Ford Spark Plug Blow Outs – Oversize Inserts and FAQ’s

11:18 am Auto Specialty Tools, Calvan Tools, Ford Problems, How To Auto Repair, Mechanics Tools


Calvan 11/16″ drill bit used with air ratchet and 1/2″ socket.

DenLors tools has sold hundreds of the Calvan spark plug repair kits and has had no reported failures. We’ve answered many questions about Ford spark plug thread repairs over the last couple of years and have included them in various places on our site. Now in this auto repair blog ALL of the frequently asked questions to date are posted here in one central location, if you don’t see your question answered, feel free to use the comment form and ask. Included here are questions about repairing spark plug holes after Lisle, Napa, Auto Zone, or other brands may be thicker than the Heli-Coil, but still have managed to fail and allow the spark plug to blow out AGAIN. We are not out to discredit any other spark plug insert company, we just know from our customer feedback what works and what just works for awhile. The questions below answer questions from real customers with this serious problem. We recommend the Calvan Ford spark plug insert repair kit as the best solution for Ford 1998-2004 4.6, 5.4. 6.8 SOHC (2 valve) engines, the following will help show why.

Question:  Are there different size or oversize inserts available for the Calvan insert tool and are they included?

Answer:  There is only one size thread insert for the Calvan repair kit and 6 are included. There is only one size because once the Cal Van is installed, it will not blow out and there is no need for an oversize insert. The Calvan insert is larger than competitive brands and Cal Van’s larger stronger design is one of the reasons it can last the life of the cylinder head.  To date the Calvan insert is the largest insert available, that’s the reason it can be used when other brands fail.  

Question:  I have a 1999 Ford F150 with a 4.6 liter Triton engine with 126,000 miles on it. The number 3 spark plug blew out of the cylinder head. I called my local repair shop and was told that this was a common problem with this design engine because of the extremely thin (aluminum) casting in the spark plug area of the engine head, there is only about five threads for a spark plug. How is the Calvan insert better?

Answer:  While it is true there are only five threads for the spark plug in this design engine for the spark plug and the Calvan repair insert has five spark plug threads as well, the Calvan spark plug insert is steel not aluminum and the insert itself is held in place with ten external threads. The Calvan spark plug insert improves the design and durability at fraction of the cost of replacing the cylinder heads; and if replacing the heads they would have the same design weakness.

Question:  I am selling my truck as fast as I can get a spark plug to stay in long enough to get rid of it. I wanted to use a Heli-Coil because I won’t have to drill, but the thread tool isn’t long enough to reach in the spark plug recess, any suggestions?

Answer:  I personally recommend the Calvan spark plug repair kit because it is a better repair, but if you would rather use the thinner Heli-coil insert, the HEL5396-14 has the longer thread tool than the standard Heli-coil kit.

Question:  I have Ford van that has had a parts store insert installed previously, it has blown out and I want to know if the Calvan insert will work since the old insert has left a bigger hole now?

Answer:  Yes, the Calvan spark plug repair insert is larger and has worked well for our customers before, saving the expense of replacing the heads. Read on for more information.

Question:  I bought a rebuilt head and come to find out one of the spark plug holes had a repair insert, it blew out last week. The cylinder head has a warranty, but I cannot afford the down time of pulling thread all over again. Will the Calvan insert repair this hole?

Answer:  Yes, the Calvan insert is a thicker beefier repair that you don’t have to worry about. And I always tell our customers that when purchasing a rebuilt head of this type to be aware of the possibility that inferior repair inserts may be in the head. Buying a brand new head would insure that there are no cheap inserts, but you would be stuck with the original weak design. The Calvan thread insert repair saves down time, money and is stronger due to the material being steel alloy instead of aluminum like the original threads.

Question:  I need to know the size or dimension of the outside of the insert, to know if it will be large enough to repair the spark plug hole threads that have already been fixed once before?

Answer:  The outside diameter of the insert is .73″ or 18.65mm, this is measuring on the most outer part of the threads. If a HeliCoil or regular size Timesert (not a Big Sert) was used before in the original repair this will work well. 

Question:  I have an insert that blew out after an engine rebuild, I can’t afford the down time to have the engine pulled AGAIN. The insert that’s still on the spark plug is not a thin Heli-Coil, it appears to be a bigger insert, maybe an oversized thread repair. My question is; Will the Calvan thread insert work in an engine after the bigger insert has blown out? The outside diameter of the bigger insert is .63″ or 16mm.

Answer:  Yes, I can say this because the drill bit included in the Calvan 38900 spark plug repair kit is 11/16″ (.6875″ or 17.4mm) so what you’re telling me is you have a smaller hole than what the drill bit size is in our kit. So as long as the previous repair was drilled in the center, the Calvan will work great. Also the Calvan has a guide that fits in the spark plug recess so drilling and tapping will be centered every time, if you have a good view of where you’re working or not.

Question:  Does the CalVan insert accept the same spark plug or will I have to remember to use a different spark plug in the repaired port?

Answer:  The CalVan insert uses the same spark plug and has the identical taper and same number of threads, just stronger steel not aluminum.

Question:   The price for one insert seems high, are you sure I don’t get more than one insert for this price?

Answer:   I understand this seems like a lot but for an insert of this quality it’s like many things in life, you get what you pay for. Who wants to trust a weaker design insert to hold in a spark plug, if it fails on a coil over plug design it may break a $50 plus coil, require the job to be done over again, or worse cause extensive engine damage requiring the replacement of the head.

Question:  How long will the Calvan spark plug repair last?

Answer:  The Calvan inserts are designed to last the lifetime of the engine and are stronger than the original threads.


Calvan’s leak down tool to determine when the valves are closed.

Question:  Time Sert says “The only 100% way to know the valves are not open is to remove the valve cover and inspect the cam, making sure that it is not depressing the valves on the damaged spark plug hole.” Do I have to remove the valve cover with the Calvan Ford spark plug insert tool kit?

Answer:  No. The Calvan tool kit allows the mechanic to verify valves are closed with an included cylinder leak detector. Plug the rubber stopper from the leak detector into the spark plug hole with a low amount of air from an air compressor going through the hose. The rubber cone will pop out of the spark plug hole when the valves are closed. The video shows this as well.

Question:  How do I know all the aluminum metal shavings are out of the cylinder?

Answer:  A borescope is used to make sure all foreign debris is removed. A video inspection scope can be used as well, we have a fairly inexpensive video based scope, that in our opinion is better and easier to view than the fiber optic borescope shown in use in the instructional video.


Calvan’s metal sleeve or guide is used to center the drill bit and the tap.

Question:  I’m afraid I might start drilling or tapping the hole crooked, am I going to damage my head beyond repair?

Answer:  With the Calvan specialty tool kit that we sell, since it is made specifically for Ford 4.6, 5.4 and 6.8 Triton engines, it has a guide that fits into the spark plug recess to perfectly guide the drill and the tap making the repair centered, even in hard to access areas.

Question:  Will my spark plug be properly grounded through the engine, since the insert will have JB weld on the threads?

Answer:  I’ve only had one person ask this. The answer is yes. JB weld or Loctite with some other brand inserts is being used on the threads, but there is a large enough percentage of metal to metal contact that provides ground, to allow proper firing of the spark plug.

Question:  The Ford cylinder repair kit instructional video (showing the repair done with the engine on a stand) is good, but can this repair be done in the vehicle?

Answer:  Yes, the video is showing how the kit is used with an engine on a stand, however the tool kit is designed to be used on an engine that is in the vehicle.

Question:  There doesn’t seem to be much room under the cowl area of my truck. How can I drill in that tight area?

Answer:  This repair kit is used in tight areas, on trucks and even in vans. The drill bit, which is used in the guide so the hole is drilled in the correct position. And to allow drilling to be done in confined areas, the drilling is actually done with an air ratchet. The drill bit accepts a 1/2″  socket that is used with your air ratchet, so drilling is done on a right angle. The guide is also used with the thread tap, so making a perfectly centered hole is easy.

Question:  On the CAL38900 – Hi, I’ve got a 1998 Ford E350 w. Triton v10 (6.8L) with a blown plug ( second from the front on drivers side.) I’m just wondering what length the tap tool is? I only have about 6-8″ above the engine to work with and was hoping I could do this without dropping the engine. Also, is there any special type of air-ratchet I should use on the job?

Answer:  I understand your concern. This kit is designed to be used in the vehicle, even in vans. The length of the tap is 7 3/8″ long. The bit is 7″ long. A 3/8″ air ratchet like the Ingersoll Rand 109xpa works well.

Question: I am working on a motor that has had a cheap parts store brand insert installed. The problem is there’s a holes burned along the side of the hole. I’m not sure if the Calvan insert is big enough to take care of that extra width. Is there a larger insert available?

Answer:  Yes. But first since you already have the Calvan kit I would try it first. The top of the Calvan insert has a shoulder that may help seal up the extra hole that was burned through from driving the vehicle with the compression leak along the side of the part’s store insert. If there is still a compression leak heard, after trying the Calvan insert I would turn the motor off quickly to prevent burning an even larger hole beside the insert. We have the Time Sert 5600 which uses an insert inside another insert to end up with the largest outside diameter possible. See the following listing for more information on the largest Ford Spark Plug Thread Repair kit available. It requires the entire kit because it is larger, but it’s still better than pulling the head and replacing it.

Related Links and Products

Ford Spark Plug Blow Out Problems How to Repair – Original article

Calvan 38900 Insert Kit – Product in this blog for sale.  

Calvan 389-100 DLT Inserts – Additional inserts sold separately.

Expedition Cylinder Head Removal w/Body Off – NOT required with the 38900 DLT see what you’re missing 

Time-Sert and Big Sert Thread Repair Kits – FAQ’s

Difference in Lengths for 5553 and 38900 Reamers

130 Responses
  1. Scott :

    Date: December 16, 2008 @ 10:38 am

    I am looking for someone in the Amsterdam, New York 12010 area who has the tool or is willing to get one and can fix a spark plug blow out on my 2001 F150. I checked with my local Ford Dealer and they will only pull and replace the head.

  2. dennisb :

    Date: December 16, 2008 @ 10:46 am

    If anyone would like to put in a plug for their repair shop and offer their services, respond to this blog. Please include business name and address and business phone number if you would like. We occasionally have inquiries for names of businesses that will do this repair throughout the USA. Customers should be advised we do not endorse or have any affiliation with the repair centers. Here are a few places that have done this repair, their contact information can be looked up on-line or in a phone book. Ask them about Calvan spark plug insert repair and that you found them on DenLors Blog.

    Smith South Plains Ford
    Hwy 114 East
    Levelland, TX 79336
    Tri State Tire
    110 W. 1st N.
    Rexburg, ID 83440
    Wheat Ridge Auto Repair
    9205 W. 44th Ave.
    Wheat Ridge, CO 80033

    Tunex Auto Care Center
    1220 Sage Dr.
    Cedar City, UT 84720

    Pollard Friendly Ford
    3301 South Loop 289
    Lubbock, TX 79423
    Dulles Automotive
    44827 Ox Road Unit A
    Sterling , VA 20166

    Pistners Auto
    721 S. St. Marys Rd
    St. Marys, PA 15857

    Metro Ford
    1651 New State Hwy
    Raynham, MA 02767

    Ricks Auto Service
    131 W. Main St.
    Spencer, MA 01562

    Moritz Machine Shop
    4424 E Admiral Place
    Tulsa, OK 74115

    Montvale Auto Towing
    105 Spring Valley Rd.
    Montvale, NJ 07645

    Gary Marchlewicz
    American Automotive
    4924 Gregwood Place
    Rockford, IL 61108

    1420 2ND ST NE
    BONDURANT, IA 50035

    Integrity Car Care & Tires
    5044 Cleveland St.
    Virginia Beach, VA 23462

  3. Demos Johnson :

    Date: January 14, 2009 @ 1:25 am

    I was just on full-torque’s website, they claim that if you use a steel insert it will transfer heat too slowly for the spark plug to cool and operate at its prescibed heat range and possibly fail a metal to metal contact with the head. Any thoughts on this, I want to keep my truck and am looking for a permanent cost effective solution. Thanks

  4. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: January 14, 2009 @ 8:03 am

    Demos, I believe this is the question on their website you are referring to:

    Q: Why should I not use a coil type insert to fix a stripped spark plug hole?

    A: Stainless steel cannot transfer heat fast enough to allow the spark plug to properly cool. It is also very difficult to break off the installation tang during an in-frame repair.

    My Response: I agree that repeated heating and cooling with a thin steel wire coil is likely to cause failure. But the Calvan insert is not a thin wire.

    … they claim that if you use a steel insert it will transfer heat too slowly for the spark plug to cool and operate at its prescribed heat range and possibly fail to have metal to metal contact with the head.

    The Calvan insert is steel alloy. The steel alloy shares very similar heating and cooling characteristics to aluminum and is obviously much stronger. As far as the contact surface, the Calvan insert has much more surface area than a wire insert. As of todays date we still have had no failures or altered performance claims from anyone.

  5. charles Hooper :

    Date: January 16, 2009 @ 9:22 pm

    I need a mechanic in the sf bay area, do you know one that can preform this Calvan insert procedure?

  6. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: January 17, 2009 @ 8:06 am

    Charles, I don’t have a specific shop to recommend in San Francisco but you can use the shop finder link on the right sidebar under blog links. This will take you to iATN (International Automotive Technician’s Network)so you can search for a good automotive repair shop in your area. Those shops and technicians are very well informed and are professional, so you’re better off finding one from there than looking in the local newspaper or yellow pages.

  7. Demos Johnson :

    Date: January 21, 2009 @ 6:11 am

    I purchased the kit and plan on installing an insert this weekend. The video did not answer a question I have which is this. Can you start your vehicle right away or do you have to wait for the cure time on the JB Weld? Its been awhile since I have bought JB Weld but I thought that there was a 24 hour cure time. Thanks

  8. dennisb - On Ford Spark Plug Removal :

    Date: January 21, 2009 @ 7:43 am

    The vehicle can be started immediately following the repair. Full cure time for JB Weld is 15 hours, but I wouldn’t hesitate to start the engine right after the repair. The reason is that the JB Weld is not meant to seal combustion gases, its purpose is to prevent the spark plug insert from ever backing out over time or upon the next spark plug change. The insert would more than likely never back out without the JB Weld, but I think of it as extra insurance.

  9. cbunker :

    Date: February 27, 2009 @ 2:42 pm

    I used the insert kit on a 1998 e3500 van. Tight working conditions, but it worked great. I did notice that the insert is about 2 threads longer than the spark plug,and after measuring the depth of an old head on the bench it seems that it will have at least 2 threads exposed in the head. Is there diff. lenght inserts ??

  10. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: February 28, 2009 @ 8:52 am

    I’m glad this kit worked out well for you.

    Calvan only makes the one size insert and this is the way the engineers designed it to be, to insure full contact with the head with exterior threads on the insert. This will cause no adverse effect on firing etc.

  11. Ron Ontiveros :

    Date: March 18, 2009 @ 11:44 pm

    This looks great. I had them put in a helli coil system that failed one month after it was installed. It cost me 415.00 . Can the insert be completed with the intake manifold in place? The video blog shows the engine on a stand with no intake manifold.

  12. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: March 19, 2009 @ 6:56 am

    Ron, Yes this insert relacement kit is designed to be done on the vehicle with the intake and heads in place. The video shows the job performed on an engine stand for illustration purposes.

  13. dennisb :

    Date: March 22, 2009 @ 1:11 pm

    Question asked through an email by Jim M: I have a 1999 Ford Expedition 4.6L. 170,000 miles. Changing #8 spark plug last week could not seat the plug. I beleive this is post blow-out. Video recomends epoxy set of helio-coil. Can I coat spark threads with epoxy preventing blow-out in the near furture? Will it work and what epoxy?

  14. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: March 22, 2009 @ 2:22 pm


    The video does say to epoxy or JB weld the insert but it is NOT a Heli-coil. The Helicoil is not solid (it’s a wire coil), the Calvan insert is solid, so it will not allow the substance used to go between the threads and contact the spark plug threads. You should never allow epoxy to contact the spark plug threads, unless it is in an attempt to remove the old Helicoil upon removal, like in our blog on How to Remove a Helicoil. If I were you, I would try to remove the old Helicoil since it is no longer holding compression and use the Calvan 38900 to install a permanent repair.

  15. Paul :

    Date: May 5, 2009 @ 1:26 pm

    Thanks for the quick response via e-mail this morning. I have another question regarding the E150 Van. Do you know of any repair shops in the Cleveland, OH area that uses the Calvan process? As I read the links that you sent to me it became apparent that to do the task correctly additional tools such as the video viewer would be needed. Since this hopefully would be a one time repair it might be just as cost effective to have it done by a shop rather than purchase the tools.

  16. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: May 5, 2009 @ 1:36 pm

    Paul, I would recommend using the “Shop Finder” on the right column under “BlogRoll” you can narrow your search for a local shop to do the repair.

  17. Jan :

    Date: June 6, 2009 @ 1:43 am

    Is the 2005 4.6L prone to the plug blow-out problem? Heard that Ford extended/corrected the threads in 2003 to resolve this problem. Also heard of 2004 forward has problem of broken-off plugs.

  18. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: June 6, 2009 @ 7:13 am

    Jan, yes the repair kit this article specifically addresses the Ford 4.6 and 5.4 blowout issue. The 2003 is the same as prior years. Some 2004 Ford 5.4’s have a different problem (they break upon removal) see our tech article for more information.

  19. todd :

    Date: June 17, 2009 @ 8:57 pm

    I am thinking about buying the Calvan tool. I have a 2000 expidition with the 5.4 – the #3 plug blew out and the ford garage said that they couldn’t use their insert process due to not enough room – have people been successful with this tool on cylinders #3, 4, 7, and 8?


  20. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: June 18, 2009 @ 6:38 am


    Thanks for the inquiry/comment. Yes, This tool is designed to be used in the vehicle. Sometimes, ALL of the cylinders are fitted with the Calvan inserts to eliminate the chance of having another blowout in one of the other cylinders.

    Once the (heater hoses pulled and secured out of the way) coils are removed and the fuel rail is loosened and repositioned, enough access is gained to use the kit. The guide, drill and tap are designed to be used with an air ratchet so it’s like using a right angle drill. Since the guide keeps the drill and the tap straight, it’s not required to physically see straight down at the cylinder being worked on. The fact that the heads do not have to be removed makes using this kit well worth the effort. Less down time and a lot less expensive repair that is much stronger than the original threads. We’ve sold hundreds of these without failures, unlike Heli-coil and other brands that use thinner material. See the Calvan 38900 product for more information and keep in mind every kit comes with a DVD showing the procedure (same as the YouTube footage but higher quality).

  21. dennisb - On Ford Spark Plug Removal :

    Date: September 13, 2009 @ 8:16 am

    Recent email from Bruce K.

    The CALTOOL Ford spark plug insert tool kit worked absolutely perfect… I had a #8 plug blow out of my 2002 f150 Lariat…and the video + tool kit I ordered from you was fantastic….great job….great toolkit….

    My response; Bruce, thanks for the comment, I appreciate you taking the time to let us know how the repair went. We are happy the kit worked well for you. Although we sell other spark plug thread repair kits for Fords, the Calvan 38900 continues to be the one we strongly recommend (even when others brands fail). One reason we recommend this particular kit for Ford spark plug blowout repairs is because of the overwhelmingly positive feedback we receive from customers like you. Also, we hope to do business with you in the future.

    Please keep us in mind for your future tool needs.

  22. mitchell rice :

    Date: October 1, 2009 @ 11:13 pm

    What is the thread pitch and diameter of the outside of the ford 4.6L spark plug repair insert?

  23. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: October 2, 2009 @ 8:35 am

    The outside diameter of the insert is .73″ or 18.65mm, this is measuring on the most outer part of the threads. Don’t have the thread pitch of the outside of the insert, however the correct tap for the insert is included in the kit.

  24. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: October 5, 2009 @ 9:17 pm

    We now have the Mount-9200DLT which is the same kit as the Calvan – they are made by Horizon Tool company. They are available in more of our warehouses so they we can reduce transit time to our customers.

  25. Brent :

    Date: October 9, 2009 @ 5:39 pm

    Plug blew out of my ’99 F150 5.4 on Monday Oct. 5. Fedex delivered repair kit + 2 inserts Tuesday morning. Had all 8 plugs back in and truck running by Wednesday afternoon. Seems like if you’re going to have a reliable vehicle you should do all 8 plugs.
    Great tool! Well worth the price, I figured I saved about $3000.

    A couple of suggestions that weren’t in the video.
    1. Found it much easier to put ½” hose on shop vac to clean out chips then to have them fly all over engine.
    2. Used spray brake cleaner to remove cutting oil from new threads before using JB Weld.
    3. Was able to easily get 3/8″ torque wrench on all plugs in the F150.

  26. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: October 10, 2009 @ 7:56 am

    Brent, Thanks for taking the time to let us know how the repair went. I agree with your added tips. I’m sure everyone that reads them will too!

  27. Rod :

    Date: November 2, 2009 @ 7:04 pm

    I have read that some inserts do not work well on the 1L2E PI heads because the countersink in the head is differant. Is this a problem with the Cal-Van kit?

  28. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: November 2, 2009 @ 10:30 pm

    Rod, Calvan only makes one size insert and it is the largest one available in any brand that I am aware of. I did see what you’re talking about on Timesert’s website. They say an extra tool is required on the 1L2E PI heads when installing their insert. If you wanted you can ask Horizon Tools directly (about the 38900) to see if they have any additional information. My viewpoint is that it’s not a factor with Calvan because it is larger and the taper in the 1L2E PI heads will be drilled out anyway. With the 38900, after the drilling, tapping and replacement insert is installed it’s a done deal.

  29. mike starkey :

    Date: December 1, 2009 @ 2:01 am

    Hello Men
    My buddy has current trouble with a plug. at time of pickup the thing wasn’t running as before. shop said they think there is carbon stuck in valve but i imagine more likely to be a metal shaving? do any of you men have an idea of how to find and prove the honest truth of what has happened. Should he pay more or should the dealer shop help him without further charge if metal ( and not carbon) is found at the exhaust valve seat or in cylinder any thoughts or ideas ?
    thanks Mike

  30. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: December 1, 2009 @ 7:23 am

    Mike, I’m assuming there was a plug blown out and an insert was installed. Most shops are not going to provide a warranty in this case, since they have no idea how the engine ran prior to the blowout. It’s best to use a borescope or inspection scope to be sure there is no debris remaining in the cylinder prior to completion of the job. If a kit other than the Horizon style one was used, the noise you hear could be compression leaking past the insert. Other than that, if you still suspect valve leakage, a leak down tester can be used to help pinpoint the problem. As far as getting the shop to cover part or any of the additional time needed, I don’t think there’s much of a chance of that.

  31. Slats :

    Date: December 4, 2009 @ 4:21 pm

    The job was small, the anxiety of drilling into the head, huge.

    First off I bought the auto parts store kit. It was very pricey. I sat one evening and mentally walked through their steps. When I read the statement that said “hit with a hammer” but not too hard, I got an uneasy feeling. I’m looking for a little more precision than that! Also, without a shoulder on their insert, how would you know when to stop? Remember, you’re working blind when you do this job. The kit went back as fast as it was bought.

    I bought the CalVan and couldn’t be happier. I moved slowly, double and triple checked to make sure I had the piston in the correct position. That procedure worked flawlessly. The boring, tapping and insertion was a breeze. Oh and if any one is concerned about leaving filings in the engine, with a stout air hose and following the steps prescribed, there is no way anything will remain in the head. My only issue is that your kit should come with 8 inserts. After all, you did design it for a V8 engine! KUDOS GREAT JOB CAL VAN

  32. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: December 4, 2009 @ 10:25 pm

    Slats, thanks for taking the time to let us know how your repair worked out, glad it went well. I’m sure the parts house brand repair kit manufacturer didn’t realize how ridiculous their directions were when they said “hit it with a hammer but not too hard!”

    This kits also works on 10 cylinder 6.8’s. So we do have individual ones, PN 389-100, in case someone decides to do all of them, whether you have an 8 or a 10 cylinder.

  33. HotRaud :

    Date: December 12, 2009 @ 4:10 pm

    I just had this happen on my 2003 marauder. will this kit work correctly on a DOHC 4.6l. i see mentions of the SOHC, even the guide video shows a SOHC. thanks!

  34. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: December 12, 2009 @ 5:07 pm

    HotRaud, glad it worked for you, however this kit is NOT designed for DOHC engines. The insert is workable but the guide for the drill and tap is definitely not going to work properly. Therefore, I recommend the Time Sert 5553 that uses a Big Sert insert for DOHC. They use a different method to drill the hole straight. Time Sert uses a step design instead of using a guide.

  35. TimC01F2505.4 :

    Date: January 29, 2010 @ 1:51 am

    I have a 2001 F250 5.4. The right rear plug let go and broke the coil mount flange as well. Will the CalVan repair kit work on all type heads installed on these engines?

  36. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: January 30, 2010 @ 10:18 am

    Tim, the spark plug blow out repair kit works on 1996 to 2005 2 valve engines – your 2001 falls into the correct date range. It’s common that the ignition coil get’s broken when the spark plug ejects. Just have to replace it after the insert is installed. Readers that have newer 3 valve engines should be aware that this kit is NOT for those engines.

  37. joe donnelly :

    Date: January 30, 2010 @ 2:52 pm

    the calvan repair tool appears to be just what i’ve been looking for . my 2003 mercury grand marquis blew out the number 3 plug and i plan to keep this car and will replace all 8 plugs . my question is do i have to use jb weld or will the red thread lock work as well ?

  38. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: January 30, 2010 @ 3:22 pm

    Joe, Either is fine, since it is only to keep the insert from backing out when changing spark plugs in the future.

  39. Chuck Stone :

    Date: February 5, 2010 @ 2:19 pm

    I have a 1999 f-450 tow truck with the 6.8 and 265,000 miles. After blowing out a spark plug, we pulled the intake, fuel rails and coils with the idea of removing the head and sending it out to be repaired. After we got that far we realized this might be more complicated then we thought. We towed it to our local Ford dealer for the repair. The tech did the repair all the way to the ‘hit it with a hammer but not to hard’ part and drove the insert into the cylinder! We were then told it needed a long block and were given a bill for the ‘repair’.
    We found the Cal-Van kit and the insert hole we drilled was actually large enough to remove the previous coil ‘fix’ from the cylinder without removing the head. It worked great!
    Three weeks later the truck lost a different spark plug. We let the truck sit overnight to cool. Started the repair the next morning and 20 minutes later the truck was on the road. FANTASTIC!

  40. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: February 5, 2010 @ 2:43 pm

    Chuck, thanks for the feedback. It’s important to note for our readers that “hit with a hammer” is NOT part of the directions for the Calvam/Horizon tool – but is a step mentioned in a competive brand.

  41. Squirrel :

    Date: February 7, 2010 @ 1:55 pm

    So after getting the kit two days ago, and trying to find out why it didn’t work (too short) I see here, that it’s NOT designed for the 3 valve 5.4 in my 2004 Lincoln Navigator.

    Now What? HELP!!

  42. Squirrel :

    Date: February 7, 2010 @ 3:47 pm

    Thanks for the quick reply, Dennis. Since I have the kit “in hand”, and although I completely understand that the kit is NOT intended for the 3V engine, is it the tool depth deficiency that is the problem?

    I know that the spark plug DOES fit the insert I.D., I know that the tools in the kit DON’T reach far enough into the head to bore and thread.

    What’s the exact issue besides the tools need to be longer? Is there an insert/bore O.D. clearance issue?

    Thank you GREATLY for replying promptly… on Superbowl Sunday, no less. WOW!!

  43. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: February 7, 2010 @ 3:11 pm

    Squirrel, there is a growing need for a kit to work on the 3V engines like you have. The 3v engines don’t have the “blow out” problem like in the the 2v engines. But, the threads do get damaged sometimes when working the plugs back and forth too much to remove siezed plugs. The Calvan 39300 kit is designed to cover the 3v engines. Click the image below for the 3 Valve kit that uses 16mm plugs.

    Calvan 3V Kit

  44. TimC01F2505.4 :

    Date: February 13, 2010 @ 5:22 am

    I used the insert kit to repair my ’01 5.4 engine right rear plug (probably the most difficult to repair). I’ve been an aircraft structure mechanic and inspector for over 20 years. In the past, I have drilled critical holes in a lot more expensive things than my trucks “entire” value. I used the kit and an air ratchet to bore the new hole, but went much slower than the demonstration CD showed / instructed. I did not use the air ratchet to cut the new threads. I did not trust the speed or “feel” (my opinion) using an air ratchet for this so I did it by hand, but it went well and I waited over 20 hours for the JB weld to set the insert. This system is the best that I have researched and believed in before using. Simplicity in use and instruction is the key. This system is a winner. I have driven the truck now for a week, no problems.

  45. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: February 13, 2010 @ 9:43 am

    Tim, Thanks for the testimonial. I understand your aprehension, not wanting to use an air ratchet – however, using an air ratchet is safe because of the guide that is included. I agree with you though, on tapping the threads, I would do this part by hand also. It certainly doesn’t hurt to allow the JB to “set” as long as you did but for our readers – It isn’t absolutely necessary to wait that long. Good work Tim and thanks again for your comments! :)

  46. bradley evans :

    Date: February 21, 2010 @ 3:55 am

    Just have spark plug issue with my 03 ford expedition. Been doing some reading on the cause and possible solution. Is the calvan still a viable option?

  47. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: February 21, 2010 @ 8:29 am

    Bradley, The Calvan/Horizon kit has been our recommenedation for several years now – it’s the kit I would use if I had a blown plug in an applicable vehicle.

  48. Thom77 :

    Date: February 25, 2010 @ 2:55 pm

    Alright, Sounds great. Where do I find this kit and how much does it cost?
    2000, 5.4, F-150
    Calvan 38900 Is the correct kit?

  49. dennisb - On Ford Spark Plug Removal :

    Date: April 27, 2010 @ 4:35 pm

  50. Timothy Smith of Ricks Auto Service :

    Date: May 12, 2010 @ 6:19 pm

    I’ve been in the this field for 25yrs and repaired many strips and blow outs, and this kit is definitely the absolute best and easiest of all to use and by all means I can get a good nights sleep knowing that vehicle will not be back for the same plug blowout.THANK GOD FOR THIS!!!

  51. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: May 19, 2010 @ 12:17 pm

    Thanks Tim. By the way, congratulations on your second location!

    Ricks Auto Service
    131 W. Main St.
    Spencer, MA 01562

    224 B Sw Cutoff – RT. 20
    Across from Centerfolds
    Phone (508) 755-4755

  52. Dan Wahlgre :

    Date: August 25, 2010 @ 3:03 pm

    I can not seem to get the shavings to blow out of the cylinder. I am using the 1/4″ piece of tubing on my airhose and running about 90 pounds of air. Is there any trick to getting that stuff out? Is there something I can spray in there to loosen the shavings? they seem to be stuck in there with the tap oil I used.

  53. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: August 25, 2010 @ 3:25 pm

    Dan, Brent in one of the comments above said a shop vacuum may be better for removing metal shavings.

    “1. Found it much easier to put ½” hose on shop vac to clean out chips then to have them fly all over engine”

  54. Bobby :

    Date: October 18, 2010 @ 7:19 pm

    Aluminum heads and the spark plug insert is steel. Aluminum expands at a rate of 2.8 times more than steel is this a problem ?

  55. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: October 18, 2010 @ 9:05 pm

    Bobby, I understand your concern and thanks for the question. The insert in the CAL38900 is actually a steel alloy. The combination of the type of metal used, the physical size (thickness) and compatability in regard to proper grounding etc was all taken in consideration when Horizon Tools engineered this solution for the weak FoMoCo design. They wanted to develop a fix that would not just restore the threads to OE, but would surpass it. Instead of technically speaking on theory or speculating, I beleive the true test, is the test of time. We have been selling these kits for five years, 20 to 30 a month average. We have had no failures ever reported.

  56. Donnie :

    Date: December 23, 2010 @ 7:15 pm

    Will this kit work on a 1999 Ford F150 4.2 6 cyl. engine? Had a blow out and dealer said unable to place Helicoil. Thet wanted to replace head. I am a retired machinists and this type of “fix” looks like it would work. I just don’t have the tools anymore, but have a local mechanic.

  57. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: December 23, 2010 @ 9:25 pm

    Donnie, no this kit is not made for your application. I recommend the Time-Sert 5553 it comes with 5 inserts.

  58. JEFF :

    Date: January 1, 2011 @ 8:48 pm

    I am a 18 year tool and die maker that has a 2000 and 2001 f350 v10. The 01 has had 4 plugs blown and i just had a plug blow on the 2000. A local repair shop has fixed all. They have been very cautious not to let me see to much of the repair. I beleive so i cant do it myself. However i have seen the insert it is nureled at the top and hammered at end of proceedure with a special punch. I havent had any blow out a second time as yet. I now have 450,000 on the 01 and 250,000 on the 2000. Will the cal38900 work on these trucks and will they work to repair the already repaired cylinders if they blow.

  59. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: January 2, 2011 @ 7:39 am

    Jeff, yes the Calvan 38900 will work on 6.8 liter V-10’s. This is the largest outside diameter insert made for this application and will work even when other brand inserts have failed. Check out related links for all information available. Good Luck.

  60. Jimmy B :

    Date: February 8, 2011 @ 5:33 am

    Do you know of any shops in the Denver area that are experienced in installing these inserts and offer that service?

  61. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: February 8, 2011 @ 6:24 am

    Jimmy, we’ve had about a dozen individuals in Colorado in the last several months. However, there are no auto repair shops in Colorado that we are aware of that have made any recent purchases. You might want to contact a few shops in your area and see if they will accomodate. We have owners doing this repair themselves all the time (the process is simple), so it shouldn’t be to difficult to find someone in your area that will be able to assist you. Good Luck.

  62. MIKE WAY :

    Date: February 15, 2011 @ 1:25 pm

    do you happen to have a kit that will work on a 2000 explorer with a 4.0 e motor?…took spark plug out and threads came with it…

  63. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: February 15, 2011 @ 8:45 pm

    Mike, the Calvan 38900 is NOT designed for the Ford Explorer with a 4.0 Liter. The TIME-SERT 5553 Thread Repair Kit will work for your application if the hole is not more than .65″. If your spark plugs are fully threaded you may want to purchase a different insert that also has threads the full length . Click the image below to see it.

    Time Sert 5553 Spark Plug Thread Repair Kit for Ford Explorer 4.0 Liter.

  64. Shop Location near Philadelphia :

    Date: April 6, 2011 @ 10:27 pm

    I have a 2002 F250 SD, 5.4L with about 100k miles. Do you think I should replace the spark plugs now with your kits?

    Do you know a shop near Philadelphia that offers this service?

  65. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: April 7, 2011 @ 6:22 am

    Personally, unless I had at least ONE blow out – I wouldn’t install replacement thread inserts. I’ve always subscribed to the “if it aint broke don’t fix it” theory. With that being said, if I experienced ONE in my engine I would probabaly redo ALL of the ports at one time. I also have a neighbor that has a 2000 Expedition, I would never tell him he needed to install inserts, unless he had a problem. Many engines never have a problem. It’s really up to the individual. As far as the shop location – there’s Pistner’s Auto in PA. We add shops to the list as they purchase our kit and request to be included. Good Luck

  66. mark :

    Date: April 7, 2011 @ 8:32 pm

    I bought your tool and used it once and loaned it out and it came back with a broken tap is there a way to just buy a tap for my kit?

  67. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: April 7, 2011 @ 8:51 pm

    Mark, yes the part number is 389-3000 DLT.

  68. Gary L. Bender :

    Date: June 18, 2011 @ 7:38 pm

    Your Calvan insert has 10 external threads but only 5 internal threads. The spark plug has about 9 threads. Why doesn’t the insert have more internal threads to utilize more of the spark plug threads? Thanx

  69. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: June 19, 2011 @ 7:21 am

    Gary, the Cal-Van insert replicates the OE threads, they only have 4-5 internal threads also. The key is that the Calvan insert is stronger, made from steel alloy which to date has had no reported failures. Good Luck.

  70. Bill :

    Date: August 17, 2011 @ 9:30 pm

    I have a Lincoln Mark VIII 1995 with the 4.6 in it. will the Cal-Van work on this motor. they only specify 1996 and up.


  71. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: August 18, 2011 @ 6:27 am

    Bill, unfortunately no. The kit that I recommend for your application is the Time-Sert 5553. Click the image below to go directly to that kit.
    Time Sert 5553 Spark Plug Thread Repair Kit for Lincoln Mark VII 4.6 Liter.

  72. Tom :

    Date: October 10, 2011 @ 5:58 pm

    I’m interested in your tool,but a little concerned about being able to use on the rear cylinder (next to fire wall on passenger side)on my 2002 ford explorer.

  73. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: October 10, 2011 @ 6:33 pm

    Tom, you must have the 4.6 SOHC. I mention this because the Calvan 38900 DLT is only for 4.6, 5.4 and 6.8 engines with Single Overhead Cams (SOHC). If you have any of the other size engine options, the Time Sert 5553 DLT would be the one to use.

    The Calvan 38900 DLT has tooling that will accept a socket. When using an air ratchet on the socket, drilling and tapping is done at a ninety degree. This allows the most room possible, without dis-assembling. So basically, using the kit is only a little more difficult than accessing the ports for changing spark plugs. Some more difficult than others, but do-able. Good Luck.

  74. Big Tom :

    Date: December 18, 2011 @ 11:35 am

    I want to buy the kit, but I have a question about the insert. There is a lip on the top of the insert. Should it not be recessed into the head so that the spark plug is in the exact position as it was before? (to insure plug location for correct combustion)

  75. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: December 18, 2011 @ 12:00 pm

    Tom, I’m not the engineer that designed the kit, but my understanding is that the threaded part of the insert is counter sunk to make the plug extend to the original depth. We have had no problems and we’ve sold over $200,000 worth of this kit in the last several years.

  76. Guy :

    Date: February 3, 2012 @ 9:12 pm

    Will the inserts in the Calvan 38900 DLT work on a 2002 5.4 4-valve engine in a Lincoln Navigator. The guide for drill bit and re-threader does not go all the way down to the spark plug hole because of interference with the valve cover; will it work if valve cover is removed? Thank you

  77. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: February 4, 2012 @ 8:27 am

    Guy, The insert may work however, the kit is designed only for the Triton engine – NOT the InTech (DOHC). You must be working on the InTech motor. That would be why the guide doesn’t fit properly. The thread kit that our customers use for the InTech is the Time Sert 5553. The Time Sert kit uses a step design drill bit to allow the drilling to be done straight instead of the guide method. More expensive tooling but very well engineered. Works great even without having a lot of room to work and having direct vision.

  78. Andy :

    Date: February 9, 2012 @ 1:58 pm

    Help, Have a 1999 Cobra SVT with a 4.6 SEI, DOHC.Do you offer a repair kit for my engine.Front plug drivers side blowen out,Thanks

  79. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: February 9, 2012 @ 2:58 pm

    Andy, Yes the Time=Sert 5553 is what you are looking for. Click to see.

  80. andy :

    Date: February 9, 2012 @ 6:03 pm

    Forgot to ask.Will i have to remove the head to use the time sert 5553 kit.On my 4.6 cobra???

  81. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: February 9, 2012 @ 6:04 pm

    no. This is an over the fender repair.

  82. Tisch :

    Date: February 9, 2012 @ 6:39 pm

    is there any shop in the Salt Lake City, Utah area with kit for a 5.4 ford?

  83. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: February 9, 2012 @ 7:10 pm

    Tisch, not aware of any. We can ship to the shop of your choice. The closest stocking warehouse is California. 2-3 days shipping for free or call to arrange quicker delivery, we can calculate options. Good Luck.

  84. Tom :

    Date: March 6, 2012 @ 11:25 am

    I just wanted to give feedback on this tool set. It worked just as advertised. It was simple and did a great job on my 2001 F150 5.4 liter V8. Only a limited amout of tools are required to perform the over the finder repair. I did get a little lucky when I checked for my valve position. They were both closed. (piston was at the bottom of travel) Thanks for a well built kit.

  85. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: March 6, 2012 @ 12:06 pm

    Tom, Thanks for taking the time to provide feedback. Glad you’re back on the road again!

  86. richard :

    Date: April 17, 2012 @ 6:18 pm

    What size tap is used in this kit?

  87. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: April 17, 2012 @ 6:34 pm

    Richard, there’s no size listed on the tap.

    It is specific to the kit though, meaning no other brand tap will work. The OD is 17.26mm or .68″.

  88. scott :

    Date: May 1, 2012 @ 2:21 am

    How many inserts can be installed at one time? can I do all eight cylinders the same day or do you recommend a certain amount? The truck is in a convenient spot to work on now ( my driveway) i would prefer not to have it breakdown and need to be towed.

  89. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: May 1, 2012 @ 6:59 am

    Scott, If you wanted to do all of them I would recommend doing them on the same day. Once you have the tools out and surrounding components moved out of the way it only makes sense to install them all at the same time. Good Luck.

  90. logan :

    Date: June 1, 2012 @ 9:47 am

    I have a 99 lightning the has already had all cylinders drilled and inserts installed in all of them to make them hold up better. Well, the number 5 blew out anyway. What is the outside diameter of the your inserts? Most kits I’ve found are tapped at 14mm which is too small.

  91. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: June 1, 2012 @ 10:35 am

    Logan, .73″ is the outside diameter of the 389-100 which is used with the Calvan 38900 thread repair kit. The 38900 is for single over head cam engines only.

    .69″ is the outside diameter of the Time-Sert 51459 insert which is used with the Time Sert 5553 thread repair kit. The Time Sert 5553 is used for DOHC and more.

  92. Michael H :

    Date: June 2, 2012 @ 11:58 am

    What is up with all the thread serts needed for ford and not all of the other manufacturers

  93. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: June 2, 2012 @ 12:20 pm

    Michael, the other manufacturer’s have problems too. Ford definitely has the most spark plug thread issues though.

    Aluminum blocks and cylinder heads are weaker than steel and this leads to thread failure sometimes. Ford has the most spark plug thread problems, GM Northstar has the most headbolt thread issues in blocks followed closely by Toyota. Chrysler seems to have the most threads in aluminum oil pans for drain plugs failing, followed by Honda.

  94. sylvain pelletier :

    Date: June 3, 2012 @ 9:18 am

    I have a 99 E250 one plug blow out this week. What kit do I need? 99 econoline 5.4 and I live in Montreal can you ship here? Thanks in advance.

  95. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: June 3, 2012 @ 10:28 am

    Sylvain, I would use the Calvan 38900 for your application. We don’t ship directly outside the USA. Our Canadian customers usually ship along the USA/Canadian border or use a freight forwarder like Bongo – click the following – Freight Forward info.

  96. T L :

    Date: July 6, 2012 @ 9:12 pm


    In my case, the plug blew out in a 4.6 v-8 f150, 2006 model. It looks like this kit works only in engines up to 2004..? It’s a 2v engine, correct?

  97. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: July 7, 2012 @ 8:46 am

    TL, that’s right. With your application I would use the Time-Sert 5553, it will work for you 14mm taper seat plug. We also have a buy-back program on this if you only need to use the kit once. Let me know if I can help further – good luck.

  98. Justin :

    Date: September 6, 2012 @ 5:09 pm


    I have a 2001 F350 with the 5.4. If I’m understanding correctly, the 2001 5.4 is the 2-valve and this kit should work, correct?

  99. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: September 6, 2012 @ 5:18 pm

    Justin, if it’s a Triton, it is a 2 valve and the Cal 38900 DLT will work (or the Mount9200 – same product with different labeling). If you have a DOHC, not likely unless you have a Harley Davidson edition you could use the Time Sert 5553 DLT.

  100. andy :

    Date: September 28, 2012 @ 11:47 am

    I don’t have air tools readily available… do I have to have them??

  101. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: September 28, 2012 @ 12:11 pm

    Andy, I would not attempt this job without compressed air available. You need a compressor for the air ratchet. I would also use the shop air to blow off the engine and tooling. Good Luck.

  102. Roland :

    Date: October 3, 2012 @ 5:28 pm

    #3 plug blew out and appears to have been repaired with helicoil insert, I have purchased Cal38900 and awaiting arrival, does the intake have to be removed from the 5.4 engine.

  103. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: October 3, 2012 @ 8:13 pm

    Roland, no the intake stays on. Check out or FAQ’s for more info while you are waiting on delivery. Thanks.

  104. Richard :

    Date: December 8, 2012 @ 4:10 pm

    Hi Dennisb. We have a 1998 lincoln Continental w/ a 4.6 36 valve engine.
    “front of car” spark plug blew out, so real easy to get to. We have the Calvin repair kit and have fixed may Ford issues with it. The Lincoln 4.6 liter engine spark plug tube is to deep for the Calvin tools to reach the spark plug hole. Will the Time-sert 5553 work for this engine? Thanks. Rich Cobb.

  105. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: December 8, 2012 @ 7:54 pm

    Hey Richard. Yes, the Time Sert 5553 is the one to use for the Lincoln Continental. Let me know if I can assist you any further. BTW, checked our your business website at Great story. I like to see small businesses adapt and do well.

  106. Joey :

    Date: December 12, 2012 @ 1:12 am

    Hey Dennis I have a 1999 F250 with a 5.4 triton and it had a heli-coil that blew out with the spark plug, so I took it to a dealership and they said I would have to get a new engine. My grandpa was a mechanic and asked me if I could put a oversized spark plug, what would work best.
    Thanks in Advance

  107. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: December 12, 2012 @ 7:01 am

    Joey, Thank God for Grandpas! There is another option that allows you to use the same size spark plug. I would use the Calvan 38900. It uses an over-size thread insert (that fixes ports damaged by Heli-Coil failures) that accepts the same spark plug. Let me know if I can ships one of these kits for you today. You may also just order it on-line anytime by clicking on the following and checking out – Calvan 38900 Spark Plug Repair Kit.

  108. Martin :

    Date: December 24, 2012 @ 1:52 am

    I would like to take the time to comment on the Calvan 38900 kit I purchased. I have a 2002 Ford F-150 5.4L that blew out one of its spark plugs. I had no idea that these engines were prone to this problem.After researching this problem on line I ordered the Calvan kit. Within 3 days I had the kit in hand and made the repair. The repair was so simple and the end result was better than factory. I would not hesitate to recommend this kit to anyone that has this problem. This is a high quality kit and is everything the company said it would be. One question ,can I buy more inserts if I should ever need them? Thanks for a great product.

  109. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: December 24, 2012 @ 9:42 am

    Martin, thanks for taking time to comment. We sell the replacement inserts also, see the link below by clicking on the image.
    Calvan reploacement inserts.

  110. Frank :

    Date: February 19, 2013 @ 12:48 pm

    I have 2003 F250 V10. It has blown the previous Heli coil. will this product work?

  111. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: February 19, 2013 @ 12:54 pm

    For the Triton engine like you have, the short answer is yes. We sell them all the time for repairing holes that were previously Heli-Coiled and have done so since 2005 with no reported failures. The drill bit that comes in the kit is 11/16″. If you have any doubt or want to double check to make sure the hole is not too large already, place an 11/16″ drill bit in the hole. If the hole is smaller than the bit, the kit will work fine. This is because you will be drilling the hole out with the 11/16″ bit before tapping it anyway. After drilling and tapping the hole; it will accept the new spark plug insert. Our inserts are not a temporary repair. They will last the lifetime of the engine. As you may have already read the inserts are made of a steel alloy that shares a similar composition or make-up as aluminum, as to not cause grounding or ignition problems; but has a much higher tensile strength compared to aluminum.

  112. les :

    Date: February 23, 2013 @ 3:17 pm

    I think my insert is 18mm came out a second time what can I do to fix it do they make bigger ones?

  113. steveo :

    Date: April 29, 2013 @ 2:30 pm

    Hello, I just purchased the cal van 38900 because it was less expensive than the time sert product. I am working on an 03 Ford escape with a 24v 3.0l. I assume this product will work since the same timesert kit works on this engine as well as the 4.6, 5.4 etc… Is this correct? Thanks

  114. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: April 29, 2013 @ 2:43 pm

    No, the Calvan is made specifically for certain years of the Triton engine. The insert might work but the tooling is not designed for your engine. We sell the Time Sert 5553 for your application because the tooling lines up differently. It uses a stepped design bit and tap. The Calvan uses a line up piece that is not made for anything but the Triton.

  115. steveo :

    Date: April 29, 2013 @ 10:04 pm

    Thanks for the info. Will be ordering the timesert kit. Will there be a problem returning the calvan unit?

  116. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: April 30, 2013 @ 7:57 am

    Steve, I have emailed return instructions detailing the restocking fee and return address. Thanks again.

  117. Goldfishdigger :

    Date: May 7, 2013 @ 1:39 pm

    I have a 2006 Ford Police Vehicle that had 82,000 miles on it when it first broke and the garage fixed it with the above kit and methods. The vehicle now has 85,000+ miles and the same plug blew again. Now the garage wants to fix it again using the same methods. This is a police vehicle and usually always on the go. Do i expect to be driving a loud VW in another 3,000 miles…

  118. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: May 7, 2013 @ 2:14 pm

    Seems like very low miles for a Police vehicle. Wasn’t it Einstein that said “Doing the same thing over again and again and expecting different results the definition of insanity”? Regardless, I would use one of our kits either the Calvan 38900 (SOHC) or the Time Sert 5553 (works on both SOHC and DOHC) and be done with the problem. Our kits are oversized so the hole can be larger and still be repaired. The Calvan inserts are slightly larger measuring the outside diameter at .73′ compared to Time Sert’s Big Sert inserts at .69″. An 11/16″ drill bit can be used as a gauge. If the hole is larger than an 11/16″ drill bit before starting there is another option. The 5553 and the 5588 can be used together to place an insert inside an insert bringing the outside diameter of the largest insert at .77″. This rarely needs to be done but it’s good to know there’s another option before the last resort of discarding the cylinder head. Good Luck.

    Insert in an insert from 5553 and 5588 kits.

  119. Skip :

    Date: June 27, 2013 @ 10:46 am

    I have to say this was a life saver. My son returned to see me on fathers day before he was deployed again overseas. On his first night back he had a typical spark plug failure on his expedition. We tried one of the over the counter methods and it failed within 10 minutes. We are on a very limited budget and I was hesitant to purchase another tool but this is probably the only product that worked just as described. Even a novice wrench turner can make this work. It took about an hour and has worked great. All I can say if you have a failure on your vehicle that there is nothing else I would try. Thanks Again you made my son and my American Hero very happy with your product. Thanks Again

  120. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: June 27, 2013 @ 10:49 am

    Thanks Skip. And give your son a big THANK-YOU from us for his service!

  121. dave m :

    Date: October 8, 2013 @ 9:23 pm

    I,ve read all questions and comments but have not heard any mention of “lock and stitch” methods of repair as Ford recommends as a non warranty repair. 03 expidition 5.4 has had 3 done on #3 cyl. The first 2 inserts blew out and this one has a combustion leak (audible) which is misfiring. With the style of repair (hole drilled and pin inserted to lock insert) will cal 38900 work? p/s I would not recommend using antisieze on plug threads, modern plugs do not need. Reference Motor Age magazine. Sorry don’t have the mag here for date.

  122. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: October 9, 2013 @ 7:37 am

    Dave, Lock-n-Stitch is a thread repair system that I haven’t had too many questions on. My impression is that besides being a very expensive thread repair, is that it works OK in most cases. As far as the repeated failure of the LocknStitch inserts in your case, I suspect it has something to do with the locking pin. As you know, Lock n Stitch uses a special guide to drill a tiny hole beside the insert and then a tiny locking pin is installed. Since your Lock n Stitch inserts keep blowing back out;  the hole for the pin may be too large now. And the combustion leak that you have (with your 3rd Lock N Stitch insert) is usually a pre-cursor to a spark plug blowout.

    Lock n Stitch has failed to post the measurements on the outside diameter of their inserts on the website. The increased area where the drilling was done for their locking pin also has to be considered. If you have a Lock N Stitch insert and a locking pin, I would measure their combined O.D. (Outside Diameter). That would give you an idea what the overall outside diameter is, with the exception of allowing a little for the wallowed pin hole.  Then it can be decided which kit can be used (if any). Below are the measurements of the O.D. of the inserts in the kits we sell.
    Calvan 38900 – .73″
    TIME-SERT 5553 – .68″ (if someone already has the 5553 kit – a 5588 kit can be used in conjunction to achieve what the kit below does).
    TIME-SERT 5600 – .76 This kit installs a Big Sert inside a triple oversize insert achieving the largest outside diameter made for Ford Spark Plug blowout repairs. If this one is not large enough, the cylinder head would need to be replaced.

  123. Kelly :

    Date: October 29, 2013 @ 11:48 pm

    I just put in my 3rd insert from your Calvan kit. First 2 have worked flawlessly. After I had the insert and sparkplug in the hole, I realized I had used JB Kwik instead of regular JB. Will that cause any problems?
    I know the engine runs too warm for the Kwik but didn’t if it would drip out or cause other problems.

  124. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: October 30, 2013 @ 8:46 am

    Hello Kelly. JB KwikWeld withstands temperatures of up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. The spark plug can reach close to 850 degrees Fahrenheit. But, I wouldn’t remove the insert just to use the correct JB Weld. The JB weld in my opinion is to help insure the insert won’t back out the next time the spark plug is changed. So one thing you could do is see if the insert comes out with the spark plug. If it doesn’t, I personally wouldn’t worry about it. Let me know if there’s anything else we can assist you with.

  125. Barry :

    Date: November 12, 2013 @ 10:06 am

    Will this tool work on a Chevrolet 1998 S10 pickup? 2.2 4 cyl eng that has already had the healy coil method, has blown out after 100,000 miles. Already did retap once with old tool, and wouldn’t take. HELP!!!!!!

  126. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: November 12, 2013 @ 11:09 am

    Barry, the Calvan is only for Fords. But the Time Sert 5553 will work. It has an outside diameter of .68 measuring on the threads largest part.
    Time Sert 5553

    If that’s not big enough we also have the Time Sert 5600 which measures .75 on the largest part of the outside diameter. It puts an insert inside another insert to achieve this large OD (Outside Diameter).
    Time Sert 5600 Kit

  127. skills :

    Date: May 2, 2015 @ 3:48 pm

    Hi, i have a 2V 6.8 with a thrown plug, i put a 11/16 drill bit down the hole and it went through, how would i know if i cant fix the hole….is there a certain size drill bit that will tell me if the hole cant be fixed, and if so what size drill bit would be the indicator that the hole cant be fixed? thanks

  128. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: May 2, 2015 @ 7:04 pm

    The largest kit we have goes up to about 3/4″ of an inch. You may be able to add thickness to the 11/16″ drill bit with painters tape until it reaches the size of the hole, then measure it. Call if you need assistance at 800-524-9783 10-5 Eastern Time.

    Time Sert 5600 – Stand Alone Kit that repairs spark plug holes larger than .663″ (16.8mm).

    Uses one insert insert another one. The outside diameter of the largest insert is .77″ – it’s Triple Oversized. Used on many applications and has a Triton counter-bore needed for some 2001 and up.*Note Add-On Kit for installing the Double Over-sized inserts for holes smaller than .663″ (16.8mm) is kit number – 5588. Works for SOHC and DOHC engines. This kit is Made in the USA.

  129. Lupe Montelongo :

    Date: September 27, 2015 @ 2:15 am

    I have 47 years experience on auto repairs, but never before I had come across with a problem like this, a customer brought me his 1998 Pontiac Starfire 2.2 liter engine. The engine was popping and missing, I checked it and it was spark plug #2 that was loose, I have fixed other cars with this problem, I told him that I will fix it, for my surprise when I tried to take the plug out it just kept on turning. So I called him and asked him if someone else had worked on it and he said “yea”. I answer well he messed up your cylinder head because he used an 18MM and put some kind of sleeves which I have a lot of trouble getting them out and saw the spark plug port that it was too large, so I told him that there wasn’t anything that I could do for it but replace the cylinder head, he said that he didn’t have to much money I feel sorry for the guy, but what can I do! If only there were some oversize Helicoils just to help him out. If you have any other ideas let me know. I will appreciate it. Thank you Lupe M.

  130. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: September 27, 2015 @ 9:37 am

    Lupe, If you can measure the outside diameter of the failed insert you’ll have a good idea of the size of the hole. Hopefully it’s not oblong now. An oblong hole can result from leaking compression (and fire) from the combustion chamber which can act as a blow torch. You may want to check with an inspection camera if you suspect it’s been ran like that for very long.

    The largest spark plug thread repair kit is the Time Sert 5600. The outside diameter is almost 3/4″. It’s usually sold for Fords (since they seem to have this problem most often) but since the tooling is lined up with a stepped design (smaller at the first part of the tools) to help pilot them in straight it doesn’t matter what make the car/truck is as long as it takes a M14x1.25 spark plug (which is the most common size). Taper seat inserts are included in the kit and washer seat inserts are available separately. Time Sert 5600 – Stand Alone Kit repairs spark plug holes larger than .663″ (16.8mm). The outside diameter of the largest insert is .77″ – it’s Triple Over-sized.

Comment Below, Please Unlock Caps

Tell us your thoughts or ask a question. For best results please provide relevant details like your vehicle's year, make, model, engine size, the problem and when it occurs etc. - Comments need to be approved before they are seen by everyone. Notice we don't post Spam. Comment below (*SPAM, ALL CAPS & unrelated comments will be deleted). Click the following to view Dennis' "about page" for info on his background in automotive repair.

Please note: Your comment will not be posted until it's approved. We appreciate and read all on topic, relevant comments. Please don't ask for repair manual info like torque specs, wiring diagrams and specific repair procedures. If quick assistance is needed with purchasing a tool or part, please visit our tool website or call to place an order at 800-524-9783. *Note we don't offer repair advice on the phone.