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-   2004 - 2008 F150 (https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/forum24/)
-   -   5.4 randomly misfiring (https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/1104362-5-4-randomly-misfiring.html)

F150Torqued 11-25-2015 01:27 PM

HOW I SOLVED 5.4 RAMDOM MISFIRES
 
@70f100longbed you are absolutely on top of the ROOT problem. May I respectfully expand on what you have offered.


The operational design of the 5.4 places MAXIMUM strain on proper ignition under low RPM light load driving conditions. EVERYTHING must be PERFECT to achieve ignition for the reasons noted by @70f100longbed. The PCM has Cams commanded at max retard, timing advance is pushing the upper limit, very lean fuel mixtures. [these factors are not arbitrary by Ford. (Retard is for emission - cooling combustion to reduce NOx) (timing advanced is for power - must be reduced quickly upon detection of labor knock) (lean mixture is to meet federal MPG standards - even requiring swirl control butterflies in the intake runners to better atomize injector spray in otherwise slow moving air). The net effect of all this requires EVERYTHING IN THE IGNITION SYSTEM to function perfectly. MANY DIYers (and mechanics alike) focus on one or two common ignition parts (Plugs & COPS) - and fail to consider other important factors - some very simple to eliminate / or avoid.


ONE BIG ONE that I believe everyone misses is the "disruptive effect" of the carbon buildup in the spark plug hole around the spark plug barrel - and the almost TOTAL failure to consider it. FOR TWO (2) REASONS as follows:


#1) Carbon deposits get packed around the plug barren real damn tight - enough to twist the plug into on removal. If it will twist the plug apart on removal - - HOW THEN CAN ONE EXPECT TO SCREW A NEW PLUG BACK IN THAT SAME HOLE WITHOUT DAMAGING THE SNOUT ON THE NEW PLUG OR "FRACTURING" THE CERAMIC INSULATION INSIDE THE PLUG AS YOU FORCE IT INTO A HOLE THAT IS ALREADY TOO TIGHT?" One member here reports it to take 35 ft lbs of torque to twist a plug apart in his bench vice. See: https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/1...l#post11051271 . I believe MANY MANY people have caused fractures in new plugs internally while installing them. Then under ideal conditions the plug will fire correctly, but in lean or stressed conditions will arc over internally because, as @70f100longbed correctly notes, electricity will take the path of least resistance. I've seen mechanics remove AND reinstall new plugs with an impact wrench. And on my first plug change on this vehicle (5 broke on removal), I 'torqued' new plugs in with a ratchet - with them "screeching" like a rusty lug nut! - and I still had random misfires, just on different cylinders!


#2) The Carbon deposits making contact with the plug barrel inside the cylinder head ALTERS THE PLUGS HEAT RANGE. Because heat is conducted rapidly out of the plug 'snout' into the head and water jackets. A "colder" plug sparks at a lower voltage (thus producing a less robust spark) because resistance of the electrode metal increases with temperature. This is the reason for the long barrel design of the spark plug, and the reason the 5.4l is 'persnickety' about spark plugs. Also, a lean fuel/air mixtures require higher voltage potentials to ionize the air in the spark gap to create a path for the spark to traverse (like lightning). Of course as @70f100longbed also correctly notes the gap on old plugs increases - requiring higher voltage to arc. These higher voltages INCREASE the chances for arc over in an internal fracture resulting from improper plug installation, a carbon trail from prior arcing, or poorly insulated boot (for lack of dielectric grease), or poor contact in boot spring, or low current in the COP primary from a poor contact or high resistance or corroded connection in the primary circuit.

IMHO removal of this carbon buildup should be a part of every spark plug change on a 5.4. It is certainly inexpensive and TOO simple to do, with a wire thread brush or piece of coat hanger wire an a chemical soaked rag, while changing plugs. It's so simple - it sounds stupid. Perhaps this is why its never been mentioned in a TSB. But I have done this on my last two plug changes and haven't had a random misfire in over 100,000 miles.


That's after I fought the frustrating problem for a couple of years over 60K miles and tried changing plugs TWICE, replaced a bunch of(finally ALL) COPs and spent 200 hrs labor swapping, changing parts, talking to mechanics, reading posts and basically being all pissed off. The last two plug changes though, while I have ALL plugs out I rotate the engine to TDC on each cylinder in turn and clean the carbon out of the hole "REAL WELL".


For the reasons under item #2 above, I do NOT USE Anti-seize on the barrel. BUT I run only about 50K miles on the plugs now. Changing them in this way, they will screw in all the way to the seat by finger. Then torque properly and finish up in a clean meticulous way - using dielectric grease on boots - and burnish / stretch boot springs and clean COP primary electrical connectors with spray electrical contact cleaner and use dielectric grease on those plugs too. I have had NO misfire problems on my '04 5.4L since I've been doing plug changes in this manner.

bowkill 11-29-2015 09:09 PM

I recently had my plugs changed at a local shop. 2004 5.4 with 172,000. Plugs changed at 90,000. Had the misfire at 45-50 in OD and had replaced several COP but still had the misfire. Shop had it for two days. Shop replaced and additional COP and when I picked it up it barely ran. Shop could not figure it out. Had eight codes. Can't remember them all. They thought the cam phaser was bad. I took it to the dealer and told them the story. They figured it out in two hours. Two broken plugs and another bad COP. I guess the local shop over tightened the plugs. Local shop gave me half my money back. I was researching new engines. So happy to have everything working correctly.

doc54321 12-01-2015 03:37 PM


Originally Posted by F150Torqued (Post 15819897)
ONE BIG ONE that I believe everyone misses is the "disruptive effect" of the carbon buildup in the spark plug hole around the spark plug barrel - and the almost TOTAL failure to consider it. FOR TWO (2) REASONS as follows:

F150Torqued has posted this in the past, and it simply makes too much sense to ignore.

He offers a more-than-plausible (I'd go as far as to say "likely") explanation for the seemingly high rate of recurrence IMMEDIATELY after plugs changes, including the mysterious introduction of misfires on OTHER cylinders that weren't misfiring before the change, but are throwing codes immediately after.

I mean, if carbon is strong enough to hold a galactic badass like Han Solo, doesn't it makes sense that it would get in the way of some threaded aluminum??

As difficult a pill as it is to swallow, many of us are stuffing precious new Motorcraft plugs into carbon-polluted threads (and the carbon is going to win, just like it did with the old plugs) and breaking them on installation.

Broomfieldbum 12-04-2015 10:48 PM

I would love to hear peoples input on my version of the misfire issue.

I have had my 2006 F150 since 2011. I bought it with 91K and paid someone to tune it right away.

About a year later, the #4 cylinder had a misfire. Since I didn't have the coils replaced. I assumed it was just a Coil going bad after 110K, and replaced it.

About a year after that the same Coil went bad again. I asked a few Mechanics about it, but just assumed I had bought a bad Coil.

Last July, the truck started running rough again, and again showed a misfire on #4.
I decided to just go global on the issue. I had read in several places online while the plugs will function to 100K, it is better to replace all plugs at 50K to help with the breaking plug issue. So I bought all new plugs, and all new Coils to solve the issue once and for all.

I read about forcing the plugs in and I didn't experience the rusty hole issue at all. I was able to screw the plugs in within a turn without any tools other than a deepwell socket, and my fingers. The truck ran better, and got better mileage than ever for a while.

Recently the mileage dove, and then I started feeling the shimmy of missing. I checked and again #4 is showing as an intermittent misfire.

I was thinking since my issues have always been on #4 that something was shorting out the Coils. I have tried switching the #4, and the #3, and the issue moves with the Coil.

Is there anyway a bad wire in the harness could cause this?

Bones87 02-03-2016 05:51 PM

Ford sucks
 
I am picking my piece of crap up from the shop today, I will be trading it in for a Nissan or Chevy . I can usually always find and fix a problem, this time I had to take it to a shop they wanted to charge 680 bucks to do what I had already done, so they said spark plugs was the issue but I had just replaced them 2 months ago. This is the ugliest sounding motor, worst running truck with dead end problem solving, still not fixed they said they need more time with it after 2days with it.:-X09:-arrgh never own a ford again.. Aaaaahhhhhh 2 months of trouble shooting and no one can fix it..

F150Torqued 02-04-2016 12:07 AM

Not trying to be a smart ass, but if your profile is correct this is a 2015 model with 125,000 to 149,000 on it - AND this is your first post. May I assume you haven't had serious enough problems to come to the forum before, and why did you post -- in a 2004 to 2008 Forum.


Not sure that 'Ford' is the precious problem here.

Derrick Perez 02-08-2016 11:08 AM

My truck is misfiring right now also...under light load at freeway speeds it does it quite a bit, if i turn overdrive off it helps a little...thought it might be the spark plugs or coil packs. but when i took it apart this weekend and looked at it. my common rail valve is no good. my truck is running lean and not getting enough fuel, it wont open up all the way and allow enough fuel in when needed. sometimes itll misfire pretty bad and sometime barely at all, and its all on one side.

05F150SuperCab 06-02-2016 06:43 AM

Question on methodoing for cleaning
 
My question is, what specific method do you use to clean the carbon out of the hole? Tools, rags, solutions or whatever combination do you use? My truck has developed a mis-fire, described like so many others, and I want to do this right.


The operational design of the 5.4 places MAXIMUM strain on proper ignition under low RPM light load driving conditions. EVERYTHING must be PERFECT to achieve ignition for the reasons noted by @70f100longbed. The PCM has Cams commanded at max retard, timing advance is pushing the upper limit, very lean fuel mixtures. [these factors are not arbitrary by Ford. (Retard is for emission - cooling combustion to reduce NOx) (timing advanced is for power - must be reduced quickly upon detection of labor knock) (lean mixture is to meet federal MPG standards - even requiring swirl control butterflies in the intake runners to better atomize injector spray in otherwise slow moving air). The net effect of all this requires EVERYTHING IN THE IGNITION SYSTEM to function perfectly. MANY DIYers (and mechanics alike) focus on one or two common ignition parts (Plugs & COPS) - and fail to consider other important factors - some very simple to eliminate / or avoid.


ONE BIG ONE that I believe everyone misses is the "disruptive effect" of the carbon buildup in the spark plug hole around the spark plug barrel - and the almost TOTAL failure to consider it. FOR TWO (2) REASONS as follows:


#1) Carbon deposits get packed around the plug barren real damn tight - enough to twist the plug into on removal. If it will twist the plug apart on removal - - HOW THEN CAN ONE EXPECT TO SCREW A NEW PLUG BACK IN THAT SAME HOLE WITHOUT DAMAGING THE SNOUT ON THE NEW PLUG OR "FRACTURING" THE CERAMIC INSULATION INSIDE THE PLUG AS YOU FORCE IT INTO A HOLE THAT IS ALREADY TOO TIGHT?" One member here reports it to take 35 ft lbs of torque to twist a plug apart in his bench vice. See: https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/1...l#post11051271 . I believe MANY MANY people have caused fractures in new plugs internally while installing them. Then under ideal conditions the plug will fire correctly, but in lean or stressed conditions will arc over internally because, as @70f100longbed correctly notes, electricity will take the path of least resistance. I've seen mechanics remove AND reinstall new plugs with an impact wrench. And on my first plug change on this vehicle (5 broke on removal), I 'torqued' new plugs in with a ratchet - with them "screeching" like a rusty lug nut! - and I still had random misfires, just on different cylinders!


#2) The Carbon deposits making contact with the plug barrel inside the cylinder head ALTERS THE PLUGS HEAT RANGE. Because heat is conducted rapidly out of the plug 'snout' into the head and water jackets. A "colder" plug sparks at a lower voltage (thus producing a less robust spark) because resistance of the electrode metal increases with temperature. This is the reason for the long barrel design of the spark plug, and the reason the 5.4l is 'persnickety' about spark plugs. Also, a lean fuel/air mixtures require higher voltage potentials to ionize the air in the spark gap to create a path for the spark to traverse (like lightning). Of course as @70f100longbed also correctly notes the gap on old plugs increases - requiring higher voltage to arc. These higher voltages INCREASE the chances for arc over in an internal fracture resulting from improper plug installation, a carbon trail from prior arcing, or poorly insulated boot (for lack of dielectric grease), or poor contact in boot spring, or low current in the COP primary from a poor contact or high resistance or corroded connection in the primary circuit.

IMHO removal of this carbon buildup should be a part of every spark plug change on a 5.4. It is certainly inexpensive and TOO simple to do, with a wire thread brush or piece of coat hanger wire an a chemical soaked rag, while changing plugs. It's so simple - it sounds stupid. Perhaps this is why its never been mentioned in a TSB. But I have done this on my last two plug changes and haven't had a random misfire in over 100,000 miles.


That's after I fought the frustrating problem for a couple of years over 60K miles and tried changing plugs TWICE, replaced a bunch of(finally ALL) COPs and spent 200 hrs labor swapping, changing parts, talking to mechanics, reading posts and basically being all pissed off. The last two plug changes though, while I have ALL plugs out I rotate the engine to TDC on each cylinder in turn and clean the carbon out of the hole "REAL WELL".


For the reasons under item #2 above, I do NOT USE Anti-seize on the barrel. BUT I run only about 50K miles on the plugs now. Changing them in this way, they will screw in all the way to the seat by finger. Then torque properly and finish up in a clean meticulous way - using dielectric grease on boots - and burnish / stretch boot springs and clean COP primary electrical connectors with spray electrical contact cleaner and use dielectric grease on those plugs too. I have had NO misfire problems on my '04 5.4L since I've been doing plug changes in this manner.[/QUOTE]

F150Torqued 06-02-2016 10:16 AM

Kinda' like this
 

Originally Posted by 05F150SuperCab (Post 16329029)
My question is, what specific method do you use to clean the carbon out of the hole? Tools, rags, solutions or whatever combination do you use? My truck has developed a mis-fire, described like so many others, and I want to do this right.


The first time, mine was so bad - [they screached like a rusty lug nut on removal]. I bought a $19.99 set of steel thread brushes, (similar to bottle brushes) with a "T" handle, from Harbor Freight. I took one about the size my little finger and ran it IN/OUT land AROUND & AROUND in the spark plug holes - "beyond the threaded part" until I could insert rag soaked with carburator cleaner and it would come back perfectly clean!! If not, I'd burnish the **** out of that hole again with the bottle brush.

If you use this method - ** CAUTION ** - rotate the engine so that each cylinder your working on is TDC to avoid the problem this forum member encountered !!! https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/1...lp-piease.html I would HATE to be responsible for a fellow forum member having this experience.

Since I change plugs now at about 50K intervals, I have been able to do it with B12 Chemtool on a little piece of rag. I fashioned a coat hanger with a small loop around a piece of white rag, and stuck that in my battery powered drill. After about 30 seconds of running that thing in there - it won't even discolor a new piece of rag.

My scanner still reports zero misfires in the last 10 driving cycles - even before and after my recent timing chain / phaser job @ 212,000 miles. Of course, on each plug change I observe all the other good practices, like NO greasy finger prints on PLUG ceramic anodes, good boots, dielectric grease, good solid connections in COP springs and primary plug and proper plug torque.

I hope this helps and would like your feedback if you try it on your truck and it does "in-fact" do the trick. :-drink

Nitemare2 06-30-2016 08:31 AM

There is a lot of great information in here and although it's an old thread, I hope I get a comment. I have an 01 Expedition with a 5.4 and getting a miss on cylinder 3. Now after pulling a crappy plug and replacing it I noticed that the spring from the coil has an over abundance of slop between it and the metal conductor on the top of the plug. Is this considered normal?

F150Torqued 07-16-2016 10:19 AM


Originally Posted by Nitemare2 (Post 16392488)
... I noticed that the spring from the coil has an over abundance of slop between it and the metal conductor on the top of the plug. Is this considered normal?



I would say definitely NOT. I'm not an expert on your '01 Triton, but I know all present day engines place maximum strain on the ignition systems. They keep bumping compression up, leaning mixtures out more and more, adding emissions stuff, retarding valve timing to accomplish EGR effect, and raising spark voltage. All this means everything needs to be in good clean, proper order to succeed in delivering ignition each and every time.


I try to keep greasy finger prints OFF plug ceramic and COP's, stretch the spring you're talking about and make sure it is free of tarnish or corrosion and in good contact with plug anode, replace old boots, use dielectric grease on boots and COP connectors, and make sure all electrical harness connections are clean (with electrical spray cleaner), use dielectric grease and plug on good & solid. Failing to do any one of these "can" potentially result in random misfires - when there is NOTHING wrong with any one of the components.


:-X22

Nitemare2 07-16-2016 06:40 PM

Learning slowly, with that since Ford dealers are few and far between I found one and purchased proper plugs and the difference is undeniable when comparing to NGK and other manufacturers plugs. I even showed the Ford parts girl the electrode difference. I had tried the NGK plug with a new coil and miss was still present but with the Motorcraft plug, the miss was non existent but then the electrode is twice the size on the Motorcraft plug! So when I'm feeling better I will change all the rest too!! Will post picture later of the plug difference when I'm feeling better but my truck is running with no misses.

F150Torqued 07-18-2016 08:52 AM

@Nitemare2
You mention you are dealing with an '01 Expedition - confirmed by your signature block.
I do not wish to give you misleading information. Much of what I have written in this thread, and others, regarding misfires has specifically to do with the unique design of the 2004 - 2008 cylinder head and spark plug. As I've noted, I'm no expert on your 01. Although I stand by my comments in post#26, I am certain yours doesn't share the special "nightmare" (No pun intended) problem 2004-2008 models do with spark plugs.


http://www.devoll.com/Remote_Images/...plug_image.jpg

The long shank on our plugs as pictured above extends down into a deep well in the cylinder head. That hole becomes clogged with carbon deposits (top plug in the photo) so tightly it alters the "heat range" of the plug and often times twists the shank off in the cylinder head when plugs are removed. That leads to necessity of using a special removal tool on these models, and I believe frequently leads to internal fracturing damage to new plugs on re-installation. As discussed in Post #16 https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/1...l#post15819897 and Post #23 above.

It deals mostly with getting the carbon buildup out of the hole as part of a plug change job on 2004-2008 models.
Thank goodness - yours doesn't share this "Nightmare".

Nitemare2 07-19-2016 11:43 AM

F150Torqued, I really want to Thank you out where everyone else can see. I've often wondered about what you and others were talking about and thanks to the picture you posted you've made it extremely clear as to the headaches I've missed by buying my 01. You've gone through an extremely detailed explanation as to how you go about changing your plugs and to be honest, I'm not sure I could do the same. One thing is certain however, I'd still be driving a Ford Truck. After all the money scams the others went through to get rid of their debt and the impending lawsuits over ignition related deaths, I'm unsure why people still purchase their vehicles but maybe it's just me. I purchased my 01 with 340k km on it and was shocked that the recall over engine fires had never been fixed on it in the 13 years it was owned by others but my local Ford dealer took care of it right away at no charge. My big issue lately was replacement plugs by other manufacturers had electrodes so small compared to the Motomaster plugs, I was blown away. Once replaced my missing issues cleared up immediately. Obviously different from yours, I am sorry about this long winded reply but something happen after my serious MVA and long winded is all I do now. Again Thanks for your reply.

Jedi mecanic 10-17-2016 08:30 PM


Originally Posted by F150Torqued (Post 15819023)
@David7.3 I agree that close inspection of misfiring plugs can reveal carbon tracking down the ceramic (if the arching over is occurring above the threads). But, your handle prompted me to take a look-see at your profile. Aren't you on the wrong forum here?

i dont think so


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