grrrr not a good day


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grrrr not a good day

Postby WingAdmin » Fri Feb 15, 2013 3:57 pm



I've been noticing a ticking noise in my truck for the past couple days, coming from the engine. I spent about half an hour last night trying to determine exactly where it was coming from. It was occurring at 1/2 the engine RPM (one tick for every two revolutions) so I was obviously looking at ignition, fuel, or induction/valve systems. I was totally unable to determine where it was coming from. Using my stethoscope I could get close, in that it was definitely on the right side of the engine, partway back, but seemed to be coming from under the air intake system. I finally gave up and decided to look at it again this weekend.

This morning, while driving to work...a sudden loud BANG, followed by the unmistakable CHUFF CHUFF CHUFF sound of some portion of the intake/exhaust being open to the world. I said some very bad words, and knew instantly what it was. The 4.6L engine in my Explorer had just ejected a spark plug from the head, tearing all the threads out of the aluminum head along with it, and destroying the coil mounted to the top of the plug. The 4.6L engine is famous for this - too few threads in the head cause it to spit plugs.

And of course, it is the one plug out of the eight that is MOST covered up by other crap that has to be removed. So much for my weekend.



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Re: grrrr not a good day

Postby HALBUDD » Fri Feb 15, 2013 4:43 pm

Scott sorry to hear about your truck, and have fun this weekend hope you can get her fixed--------------------------Hal
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Re: grrrr not a good day

Postby WA9FWT » Fri Feb 15, 2013 5:11 pm

What luck,and you found it at least.....not funny!
First I was going to say use a Helicoil, but I guess they say there are better one's out there like Horizon steel inserts.Of coarse you need the proper tools to insert.Maybe you can rent those tools ? All I have ever used was Helicoil.....And those sets I still have. Good luck .
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Re: grrrr not a good day

Postby SteveB123 » Fri Feb 15, 2013 7:25 pm

At least since it's a common problem, there'll be a common fix.
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Re: grrrr not a good day

Postby bjatwood » Fri Feb 15, 2013 8:28 pm

Sorry to hear that Scott. I have only had 1 Ford in my entire life and I bought it to trade for a Chevy wagon... ;)
I've had the best Luck believe it or not folks, but with Chrysler's. I have a 2004 Crossfire that runs like the wind and a 2007 Chrysler Aspen with the 5.7 HEMI, and that has a nice passing gear on it too! :D Before that we had a PT Cruiser that we put 150,000 miles on it and the only thing that went wrong with it was the left front brake caliper stuck once and had to replace it....

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Re: grrrr not a good day

Postby Mag » Fri Feb 15, 2013 8:52 pm

I had a spark plug shot out of my '82 Toy pickup when I first moved to Washington many moons ago....truck had 280k on it, I guess it was letting me know it needed a little attention, scared the crap outa me though when it happened. I just pulled that truck over and let it sit.

Have fun on that one, you do work on your vehicle, I will go golfing tomorrow and think about you wrenching (I have been putting my bike together this week now that the garage is above 45 degrees, so there will be some sympathy there, lol)

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Re: grrrr not a good day

Postby littlebeaver » Fri Feb 15, 2013 9:48 pm

I hate those unexpected surprises,,,If you get up really early like 4 or 5 am and start maybe it won't mess up your weekend too much.. I love sleeping in on Saturday with the wife though,,,Oh I feel for you man... :shock: Wheels or brakes ...No problem, engine stuff..awe crap.. :D

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Re: grrrr not a good day

Postby virgilmobile » Sat Feb 16, 2013 11:09 am

Even tho everybody dislikes my 98 Exploder,it does have the 5.0 with AWD. 172K Uneventful miles.

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Re: grrrr not a good day

Postby Dogsled » Sat Feb 16, 2013 12:44 pm

Can you use a steel heli coil in and aluminum head?
"Fight until hell freezes over, then fight on the ice"

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Re: grrrr not a good day

Postby Dogsled » Sat Feb 16, 2013 12:47 pm

OH YEAH....and, what was the ticking sound before it bllew out?
"Fight until hell freezes over, then fight on the ice"

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Re: grrrr not a good day

Postby WA9FWT » Sat Feb 16, 2013 2:10 pm

Dogsled wrote:OH YEAH....and, what was the ticking sound before it bllew out?


Answer is yes!! On a steel insert into aluminum. The ticking was probably spark firing on the out side.

WA9FWT Phil

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Re: grrrr not a good day

Postby twostrokes48 » Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:46 pm

Sorry to hear about your truck troubles....makes mine seem not so bad, just a little pricey....I had the fan speeds go out on my GMC Sierra, dealer fixed free but all the gages in my cluster started going out....That they would have fixed free if had been less than 80,000 on the clock...I was 116k. Counting shipping, got it all fixed for like $185.00. The good news is it takes 5 min to take the cluster out of the dash and put it back. Hopefully no more problems.

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Re: grrrr not a good day

Postby patbrandon1 » Sat Feb 16, 2013 11:54 pm

Sorry for the luck WingAdmin. Google maps says I can be there in 3 hours 57 minutes to help you fix it, if you need. I would just have to remember not to wear my Detroit Tigers hat. I was wearing an old English D once when I visited Cleveland, and I learned a few new words and sign languages. They really don't like the Tigers over there.

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Re: grrrr not a good day

Postby bustedwing » Sun Feb 17, 2013 2:50 pm

I know exactly what you are going thru. When I first started working for the school system here most of the busses were lpgas, but one had 5 spark plugs in the glove box. Before I was hired a local garage did the tune ups and this bus had one spark plug that was very hard to get to. So instead of replacing that plug it got thrown in the glove box. When I tried to get that plug out it took two days and a quart of wd40. But I saved the head, which I almost figured was shot..
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Re: grrrr not a good day

Postby wjnfirearms » Sun Feb 17, 2013 4:16 pm

The 4.6 and 5.4 are famous for this happening if the plugs are left unchanged for too many miles, especially up through 2006. Ford told people that they would last for 100,000 miles, but this is the result of what happens. Maybe your plugs, Scott, aren't 100k old, but I bet they have quite a few miles on them.

Unfortunately, a standard Heli Coil setup won't work on the Triton series engines because of how the heads are constructed. However, there are kits available to fix the problem by yourself.

http://www.autozone.com/autozone/parts/ ... wYmme=true

This is another listing for a more complete and better kit, though it's a bit more pricey. Still way cheaper than the labor charge at your local Ford garage.

http://www.autozone.com/autozone/access ... 04283_0_0_

Also, FYI, a conventional spark plug socket won't work in the Triton engines, either. Special plug removal tools are available and aren't really expensive.

My new 2007 F-250 has a 5.4. It only has 50,000 miles on it, but the plugs were changed just prior to it being traded in. Otherwise, I was going to insist they be changed by the dealer I bought it from or the sale was off.
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Re: grrrr not a good day

Postby Dogsled » Sun Feb 17, 2013 5:45 pm

Triton !!!! it didn't hit me until the last post. I was an Econoline van man from the 70's, I loved their big straight 6, I think it was the 300.

The last van from Ford had a Triton....worst gas mileage and always having issues. Never bought a Ford again....did I mention the bad mileage??? I thought my Wing got bad mileage......
"Fight until hell freezes over, then fight on the ice"

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Re: grrrr not a good day

Postby wjnfirearms » Sun Feb 17, 2013 7:28 pm

The 300 straight 6 was a mule for sure. I had a '91 F-150 with one and it was bulletproof. Of course, everything good gets scrapped by the automakers. Just like the 4.0 in our Jeeps. Amazing engine. Stopped making them in around 2002.

My F-250 gets fair mileage considering it's heavy duty everything and 4wd. Around 13mpg and it doesn't go down under load like trailering.

A buddy of mine at work gave me a tip on improving gas mileage. He found it buried in the internet and has used it for a while and seen an improvement with no adverse effects to his truck. I started trying it and we'll see. If it works for me as well as it allegedly does for him, I'll pass it along here.
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Re: grrrr not a good day

Postby WingAdmin » Tue Feb 19, 2013 10:27 am

The ticking noise was compression leaking out past the loose plug. I had replaced the plugs in September of 2010, and they had around 20,000 miles on them.

In any case, I had two options. The Dorman kit, which used a self-tapping insert and a custom replacement plug - for $80, or the Timesert kit, which has you manually tap the head for their insert, and comes with 6 inserts - for just under $500.

I went with the $80 kit. It has you use high-temperature thread sealant which has to cure for 24 hours. I inserted it on Saturday morning. So Sunday morning I went for a test drive - and within a minute, I heard the ticking again. By the time I turned around and made it home again, it was obviously leaking badly.

So I pulled the Dorman insert out and went with the Timesert. It worked just fine, but man, my wallet is quite a bit lighter....time to sell this truck, I think.

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Re: grrrr not a good day

Postby littlebeaver » Tue Feb 19, 2013 12:25 pm

I was going to suggest that [another vehicle] but when something like this happens ....Nobody wants to hear anything like that....It kinda adds fuel to the fire...We went to Louisiana this weekend and I saw the prettiest new Ford Taurus going down the road, it was the pretty blue I think I ever did see..Now I want that.. :shock: :shock: for the wife ya know.. :shock: But we always bought Chevy's so I do not know... :shock:

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Re: grrrr not a good day

Postby MDRanger » Tue Feb 19, 2013 1:23 pm

:o ohhh sorry admin. The bright side is you are a good mechanic and so will not get stung nearly as bad as if you were not. Like my water heater just went out and I knew how to fix it. 32.00 for two new elements, flush the tank and good for another several years.(hope this helps) :)

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Re: grrrr not a good day

Postby WingAdmin » Tue Feb 19, 2013 1:35 pm

MDRanger wrote::o ohhh sorry admin. The bright side is you are a good mechanic and so will not get stung nearly as bad as if you were not. Like my water heater just went out and I knew how to fix it. 32.00 for two new elements, flush the tank and good for another several years.(hope this helps) :)


When my water heater went out, I scrapped the whole thing and put in a tankless water heater instead. Love that thing - you NEVER run out of hot water, we can be running the washing machine, dishwasher, and two showers at the same time, all with never-ending hot water.

The downside is that my daughter is 13, and we have never-ending hot water. :) I've threatened to utilize the same method that I used as a kid to get my brothers out of the shower when they took too long (turn the hot water off).

Truth is, I don't really have a need for this truck anymore - I rarely haul anything that I need the storage space for, maybe once a year. There's not enough snow here to really require 4WD. I don't have anything to tow with it anymore. I never fill all seven seats. I use it primarily for driving back and forth to work, by myself, and for that, a 13.5 mpg truck is really wasteful - and expensive. That's why I've been thinking about selling it for a while.

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Re: grrrr not a good day

Postby WA9FWT » Tue Feb 19, 2013 1:52 pm

WingAdmin wrote:The ticking noise was compression leaking out past the loose plug. I had replaced the plugs in September of 2010, and they had around 20,000 miles on them.

In any case, I had two options. The Dorman kit, which used a self-tapping insert and a custom replacement plug - for $80, or the Timesert kit, which has you manually tap the head for their insert, and comes with 6 inserts - for just under $500.

I went with the $80 kit. It has you use high-temperature thread sealant which has to cure for 24 hours. I inserted it on Saturday morning. So Sunday morning I went for a test drive - and within a minute, I heard the ticking again. By the time I turned around and made it home again, it was obviously leaking badly.

So I pulled the Dorman insert out and went with the Timesert. It worked just fine, but man, my wallet is quite a bit lighter....time to sell this truck, I think.


I see kits for half that price for that engine.But I'm sure you did your research as to what customers have said.
Just a lot of money to fix a Hole. :shock:

WA9FWT Phil

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Re: grrrr not a good day

Postby WingAdmin » Tue Feb 19, 2013 1:54 pm

WA9FWT wrote:I see kits for half that price for that engine.But I'm sure you did your research as to what customers have said.
Just a lot of money to fix a Hole. :shock:

WA9FWT Phil


I did as well...but I found people reporting that they just blew out again. The only kit that had universally positive reviews (and the only kit endorsed by Ford for their techs to use fixing this problem) is the Timsert kit, so that's what I went with.

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Re: grrrr not a good day

Postby bustedwing » Tue Feb 19, 2013 2:09 pm

Wing, you could trade it in on a small truck since you never know when you will need a truck just not a full size 4x4. As far as the spark plug repair, it could get costly. How much does a cylinder head cost? Maybe $500.00 isn't so bad after all.
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Re: grrrr not a good day

Postby WingAdmin » Tue Feb 19, 2013 2:39 pm

bustedwing wrote:Wing, you could trade it in on a small truck since you never know when you will need a truck just not a full size 4x4. As far as the spark plug repair, it could get costly. How much does a cylinder head cost? Maybe $500.00 isn't so bad after all.


$2000. Which is more than $500. :)




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