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Old 01-04-2010, 12:55 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Tijeras, NM (Albuquerque)
Vehicle: 1997 Ford Expedition
Posts: 81
Replaced Intake Gaskets on 97 4.6

I have been having a repeat problem with coolant in the spark plugs on my 97 Expedition 4.6 engine. I would blow it out with compressed air and be good for a while. Tried some stop leak, didn't stop the leaking. About 138K miles on the vehicle.

Time to just fix it right and replace the intake gaskets. Not a real hard job technical wise but a real PITA access wise. Have to lay on the radiator to get access and can barely reach the various bolts with different extensions and combinations. Took about half a day to remove the intake and clean up all the surfaces and inspect. The intake gasket was leaking under the thermostat and also a bit on the pass side front crossover location. Put new Fel-Pro gaskets, there are two versions depending on where the little locating pins are: inside the rubber sealing rings or outside. So I took my old gaskets with me to make sure, mine were the inside version (and the more expensive.....).

Also changed the plugs while it was apart, very easy without all the intake and other stuff in the way. Used Motorcraft platinums. Even though old plugs were only about 40K miles, time to do it now and save aggravation later, changing plugs is another PITA on this. My head surfaces had a little pitting on the water ports. Sorry no pics, but not real deep, yet enough that I put some Permatex No. 2 sealant on the gasket both sides around the ports when putting back together to make sure it would seal. I don't know why the pitting, I have kept up the coolant changes, but read on here about others that have had it. Another half day to get it all back together.

Pretty amazing that all the bolts are either 8 or 10 mm. The trick is finding the right length of socket and extension or wrench to make it work. Several years ago I had changed the leaking heater hoses and changed over to screw drive clamps. So much easier to remove and makes it a nice change over those factory NON-quick release clamps.

So approx $80 and about 8 hours total time later it should be fixed right. Just curious how many hours is the book rate for this job? I am sure some of you guys that do this all the time can do it much faster than I did. I have increased respect for you guys that do this every day. This design with the engine half under the cowl sure does not make for good acces or easy to work on. Thanks to the forum for the information. Terry
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