$1800 Ford F150 Tune-up - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-23-2009, 12:55 AM   #1
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My tow vehicle is a 2004 Ford F150 5.4 Triton V8. Great truck for hauling our Casita 17' SD, at least until I took it in for a tune-up. If you have one of these trucks and you are ready for your 75,000 service please be advised that there is a serious problem with the spark plugs and if you or your mechanic do not get it right it can cost you BIGTIME dollars.

My example? After pumping $1800 in a TUNE-UP I drove the unit 500 miles and lost the motor. Less than 80,000 miles on it. The Ford service department here says my #1 piston looks like the surface of the moon and there is only one thing that could do that, a piece of ceramic or hardened steel.

We haven't pulled the head yet to see what really happened, but even before the blown motor there is a $1800 tune-up that might be waiting for other Ford F150 owners who haven't seen the technical service bulletin on this.

You can see more about what happened to me here:

http://comedybailout.blogspot.com/2009/07/...-ford-f150.html
http://comedybailout.blogspot.com/2009/07/...50-tune-up.html

If you know someone with one of these trucks spread the word!!!

Johnny
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Old 07-23-2009, 08:31 AM   #2
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Johnny
I read your blog and feel for your situation. Just be aware that the Cars for Cash program officially starts tomorrow. If your truck still runs it is worth 3.5K$ (+2MPG) or 4.5K$(+5MPG) on trade of a new vehicle. The truck/SUV MPG required increases are far less than Passenger cars. Paying more for a motor than the vehicle is worth, I would have to think twice about that move but you know your situation better than I do. Just letting you know about another option.
The truck will be scrapped so I would remove anything of value and sell on craigslist. It just has to be driveable as I understand.
Eddie
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Old 07-23-2009, 12:12 PM   #3
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Is this a joke?
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Old 07-23-2009, 04:29 PM   #4
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Mister B,

Was your tune up done by a Ford dealer or an independent?
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Old 07-23-2009, 07:03 PM   #5
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Sadly this is no joke. We started at an independent and then went to the Ford dealer.

My story is not the worst I found when I researched this truck with this engine. There are people who are pulling their engines to get these plugs out. The guy at the Ford dealer here said he has one of these engines in his personal ride (some Mustangs have this engine) and he said when he did it he drove it then parked it, put solvents on the plugs and let it sit overnight before he started, then took his sweet time and was able to do it without any plugs breaking.

I am just a comedian, not a Ford Certified Mechanic. Didn't see this coming, now I want to help others avoid this.

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Old 07-23-2009, 07:29 PM   #6
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It's totally believable to me...

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Old 07-23-2009, 07:55 PM   #7
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I can believe it. After having 4k worth of rebuilt tranny put in my Jeep at 71k miles.. nothing surprises me.

I was freaked out that maybe I did it by towing, even if I am well below my rated limit.. Jeep said "No, you didn't cause this, sometimes, these things just fail. I have seen them go at 3k miles."

Does not bode well for their product, does it?
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Old 07-23-2009, 07:57 PM   #8
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Unfortunate story and not all that uncommon. I have the same engine and after reading some of the horror stories about what could go wrong in replacing the spark plugs I paid a little extra and had a Ford dealership perform the work. I figured they would be aware of the TSB mentioned earlier (I was) and they also would more likely to have the tooling (special kit) if something went wrong. The other part of all this is making sure that the coil over boots are replaced at the same time the plugs are replaced. I believe the corrosion that makes the plugs difficult to remove is caused by boots that are cracked, aged and just not able to keep moisture out of the spark plug recess.
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Old 07-23-2009, 08:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
My tow vehicle is a 2004 Ford F150 5.4 Triton V8. Great truck for hauling our Casita 17' SD, at least until I took it in for a tune-up. If you have one of these trucks and you are ready for your 75,000 service please be advised that there is a serious problem with the spark plugs and if you or your mechanic do not get it right it can cost you BIGTIME dollars.

My example? After pumping $1800 in a TUNE-UP I drove the unit 500 miles and lost the motor. Less than 80,000 miles on it. The Ford service department here says my #1 piston looks like the surface of the moon and there is only one thing that could do that, a piece of ceramic or hardened steel.

We haven't pulled the head yet to see what really happened, but even before the blown motor there is a $1800 tune-up that might be waiting for other Ford F150 owners who haven't seen the technical service bulletin on this.

You can see more about what happened to me here:

http://comedybailout.blogspot.com/2009/07/...-ford-f150.html
http://comedybailout.blogspot.com/2009/07/...50-tune-up.html

If you know someone with one of these trucks spread the word!!!

Johnny
A couple of points ...
The tool to remove the broken plug costs about $100 and does a good job of keeping the ceramic from the plug intact. A simple shop vac with a small hose attachment can be used to assure that no particles are left in the cylinder. this frustrating problem has since been eliminated by a head redesign... Fat lot of good it does those who have suffered from both a design flaw and incompetent technicians.
These engines have easily accessible plugs, but attempts to remove the bottom of the plug when it breaks off are futile and harmful without the removal tool, but not too much of a challenge with it.
$1800 is tantamount to theft since it was probably about half due to a lack of skill or training.
A good mechanic will charge for his skills and not for his mistakes.
Sorry to hear about your unfortunate experience.
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Old 07-23-2009, 08:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Unfortunate story and not all that uncommon. I have the same engine and after reading some of the horror stories about what could go wrong in replacing the spark plugs I paid a little extra and had a Ford dealership perform the work. I figured they would be aware of the TSB mentioned earlier (I was) and they also would more likely to have the tooling (special kit) if something went wrong. The other part of all this is making sure that the coil over boots are replaced at the same time the plugs are replaced. I believe the corrosion that makes the plugs difficult to remove is caused by boots that are cracked, aged and just not able to keep moisture out of the spark plug recess.
Steve;
Actually it appears to be carbon build-up and not moisture .
The stuck part that breaks off is below the threads.

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Old 07-23-2009, 09:07 PM   #11
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I have seen a few this way as the plug has an extra long shoulder on it and the carbon builds up on this area and then the plug breaks off when you try to take them out. Good idea to have the plugs pulled at lower mileage than the manual says, even if they just clean them and put them back in. Buddy of mine had to change a motor in one of these and he ended up using a hoist to lift the cab and front end sheet metal off of the truck to get the motor out. I have heard it is very labour intensified to remove the heads as well.
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Old 07-23-2009, 09:59 PM   #12
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Steve;
Actually it appears to be carbon build-up and not moisture .
The stuck part that breaks off is below the threads.
Thanks for the clarification Floyd. Do you know why the coil over boots are also recommended changing?
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Old 07-24-2009, 07:34 PM   #13
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Yes Ford makes good trucks. Does this engine design have a problem? Yerp. Sometimes it gets people, sometimes it doesn't, but these engine repair rapids are out there waiting for everyone with this engine. The scary thing is I am starting to get the feeling that the responsibility for dealing with this insanity is being handed to the consumer. I hope I am wrong, but it got handed to me. Seems like a bungle on the design/manufacturing end.

Longmont Ford took the new coil off the bad motor and didn't charge me for it, so the total price for my tune-up (which was done back in Utah) dropped to $1500.

Now what to do about a dead motor with 79,000 miles on it? Calling Ford Corporate on Monday to get their thoughts.
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Old 07-24-2009, 11:28 PM   #14
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Ah yes the infamous 5.4. ..... My friend has his own mechanic establishment and just loves them.... He says "they are good money... I've replaced a lot of cylinder heads on them. It pays the bills and then some." Larry
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