General Automotive Discussion

Spark Plug replacement gone bad?

Old 09-04-2018, 06:15 PM
mniADH is offline
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Exclamation Spark Plug replacement gone bad?

I recently replaced the sparks in my 08 F250 (3v 5.4) and I may have dropped some sand/dirt into the engine cylinders. I blew them out as best I could with compressed air but when I was removing the old plugs I saw small particles attached to them. Luckily, the carbon breaking fluid I had used didn't actually penetrate so everything was moist/damp and didn't just fall right in but on the flip-side a couple of my sparks may have caught some of the contaminants and went into the cylinder with them. How worried should I be about my cylinders, piston heads, or valves getting screwed up? Will the engine be able to blow that stuff out?
I have not been trained in vehicle maintenance so for those who do this all the time save the snide remarks. I know I screwed up I just don't want to be running the engine hard (I'm towing almost every day for work) and have to get the engine rebuilt/replaced because of this. Any suggestions on cleaning out will be greatly appreciated.
Old 09-04-2018, 11:40 PM
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I don't know a lot about this, but the only way to know for sure is to look and see how bad things are in there. You are the only one who has any idea of how bac=d it could be, and you don't seem very sure.

Best way is to pull the heads of course, which is a pretty big job these days.

There is another option that MIGHT give you a clue. (Note -I've never tried this). There are borescopes available. These are basically fiber optic cables that attach to a camera -- some work with cell phones I guess. You push them through the spark plug hole and look around. They have a lot of different ones on Amazon, but I have no idea which ones might be worth a hoot. You'll want some pretty good resolution which could be spendy.

If the stuff is fairly soft, it shouldn't be a problem, but who knows. Spark plug ceramic pieces are real killers and I think that hardened carbon can be an issue.
Maybe somebody who does this for a living will come by and give you a clearer answer.

Good Luck,

Old 09-05-2018, 06:48 AM
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It's good to be concerned about problem, rather hoping for the best.

Maybe you can make a rig to clean out the cylinder, Rube Goldberg style. Find a piece of tubing that will fit into spark plug hole (less than 1/2 in.) and duct tape it to your shop vac - maybe use a funnel to get size reduction. Then before you start cleaning, grab an old nylon stocking from wifey and tape it to hose inlet on canister side of shop vac to act as a filter to catch the parts you may have lost. This will show that you done-good when you see the debris in the stocking. Good luck, Noel.

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