2001 Ford Expedition Head replacement

So, I have 2001 Ford Expedition Eddie Bauer, with the 5.4 Triton V8. I need to replace the driver side Head. I’m not super knowledgeable about this, but all the research says it’s fairly simple, just time consuming and takes a little muscle. My dad on the other hand is telling me it’s going to be a much bigger project than I’m prepared for.

Now, as far as I could find, all I’d need to do is disconnect air cleaner, hoses, and wiring to clear the space, disconnect the exhaust manifold, fuel rail and timing cover, remove the problem head, clear the old head gasket, and install the new gasket and head and reconnect everything. So, not counting if I break anything, the only two parts I should need to buy are the replacement head gasket and head, correct?

My dad says that I’d need an exhaust manifold seal, timing cover seal, new timing belt/chain, and that the fuel rail isn’t a simple unbolt and lift aside. (I know there is a difference between seal and gasket but I never remember which that he said)

I always have a difficult time finding any information online about the 2001-2003 Triton setup, and don’t know enough beyond the basics.

If you think that’s all you’re going to need, this repair is beyond your ability.

You need:
Camshaft alignment tools
Crankshaft pulley removal/installer tool
Fuel Rail disconnect tools
Head gasket
Exhaust gasket
Intake manifold gaskets
Fuel injector seal kit
Spark plugs
Timing cover seal (probably RTV)
Crankshaft seal (front)
Valve cover gaskets (both sides)

Head Bolts
Exhaust Manifold (old one will certainly be warped)
Timing chain kit (with all guides and tensioners)
Water pump
Serpentine belt, tensioner
Coolant hoses

I question doing a partial repair on a 22 year old engine. What kind of problem are you having?


Had a spark plug fail and I couldn’t get it out. While the shop was removing it, it pulled the helicoil out with it, stripping the cylinder 7 spark plug threads. Well, I guess I mean the helicoil threads in the aluminum head. According to the shop, there’s not likely to be enough material left in the socket to re-thread the socket again.

The tools I already have (younger brother went to college in mechanics, left 12k worth of tools at home when he moved), spark plugs are all new as the whole issue was found from changing them, and we always have a stock of fluids. According to the shop, there’s no warping or issues with any components, aside from the one socket not having enough metal to tap again.

Also, if I’m only replacing the one head, why would I need both valve cover gaskets, as I would only need to remove the one cover from the head?

Because you need to remove both valve covers to remove the timing chain cover.

You have the camshaft tools?

Try to use the Cal Van spark plug repair kit first, I’ll bet there’s enough “meat” left in the head to use that.

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One of the biggest problems you will have is when you go to take the exhaust manifold off, the bolts will snap off even with the side of the aluminum head, it is a common problem with them.
check you tube videos about removing ford exhaust manifolds around your year vehicle and you will see. You might even get some good ideas on how to get them out before or after they snap. good luck.

If you need this vehicle to be working again in a timely manner… take it to a shop.

If you don’t have all the tools/knowledge you need to do the job…take it to a shop.

It’s not a pride or ego thing, so let that go. Replacement of a cylinder head is a big job that can go wrong quickly. If you do choose to attempt the job yourself, be prepared to do without the vehicle for an extended period of time, and/or to have it towed to a repair shop to “fix” your “repairs”.

You’re going to pay in either time or cash. Personally, I’d pay the cash to have it done right.


Normally I would agree with you on that, but currently it’s finances as the motivator for doing it myself. Basing it off the list given earlier, I’m looking at 9-1400 for what I’ll need to get versus the 4k I’ve been quoted for by my shop. Time isnt an issue as the thing has been sitting since February, but I’d like to drive my own car rather than work around borrowing my parents vehicle.

I’d definitely try that, what’s to lose? If it doesn’t work you’re no worse off, if it does work, $$$!

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My vote would be any option that does not require replacing the head. I think inserts are made up to about 1.5 inches or so.
While I have never needed to perform a procedure with a hole that roached out what about one insert inside another?

While working for VW we used to get those air cooled VWs in and stripped out plug holes was a common event often caused by someone not holding their mouth right while trying to get the plugs started. Some of those plug holes were totally wasted but always repairable.

Well, I’ll give this insert type a shot. Worst case, It won’t work and I’ll replace it then, plus have a 7 more inserts for when the next set of spark plugs blow out.

Here’s my advice, based on my own professional experience with plugs blowing out of those Triton 2V heads . . .

Use the time-sert brand insert kit

Now please answer one question . . . when the plug came out, did it come out along with a thread repair insert from a previous repair?

If it DID, you need the time-sert “last chance” insert kit

If it did NOT come out along with a thread repair insert kit from a previous repair, the regular kit will work

And time-sert makes several kits. You need the one for the Triton 2V engine. It’ll probably take a few minutes perusing the website to determine exactly which kit you need to buy

Read the instructions and follow them to a tee and you’ll be okay

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Lisle Ford Broken Spark Plug Remover LIS 65600 (Alt 303-1203 303-1398) | Lisle (denlorstools.com)

Discount automotive tools, shop supplies and equipment Ford / Mercury - Questions 800-524-9783 (denlorstools.com)

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Concur w/advise above, may not have to remove cylinder head. If I had that problem I’d take the truck to the best automobile machine shop in town and ask them what they think. They’d likely be able to repair the spark plug thread problem. Those folks have access to tools and techniques not available to diy’ers and even the better equipped auto repair shops.

Of course if you just want to see if you can do this job yourself, consider it a puzzle that needs solving, good opportunity to give it a try. Good for you.

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