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Changing Ford Spark Plugs 4.6, 5.4, 6.8 – Ford TSB 08-7-6

12:35 pm Auto Specialty Tools, Calvan Tools, Ford Problems, How To Auto Repair, Tool Comparison


Unique Ford spark plug design can easily break when removed

Summary: © When changing Ford spark plugs it’s good to be aware of the potential of breaking them in certain models. In this repair article, find out which ones are susceptible to separating when being removed. Learn how to remove them without breaking them and how to remove them if they do break. Denlors Auto Repair blog has had several articles about removing broken sparkplugs in Ford vehicles. In addition to Rotunda Separated Spark Plug Remover, we offer several less expensive options of removal tools. Compared to Ford Rotunda special service tools, we save our customers a lot of money, when removing broken spark plugs.

Which Ones To Look Out For

Affected vehicles include; 4.6, 5.4 and 6.8 3V engines found in many 2004-2008 Ford Mustangs, Expeditions, F150’s, Motor-homes, Explorer Sport Trac, Mercury Mountaineers, Lincoln Navigators and the Lincoln Mark LT. Ford has recently came out with a new TSB that supersedes the first ones, that may prevent breaking the sparkplugs to begin with. We have included TSB links towards the bottom of this repair article, courtesy of the Ford Motor Company.

The Short Version

The updated procedure consists of 7 pages (see the PDF links below) basically says to back the sparkplugs no more than 1/8″ to 1/4″ of a turn. Then use a small amount of carburetor cleaner in the sparkplug well and allow time for the cleaner to make it’s way down to the electrode shield. The idea is to loosen the carbon buildup around the electrode shield to allow sparkplug to be removed without breaking it. The process may need to be repeated several times in order for it to work properly. Furthermore the TSB states that a torque wrench must be used to prevent excess pressure from being applied when working the spark-plug back and forth. If the torque exceeds 33 foot-pounds, the porcelain could break. Caution is also advised to prevent the possibility of putting too much carburetor spray down the well, if this is done excessively the engine can become hydro-locked. I can only imagine the frustration involved in trying to remove these wacky sparkplugs and then ending up with a hydro-locked engine!

How’d That Work Out?

So what happens if the TSB 08-7-6 procedure has been followed when changing the spark plugs and a sparkplug still breaks?  As mentioned before we have several options for removing Ford sparkplugs when they break. The first alternative to the Ford rotunda sparkplug removal tool (303-1203) is the Calvan (CAL 39100 – ET391). This tool is basically a copy of the Rotunda 303-1203 at a much lower cost. This tool is used the same as the 303-1203. It  can only be used if the porcelain did not stay inside the electrode shield. The porcelain must be removed first to use either of these tools. Ford’s method uses a 303-1398, the Calvan equivalent is the CAL39200. This approach uses pins that are lock-tighted into the center of the porcelain where the electrode pin was. After the Loctite dries a puller is used to remove the broken porcelain.

Lisle Method

Another option is the Lisle 65600 Ford broken spark plug remover. We’ve done an entire auto repair article featuring this tool and it’s different method of dealing with broken spark plug porcelain. That particular repair blog, includes pictures of the tool in use. Also there are some testimonials from guys that used the Lisle tool. Whichever method is used, it’s still a lot better than removing the cylinder head. Hopefully with the new procedure, removing the spark plugs intact may be possible and no specialty tools will be needed to begin with.

Stripped Plug Threads

A few technicians have reported that all this working the plugs back and forth (that the TSB prescribes) gets the plug out sometimes without breaking them – BUT the threads get damaged on some! We have a thread repair kit for replacing damaged threads if that happens. See the link below about stripped spark threads plugs on 3v engines for more information.

Ford TSB for Spark Plug Removal – see all 7 pages below.

Ford TSB 08-7-6 Page 1   Ford TSB 08-7-6 Page 2  Ford TSB 08-7-6 Page 3 Ford TSB 08-7-6 Page 4 Ford TSB 08-7-6 Page 5  Ford TSB 08-7-6 Page 6 Ford TSB 08-7-6 Page 7
Related Auto Repair Blogs and Specialty Tools

Champion 7989 One Piece Design Spark Plug – Ford 3V

Ford’s Bad Design – Broken Spark Plug Removal

Lisle 65600 Product Listing on Our Site

Stripped Spark Plug Repair Kit for Ford 3V Engine with 16×1.5

67 Responses
  1. Joaquin :

    Date: February 7, 2012 @ 11:59 pm

    I have a 06 ford mustang gt and it is close to the 100,000 miles mark and I am debating wether to take the car to the dealership or do the replacement my self but having read all the issues about this lousy design on plugs, I was wondering if anyone has done the replacement themselves and got good results. Any help will greatly be appreciated.

  2. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: February 8, 2012 @ 6:17 am

    Joaquin, many individuals have changed their plugs successfully. I would recommend being prepared for a broken plug by having tools needed on standby, just in case. Good Luck.

  3. David :

    Date: August 8, 2012 @ 11:37 pm

    Will using the Lisle tool damage piston head if the pusher goes all the down?

  4. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: August 9, 2012 @ 6:31 am

    David, No, the pusher tool is designed to only go so far. If you would rather use Ford’s method of removing the porcelain instead of pushing it, click on the following link Porcelain Remover.

    The link in the listing will take you to the second tool needed to do the rest of the job. Good Luck

  5. Mark M. :

    Date: February 17, 2013 @ 11:16 pm


    I have a 2007 F150 w/Triton 5.4 3V engine and at approximately 59,000 miles I discovered it bucks or jerks when it down shifts going up an incline at about 50 mph. I took it to my Ford dealer and they said it was a faulty spark plug and ruled out the coils. They could not find which cylinder it was in and they told me that they replaced all of the spark plug and luckily it was still under waranty.
    It is about 2 years later and I am at 91,000 miles and it is doing the exact same thing.
    Do you think this is the same problem and I will have to replace my spark plugs again?

    Thank you for your time.

  6. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: February 18, 2013 @ 6:26 am

    Mark, seems reasonable to think so. Perhaps taking it back to the dealer that diagnosed the problem previously? Or could just do the maintenance and see if the problem persists. Good Luck.

  7. Dave :

    Date: May 1, 2014 @ 9:52 am

    2008 Lincoln Mark LT pickup, 84K miles, engine build date 2/3/2008.
    Based on the TSB 8-7-6, my vehicle/engine is outside the range of this problem. Is it correct to assume that my vehicle is NOT affected because I probably have the 1 piece plug design? Thanks

  8. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: May 1, 2014 @ 11:12 am

    Dave, according to the affected date ranges your’s shouldn’t be included, but if you have a 3 Valve engine I’d be cautious. When looking up spark plugs at for your vehicle I only see the M16x1.5 spark plug as an option for your application. The problem spark plugs would take a 9/16″ socket. Be careful – Good Luck.

  9. mike g. :

    Date: May 28, 2014 @ 12:11 am

    Hi. Im new to this site. I have a 2003 Ford Exped XLT with a 5.4 triton engine with 105000 miles.I just relpaced the crankshaft position sensor and I need to relpace my plugs. From what I’ve been reading about all the spark plug issues only applies for the 2004 and newer. I dont have $600 for the dealership to do it and I really only trust myself to work on my vehicle. All and any advice would be greatly appreciated to help me save money that I dont have. Thank you.

  10. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: May 28, 2014 @ 7:26 am

    Mike, if you don’t have the 3 Valve, you don’t have to worry about the breaking issue when removing the spark plugs. Good Luck.

  11. mike g. :

    Date: May 28, 2014 @ 6:48 pm

    Thanks Dennis. I went to my local dealership and had them run my vin # and found out that it is a 2 valve engine. Still looks like a tough job though. Im gonna dedicate a whole day to do it and hopefully there wont be any problems. I appreciate your advice and if I come across any issues I’ll be sure to ask. Thanks for the fast response, I didnt think that it would be that fast. I’ll check back with you in the next couple of days just to let you know how it went.

  12. RLW :

    Date: June 22, 2014 @ 12:29 pm

    I am the owner of a 2009 F150 4.6L 3V and am wondering if this spark plug issue impacts that model year. My truck build was 02/09. I cannot find any stickers on the engine- rear of passenger side cam cover has a partial sticker with a number 0411644 and the only other date I can find is on a hose that is Jan 09 on the engine.
    I understand that they corrected the issue later on but was it new head design or what? Thanks.

  13. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: June 22, 2014 @ 6:49 pm

    Information from Horizon Tools, shows the last of the 3 Valve 4.6 L engines that had the M16x1.5 that were prone to breaking, were built before November 30, 2007. You should have a 12mm spark plug not a 16mm.

  14. ranch :

    Date: July 24, 2014 @ 4:36 am

    I have a 1998 expedition 5.4 motor. Is it the one that has spark plug problem?

  15. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: July 24, 2014 @ 7:08 am

    No not the spark plug breaking when removing. But your model has the sparkplug blowout issue while just driving. See our other auto repair articles on Ford spark plug blowouts FAQ’s for more information.

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