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  #1  
Old 08-14-2007, 12:37 PM
telrock telrock is offline
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Angry Replacement Motor for 5.4

1998 Lariat F150 w/130,000 miles finally blew out number 3 plug. Changed plugs about 15,000 ago. I've seen the discussions about TimeSert's products, and other thread repair thoughts. I've talked to Ford and their $6000+ engine replacement. (They'll give me another one, just like the other one - Why would I want That??) I can get 'Real' heads for about $1400 per side, plus labor. And I've found a local repair shop that'll re-build for around $3500. So - after much thought, here's my question. Has anyone ever replaced this 5.4 liter NIGHTMARE with a Real Engine? I'd love to drop a 351 Cleveland into this POS, but have no idea how to do it.
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  #2  
Old 08-14-2007, 02:12 PM
Club Wagon Club Wagon is offline
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You "finally blew out number 3 plug"? How is that FORD's fault? Your estimates for repairs sound excessive. Your bashing the 5.4 sounds ridiculous. Your fantasy of swapping out for a 351 sounds absurd. Presume you've priced out installing a recycled 5.4 or head for a 10 YO w/130K?

Quote:
Originally Posted by telrock
1998 Lariat F150 w/130,000 miles finally blew out number 3 plug. Changed plugs about 15,000 ago. I've seen the discussions about TimeSert's products, and other thread repair thoughts. I've talked to Ford and their $6000+ engine replacement.

Has anyone ever replaced this 5.4 liter NIGHTMARE with a Real Engine? I'd love to drop a 351 Cleveland into this POS, but have no idea how to do it.
FORD used platinum plugs that should easily last 50K. How did you manage to ruin the threads & what do you mean "blew out" a plug? Did the porcelain come free b/c a plug came apart? Name & blame the defective plugs.

I suspect you're pining for the Good Old Days. Reviews gave the 5.4 extremely high grades & FORD claimed they go 100K w/o a tune up. If you want a Real "NIGHTMARE" just try "to drop a 351 Cleveland into this POS".
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  #3  
Old 08-14-2007, 03:47 PM
Lance1601 Lance1601 is offline
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Go with TimeSert
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  #4  
Old 08-14-2007, 03:58 PM
BLK94F150 BLK94F150 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Club Wagon
You "finally blew out number 3 plug"? How is that FORD's fault? Your estimates for repairs sound excessive. Your bashing the 5.4 sounds ridiculous. Your fantasy of swapping out for a 351 sounds absurd. Presume you've priced out installing a recycled 5.4 or head for a 10 YO w/130K?



FORD used platinum plugs that should easily last 50K. How did you manage to ruin the threads & what do you mean "blew out" a plug? Did the porcelain come free b/c a plug came apart? Name & blame the defective plugs.

I suspect you're pining for the Good Old Days. Reviews gave the 5.4 extremely high grades & FORD claimed they go 100K w/o a tune up. If you want a Real "NIGHTMARE" just try "to drop a 351 Cleveland into this POS".
How is it not? It's well known that Ford didn't use enough threads to hold the plugs in. Then when water gets in the plug holes past the spark plug boots it can corrode and weaken the plugs and heads, although it doesn't have to. The pressure from normal use blows the plug out of the head.

I don't give a rat's behind what the reviews say. I had to have mine rebuilt at 75000 miles because of a defective intake manifold gasket that blew. There's even a TSB on it. Mine cost about 2500 to rebuild.

Basicly, your cheapest fix is the timesert thing. That's what I would do.

Unfortunately I have to agree with Club Wagon that trying to put a 351 Cleveland in there will be a nightmare.

Mike
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  #5  
Old 08-14-2007, 04:10 PM
telrock telrock is offline
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Wouldn't dream of arguing with the pain of installing a different engine - but I can dream. The TimeSert deal is probably the way I'll go, but doing the single one that blew seems to address only one eighth of the problem.
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  #6  
Old 08-14-2007, 04:29 PM
Big Bad Big Bad is offline
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Actually, Ford Racing makes a kit for installing a mass-air 351W into the 1997+ chassis, includes a GT40 engine (240hp/340 tq) and all...or at least they did a few years ago.

If you're going to go the engine swap route, go with a 5.4L 4V. You can usually find a used Navi engine from GreenLeafAuto for pretty cheap.
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  #7  
Old 08-14-2007, 06:21 PM
galaxie641 galaxie641 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Bad
Actually, Ford Racing makes a kit for installing a mass-air 351W into the 1997+ chassis, includes a GT40 engine (240hp/340 tq) and all...or at least they did a few years ago.

If you're going to go the engine swap route, go with a 5.4L 4V. You can usually find a used Navi engine from GreenLeafAuto for pretty cheap.

That would be a ton of work for 5 extra hp and less hp if you have a '99+ PI 5.4L. Most of those price quotes are rediculous, you should be able to get a completely new engine for around $3500. Heads should run maybe $2K-$2500, if money was a bit tight I'd go with '03 heads that have the 8 threads in them. You'd also need a PI intake which can be had for $150 or less on ebay.
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  #8  
Old 08-14-2007, 06:29 PM
Club Wagon Club Wagon is offline
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OK. I'm convinced FORD's '97-'04 blown spark plug problem is "known". Seems as though Consumer Affairs collected more than 200 complaints over 5 years & NHSTA received 474 complaints. Keep in mind they estimate there are 10.3 million "subject vehicles". I was most surprised that even people who'd bought costly Extended Warrantys found they weren't covered, even on vehicles which had their original spark plugs blow!

What I did not find were convincing explanations for why it happens, especially why #3 cylinder seems to be particularly prone. Its suggested that there's no serious design flaw. Some theorize that occasionally a plug is not tightened to spec & loosens, which leads to the plug vibrating & hammering at the threads, resulting in metal fatigue & plug blow out.

What I was surprised not to see was the notorious problem of overtightening spark plugs in aluminum cylinder heads. IMO its very easy to imagine technicians accustomed to tightening the pizz out of plugs in iron heads continuing the same strong arm procedure after aluminum heads came in & ruining the threads w/o even realizing it. I'll bet spark plugs are still routinely overtightened. Reminds me of a similar wave of problems as alloy wheels replaced traditional steel wheels. A generation of mechanics who'd grown up tightening the snot out of wheels suddenly found out the hard way, on the backs of consumers who suffered the consequences, that they needed to use a torque wrench & tighten things to spec.
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  #9  
Old 08-14-2007, 07:03 PM
Big Bad Big Bad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by galaxie641
That would be a ton of work for 5 extra hp and less hp if you have a '99+ PI 5.4L.
I'm not advocating the swap, just offering the info since somebody expressed an interest in swapping a 351 into a 97+ F150.

That 5.8L, which is actually a 93-95 Lightning engine, actually makes 20 horsepower and 10 lb.-ft. less than a PI 5.4L.

Quote:
Most of those price quotes are rediculous, you should be able to get a completely new engine for around $3500. Heads should run maybe $2K-$2500, if money was a bit tight I'd go with '03 heads that have the 8 threads in them. You'd also need a PI intake which can be had for $150 or less on ebay.
I agree. I would say you can get all of those parts for far cheaper than that. PI heads are a dime a dozen. I'd get my hands on a set of used PIs for a couple hundred bucks and send them off to Fox Lake for a full rebuild with quality springs and bronze valve guides. You could have a set of heads that are actually assembled with much higher than OEM quality for little more than $1,000. 2V Modulars have gotten somewhat affordable, finally.
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  #10  
Old 08-15-2007, 12:23 AM
BLK94F150 BLK94F150 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Club Wagon
OK. I'm convinced FORD's '97-'04 blown spark plug problem is "known". Seems as though Consumer Affairs collected more than 200 complaints over 5 years & NHSTA received 474 complaints. Keep in mind they estimate there are 10.3 million "subject vehicles". I was most surprised that even people who'd bought costly Extended Warrantys found they weren't covered, even on vehicles which had their original spark plugs blow!

What I did not find were convincing explanations for why it happens, especially why #3 cylinder seems to be particularly prone. Its suggested that there's no serious design flaw. Some theorize that occasionally a plug is not tightened to spec & loosens, which leads to the plug vibrating & hammering at the threads, resulting in metal fatigue & plug blow out.

What I was surprised not to see was the notorious problem of overtightening spark plugs in aluminum cylinder heads. IMO its very easy to imagine technicians accustomed to tightening the pizz out of plugs in iron heads continuing the same strong arm procedure after aluminum heads came in & ruining the threads w/o even realizing it. I'll bet spark plugs are still routinely overtightened. Reminds me of a similar wave of problems as alloy wheels replaced traditional steel wheels. A generation of mechanics who'd grown up tightening the snot out of wheels suddenly found out the hard way, on the backs of consumers who suffered the consequences, that they needed to use a torque wrench & tighten things to spec.
Sometimes the AC lines drip condensation onto the engine and that moisture gets into the spark plug holes and corrodes the metal.

I think the main problem is not enough threads in the head. A close second is improperly torqueing the plugs.

Mike
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  #11  
Old 08-15-2007, 12:14 PM
telrock telrock is offline
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This guy really says it all - http://home.nycap.rr.com/tritonlemon/
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  #12  
Old 08-15-2007, 01:49 PM
Big Bad Big Bad is offline
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That site shows 88 complaints from NHTSA, not exactly an overwhelming number.
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  #13  
Old 08-15-2007, 02:28 PM
Club Wagon Club Wagon is offline
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Reread my post, NHSTA had 474 complaints according to several versions of the 'blown plug' story I saw.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Bad
That site shows 88 complaints from NHTSA, not exactly an overwhelming number.
However, to put that into perspective they recognized 10.3 million "subject vehicles" or just 0.0046% complaints. There's still no doubt that this is a troubling issue & a much larger uncounted number of FORD owners have suffered 'blown plugs'.

I'd like to start discussions on how to try to prevent the problem. If it is associated with my suspicion of overtightening, even from the factory or in dealer/pro mechanic's hands, it may be out of owner's hands. The damage may already be done. Obviously the heads are fragile by design & require extra precautions. There are instances of loose plugs and stuck plugs. The '98 I'm getting has the original platinum plugs that FORD expects to last 100K. I will check them for looseness & foreign matter, but have not settled on a torque spec yet. Mainly I intend to leave them alone until atleast 50K. Also want to look into another's suggestion of using an alternative, longer reach plug, to possibly capture more thread. No plug number was recommended to achieve this. I also use an antiseize compound on plug threads & will check to see if 1 product might be better than another for this application.
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  #14  
Old 08-15-2007, 02:56 PM
telrock telrock is offline
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Alternate plugs won't address the issue. There aren't enough threads in the head itself. The two most logical solutions I've seen are: 1) Get some 2003 heads, and their associated PI, (What's a PI?) or 2) Timesert all eight holes. I'm thinking about going route 2. 2003 heads supposedly have twice the number of threads in an attempt to address the issue. Timeserts are made of STEEL. I like that! Since I've got around 130K, and since I REFUSE to think about doing all 8 'over the fender' as suggested by Timesert, I'm going to find someone that'll give me a valve job, and install the sleeves at the same time - or something like that...
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  #15  
Old 08-15-2007, 02:57 PM
telrock telrock is offline
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And I lied - it's not #3 - it's #7.
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Old 08-15-2007, 02:57 PM
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