Dear Real World Automotive
I have a 2006 Ford F-150 Super crew with the 5.4 liter engine and only 37,500 mile on the odometer. I was in at the dealer recently for an oil change. The service manager asked if I wanted to have the spark plugs changed. I ask if the plugs were due for a change with only 37,000 miles I thought this was a little early. The response I got was that the 04-06 F-150's left the factory with spark plugs that lacked a coating to keep them from rusting in place. The Dealership said that Ford will not pay for replacement because they feel that it is not a defect. The cost of the changing all the plugs now is ruffly $500 dollars. But if I wait, and the plugs are rusty and break off in the engine the cost will be $1500 dollars. So my question is, has anyone heard of this? Is it true? or is the dealership trying to soak me for several hundred dollars
Yes it is true, the spark plugs have a service bulletin on the very special spark plug removal procedure. It could cost a lot if the spark plugs are broken.
I have listed part of the service bulletin from the Alldata automotive information website below.
SPARK PLUG REMOVAL INSTRUCTIONS - 4.6L
3V/5.4L 3V16.8L 3V
2005-2008 Expedition, F-Super Duty
F-53 Motorhome Chassis
2007-2008 Explorer Sport Trac
2006-2008 Mark LT
This article supersedes TSB 08-1-9 to update Vehicle Applications, Service Procedure and Part List.
Some 2004-2008 F-150, 2006-2008 Mark LT, 2005-2008 F-Super Duty, Expedition, and Navigator, with 5.4L 3-V engine; 2005-2008 Mustang, 2006-2008 Explorer, Mountaineer, and 2007-2008 Explorer Sport Trac with 4.6L 3-V engine; 2005-2008 F-Super Duty, 2006-2008 and F-Stripped Chassis, with 6.8L 3-V engine may experience difficulty with spark plug removal. This may cause damage to the spark plug and leave part of the spark plug in the cylinder head. Affected engine build dates are as follows: 5.4L 3-V and 6.8L 3-V before 10/9/07, 4.6L 3-V before 11/30/07.
Refer to the following Service Procedure for techniques to remove the spark plugs and extract broken spark plugs.
The engine build date can be read on the left hand cam cover information sticker.
To remove spark plugs without damage, it is necessary to adhere exactly to this procedure before removal is attempted.
CAUTION DO NOT REMOVE PLUGS WHEN THE ENGINE IS WARM OR HOT. THE ENGINE MUST BE AT ROOM TEMPERATURE WHEN PERFORMING SPARK PLUG SERVICE. REMOVING THE SPARK PLUGS FROM A WARM/HOT ENGINE INCREASES THE CHANCE THE THREADS COULD BE DAMAGED.
Spark Plug Removal Procedure
1. Remove the coil-on-plug assemblies and thoroughly blow out the spark plug wells and surrounding valve cover area with compressed air.
2. Back out the spark plugs no more than 1/8 to 1/4 of a turn. Using Motorcraft (R) Carburetor Tune-Up Cleaner, fill the spark plug well just above where the jamb nut hex sits (1/2 - 3/4 teaspoon). A minimum period of 15 minutes of soak time is required. The cleaner will wick down to the ground electrode shield and soften the carbon deposits in this time. DO NOT WORK the spark plug back and forth at this point.
NOTE COMPLETELY REVIEW THE PRODUCT LABEL FOR THE MOTORCRAFT CARBURETOR TUNE-UP CLEANER PRODUCT - USE AT ROOM TEMPERATURE AND SHAKE WELL.
CAUTION EXCESSIVE MOTORCRAFT (R) CARBURETOR TUNE-UP CLEANER, OR REPEATING THE PROCESS SEVERAL TIMES WITH TOO MUCH CLEANER FLUID, COULD INTRODUCE ENOUGH LIQUID VOLUME TO HYDRO-LOCK THE ENGINE.
CAUTION DO NOT USE AIR OR POWER TOOLS FOR SPARK PLUG REMOVAL. SPARK PLUGS MUST ONLY BE REMOVED WITH HAND TOOLS.
3. Tighten, and then loosen the spark plug, working the plug back and forth. Some screeching and high effort may be noticed. The expected removal torque is about 33 lb-ft (45 N.m). Repeat the back and forth turning as needed until turning effort is reduced, and remove the spark plugs.
So your thought is that I should have the plugs changed sooner rather than later? What about the cost. Does $500 dollars sound responsible?
I think that changing the plugs now would be a good idea because if the plugs get stuck and break then the outcome could be very expensive. Changing them now can help cut the cost of a possible expensive repair.
As of the price; my guess is that it is mostly labor plus the plugs and carburetor tune up cleaner. It could be a short job for the mechanic or it could be a long miserable job. As per the service bulletin each plug could take as long as 15 minutes or more for each plug.
I would ask around to see if there is a better price, make sure you are asking good reputable professional certified mechanics that have knowledge of this situation.
You can also check other Ford dealerships to see if there price differs from one and other.