I have just finished installing plugs on my 5.4L Exped. and thought that I would pass along some tips for those uninitiated. Yes I know; the task appears to be imposible. It's not. The right tools and lots of patients and care are a must.
I recommend starting with plug #1 (on the front right hand side of the engine) and working toward the #4 plug. Numbers one and two are pretty straight forword. You'll need a 7mm swivel socket with several different lengths of extentions including a 14" (all 1/4" drive of course). A good 5/8ths plug socket that incorporates a swivel and several 3/8ths drive extentions. And finally, a tilt-head 3/8ths ratchet.
Remove the 7mm screw that secures the coil, then twist and bend to remove the coil. There is no need to remove the fuel rails as some have suggested, but feel free to remove any hoses/covers/conections that will make things easier. The electrical conectors for the coils have a release tab below them; remove the conectors for the injectors as well (don't be afraid to slightly twist injectors out of the way).
Numbers 3 & 4 are tough. I used some small rope to pull various hoses out of the way and layed across the top of the engine to access the small work space I managed to clear. The swivel socket w/6" extention and the tiltable rachet did the job. Be carefull! Do not drop anything! Use duct tape to secure any loose extentions that might disconnect on you. Disconecting the #4 coil wire was impossible for me without removing the coil first. Use anti-seize and dielectric grease on the plugs and coil boots. I did the job over several days and hit what seemed to be many dead-ends. But after having done this, I could probably do it again in an hour.
Thanks for the info! I think we should compile a whole how-to on changing plugs on the 5.4. There was an excellent post a while back that gave step-by-step instructions, including a list of necessary tools, sockets, and extensions. Handy to have. Your "rope trick" will probably save a lot of people a lot of aggravation.
Hi mk Welcome to THE forum for your ford issues.
I have a couple of questions for you.
Were the plugs ever changed before in the truck?
If they were did you notice if all 8 plugs were the same?.
When I changed mine, the rear 4 were original and the front 4 had all been changed. Meaning whoever changed the plugs previuously chnged only 4 and charged for 8. It is a major P.I.T.A. but once you do it you can do it alot faster next time. I agree with everything you said except, for those who lose their patience fairly quickly, I would DEFINITELY SUGGEST STARTING WITH THE REAR PLUGS ON BOTH SIDES FIRST so that you knock out the hard part first. The four front ones are so straight forward they only take 5 minutes each. It is better to end with the easy part than the hard part. Once again, WELCOME.
The reason for starting with plugs 1&2 was to get the feel for what was ahead: The twisting and turning of the coils, the deep recess of the plugs, a little practice disconecting the ignition harness and injector conections.
Something that I didn't mention on my first post: #7 is a bitch. The only way I was able to remove the 7mm bolt was with a 20" extention (1/4" drive) and a 7mm swivel socket---NOT a 7mm with a universal coupling. Also, I'm told by my Ford mechanic conection that #7 for some reason, runs hot. It was the only coil that I had trouble getting out. In fact, I pulled the coil from the boot and had to use pliers to extract the boot from the head.
>Mine was around 70,000. Definitely go with the PLATINUM +4
>if you are going to undertake this PROJECT. I noticed a
>difference immediately in power and idling.
Thanks for the reply.
I guess with 28000 I have a ways to go yet.
Shouldn't the plugs be regapped at about 40000.
I know if we're going through all the trouble you should just replace the plugs but I read somewhere that the plugs should be regapped at XXXXX mileage.
>>Mine was around 70,000. Definitely go with the PLATINUM +4
>>if you are going to undertake this PROJECT. I noticed a
>>difference immediately in power and idling.
>Thanks for the reply.
>I guess with 28000 I have a ways to go yet.
>Shouldn't the plugs be regapped at about 40000.
>I know if we're going through all the trouble you should
>just replace the plugs but I read somewhere that the plugs
>should be regapped at XXXXX mileage.
As I mentioned in my first post, I changed my plugs for the first time at 72K and after checking the gap, noticed that there was virtually no gap erosion; they were all around .053". If I were to do it all again, I'd wait until the recommended 100K miles.
[updated:LAST EDITED ON 01-15-03 AT 04:27 PM (EST)]Thanks for posting the steps for replacing the plugs. I have a 1998 5.4L with 102K on it now. According to the miles it is ready for plugs, but I hate to do the job becuase the truck is running so well. Plus I'm really dreading doing it myself.
But if I do it myself it's a good excuse to go out and buy a new swivel ratchet and socket set. Since I don't have one of them yet!
Just wanted to share a spark plug story with you that might make your 4-day virgin run on the spark plugs seem more like a walk in the park. Let me just start by saying that I'm a stay home Mom, and my little spark plug project probably would have never even gotten off the ground if day time T.V. just ran back to back episodes of Fear Factor. That way... I could teach my 3-year old son the nutritional importance of a good earth worm as opposed to trying to teach him the value of "do-it yourself" and generally how to change spark plugs. My day actually started yesterday when I was driving down the road with my best friend and he looked at me and said...”I don't know how to say this nicely, but your ride has seen better days." He couldn't have been more correct. Last week, my husband was driving my truck and hit an orange tree limb that was in the road and shattered my passenger side rear-view mirror. I had a blinker light that was burned out and another light on my passenger side running board that was burned out. Not to mention the fact that my truck was in general... filthy! Anyway. I went to the parts store and immediately got the look that I get every time I go in there to get parts for our vehicles. The look was... you're a girl, what the hell do you know about vehicles. I hate that look!! Especially when you get the look from a female parts girl that thinks spark plugs are sold in a pack, not priced individually. My conscience got in the way and I corrected her on the price of the spark plugs, but when she was too stupid to correctly price me for a case of Castrol Full-Syntec oil, and only charged me for one quart, I kept my big mouth shut. I walked out of the store happy that I had just saved $25 on her stupidity, but knowing that trouble was in store for me. I seriously thought.. This frigging free oil is going to seize my engine with my luck. So I fixed my lights and changed my oil last night and decided to start the spark plug project today. So with your incredible instructions, my Bosch Platinums, and Chilton's Manual (cheater... I know) in one hand, and my little boys hand in the other, I headed out to start my spark plug project. I thought to myself.... Should I move the truck first so that my other car is free to drive out of the driveway, or not? Hmmm, it's just spark plugs... right!!!! So I decided to leave the car trapped in the driveway by my Expedition. Remember, my Expedition is an automatic, so worst case scenario, I can't just put it in neutral, push it out of the way. I got my tools, and started into the project. I decided to remove the connectors for the fuel injectors on the left hand side of the engine and as soon as I did, my o-rings all pretty much fell apart. They were in very bad shape, and some were even completely shredded. So my spark plug job quickly turned into a fuel injector o-ring replacement job. I live in Phoenix and one would think any old parts store on the corner would have these, but they don't. At my 5th store, I finally found the o-rings. This was after I had to face the embarrassment of calling my best friend to come take me to the parts store while he reminded me of my perfectly good car trapped in the driveway. I came home, replaced the o-rings, put back together the fuel injector system, and called it a day. Between all the "Mommy, I have to go potty”, answering the typical 3-year old endless question of "what's that thingy?”, and the time it took to take my car seat out of my car, put it in my buddy's car, and then go actually find the o-rings, I had to call it a day. This was all going to be done so that our road trip this weekend could be a good fuel economy test for my minor tune-up at 68175 miles. Since we’re leaving tomorrow for the weekend, I don’t want to start this mess over again just in case something else goes terribly wrong. So my spark plug job will just have to wait until Monday morning. Hopefully Day 2 will go better than Day 1. Damn that free oil!!! Thanks though for your awesome instructions on the spark plugs, when I finally do get the job done, it will probably only be accomplished because of your great tips and instructions. Thanks again!!
P.S. Kudos to my Dad for not only teaching me basic mechanical functions, but for also teaching me how to fish with a magnetic retrieving tool. I dropped a bolt and it took me almost 30 minutes to retrieve it, but at least I did get it out with the proper string of curse words that I now have to unincorporate from my 3 year-old's vocabulary.
First of all, many thanks for the invaluable advice and experience you folks provide on this forum.
Just today I tackled the plugs in my '99 5.4 liter Expy-- what a chore! With 82k miles, I developed a miss in the #4 cylindar (does this sound familiar?) Of course, it was the dreaded and idiotically engineered heater hose just above the #4 coil pack leaking around the clamp.
This is the second time in the vehicle's life it needed a new #4 coil pack. Ford did the first one under warrranty-- but did they solve the leaky heater hose? Obviously not.
My question-- has any forum member come up with a way to counteract this ongoing problem? I was mulling a larger diameter hose to fit over the joint of the metal heater core pipe and the rubber heater hose itself-- that way any leak might be diverted overboard and away from the coil packs. Any thoughts here?
Allow me a comment on the plugs themselves, I changed to
Bosch plus-4s and, wow, what a difference. They really light you up.
For anyone attempting to change plugs remember this-- #4 and #7 are queen bitches. In the words of Don Henley-- "She'll hurt you if she's able.."
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