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  1. #1
    Super Star Member RoyJackson's Avatar
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    Default For you 2004 Ford F150 owners

    This was on the local news website:

    AKRON, Pa. -- What should have been a simple maintenance job turned into a $2,000 ordeal for a Lancaster County pickup truck owner and a mechanic.

    Larry Ross said he bought his 2004 Ford F-150 in August 2006. The truck had nearly 100,000 miles on it, but Ross said it was in great shape. Ross took the truck to his mechanic a few months ago to keep it running smoothly.


    "We were just going to do a routine spark plug check as recommended by Ford at 100,000 miles," Ross said.

    Ross said that the job should have been done in one day and cost no more than $200. But there was a problem. Ross said his mechanic realized he wasn't going to be able to get to all of the spark plugs inside the engine. The only way he could get to all eight of them was by removing the entire cab of the truck, according to Ross.

    The mechanic said that he had never seen the type of spark plug that was inside the F-150. He said the plug is twice as long as normal and has a metal sleeve on it.

    "When you rotate this spark plug and try to extract it, then you break this thing loose and it pulls out, leaving this piece into the head," said one mechanic.

    The only way to get to the broken pieces and change the plugs was to take the cab off the truck, the mechanic said. Eight on Your Side consumer reporter Brian Roche asked the mechanic about the problem.

    Roche: "How did you feel as the mechanic calling the owner of this vehicle saying, 'Listen, this simple little job is going to become a major situation?'"

    Mechanic: "How would you feel getting the phone call saying that your $200 tune-up is now gonna be $2,000 or more?"

    Ross said he had no problem with what his mechanic did. Ross said Ford told him the issue wasn't their problem.

    Roche called Ford, telling them, "We think this is an issue that would be of interest to all vehicle owners."

    While News 8 waited for a statement from Ford, Ross got a letter from the company and a check for almost the entire cost of his repair.

    A Ford spokesman in Detroit told Roche that the cab of the truck did not have to be removed to make the repair. But Roche said it's apparent that Ford realizes there's an issue because last year the company issued specific instructions and a special tool to remove the spark plugs from the Ford Triton engine.

    The truck in News 8's story had a lot of miles on it. As other owners take their 2004 Ford F-150s in for the 100,000-mile maintenance, they could face the same spark plug problem. There are about 350,000 Ford F-150 pickups from model year 2004.
    Roy Jackson

    "Any government that does not trust its citizens with firearms is either a tyranny, or planning to become one."
    -Joseph P. Martino

  2. #2
    Veteran Member Birdhunter1's Avatar
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    Default Re: For you 2004 Ford F150 owners

    Anybody who leaves them things in for 100,000 miles is asking for trouble. The plug may last that long but the problem is the steel spark plugs will seize in the aluminum heads and often times the head has to be removed to get the plug out. I have not heard of any situation where the cab has to be removed to get the back plugs out but I will check on it.

  3. #3
    Veteran Member
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    Default Re: For you 2004 Ford F150 owners

    Sounds like the triton 3 valve engines... They have a plug that's almost double
    the length of a standard plug and has a horseshoe shaped electrode that arches all the way to the opposite side. $13.oo apiece too.

    I ordered one at the store just to figure out why they were $13.oo.
    Scott

  4. #4
    Super Star Member RoyJackson's Avatar
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    Default Re: For you 2004 Ford F150 owners

    Quote Originally Posted by Birdhunter1
    Anybody who leaves them things in for 100,000 miles is asking for trouble. The plug may last that long but the problem is the steel spark plugs will seize in the aluminum heads and often times the head has to be removed to get the plug out. I have not heard of any situation where the cab has to be removed to get the back plugs out but I will check on it.

    I suggest putting anti-seize on anything you expect to remove at some point in time. The applies with similar and especially dissimilar metals.

    I don't have a 2004 F-150, but thought I'd share the article. It seems (and I could be wrong) that these plugs are built for 100,000 miles usage and the Ford manual suggests changing them at the point.
    I could be wrong, and perhaps a TBNer with this truck (and engine) can enlighten us all.
    Roy Jackson

    "Any government that does not trust its citizens with firearms is either a tyranny, or planning to become one."
    -Joseph P. Martino

  5. #5
    Veteran Member Birdhunter1's Avatar
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    Default Re: For you 2004 Ford F150 owners

    The problem is that they may or may not put anti-seize in at the factory, so do do so will require removing them and adding it. Anyone who has ever changed their 100,000 mile plugs early at like 65,000 or 80,000 will tell you don't run them tio 100,000. At 65 or 80 they are wearing pretty well and even at 80 they are hard if not impossible to get out without breaking.
    Another thing on these tritons is that the 4.6 has cast iron heads while the 5.4 has aluminum heads, the 4.6 will be less likely to have a problem seizing the plugs as the 5.4.

  6. #6
    Super Star Member EddieWalker's Avatar
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    Tyler, Texas
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    Default Re: For you 2004 Ford F150 owners

    Are the newest engines the same way? My 1998 Triton V8 is the 4.6 and a bear to change the plugs, but not impossible. If Ford went and made it harder, I might reconsider my next vehicle choice on that reason alone.

    Thanks,
    Eddie

  7. #7
    Super Star Member RoyJackson's Avatar
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    Default Re: For you 2004 Ford F150 owners

    Based upon the article, it appears the mechanic was an independent and doesn't have access to the bulletins the dealers receive from the factory. This particular problem doesn't appear to be too widespread or we've of heard about it before now (or maybe folks just aren't changing their spark plugs).

    It's unfortunate, but a lot of things are being designed for manufacturability, not maintainability. Both should be taken into account in the design stage.
    Roy Jackson

    "Any government that does not trust its citizens with firearms is either a tyranny, or planning to become one."
    -Joseph P. Martino

  8. #8
    Platinum Member TractorLegend's Avatar
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    Default Re: For you 2004 Ford F150 owners

    Running a repair shop in Seattle area, this is exactly why I scoff at 100K "tune ups". Ok so you run the plugs that long and end up with new heads too. New plugs at 40K with anti sieze applied is cheaper assurance. Some of the V-10's are known to loosen plugs and blow the threads out- another good reason to go on a preventive maintenance mission early on to make sure they are tight. Loose plugs sound like an exhaust leak or a lifter tick. They had thin thread bosses in the heads on the early castings. Fords fix is new heads that you pay for.
    The factory I would say NEVER uses anti sieze on anything. I think Porsche has a tech bulletin warning against the use of anti seize on spark plugs. I think some well meaning mechanics dipped the whole business end of the plugs in the stuff and installed them creating misfires so hence the need for a bulletin warning against. I still use it, haven't experienced any detrement in 24 years of a dab on the threads. I like the copper compound over the nickel aluminum color, but it's harder to find. Makes great brake pad anti noise compound when a light coat is smeared on 2/3rd's the length of the backsides of brake pads prior to install.
    OK I saw it factory applied once in my career. On the brake rotor to bearing hub area on my 2004 cobra mustang.

  9. #9
    Super Star Member RoyJackson's Avatar
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    Default Re: For you 2004 Ford F150 owners

    "I think Porsche has a tech bulletin warning against the use of anti seize on spark plugs."

    I'd be really surprised if this is true. When I had mine (an old 911), not only did we apply anti-seize, we torqued the plugs. That was in an independent Porsche shop I worked at part time (only way I could afford to maintain the car).

    Of course, that's several years ago when Porsche still used air cooled engines. Things change...
    Roy Jackson

    "Any government that does not trust its citizens with firearms is either a tyranny, or planning to become one."
    -Joseph P. Martino

  10. #10
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    New Holland TC-55 DA

    Default Re: For you 2004 Ford F150 owners

    Quote Originally Posted by Birdhunter1
    Another thing on these tritons is that the 4.6 has cast iron heads while the 5.4 has aluminum heads, the 4.6 will be less likely to have a problem seizing the plugs as the 5.4.
    No 4.6l or 5.4l has ever had cast iron heads. They are all aluminum.
    Daniel H.
    TC55DA, EHSS, QA 270, R-4's and a big grin on my face

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