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Spark Plug thread repair. With Photos

 
  #1  
Old 09-11-2010, 06:02 PM
tmehrkam
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Spark Plug thread repair. With Photos

Well September 5 at 170,000 miles I ejected my first spark plug.

I was camping at Galveston Tx at the state park. We went into town for Groceries. When I started the truck to leave the store. BANG! Blub, Blub. It took a while to discover what exactly happened. Plug 9 had blew out.

The Trailer was in the state bark with the DOG in side. I was 60 miles from home and this is my only TOW vehicle.

Called a tow truck. While we were waiting I tried to thread in the plug. One thread left. It held when I started it. We canceled the Tow and finished our holiday.

When I made it home I looked at the plug again. Tried to torque it to 11 in lb and of course it stripped. So I called my car pool buddy and informed him that we would be driving his car for a while.

https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/p...ictureid=45761

https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/p...ictureid=45753

Called some a couple of good mechanics that I know. None were prepared to repair the plug. Did not have the tooling. I found one that would install a hellicoil so I wrote him off.

Called the Ford Dealership. The preferred repair is to replace the head. They could put in an insert but there was no warranty. Said they had not seen this in a while. I never could get a quote so I started looking onto options. What I found was.
  1. HelliCoil Insert
  2. Time-Sert
  3. True-Torque "Stich Weld" "Approved by Ford"
  4. Calvan.
  5. Other Inserts

http://www.denlorstools.com/home/dt1....4__4.6_l.html
HelliCoil

http://www.denlorstools.com/home/dt1...to_repair.html
Calvart

http://locknstitch.com/sparkpluginserts.htm
True Torque

http://www.timesert.com/
Timesert

http://www.blownoutsparkplug.com/?gc...FYdh2godtnOxqQ
Others



After some Investigation I decided on the tried and true Time-Sert kit. $410.15 with Second Day Air Shopping.

The reason I decided on Time-Sert is the well designed tooling, Good reputation and no verifiable situations where the insert failed. The True-Torque insert that is approved by Ford requires drilling a hole for a lock pin into the head. This would be difficult to do on a rear hole for an over the fender repair. Also you end up with an Aluminum insert.

https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/p...ictureid=45749

The kit comes with detailed laminated instructions. There is a video showing the entire process on the Web Site.


I also purchased a Bore Scope from Fry's so I could QC the work as it progressed. $145 plus Tax

https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/p...ictureid=45750

Saturday I started the process. The first task was to get the cylinder on the compression stroke with the valves closed. If the valves are open the tooling can hit the valve and damage it.


I decided copy Calvan's recommendation on accomplishing this. I put a rubber plug in the Plug hole and connected a air hose to it. If the valves close then the Cylinder will hold pressure and the plug will blow out. I used a Spark Plug Boot pressed on my blow out gun to supply the air. I used a 18 mm Socket and long ratchet to turn the engine. Sure enough the valves closed on the engine and the plug blew out. I checked and decided the piston was too close to the head so I turned it a little future, checked the position of the piston and verified the valves were still closed. Problem solve. Great idea Calvan.

https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/p...ictureid=45747

The Next step was to bore out the Romeo head. I greased the Boring tool was ready to go.

I used my air ratchet to drive the boring tool. After A while I thought it was done so I removed the tool and decided I had not bored to the correct depth. This is one area where you can really mess up. The Romeo heads require that a lot of material be removed. I tried three times. Pulled the tool looked at the cuttings. Cleaned it and added grease to catch the chips and then tried again. The last time I turned the tool with a Ratchet for a smoother cut. Finally it quit removing metal. I used the bore scope to verify that all was ok.

https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/p...ictureid=45752

The Photo above shows the Boring tool was still removing Metal. Make sure it is done.

The next step was the reamer. This tool was a lot more work than I would of Thought. I started out with the air ratchet, Checked progress a couple of times, Cleaning the cuttings and applying Grease. Finished up with the hand ratchet. When it was done I was able to spin it with my fingers.

https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/p...ictureid=45757

Not quite done.

https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/p...ictureid=45756

Done.

I spent the most time on the next Step. CLEANING OUT THE SHAVINGS. The bore scope reveled quite a lot of shavings on the cylinder walls and piston.

I used a piece of Fuel Line on my Shop Vac to vacuum cuttings out of the Cylinder. I cut one end of the line at about a 45 degree angle. Placed the other end in a crevice tool on the shop vac and sealed it with my hand. Threaded the host through the spark plug hole, Twisted it and bumped it off the piston bottom, Inspected it and Tried again. Five or ten times. This removed most but not all of the shavings.

https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/p...ictureid=45760

This is the hose before I cut the 45. A different hose might of been better but I had this one.

I sprayed Brake Clean to clean out the Grease. Used the Vacuum and the hose to clean the Cylinder. Did this two or three times. Make sure you Vacuum out the brake clean before using the Bore Scope because it will attack the Lense on the Camera and Blind it. Ask me how I know! It took me about an hour to fix the Camera.

I then used the air hose to blow out the chips. The thin air house used would whip all around the Cylinder and dislodge the chips so I could get to them with the Vacuum. I was worried bout the chips that were between the Piston and Cylinder. The air stirred things up so the Vacuum could reach them.

https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/p...ictureid=45751

https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/p...ictureid=45748
Blowout tool with thin hose.

Finally no more chips. De-greased the hole several more times and vacuumed the Brake Cleaner out. Finally ended up with a degrease hole with no shavings. Inspected the hole, Threads ok Machining looks correct. Time to install the insert.

https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/p...ictureid=45754

Photo of the Insert on the Installation tool. Do not forget to apply the Thread Locking fluid. Not too much.

You Need your ratchet ready and your Torque Wrench set to 20 lbs. You want to finish the insert before the thread locking fluid sets up. Installed and torqued the insert, Released it from the installation tool, Removed the tool and inspected the insert to ensure it was seated correctly.

Next step is to form the bottom threads of the insert which locks the insert in the head. Use the supplied oil to oil the tool and run it down into the insert. Do not back it out until it goes all the way through. It will tighten up and then get loose after the bottom threads are formed. Run it in a little more to make sure and then back it out.


I started the engine for a few seconds to SCARE THE NEIGHBORS blow out any cuttings I might of missed.

Install the plug, coil and induction and you are done.

https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/p...ictureid=45755

Only precision automotive tools were used for this Job.

Just to clarify things a bit. The last photo shows an Axe and the sign below the link is a Joke.

The time-sert kit is great quality. The insert was inserted correctly. There is a lot of noise in the Internet that the insert may not be a permanent fix. I think the time-sert inserts are being confused with other lower quality inserts or they were not installed correctly.

Time will tell. I will let you know If I experience any problems with the repair. I am very satisfied with the repair so far.
 
  #2  
Old 09-12-2010, 12:13 AM
zrolimited
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Wow! Thanks for the write up and pictures. This makes me feel a little better of having to eventually do this myself.

Have you thought about doing the other 9 all at once and never having to worry about which is next?
 
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Old 09-12-2010, 12:40 AM
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Great write up. Reps given.
 
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Old 09-12-2010, 12:58 AM
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Just curious...when was the last time the plugs were changed?
 
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Old 09-12-2010, 08:24 AM
tmehrkam
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The truck was purchased Used with 80,000 miles.

I changed the plugs at 106,000 miles. All was well. The plugs showed a little wear. See my previous post for photos of the plugs at 106,000 miles.

https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/4...th-photos.html

That would make it 64,000 miles on this set of plugs. The plug that blew looked brand new. I put it back in the rapaired hole.

I need to retorque all the other plugs but I have not done that yet. I seem to remember hearing what I though was an exhaust leak starting a week before it blew. I should of checked then maybe I could have avoided the problem.

I keep hearing that any insert is a temporary repair. I am not sure what to believe so I am only putting inserts in the one hole for now.

All and ALL this has been the best truck I have ever owned. This is the first problem I have had in over 90,000 miles.

I can see it can be expensive to work on when things start going wrong.
 
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Old 09-12-2010, 05:29 PM
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Very good writeup. I would feel confident in a properly installed Timesert insert.
 
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Old 09-12-2010, 10:38 PM
97ExpGuy
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Originally Posted by tmehrkam View Post
The truck was purchased Used with 80,000 miles.

I changed the plugs at 106,000 miles. All was well. The plugs showed a little wear. See my previous post for photos of the plugs at 106,000 miles.

https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/4...th-photos.html

That would make it 64,000 miles on this set of plugs. The plug that blew looked brand new. I put it back in the rapaired hole.

I need to retorque all the other plugs but I have not done that yet. I seem to remember hearing what I though was an exhaust leak starting a week before it blew. I should of checked then maybe I could have avoided the problem.

I keep hearing that any insert is a temporary repair. I am not sure what to believe so I am only putting inserts in the one hole for now.

All and ALL this has been the best truck I have ever owned. This is the first problem I have had in over 90,000 miles.

I can see it can be expensive to work on when things start going wrong.
Yes, any heli-coil like insert is temporary and the drill and tap method is the only way to do it right. Reason I asked about changing plugs is I asked a few different members on here their opinions and one recommended changing the plugs every 50k miles to avoid a potential blowout. Don't know how true that it but I think it's solid advice and plan on following. Everything else sounds like you did it right, torquing the plugs and all.

Sorry for the misfortune though! Good luck!
 
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Old 09-13-2010, 07:40 AM
tmehrkam
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It probably would not hurt to torque the plugs at 50,000 miles. The plugs show no wear and if anti seize is used I would not worry about them seizing in the head.

The only time I would consider changing them more often is if the truck was starting to consume oil. You do not want to try to back a plug out of an Aluminum head with oil deposits on the first thread.

My truck burns a quart every 3000 miles. Has ever since I purchased it. No deposits on any of the plugs at the last oil change.
 
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Old 09-13-2010, 02:49 PM
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Great write-up! Subscribed to thread for future reference, though I would hope I never have to reference it. Reps given.
 
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Old 09-14-2010, 10:37 PM
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Nice write up! Rep sent.
 
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Old 11-15-2010, 12:55 PM
tmehrkam
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Update.

A little over 3000 miles and all is well. Truck runs fine and the plug is still in.

This weekend I finally got time to torque all the plugs. One of the theories of the possible cause of the spark plug blowouts is the spark plug backs out and wear out the threads. Not the case here. I torqued all 10 plugs and none of them turned at all.

I did find a lot of sand in each spark plug well. I cleaned the wells out so that if another plug blows at least there will be less dirt to get in the cylinder.
 
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Old 07-10-2011, 05:48 AM
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subscribe. Very good write-up. Thanks for sharing.
 
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Old 07-10-2011, 10:30 AM
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Great write up. I have an 08 with 66k on it. Im thinking of changing the plugs on it soon.
 
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Old 07-11-2011, 05:10 PM
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I missed what year of truck this is. This is pretty much a non-issue on 2007 and up isn't it?

Regardless, that was an awesome writeup. Thanks for taking the time to really detail it like that.
 
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Old 07-11-2011, 05:31 PM
tmehrkam
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It is a 2001.

Best truck I ever had inspite of spitting one plug.

So far no more problems.

I am not sure of the exact year but the design was changed about 2007. The new design does not spit plugs but watch out when you change them. Some of the plugs will seperate and leave the electrode in the hole. When that happens special tooling is required to remove the half in the hole so you can complete the plug change.

The good news is that it happens in the garage or driveway. Not on the road.
 

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