Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 08-23-2013, 03:28 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 27
Spark Plug Issue on 1997 Ford 5.4 L Engine

New member and my first post. I am considering buying a 1997 Sportsmobile Pop-Top on a 1997 Ford Econoline Super HD 250 with the 5.4 engine. From photographs, the unit appears to be in excellent shape and the owner is asking $19K. The unit is over 150 miles away so I have not seen it yet. Owner thinks it is the 2-valve engine. I am very concerned about the spark plug issue. Engine has 65,000 miles with original plugs. The Ford Forum and other internet sites are full of hundreds of horror stories about the plugs blowing out of both the 2-valve and 3-valve engines. Local Ford service Manager says problems all with 3-valve unless 2-valve owners used Autolite plugs and did not torque them correctly, and he will replace plugs for $260 with (I assume, I forgot to ask him) the new one-piece plugs and it is their responsibility (?) if they break the old plugs and cause engine damage. Any advice anyone can give me will be much appreciated.
__________________

antibo12 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2013, 03:45 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
86Scotty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: TN
Posts: 7,058
Re: Spark Plug Issue on 1997 Ford 5.4 L Engine

Quote:
Originally Posted by antibo12
New member and my first post. I am considering buying a 1997 Sportsmobile Pop-Top on a 1997 Ford Econoline Super HD 250 with the 5.4 engine. From photographs, the unit appears to be in excellent shape and the owner is asking $19K. The unit is over 150 miles away so I have not seen it yet. Owner thinks it is the 2-valve engine. I am very concerned about the spark plug issue. Engine has 65,000 miles with original plugs. The Ford Forum and other internet sites are full of hundreds of horror stories about the plugs blowing out of both the 2-valve and 3-valve engines. Local Ford service Manager says problems all with 3-valve unless 2-valve owners used Autolite plugs and did not torque them correctly, and he will replace plugs for $260 with (I assume, I forgot to ask him) the new one-piece plugs and it is their responsibility (?) if they break the old plugs and cause engine damage. Any advice anyone can give me will be much appreciated.
I was really paranoid about this when I bought my 5.4 van. I'm not sure really if it's a 2 or 3 valve, but I do know the horror stories are out there. The 5.4 is a very reliable engine and you have to remember that the millions of people driving Ford 5.4's (Trucks, vans, Expeditions, Excursions) don't contribute to a forum if they don't have a problem. Forums tend to be full of horror stories about problems with certain vehicles, which makes you worry, but there are lots of people happily driving them with no problems.
I would negotiate the 260 in to the deal with the seller, and have it done by this Ford dealer. He has made it very easy accepting responsibility for stuck/broken plugs if they happen. Try to get that in writing! I do know this after dealing with plugs and exhaust manifold leaks on vans, you DON'T want to try to repair this at home! Buy the van, take it to this guy to have the plugs done, and carry on with a great low mileage SMB. It's doubtful you'll ever have another problem. He will use the proper plugs, I don't think the old ones are available any more since Ford did legitimately have problems with the older ones.

Good luck!

__________________

__________________
2015 Transit MR T350 ecoBoost, Vanilla
98 Silver E350 V10 4x4 home build (sold)
Rusty the rusty '95 SMB (sold)
Tryptovan the blue CCV van, 2002 e350 (sold)
...My name is Eric and I have a van problem...
86Scotty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2013, 04:18 PM   #3
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 27
Re: Spark Plug Issue on 1997 Ford 5.4 L Engine

Thank you very much. I am kind of a worrywort with little engine knowledge but a lot of internet researching that usually adds to my concern. The $19K sounds high, but it is a one-owner and appears from photos to be in very good shape. It does have a 110/12v fridge which seems to me would not run very long on the house battery, and just a porta-potti which is OK with me.
antibo12 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-23-2013, 04:47 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
carringb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Corvallis, OR
Posts: 3,666
Re: Spark Plug Issue on 1997 Ford 5.4 L Engine

Yes, there are hundreds of stories out there. But remember Ford put hundreds of thousands of that motors every year, just in the E-series. And several times that in the F-series and Ex-UVs (Expedition and Excursion).

The important thing it don't over-torque them when you change them. That means NO anti-seize. If one does go, its not the end of the world. There's repair options that don't require pulling the head.
__________________
2000 E350 extended wagon dually
V10 w/ Banks Powerpack, Diablo Predator
Buckstop Outback bumper/grill guard
Reunel rear bumper
carringb is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2013, 08:58 AM   #5
Senior Member
 
yvrr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Newark, CA
Posts: 795
Re: Spark Plug Issue on 1997 Ford 5.4 L Engine

I was concerned about replacing the spark plugs (at 100,000 miles) in our V-10. I talked to the Service Manager at the Ford dealership I'd been using since getting the SMB and he put my mind at ease. He told me that they knew what to do to get them out properly and install the new ones properly. He also told me that it is a job that takes a while...the mechanic can't rush the job. In addition, he said that he could put his best mechanic on the job. He did and they got replaced without any problems. Not a cheap job as I recall but remember when we replaced plugs every 15,000-20,000 miles or so?
__________________
Jack
'01 Ford EB50p Quigley 4WD
yvrr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2013, 01:08 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
carringb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Corvallis, OR
Posts: 3,666
Re: Spark Plug Issue on 1997 Ford 5.4 L Engine

V10 only needs plugs every 100,000 or 95,000 miles under the severe service schedule. It can be a DIY project and most of them can be done from inside of the van which is nice when it's raining.
__________________
2000 E350 extended wagon dually
V10 w/ Banks Powerpack, Diablo Predator
Buckstop Outback bumper/grill guard
Reunel rear bumper
carringb is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2013, 02:51 PM   #7
JWA
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Reynoldsburg, Ohio
Posts: 1,466
Send a message via Yahoo to JWA
Re: Spark Plug Issue on 1997 Ford 5.4 L Engine

Being a member of another site that's mostly Ford only its often cited the modular motors plugs should be changed at 50K miles. While Ford's recommendations suggest plug changes at 100K examination of them at that interval show little to nothing left of the electrodes. The efficiency and of course MPG's drop off significantly after 60K miles along with the COP/spark plug boot perhaps developing issues further contributing to lower MPG's.

In addition factory installed plugs left in 100K miles tend to be very difficult to remove. While there are steps and procedures to reduce the incident of damaged head threads due carbon build up nothing replaces use of nickle based anti-seize on the proper Motor Craft or Autolite plugs and 50K mile changes.

The E-Series V8 & V10 motors never received the 3V heads which have their own spark plug issues----not something we'd want to endure. There was a running change of the heads to a PI (performance improved) design about model year 2000. There is a cast-in designation as shown here:



This can be found on the right hand side of the head as seen looking from the exhaust port side. Since the heads are the same casting left or right its in the same place physically but up front on right side, back on left.

HTH
JWA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-26-2013, 04:36 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
ANZAC's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 1,005
Re: Spark Plug Issue on 1997 Ford 5.4 L Engine

Just get the plugs replaced with the newer Motorcraft part number and you will be fine. They have a few extra threads. As long as you are careful in torqueing them down you will be fine, and of course check the COP boots.

I replaced mine in my 99 V10 van at about 75000 and the plugs were really shot, should have be done earlier even though the spec at the time was 75k interval.

There are some great DIY posts on Ford-Trucks but you do need to be careful about crud in the spark plug well falling into the cylinder, I used a tiny vacuum cleaner nozzle to clean out.

I would def have a dealer do it as they have done a ton of these.
__________________
Sportsmobile-less.

"A job worth doing is worth doing at least twice."
ANZAC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-27-2013, 08:45 PM   #9
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 27
Re: Spark Plug Issue on 1997 Ford 5.4 L Engine

Thanks to everybody for the excellent advice. I am going to try to buy the Sportsmobile tomorrow. It is a 1997, but the photos look good.
__________________

antibo12 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:40 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.