I had my local
repair shop put an insert in and it
is holding. But now runs rough and my check engine light is on.
What do you think could be wrong?
A: Unfortunately this is a very common problem. First things first. Does it crank evenly? If the code
is PO30X, then how much compression does cylinder #X have? If compression is
leaking through the intake valve, then the valve was most likely hit during the
threading process. The procedures for correctly
repairing the spark plug threads is very
intense and dangerous. If it is not done correctly you will have to have the
cylinder head removed to repair the damaged valve. There is no room for error
when cutting into the cylinder head. (see
my repair shop install an insert and it blew back out. Now they say the hole
is too big to hold an insert. Can you still fix it?
A: Maybe. We have developed a special oversized method just for these
circumstances. It utilizes some very specialized tools and very different procedures.
We have testing tools that we can send to you to help up verify that we can
repair the cylinder head. We have
performed quite a few repairs of this type and have been very successful. (See
Q: I had a plug blow out and I installed a new
spark plug and it is currently
holding, what do you think I should do?
have had many customers ask that same question and all of them have called back
for an appointment when the plug blew back out. You should repair it before it
fails again to save the risk of being stranded as well as the additional costs
incurred for transportation and another replacement coil.
Q: Will a wire type (Helicoil) insert work?
A: NO!!!! The tip on the end of the wire insert is designed to break off
after installation. The tip can lodge itself next to the piston rings and
destroy the cylinder wall. We have also seen the wire insert melt down and then
start leaking. There is also no reliable way
for the seating surface of the spark plug to seal against the cylinder head.
Can I set a spark plug in the hole to drive my vehicle home?
A: No. The spark plug will bounce up and down and will usually break
off the ground tab which could cause major engine damage.
long does the repair take?
A: 2 to 4 hours depending on which plug has failed.
Q: My local repair shop said that they could repair my truck and quoted me a
lower price. Why is your price higher?
A: There are many reasons. Mainly because most repair shops use off-the-shelf
repair kits that are known to fail in a few months and they cannot guarantee the
repair to last. We, on the other hand use a very specialized replacement seat
assembly and customized tools that give us the ability to guarantee our repair
Q: Can anyone tell that my engine has been repaired?
A: No, The only way that anyone can tell that your engine has been
repaired is if they were to remove the spark plug and use a bore scope or a
magnet to identify the carbon steel threads.
Is my truck is worth more if you upgrade the whole engine?
A: Yes, We have been requested by many vehicle owners to upgrade their complete
engines. They stated that the resale value and appeal of their trucks are higher
after the upgrade.
I have seen steel insert kits sold for plug thread
the auto store. Will that type work?
A: No. There is no real anchoring device on that type of insert. The insert can keep on screwing itself into the
cylinder head causing major damage or just simply blow out again leaving a very
oversize hole that may not be able to be repaired. The bottom line is that there is no
positive way to torque those type of
inserts. This is the reason that we decided to use
a custom tapered
insert. Our inserts are able to be torqued into the cylinder head to make a permanent
heard of a Ford approved repair kit, have you seen these?
A: Yes, The Ford TSB
7-15-2 describes using the Lock-N-Stitch repair kit by Full-Torque. Keep in
mind that that it states that this is for information only and that Ford will
not warranty any repairs made with this kit. The biggest problem is that the
replacement threads are again aluminum and if they fail you will most probably
have to replace the cylinder head.
Q: I have read that installing a steel plug seat can cause the
heat from the spark plug not to transfer to the cylinder head correctly and
causing the insert to blow out. Is this true?
A: Yes and No. Standard thread repair kits do have a problem with expansion and
are known to come loose and can eventually blow back out again. Our replacement
seat assembly is tapered which gives us the ability to torque the seat into the
cylinder head and the small part that protrudes into the cylinder head is very
thin. We also use a bonding agent to guarantee the transfer of heat into the
do you get your custom tools that you use for the repairs?
A: Many Repair shops and "Mobile Repair Services" out there just buy a standard thread repair kit
from an auto parts store. All of our custom tools and parts are machined by us at our
facility in Santa Ynez, CA. (see picture)
there a way to prevent this from happening in the first place?
A: Yes, we have developed a process that includes an inspection of the
spark plug holes and a customized process for replacement of the spark plugs.
Click here for more information
Q: Is there any way to temporary seal the hole so I can drive my vehicle to you
A: We have a custom built and tested Temporary Emergency
Plug Kit available. This emergency plug kit was mainly
designed for Motorhomes but is usable on any type of vehicle giving you the
ability to transport your vehicle longer distances for repairs without the
annoying sound created when a spark plug is missing.
Q: What does your
A: At one of our local locations, it includes repair of one spark plug seat
insert, spark plug, and coil. It also includes clearing of check engine codes.
Q: What does your
A: Tests have proven that if one spark plug has blown
out then there is a good chance that another plug is also loose. for an
additional $150.00 we will replace ALL of the spark plugs using our special
replacement process. At the same time we will also be checking the condition of
the additional spark plug threads. If we find another thread failure we will
repair it at that time for no additional charge. It also includes clearing of
check engine codes and a thorough test drive. Parts included in this price
include up to 2 custom inserts, one replacement coil and a full set of Ford Motorcraft
Platinum spark plugs.
What does your
Traveling $800.00 plus
expenses service include?
A: Your $800.00 fee covers the repair of up to two spark plug holes and
the replacement of all of the spark plugs using our specialized installation
process. Parts included in this price include up to 2 custom inserts,
one replacement coil and a full set of Ford Motorcraft Platinum spark plugs.
Q: What does the "plus expenses" mean?
A: You will be responsible for the air fare or mileage from our
technicians location to your location and back, there will be baggage charges
charged by airlines, and lodging only if required. If we are able to drive to
your location then we charge a standard mileage charge of .50 per mile
Do I have to pay for the
repair in advance?
A: No, We do not expect payment for the repair until the repair is
Q: Do you use a stock
spark plugs after the repair is completed?
A: Yes, we use the same Ford Motorcraft spark plug as the original that way you
do not have to have 7 of one type and 1 of another.
Have you ever had one of your
custom spark plug seats fail?
A: No. I have done hundreds of repairs with a 100%
I had a shop install an insert in the past. I went to change the spark plug and
only half of the insert came out with the plug. What can I do?
A: We have specialized tools that give us the ability to remove the
remainder of the broken insert and repair the spark plug hole
Q: What is your insert like?
A: We use a custom manufactured steel replacement spark plug seat that is tapered on the out side
and the exact size of the original threads on the inside. When it is tightened it wedges itself in the cylinder head. We
seat the assembly using a chemical locking agent and 50 foot lbs. of torque.
We have never had one of our inserts loosen.
travel here for the repair, what do I need to
supply for you?
A: All We really need from you is a shop vacuum, standard compressor with air hose,
and a can of parts cleaner (see list).
will bring the everything else with us.
Have you ever not been able to repair a blown out plug
on a Ford?
A: No, I have had 100% success rate for every repair.
When tapping the hole with the tap, what do you do with
A: We use a shop vacuum with certain adaptors to pressurize and vacuum the
engine so that no debris is left in the cylinder.
Do you have special techniques for installing the
regular plugs during a tune up type plug change to help stop the dreaded blown
out spark plug?
A: Yes, Use an air blast before and after plug removal to clean any debris
that may affect the seating of the replacement spark plug. Using a small power
wire brush or other device remove all carbon from the plug seating area. Torque the
replacement spark plugs to 28 foot lbs. In our opinion these 3 items
added to a standard spark plug change will guarantee the best success.
Can I drive with a blown plug to bring my vehicle
in for repair?
A: Of course I do not recommend it. But I have had many customers remove
the damaged coil, spark plug, and disconnect the fuel injector to drive the
vehicle in for repairs. One customer drove his V8 over 700 miles to our location for repairs. Note!
If you plan on following this process, VERIFY that you disconnected the correct
Q: Do you sell or can I buy your type of inserts or kit?
A: NO. The tools we use are very specialized and machined in Santa Ynez.
At this time there are no plans to make them available to the public.
Q: Which cylinders are #1 through #8?
A: On a V8 the Passenger side going from front to back is #1 #2 #3 #4 and
the drivers side going from front to back is #5 #6 #7 #8. On a V10 the passenger side going from front to back is #1 #2 #3 #4
#5 and the drivers side going from front to back is #6 #7 #8 #9 #10
Q: Do you remove the cylinder head for this type of repair?
A: No. I remove very little from the engine to do the repair.
Sometimes (depending on the plug location ) we remove nothing but the plug and
coil. (See Picture)
How do you see
down in the holes to repair the treads?
A: With experience and the right inspection equipment we can verify the
treads in every spark plug hole. We also have a custom built Bore scope that
can be used in special situations like after another shop attempted a repair
and damaged the piston or valve. We are able to take
photographs with this bore scope if needed.
- Q: Do you have a regular job or
just do these repairs?
A: Yes. I do have a regular job, I work for a Ford dealership in San Diego
County, California as a master technician.
I was quoted a price from a Ford dealership of $3500.00 to $4500.00
to replace the cylinder head. Is this normal?
A: Yes. Ford would like to replace the cylinder head. When money is not an
object, it is the safest way to repair this issue but you may still have an
issue with the other cylinder head in the future.
- Q: Can I contact any of your satisfied customers?
A: Yes. I have many customers that have informed me that if I ever
need a reference to please use them. Take a look at our
- Q: What kind of warranty do you offer?
A: We are so sure of our repair process that if one of our spark plug
seats ever fails we will
refund your money. There are a few instances where special arrangements would
have to be made such as a repair after someone else has attempted to repair the
spark plug threads and damaged the cylinder head or if the vehicle uses
alternate fuels (i.e. CNG)
Q: Why do the new replacement spark plugs have 8 threads when the old
plugs only had 5 threads?
A: Ford now only sells long thread spark plugs. If you try to install a ½
thread plug (5 threads) in a full thread late model cylinder head you will
damage the threads. The new full thread spark plugs will fit both designs.
What kind of shape is my engine in after this repair?
A: With the problem plug fixed and all the rest of the plugs either checked or
replaced and tightened to the correct torque specification you should not have
to even think about your spark plug for another 100k miles.
Q: I do not have any issues right now but after all the reading I have done
about blown out spark plugs I am questioning the dependability of my Ford
engine. What should I do?
A: You have 3 options. 1-Run it as is. 2-If you have fresh plugs installed
re-torque them to 28 foot lbs. 3-Replace the spark plugs making sure that
you use an air blast before and after plug removal to clean any debris that
may affect the seating of the replacement spark plug. Torque the replacement
spark plugs to 28 foot lbs.
Q: Since you have so much experience, Can you replace my spark plugs for me?
A: Yes, We seem to be getting more and more requests for this service. Contact
us (Contact Page) for pricing. Many of the times while we are doing a plug
repair if the customer has another vehicle that they feel may be at risk they
have us check the threads and replace the plugs on that vehicle as well.
Is there any one in my area doing your type of repair?
A: At this time we have two local repair facilities located in California, One
is in El Cajon near San Diego and the other is in Santa Ynez. From these locations we can
drive or fly to your location and repair your vehicle. We are now traveling
the complete USA including Hawaii and Alaska. Even with the traveling expenses
we usually save each of our customers at least $3,000.00 on there repair
Q: Have you ever had to repair more than one spark plug seat in an engine
A: Yes. Occasionally we will find a second one that is also damaged. To relive
customer fears we have decided to repair a second one free of charge. Only
once have we found an engine that needed three. The additional charge after
the second plug is $200.00 each.
- Q: Which
spark plug usually fails first?
A: On the 6.8L V10 it is #4. On the 5.4L V8 it is #3. On the 4.6L V8 it seems
to be random.
what mileage does the spark plug failure normally occur?
A: I have seen failures all the way from 36,000 to 300,000 miles with no rhyme
Q: If for some unforeseen circumstance you can not repair my car or truck
what is your service charge for the visit?
A: If we can not repair your truck there will be no repair charges for the
visit. The only times we have not been able to repair the vehicle has been
when someone else has tried to repair it and damaged the cylinder head or
What do you think is causing this phenomena?
A: We feel the issue starts with a plug coming lose for some reason. After the
plug becomes a little loose the plug starts to rattle in the treads and works
the aluminum until the treads give out. Most of my customers will admit that
for the last month they have heard what sounded like a exhaust leak. Then the
plug blew out. If you put your finger on top of the coil and you can feel a
pulse then that plug may be lose and should be checked.
Q: Is Ford ever
going to claim fault in workmanship?
A: I do not think so. To initiate a recall or refund failures needs to
reach a certain percentage of failed units compared to the total units built. The 4
thread plug design has been around for many years with only a small percentage
of them ever fail.
Q: Have the
threads in the newer engines been upgraded?
A: Yes. most all 1997 to 2003 4.6L, 5.4L, 6.8L engines used the 4-5 thread
design cylinder head. In late 2003 the SOHC 2 valve type engines were upgraded to a
8-10 thread spark plug design. The newer 3 valve type engines use a whole new
type of sleeved spark plug.
Q: Do you repair spark plug threads on other engines or just on Fords?
A: Yes, Blownoutsparkplug has repaired spark plug threads in vehicles
manufactured by many different companies including GM, BMW, and VW. In fact,
almost any aluminum cylinder head is subject to this kind of failure and can
be repaired using our custom repair process.
Q: Why do you prefer 28 foot lbs torque instead of the factory
A: Over the past few years we have heard from many of our customers that they
tightened their plugs to the correct torque but they still came loose. We
worked with 10 other Ford Certified Master Mechanics and concluded that 28 foot
lbs of torque would be satisfactory. We have been using 28 foot lbs of
torque for many years and have never had one come loose or strip out. To
verify that we would not damage the original threads we used a test cylinder
head with good factory threads we applied over 100 foot lbs of torque to the
spark plug without any failure.
Q: Do you
use Anti-Seize when you install new spark plugs?
A: No, we always use Motorcraft nickel plated spark plugs to stop any issues
Q: Can you install your custom seats in all of the spark plug holes?
A: Yes, We offer a Very High Reliability conversion mainly for Police,
Ambulance, Rescue and Tow vehicles but can be completed on any vehicle (see
High Reliability Conversions)
Q: Can you
repair spark plug threads in motorcycles?
A:: Yes, We can use our standard repair process on many motorcycles. We also
have a NEW repair process for newer motorcycles that use the special 10MM
thread spark plugs. (see MC Repair)
have a 2005 Ford that broke off a spark plug, can you help?
A: Yes. Driven by requests from our customers who are now having a NEW problem
with the Ford 2005 trough 2007 three valve engines breaking spark plugs during
spark plug changes Blownoutsparkplug has developed a mobile repair process for
these engines and has recently offered a new service named Brokensparkplug.com
- Q: What
type of payments do you accept?
A: While we are on travel we can only accept cash (preferred), cashiers check,
money order, Paypal, or a credit cards with prior notification. For local
customers we can also accept personal checks. In certain circumstances we can
develop a payment plan. (see policies).
can you see down inside the hole while you are working?
A: We have specialized tools that give us the ability to view the area down
inside the spark plug area and even inside the cylinder area. We also have the
ability to take images if needed. (see picture #13)
Q: OK, I
want you to fix my truck. What is the next step?
A: Simple, Just go to our new customer information submittal form (link) and
fill it out as best as possible. This will automatically contact us and submit
your information into our system. You will receive a call back within minutes
to discuss the details.