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  #1  
Old 10-29-2003, 03:51 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Wasilla, AK
Vehicle: 1999 Ford F-150
Posts: 348
Helicoil spark plug hole insert

Hello all,

First time here. Looks like a good place to be.

I've got a dead 1999 f-150 w/ 5.4L in my driveway. It's been there for a few months now. It's got a blown spark plug. I know this is not uncommon. The plug polished the hole for me so I have no threads left.

I had wanted to order a "big-sert" kit from, well, I forgot the company now, but I have not been able to get a hold of them via. phone. So, I went down to carquest and picked up an insert kit made by helicoil. It's not a normal heli-coil, but an actual sleeve. Anyways, Just wanted to know if anybody else with the blown plug issue had used one of these and if it's held up. The kit came with three different inserts, all different lengths. I'm assuming the shortest one is the right one. The thing is, it doesn't seem mention any specific model or anything. I don't want this thing hanging down in there. However, the spark plug does continue past the inerts by quit a bit.

I want to attempt this fix with head on engine and will be using grease in the flutes of the tap and then use a vacuum to suck anything out after.

Thanks guys, any suggestions or comments are welcome, expecially from those who have experienced the problem and fixxed it themselves.
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  #2  
Old 10-29-2003, 04:51 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Nu Joizey
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The vacuming and greasing of the flutes is all good but regardless, you still run a significant risk of getting metal chips in the engine. Your best bet is to take the head off the enginge for the machining process. Aslo with the head off you can grind and polish the insert to be even with the combustion area on the head and there will be on issues concerning the lenght of it.

If you get real ambitious you might do them all considering all the work involved in doing it right on only one cylinder.

Napa should have the inserts you need.

Good luck.
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  #3  
Old 10-29-2003, 05:20 PM
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I will have a machinest/expert mechanic at my disposal. He said he's quite sure he can do it with the head on with no problems except for possible clearance issues with the firewall. I don't know if he's gonna be able to help or not yet though. I do know he has access to a cylinder scope, I think thats what it is called, to look inside the cylinder to see any crap in there.

If the first insert goes ok and is not too big of a pain/risk, I will do them all and keep the truck. If it's a pain, I will just do the one and sell it.

If I end up removing the head, is it worth it to polish the heads? What might i expect for performance increase? I think my buddy can do it at the shop where he works for less $$$ then normal.

Still wondering if anybody has used this perticular kit by helicoil though.

Thanks again.

Last edited by defective; 10-29-2003 at 05:22 PM.
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  #4  
Old 10-29-2003, 05:31 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Nu Joizey
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I've used it on motorcycles withe good results but always with the head off. I used the Helicoil brand SAVE-A-PLUG spark plug repair kit. It has three inserts of differen lengths, a combination reamer/tap tool, and an insert seating tool.

BTW, the instructions clearly state that the head should be removed for repairs. I know it's a hop in the @$$ to do but why risk trashing the motor.

Good luck
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  #5  
Old 10-29-2003, 05:42 PM
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It's cold outside man! I don't want to take everything off the motor to do this. But, I will definitely consider it. My dad, a retired mechanic, is also telling me to remove it. Actually, he has hit an age where he doesn't like working on vehicles and keeps telling me I'd be ahead to take it to a shop. Poo-poo that idea. The only person that likes the idea of keeping it on is the machinest/expert. Maybe he's overconfident, but he has a ton of experience. He works on a farm, and on a farm things need to be fixed fast, solid, and many times, in the field. Luckily, he said if it get's f'ed up he can, with the removal of the head of course, weld the hole back up and start over. He can weld almost all metals these days.

How much time am I looking at removing the heads?

Is the truck divable now, with 7 cylinders? I might need to get it a few miles up the road. It makes a hell of a noise when started.

Last edited by defective; 10-29-2003 at 05:44 PM.
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  #6  
Old 10-29-2003, 06:07 PM
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I too would be inclined to try it with the head on. but note the paste below. this is what a Ford tech told me awhile back when the head gasket was leaking on my 5.4. That kind of money to replace a head and probably a piston if you don't get it all cleaned out might make you rethink your plan.

tom

On a 5.4 oil leak we( my dealership) can give you a quote for a gasket replacement with the understanding that it may also need a head. After removing the head we check the block and head with a straight edge checking for warpage or damage to the block. If the head needs replaced it could be costly, have a seat, these heads run around $1400 a piece.
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  #7  
Old 10-29-2003, 06:16 PM
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$1400 for another "defective" head? Nice.
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  #8  
Old 10-29-2003, 06:33 PM
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Yep sure is.

Now before you pull the head figure on spending plenty of time to do it. Still might just be worth the chance you can clean that hole out.

I would not however try doing any but the one that was damaged. Usually keeping the spark plug tight will keep them from blowing.

I don't torque mine what most would consider proper. I just grab the old snap on spark plug ratchet and crank it down until it stops good.

Worked fine on the aluminum heads on the yamaha that didn't have a bunch of threads either. I think the Ford can take it too.

Any way good luck with what ever you decide to do to repair it.

tom
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  #9  
Old 10-29-2003, 11:42 PM
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This may sound dumb, if you were to hook a strong shop vac up on the exhaust side to the exhaust, and rotate the motor so the exhaust valve was open couldn't you get air to blow out the plug hole?

When we (Fire dept) get called for a leaking oil tank I hook the "special Fire dept" shop vac up to the vent pipe, it sucks air through the hole and stops the leaking, try it in reverse.
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  #10  
Old 10-31-2003, 01:47 AM
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A friend of mine blew a plug from his 98 Expy with a 5.4. He took it to the dealer. The dealer put in a helicoil with the head in place. I believe it cost him about $250.
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  #11  
Old 10-31-2003, 08:28 AM
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Location: Quincy Ma.
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sav-a-thread

I have used Helcoil #r5326-14 (m14x1.25) long reach repair inserts with success many times on 5.4's and 4.6's. As stated grease the rethread tool well and vac. out the cylinder head the best you can. I insure the cylinder I am working on is at top dead center, (valves are closed) and also use compressed air to clean up after, just don't run the rethread tool into the top of the piston if you follow this suggestion. hope this helps -Jon-
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  #12  
Old 10-31-2003, 02:34 PM
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Quote:
This may sound dumb, if you were to hook a strong shop vac up on the exhaust side to the exhaust, and rotate the motor so the exhaust valve was open couldn't you get air to blow out the plug hole?
This is actually a recommended procedure. It keeps the filings from ever getting in as opposed to trying to get small filings out later.

-Don
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  #13  
Old 10-31-2003, 04:08 PM
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That should work but if there was something stuck in the valve that you didn't get the first time it fired things would be disasterous.

tom
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  #14  
Old 10-31-2003, 04:27 PM
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I started to work on it last night. I had to drive it to my dads house where all the tools and lights are. So, the night was burned up just finding the removed parts and putting it back together. I drove it with the plug, coil, and injector all unplugged/removed for ten miles. Wow, 1 cylinder gone makes this truck almost undrivable! How embarrassing. I wanted to get out and explain to everybody the problem since I had a line of traffic behind me on a winding road. But oh well, I'm sure they heard there was some kind of a problem.

Anyway, my dad got all concerned about the job after he looked at the instructions for the kit. "It says you must remove the head", and "Why does it say on the package that helicoil wire inserts are not to be used with tapered plugs" is what he said. Anyway, after looking at the insert again, I began second guessing this product with regards to the tapered plug. They look like they are made for them, but i just cant tell. Nothing on the package says anything except for what I mentioned a couple sentences ago. It isn't a wire insert, so why do they mention wire inserts on the package? Does anybody know of a helicoil website? I can't find one.

I didn't achieve anything last night except a lot of stress and questions. The hole will not hold a spark plug, so how will it ever pull that huge tap through? We didn't think it was gonna be able to so I started looking at the work involved with pulling the head. *****. Looks like when I finally get the head off all that will be left in the truck is the block! There is no way I'm gonna fit a drill that will hold a 5/8" bit in there and I'm not excited about using a drill bit with head on anyways. What a be-atch. Wish I never bought this thing now.
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  #15  
Old 10-31-2003, 08:48 PM
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You dont need to drill the spark plug hole. The repair kit comes with a tool that is reamer and tap combined. After the reamer opens the hole to the proper size the second part of the tool then taps the threads for the insert.

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 10-31-2003, 08:48 PM


 
 
 
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