May 7

2008 Ford F150 – Spark Plug Replacement

Auto Repair, Ford


Today’s featured repair is spark plug replacement on a 2008 Ford F150 Pick up with a 5.4 liter engine, brought to us by a client from Port Moody.

Ford F150

2008 Ford F150

Spark plug replacement on a Ford Truck can be an eventful service. At least it has been until now, because with this service we discovered something amazing and that is that Ford has redesigned their cylinder heads and spark plugs and finally got it right on 2008 and newer trucks.

In order to appreciate just how amazing this is we need to look at the history of Ford V8 spark plug replacements. All was good and there were no problems until the advent of the Triton engine in 1997. This motor was a departure in design from previous V8s and incorporated many innovations including aluminum cylinder heads. These first generation engines had the distinction of suddenly blowing out spark plugs and tearing out the threads in the heads at the same time. As you can imagine, this left many a truck stranded by the side of road and cost their owners a pretty penny to fix.

Ford partially addressed this issue on some engines but created a new set of problems with a uniquely designed 2-piece shell spark plug. This plug incorporated a long sleeve that projected past the threads and into the combustion chamber. Over time carbon deposits built up around the sleeve; when it came time to remove the spark plug it wouldn’t turn. By virtue of this design this end of the spark plug often broke off and remained stuck in the cylinder head.

Spark Plug Replacement

The "mid term" designed spark plug that would break off in the head. At left is the broken plug and at right is a new spark plug.

Fortunately there are many toolmakers with creative solutions and they have made tools specifically designed to remove these broken pieces. Without the tool the only repair option would be to remove the cylinder heads, and on this engine that is a horrifically expensive proposition.

Back to our featured Ford F150. Our client came to us for routine maintenance replacement of his spark plugs. Having seen first hand how costly repairs could be on these trucks when they were sent to a Ford dealer for replacement he wanted us to take on the job as he knew that we had the special tools. Apparently several Ford trucks in his work place were taken to the dealer for plug replacement and this resulted in cylinder head removal.

Imagine our delight (and our client’s) when we found that this truck featured the redesigned engine that uses a normal spark plug. This plug still projects far down into the combustion chamber but is now treaded all the way. There is no more chance of this blowing out of the head because the threads were too short and there is no more seizing from carbon deposits and breaking off due to 2-part shell construction. Finally after 10 years Ford has got it right!

Ford F150

The newly designed Triton V8 spark plug. Nice long threads for a solid grip and no silly 2 piece shell design to break.

For more about the Ford Triton V8 click here

For more about spark plugs click here

About the author 

Bernie Pawlik

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