. The plug came All the way out....Nothing broke.....Imagine that! I had also use some penetrating oil for about 2 hours....drank a cold Michelob Ultra....put some tunes on in the garage....I went to work. Took my time and had a great time! 5 Hrs tops.....
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Old 02-27-2014, 12:33 PM
Beechkid Beechkid is offline
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When I decided it was time to change the plugs (2006 Mark LT 4x2, 5.4, 35,000 miles) with the Motorcraft SP 515’s. Although I knew about the carbon build-up/plug removal issue, I decided not to change the plugs until there was a replacement plug that I was comfortable with…meaning I knew it was a good quality plug in terms of component design and construction. Although I did follow the most recent TSB, I also relied on my experience back in the 1970’s when aluminum heads & intake manifolds were just entering the street scene and never-seize did not exist. Here are the exceptions to the TSB that I did…
1. I ran Lucas fuel injection cleaner, mixed at 3 times their recommendation in 1 full tank of gasoline. Purpose…if I was lucky, it would dissolve or loosen any carbon buildup (although many do a real fuel injection cleaning also- and it is probably a best practice to do if you have more than 45-50,000 miles on the plugs)
2. Although I am a fan of PB Blaster, I used a product called ChemSearch “Yield”. The issue I have with using carb cleaner is the lack of lubrication…..in the old days of removing steel plugs from aluminum heads, we use to mix up acetone & ATF…or of we needed more lubrication, kerosene & ATF, “Yield” provides this lubrication- much better IMHO than even PB Blaster.
3. Yes, I put anti-seize on the plug threads (I know the TSB says not to)
4. Of course…a lot of patience, I really doubt if I ever put more than 20-25 lbs of force during removal (purposefully)
The end result, only one plug even “squeaked” coming out (but it basically unscrewed like a regular plug- literally). Plug #4 was initially a little stubborn, but after the second try, then waiting about 30 minutes, it came out with very little effort…just kept wiggling the plugs (tightening/loosening) by 1/8th or even less of a turn- and they all came out without a single one breaking or any issue really. Another technique that can definitely be used is to loosen the plugs about 1/8 to ¼ of a turn, start the engine for about 1 minute- this allows the flame to travel up around the plug to burn off the carbon, let cool, then remove with the process I previously described.
As far as using an air ratchet, I can understand the theory of “shocking” the carbon loose, but I have also seen and experienced in my younger days some real disasters.
Actual working time: 2 hours…..including washing my hands, total time was 5 hours.
FYI- Why I choose Motorcraft.
In the 1970’s I ran (like many) Champion’s in just about everything (even had the gold palladiums), but stopped in the early 1980’s when they changed their copper-core design and the resulting quality problems that IMHO still exist today. Since then I have run Splitfire (non-platinum) in my old world (1960’s) cars, Bosch in my late 1990’s vehicles (both because the cylinder head design really prefers these types of plugs), but I really had hesitation because of the construction/component quality of the non-Motorcraft plugs and really questioned the durability in this application about the Motorcraft SP508 or SP 509’s which are single platinum. Given the types of loads and burn/flame promulgation rates in the chambers, I really had doubts about the style of the plug with single platinum having the ability to “survive” as long as they engineers said. What do ya know…the SP 515’s are double platinum.
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Old 03-01-2014, 06:42 AM
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I've read more than a few posts where if/when the plugs start squealing during removal stop turning and squirt a bit of Kroil, PB Blaster etc into the treads and wait a few minutes. If the tapered seat is off the head any penetrating fluid should seep down and into the threads quite quickly.

Not necessarily disagreeing with the pre-treatment of injector or fuel system cleaners before plug changing but I do question how effective that can really be? Just curious as I say.........

Although I do use Techron Concentrate in the recommended doses every 3K miles, add it every oil change in fact.
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Old 03-01-2014, 11:28 AM
Beechkid Beechkid is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JWA View Post
I've read more than a few posts where if/when the plugs start squealing during removal stop turning and squirt a bit of Kroil, PB Blaster etc into the treads and wait a few minutes. If the tapered seat is off the head any penetrating fluid should seep down and into the threads quite quickly.

Not necessarily disagreeing with the pre-treatment of injector or fuel system cleaners before plug changing but I do question how effective that can really be? Just curious as I say..........
Yes, my thoughts as well.....more of a long shot of well, it can't hurt! Looking back now, I think what would more likely help is to spray a slight mist of water down the intake with the engine running.......just like in the old days when we needed to clean out the carbon a little.....the steam would be more prone to get into the chamber and loosen/soften up the carbon a lot better.

BTW- for the younger crowd reading this......there is a proper way to spray water down the engine....a very light mist and be very cautious because you could if not done right, hydrolock the engine.
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Old 04-15-2014, 08:43 AM
scothill scothill is offline
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Im in the process of changing my spark plugs on my 2007 5.4 xlt truck(106,000 miles). Last night I took off the coil packs and used pb lubricate on the plugs has been setting all night and all day,I tried the first plug after I got all the other coil packs off and sprayed the sparks with pb lubricate and it was still very tight, I am using a 3/8 ratchet with the Ford special socket (9/16) with two extensions, just wondering if I need to use a breaker bar or go with a 1/2 ratchet, not wanting to pay a dealership to do this, but I may have to, any suggestions?
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Old 04-15-2014, 03:17 PM
Beechkid Beechkid is offline
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Originally Posted by scothill View Post
Im in the process of changing my spark plugs on my 2007 5.4 xlt truck(106,000 miles). Last night I took off the coil packs and used pb lubricate on the plugs has been setting all night and all day,I tried the first plug after I got all the other coil packs off and sprayed the sparks with pb lubricate and it was still very tight, I am using a 3/8 ratchet with the Ford special socket (9/16) with two extensions, just wondering if I need to use a breaker bar or go with a 1/2 ratchet, not wanting to pay a dealership to do this, but I may have to, any suggestions?
No...no breaker bar....just keep spraying and gently work the plug back & forth...even if it is only 1/8 or a turn.
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Old 04-16-2014, 07:19 AM
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Agreeing again with Beechkid!

At 100K miles plugs most likely will be tough to remove so going slow, liberal use of PB Blaster, Kroil, etc is the best bet to prevent any thread damage or broken plugs. Trying to muscle them out isn't a good idea.

FWIW 100K miles on a set of plugs IMHO far, far exceeds an sort of real world practicality. Despite Ford's claims they'll go that distance its not worth the downside to save a few dollars.

In fact I'd love to see a set of 100K plugs via photo & measure the existing gap---it can't be pretty.
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Old 04-18-2014, 02:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beechkid View Post
I also relied on my experience back in the 1970’s when aluminum heads & intake manifolds were just entering the street scene and never-seize did not exist.
In the early 70s I worked as a mechanic for a Core Drilling Company. We used Never-Seize all the time. It did exist.
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Old 06-19-2014, 07:49 AM
scothill scothill is offline
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Well i got the spark plugs changed! Took about total of 4 hrs. Removed computer and brackett and all coil packs. Turned all spark plugs about a quarter turn. Sprayed carb cleaner around the old spark plugs. I let it sit for 1 hour and started. I noticed if they didnt make a crunching noise or sqeaking noise while working the plug like you would a tap they were going to come out. Had some crunching and squaeking on two of them. I would stop and spray more carb cleaner on them and let it sit for 20 minites or so.
I got 7 of them out, the last one, second one from the front on drivers side broke, so off to Napa and bought the extracting tool ( 94.00 bucks). Tool worked great. Also do this job when engine is cold, advice from a local mechanic that does these spark plugs all the time. Truck runs a lot better, but I still have the problem sometimes when the engine is warm and idling in parking lot looking for a space it almost sounds like a diesel (rough idling and shaking) any suggestions?
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Old 06-19-2014, 09:28 AM
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The rough idle when in gear could be IAC if your engine has one--typically those will throw code, perhaps not always though?

You might want to re-check your COP's making sure they're firmly seated on the plug. Check also the wiring harness connector to the COP--the locking tab has been known to be sketchy from time to time.

If you have a scanner run a scan seeing if anything shows up as a pending code.

BTW good going on changing plugs---your approach was perfect for a first timer. Taking time, letting the penetrant do its trick. The #6 broken plug is part of your engine but that $94 is still cheaper than a dealership would have charged you.
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Old 06-19-2014, 02:01 PM
scothill scothill is offline
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Thanks for the suggestions JWA, I'll look at the IAE, the job wasnt as bad as some people said, My son(15)heiped me do the job, now he wants to get him some jobs since we have the extracting tool for thr triton engines. Take care!
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Old 06-19-2014, 02:01 PM
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Sorry the IAE
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Old 06-19-2014, 02:01 PM
 
 
 
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