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How I pulled out a broken spark plug

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Old 08-14-2011, 03:54 PM   #1
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Default How I pulled out a broken spark plug

Last week, I had hit 65k miles on my 2004 Ford F150 (I don't drive it very often). Realizing this, I knew it was time to change my 8 spark plugs. All went well, until the 3rd one broke. Skipping it, I managed to change 7 out of the 8 spark plugs successfully. Now the broken one worried me, because doing a bit of research on the internet; it was a common problem in the Ford f150 series; and could cost a bit to repair.

I ordered a special tool to take it out, but since the porcelain was broken outside of the metal shell, the tool didn't work. Me and my son came up with the idea of using a metal rod, a nut, and the pin from the broken spark plug. I drilled a hole in the rod, inserted the pin and locked it in with Loctite 271. I then coated the pin with Epoxy and used the tool to guide it into the center of the spark plug.

I let the Epoxy dry for 24 hours, and then I slowly started to pull the rod out. To my surprise and frustration, the pin broke off the rod and stuck inside the broken spark plug; but I was lucky that the pin had not gone all the way in, leaving a tiny bit for me to grab. I used a 12" needle-nose pliers, and a lock pliers, to grip the needle nose pliers.

After a few attempts, the porcelain came clean out. Next, I used the other special tool to pull out the metal shell. Then I used the vacuum to suck out any bits of porcelain inside the cylinder head.

I'm really glad that I only spent ~200$ in tools and materials. I decided to post this here to see if anyone had any similar experiences, or to help future ford owners.
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Old 08-14-2011, 04:57 PM   #2
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You were braver than I was. I thought about doing it myself then read about all the nightmares people were having doing it on their own and mom and pop shops, and bit the bullet and took it to the dealer. 6 of the 8 plugs broke on them and cost be about a $100 extra to bill, would have been more as they said it would be $45 per broke plug, said they felt sorry for me and cut me a break. Actually I think they knew I would have gone chuck Norris on them if they tried to stick me with that bill since they knew the spark plugs had a design flaw. Cost me around $350 overall, but saved me big time in the long run since 6 plugs broke off in the block. Probably the best decision I have made there.

I had 105k miles on it them and changed them as the manual stated change at 100k otherwise the engine was still running great and would have gone a while longer.

Glad your turned out successful!!
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Old 08-14-2011, 05:09 PM   #3
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Good job getting it out. By the look of the shield, I an see that it was stuck in there pretty good. Thanks for sharing your experience.
Rick, Charlotte, NC
Current Rides:
2006 F150 XLT 5.4L super cab, 2wd
2008 Kawasaki Concours 1400
1999 Kawasaki Vulcan Classic 1500
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