Can anyway explain to me why my spark plugs keep backing themselves out? - Page 2 - Focus Fanatics
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Old 01-27-2013, 10:25 PM   #11
jetrinka
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I fail to see how that indicates that a plug has come loose. If the plugs are actually coming loose in any decent amount, the car would run extremely badly.
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:05 AM   #12
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Cylinder head pressure keeps forcing the grommet off
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:31 AM   #13
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While the use of never-seize and higher torque will help some, your operating on borrowed time. When you have a plug loose in the hole, the compression stroke jams it against the top of the threads and the intake stroke pulls it away from the top of the threads and this constant banging will continue to hog out the threads until one day the plug will be blown out of the hole. Keep checking those plugs and if they don't stay tight after the never seize and higher torque, then assume your going to have to repair the plug threads.

People have, in a pinch, JB Welded in sparkplugs, and they have held. But if you do this and it does hold, then the plug may never come out again, even at a machine shop.

Removing plugs when the engine is warm can strip out a thread easily I don't recommend it nor does Ford. If you must do it, then BEFORE warming the engine, break the plug free and then retighten.

If you tighten plugs on a warm engine then next morning before starting the car, recheck the torque with a torque wrench. When I was drag racing my Kawasaki I had the plugs in and out all night long at the track but always checked them in the morning.

And of course, make sure that any carbon on the seating area is scraped away. That is probably the biggest cause of this problem.

I just got done putting back together my 2002 Zetec after having to pull the head and have a helicoil put in for a plug. I made a stab at documenting it which I'm working on putting up on http://www.mittelstaedt.us but suffice it to say after doing it that I can understand why some people will swap engines with one from a wrecker rather than do this job.

Also note that Ford does NOT recommend helicoils for plug threads (at least not for the Zetec anyway, probably for most others) The reason is that for it to be done right on the Zetec the helicoil hole MUST be drilled with the head locked down on milling equipment that can allow the operator to make the hole and tap for the insert perfectly parallel to the existing hole, you cannot lean over the engine with a hand drill and have at it. Otherwise the plug will screw in cocked and not seal. The spark plug inserts (lock-n-stitch, Time-sert, etc.) don't have this requirement since they carry their own sealing ring as part of the insert. The helicoil must be installed by a machine shop that is experienced with this type of repair in this type of engine.

I would do the insert myself with the head on the engine if the plug holes were accessible. On the Zetec they definitely are not accessible. On other engines this kind of problem isn't that big of a deal and the insert kits can be used with the head on the engine.
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Old 01-28-2013, 06:47 AM   #14
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Wow just wow I've had many sets of plugs in this car just trying out and experimenting that is probably my main issue. Is it really difficult t swap out heads if the plug blows out?
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Old 01-28-2013, 10:28 AM   #15
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Well, for starters it does not sound like you have the same engine in the first place so I don't know that I can answer that - you said you pulled the coil, that sounds like a Duratec not a Zetec - you haven't posted the make/model/plug number or the exact engine. If this is Duratec have you read the The Duratec Sparkplug Sticky in the Duratec performance section? Are you using the right plugs?

Pulling the head on any dual overhead cam engine is certainly more complex than a pushrod engine. If you are careful and your timing belt (or chain if the engine is so equipped) hasn't broken you won't have to reset timing - but you should be prepared to have to setup timing again.

On the Zetec the head is supposed to be "skin milled" anytime a new head gasket is used or it won't seal. You have to use new TTY bolts. You really need to use compressed air to clean the head bolt holes out properly. You need to replace a lot of gaskets. There are different engine variants and you have to get the correct gasket set for yours and the gasket manufacturers aren't that helpful in identification in advance so you have to be buying new parts when you have the head off and the engine parts strewn all over the garage, you can't get everything in advance and just do it. You need a factory service manual. And the list of details goes on and on. I took about 80 pictures during the operation and referred to many of them putting things back together. I can't speak for the Duratec but I suspect it's the same deal.

It was a far cry from the last head I pulled - off my 302 V8. That one was a piece of cake compared to the Zetec.
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Old 01-28-2013, 10:31 AM   #16
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"Really Difficult" would depend on your prev. experience level IMHO, it's a bit of a project if you haven't done anything similar before....

It doesn't sound good at this point, but don't borrow trouble yet B4 trying the hints given earlier!

Couple hints I thought of when reading this:

When you clean things up, use a light & peek at the threads to note any obvious damage that might be more apparent on 1 or 2 of them...

When threading plugs in, a piece of hose that fits on the insulator makes a good plug starter to run them in with by hand B4 torquing. That way there is no chance of damage from any cross threading (it replaces an "official" plug starting tool). You can also get a good "feel" this way of how solid the fit is between the plugs & the threaded hole. If they are in good shape you shouldn't feel a LOT of wiggle after they are threaded in most of the way. You'll ALWAYS feel a bit of wiggle when only a couple threads are engaged, and that should progressively disappear as they thread in further. If they still wiggle noticeably when they are almost seated it's a sign the threads in the head are worn & you should be very careful in tightening them.

The "tapered seat" plugs common now, as opposed to the type with crush gaskets, seat suddenly without much additional turning to achieve the proper torque value so more care is needed to get them tightened properly. Good excuse to get out the torque wrench over the "armstrong" finger feel method of determining the proper tightness!

Here's hoping that carbon buildup from loose plugs was the initial cause of your issue, and simply cleaning things up solves it!

Luck!
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Old 01-28-2013, 03:56 PM   #17
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X2 to the last two posts.............

9-13 ft.lbs. is the spec, I would never go much over that, doubling up on the torque is simply asking for pulled threads since they are now worn.

Normally angle seat plugs get TIGHTER as they run, your loosening is probably a result of all the plug yanking you've done in the past. Those aluminum threads get a bit looser every time you go in there..................

Ted, went to your site and looked at the youtube on pass side mounts, the differences are not so much outside as inside, I've had several apart........I really hate that Anchor mount...............
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Old 01-28-2013, 04:15 PM   #18
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No it's in the center if the head on all 08 to 11 d tech motors I have a 10 and I put whatever came stock back in there denso iridums I believe
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Old 01-30-2013, 03:37 AM   #19
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Nippondenso stock in a Duratec? Wouldn't Motorcraft be stock?

amc, patience - when I get around to replacing the mounts when it stops raining I'll disassemble the bad mount that is on the car and replace that video with a longer one with the disassembled mount. I had the opportunity to get both mounts side by side and had 45 minutes to shoot that, before the Anchor one had to go back to the auto parts store.

My goal with that mount business is to try to get a complete video Expose' posted on the differences, but I don't have the time or money to go searching wrecking yards looking for a blown-up Anchor mount or buying a brand new one and destroying it. If you happen to have a broken one let me know and I'll paypal you shipping so I can take it apart.

Anyway, I didn't mean to hijack the thread on that.

one last thing to the OP on this loosen spark plug business - by any chance are you seeping coolant? The reason why is that if your cooling system is not pressurizing then you may have coolant boiling in the head - resulting in localized overheating of the head - that might be responsible for the plugs getting loose - it's a long shot, though, just a thought - personally I suspect all the threads in the head are thrashed.

If I was in your shoes, and even after following all tips they were still coming loose, I would JB Weld them - recognizing of course that this was a truly last ditch attempt before pulling the head. I also wouldn't drive the car outside of the extended towing range for free AAA towing. :-).

If a plug does blow and carry the threads with it, JB Weld is no longer an option.
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