Tips For Not Breaking Off Spark Plugs While Tuning Your F-150
August 9th, 2018
Tuning up your vehicle is important the older it gets. So for this episode of Driveway Rescue, Jeremy and LT help out Chris and his F-150 that appears to be misfiring and needing a tune-up. And since these Ford 5.4L 3-Valve V8s are notorious for having spark plugs break off in the cylinder head when being replaced, the guys have a few tips and tricks to avoid that.
The original spark plugs from Ford were made in two pieces which allows carbon and soot to build up between the tip of the spark plug and the cylinder head, which forms a tight bond. Then when you go to loosen the plug, that's when the nut and top section can break off. Here are the tricks and products to try if you think that may be an issue.
1) have an extractor tool on hand. You can find them here from RockAuto.com.
2) add a fuel additive to your tank and run it through to help clean up carbon and help with the release
3) start the engine, let it run until it warms a bit, and the heat may help release the plugs
To get the plugs out, start by cracking it loose and go less than half a turn. Then spray some penetrating oil in the hole and let soak for half an hour to loosen the carbon. The plugs should then be ready to take out. When putting in the replacement spark plugs, you can use an updated one-piece version to eliminate any failure problems going forward. Newer plugs, like the ones shown, are double platinum and will have a longer service life. To make sure the new plugs don't get stuck for the next tune up apply some anti-seize to the threads and tip.
In addition to changing the spark plugs, the guys tune up the rest of the ignition system including the coil assemblies and O2 sensors. You can find all the parts with different brands and budget options for a complete tune-up at RockAuto.com.