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How to replace your 4.6L & 5.4L spark plugs

 
  #166  
Old 01-25-2006, 10:14 AM
bdski
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yeah it did not help. I have had the injectors cleaned as well. I changed the pcv valve yesterday, maybe this will help.
 
  #167  
Old 01-26-2006, 11:45 AM
Mr.Novice
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Lightbulb Revised, summarized, and (hopefully) helpful advice for replacing COP spark plugs

Wow. This is a great thread.
Hi, everybody!
I joined this site just yesterday with the hope of finding some help with changing my spark plugs in my 2001 4.6L EB Expedition w/121k miles. I bought the truck at 76,000 miles and drove the hell out of it for a couple of years. I recently changed the transmission fluid/filter and have been keeping the oil changed, but (as I found out recently), the truck had never had a tune-up before now.

So I'm on a Quail-Hunting trip with my buddy last weekend and we ending up driving back with 63 quail and only 7 cylinders... It started missing under a load and vibrating pretty good. The Service Engine Soon light came on so I got Autozone to read the code - P309 or something like that - Cylinder misfire. Duh.

Well they sell me 8 spark plugs and I'm tempted to change them right there in the parking lot because "how hard can it be", right?

That was Monday. It's now Thursday, and, thanks to everyone in this thread, I have 5 out of 8 plugs replaced with just about 4.5 hours of work put into it. By the way, If I had read this thread FIRST instead of in the middle of this job, I would have more like 2 hours work put into this, but oh well. After doing this once, I'm confident that I could do this job in its entirety in no more than 2 hours. I'm hoping that it's actually the plugs and not a coil (I have the coil on plug 4.6L). I guess I'll find that out when I put everything back together again...

So for you guys (and gals) that are looking to do this, here's the best way I know how. It contains most of the information from the past threads all put together...

IMPORTANT TOOLS:
Please make sure you have PLENTY of extensions and definitely a Universal Joint. It seems like it costs too much ($5-6) for that little of a tool, but when you're done, you'll say it was worth every penny - and probably more. You'll need at least 2 X 6" extensions (wobblers are helpful), but I would recommend having a couple of extra extensions (any length) just in case. You will also need a metric 7 socket, a metric 10 socket, and a spark plug socket.

1) Go ahead and take your front wheels off and lower your truck down to some jack stands or some ramps. The trick while changing these plugs out is to maximize your patience and minimize your cussing, and this little 5 minute exercise is well worth it for this reason.

1.5) Disconnect the positive battery terminal. Just do it. It's smart.

2) Take off the air intake manifold

3) Take the support brace (probably not the actual term for it) off of the Power Steering. This is between the Power Steering Reservoir and the engine, and taking it off will greatly increase your "wiggle room".

4) Go ahead and take both screws out of the fuel rail (on both sides) and lift it straight up to loosen the fuel rail from the engine. Be careful here b/c the injectors have a blue o-ring on top of them and if one falls off it could be awfully hard to find and reach to reinstall. I'm going to the parts store today to pick up a couple of these that I managed to lose the first night...

5) Now that you have freed up space, you can easily see the individual coils between the fuel injectors.

To quote RacerGuy:

The cylinders are numbered
(firewall)
4 8
3 7
2 6
1 5
(rad)
For some reason, #1 looked the worst (by far). It had some oxidation (rust) on the bottom half of the plug. I'm trying to think of a way to keep moisture out of this area, but there are some hoses just above it. They don't appear to be leaking, but I'm sure they condensate to some extent and that's what is causing this.

So far, #8 has been the biggest problem as far, but I haven't gotten to #4 yet. Somehow, I think the worst is over though. To get to #8, I had to mess with the order of my extensions quite a bit just to get the right angle on the retaining screw and the plug itself.

The setup on my wrench (in no particular order) is:

A 6" straight extension; a 6" Wobbler extension, a 3" wobbler, a universal joint, a 1/4" wobbler adaptor, then a metric 7 for the retaining screw. For the plug, I just used a regular (5/8" I think but don't quote me on that) spark plug socket. It's important that you have a socket that's wide enough to grab the plug, but skinny enough to fit into the cylinder head.


6) REPLACING ONE PLUG AT A TIME, remove the retaining screw. either just before or just after this (your preference), unclip the coil wire from the coil. There is a little clip at the end of the connector on the bottom. It's very easy to unclip as long as you know where the clip is.
I started with plug #5 just because it was easy to get to and I thought it would be good practice.
Set the screw aside, and pull STRAIGHT UP on the coil. It is very likely that the boot will separate from the coil itself. The coil has a spring coming out of the bottom of it that goes through the boot. To remove a separated boot, use a pair of bent-needle-nose pliers and pull straight up. Be sure and grab enough of the boot so that you don't tear it. Once you have both the coil and the boot out, you need to put them back together. You can see where the top of the coil rests on the boot b/c there is a little bump on one side of the boot where the coil rests on it.

7) Now attach your spark plug socket and go to town (not literally). A lot of people have mentioned that it would be a good idea to use compressed air to blow out the hole before removing the spark plug. I found this practice to be unproductive, as the grime that is in these holes is very resistent to being moved by air. Nevertheless, sound advice is sound advice. BE SURE that you have a good hold of the plug with your socket before trying to unscrew. I've heard horror stories of people breaking the plug while it's still screwed in, and that will end up costing you a bunch of labor hours since you may have to remove the head to fix that little mistake. Once you have the first spark plug out, go ahead and beat your chest and holler something to the effect of "YES!! I am the MAN!!". I found this practice to not only be satisfying, but also a huge morale booster considering how long it took me to realize what I was looking at when I first saw this coil-on-plug system.
Once you have a solid grasp of the plug with the plug socket (Easy if you apply pretty good downward pressure and feel the socket slide onto the plug), you can begin turning counter-clockwise. You may have to "break" the connection b/t the threads and the head, as my (original) plugs were torqued pretty good in there. This is by far the scariest part, and you may find yourself praying that you won't break the plug at this point. Don't worry - as long as the socket is securely on the plug, you should be safe.

8) Pull out your first new spark plug and gap it to .052 -.056 inches. Check your owner's manual for your individual specs, but is the correct gap for both the 4.6 and the 5.4 Liter engines in my year model (2001).

9) Apply some anti-seize to the threads, put your spark plug into your plug socket, and drop the socket & plug back into the head. With the anti-seize on there, you may not be able to feel the plug screwing in unless you are hand-tightening at this point. I would recommend that. Once it's hand tight, use your wrench or torque wrench to tighten it to spec. Personally, I just tightened it until it was slightly more than hand-tightened, but I'm almost positive that I over-tightened a couple of these. I don't have a torque-wrench, so this is probably the case. The most important thing is that you don't strip out any of the threads or try to over-tighten a spark plug. It WILL break if you overtighten. I didn't break any on this job, but I have before. Once I had a 6 cylinder running on 4 cylinders all the way back to the auto parts store to grab two more spark plugs b/c of my gorilla mentality. Shortly after that, I had to replace my catylitic converter, and the mechanic told me it was probably due to the backfire in my emissions system from this little extravaganza. I don't know if that's true or not, but let me qualify that by saying that that truck was my first (and last) Chevy (ok, GMC). I'm a true Ford guy now, albeit a convert, but I know enough about quality now to not let old family traditions get in the way of good decision making when it comes to buying a truck.

10) Put the retaing screw back in the coil and then place the coil & boot back to its original spot. Screw in the retaining screw, and you've just knocked out one spark plug replacement. Now do it 7 more times =)

11) Remember to put your screws where you can remember where they are and what they go to so that when you are done, you can put everything back to its original state. Also, be sure and check those blue o-rings on your fuel injectors to make sure that none are missing before you replace the fuel rail. Nobody likes a leaky fuel injector...

12) Feel free to email me if you need some fast advice. I also have the FACTORY repair manual on CD on its way in the mail, so let me know if you would like me to email you a few pages. I would be happy to.

I hope this advice helps somebody. It's more of a compilation of all the advice in this thread, but I though I would share my experience with y'all in my very first post.
Thanks everybody for sharing what you know, and God bless.

Mr.Novice

P.S. There are some great photos of the coil-on-plug in this thread if you want something to reference. Here's one from a google search:

http://www.visteon.com/products/automotive/images/specs/coil_on_plug.jpg
 
  #168  
Old 01-26-2006, 12:00 PM
Redfish5
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Excellent summation, Mr. Novice! Thanks for sharing. I will be tackling this job in the Spring...with the help from this tread.
 
  #169  
Old 01-28-2006, 04:50 PM
NASA_Hokie
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I just finished replacing the plugs in my 2002 F-150 with the 5.4L. Some of my experiences follow. Including a trip to the parts store, clean up, and everything else, I'd say it took me about 4 hours.

1) I completed this job without removing the fuel rails. I had to loosen the one on the driver side to get to #7 due to what looks like an accumulator being in the way. I'd have to say that #7 was the toughest one.

2) Using a piece of vacuum hose to get the plug started worked wonderfully.

3) Check the ends of the boots for tears after you remove them. #2 plug for me was torn. Luckily Advance Auto Parts sold just the boot, so I didn't have to shell out $50 for a new COP.

4) Be careful when removing the connector from the injector. There is a red gasket around this plug and it either sticks to the injector or falls off.

5) #1 plug looked the worst in terms of build up. I'm not sure what to make of that.

6) If you are planning to clean your throttle body during this job, do it before you change the plugs.

7) I didn't take off the front wheels, but I did have an old pillow and blanket to lay on. I'm not too sore. Yet.

8) If you don't have one of those claw grabber things to retrieve parts from regions your hands can't reach, get one. You are going to need it.

9) I managed to get everything loose, except for the screw on #7 or #8 COP without a swivel joint. I did have a stubby ratchet though.

Edit: 10) Removing the PCV valve/hose on the passenger side really helps clear the area.

Edit2: 11) I used the Motorcraft plugs from Autozone. P/N AGSF22WM or AGSF22WMF4 or 422WM. These P/N are all for the same plug, and the box has all 4 printed on it. When I first looked on the M/C website I got confused, so just wanted to pass this along.
Overall, it wasn't as bad as I expected. I'm not even missing any skin, which is really good for me.
 

Last edited by NASA_Hokie; 01-28-2006 at 04:55 PM.
  #170  
Old 01-28-2006, 04:57 PM
Mr.Novice
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Finished up the spark plugs but still had a cylinder misfiring. Engine code read #8 was misfiring, so replacing the #8 coil did the trick. The manager at O'Reilly autoparts told me that they keep 8 of these coils in stock at all times because they tend to go out one afer another. . . Just an FYI. My truck had 121,000 miles before a coil went out.
 
  #171  
Old 01-28-2006, 06:07 PM
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Good to read more success stories
 
  #172  
Old 01-28-2006, 06:25 PM
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Thanks for the great write up! I Did 8 plugs and 8 COP's yesterday in 2.5 hours. I must say it was way easier that I had anticipated, thanks again. Now if I could just find out where the heater hose is leaking from...
 
  #173  
Old 01-29-2006, 03:18 PM
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And I must say that 13 ft. lbs. feels too damn loose. I guess I have been over torquing everything in the past
 
  #174  
Old 01-29-2006, 03:33 PM
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I think that most people overtighten most things.
Tighten it up til it breaks then back it off a little
 
  #175  
Old 02-01-2006, 02:52 PM
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The Engineers at Ford didn't do the consumer any favors with the thread design of these heads. I play it safe with only 12 ftlbs of torque and always use antisieze compound. Oh, if you're soaking #3 and 4 plug with antifreeze, try replacing the heater hose spring clamp above these plugs with a screw type. I also removed an inch of hose also. Haven't had a problem from those two plugs since.
 
  #176  
Old 02-01-2006, 04:00 PM
Mr.Novice
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Originally Posted by ScubaSteve
... if you're soaking #3 and 4 plug with antifreeze, try replacing the heater hose spring clamp above these plugs with a screw type. I also removed an inch of hose also. Haven't had a problem from those two plugs since.
Had a buddy recommend the exact same thing just last night, Scuba. Thanks for the input.
 
  #177  
Old 02-02-2006, 07:40 AM
PhilcoPGM
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Plug getting wet

Mr Novice,

I have a 1998 F 150 and the #6 plug gets moisture. The plug boot also shows rust on its surface. what may be causing this? I get a trouble code P0406, and I can feel it misfgiring. I'll pull the plug, wipe out the mositure, antisieze it back in, dielectric grease it too, and months later...same ol' thing.
Where's water coming from?
 
  #178  
Old 02-02-2006, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by PhilcoPGM
Mr Novice,

I have a 1998 F 150 and the #6 plug gets moisture. The plug boot also shows rust on its surface. what may be causing this? I get a trouble code P0406, and I can feel it misfgiring. I'll pull the plug, wipe out the mositure, antisieze it back in, dielectric grease it too, and months later...same ol' thing.
Where's water coming from?
Hmmm... #6 is on the right side when you're standing at the front of the truck, right? That's interesting. Could just be similar to the problem you described here:
https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/s...&postcount=141


Disclaimer: Please regard my username as evidence that I'm probably not the best person to ask...Sorry. You probably already know this, but the trouble code P0406 means:


P0406 EGR Sensor A Circuit High Input

Don't know if that could be caused by your leak or not.

Best of luck, and I look forward to learning what you find out.

Anyone else have an idea for our friend here?


</pre>
 
  #179  
Old 02-13-2006, 10:26 AM
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What is the size of the plug, 13/16ths or the smaller socket for the plug?
 
  #180  
Old 02-13-2006, 10:55 AM
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They use a 5/8" socket.
 

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