2001 Ford Expedition

I have a 2001 Ford Expedition with the 5.4L engine. I know that there are problems with the engines blowing out spark plugs. Besides putting in sleeves and replacing the cover when necessary, has anyone had any good luck with a different alternative. If not what products with the above options seem to give you the most bang for your buck.

Exactly what is your truck doing???

The problem with the spark plugs blowing out is the aluminum cylinder heads only have four threads to hold the plugs. So if the plugs aren’t torqued correctly they can loosen up and be blown out the hole taking the threads in the head with them.

If at anytime you hear something that sounds like a noisy lifter, don’t ignore the noise. Because this engine doesn’t use lifters, so the noise is probably because of a loose plug.


Is there an aftermarket cylinder head that is not aluminum that would work instead? I have veen unable to find any in my searches. I know that they make sleeves that can be inserted to make the threads a bit more reliable but, from reviews I have read, they only give you a bit more time on them before it blows the sleeves too.

I don’t know of any aftermarket cylinder heads for these engines that aren’t made of aluminum or have extra threads in the spark plug holes.

But everyone I know who’s had a spark plug blow out of one of these engines said they heard a ticking sound like a noisy lifter before the spark plug blew out.


Exactly what is your truck doing???

My guess it already blew a plug.

Besides putting in sleeves and replacing the cover

I’m guessing by “sleeve” he means heli-coil, but have no clue what the cover might be.

Who said the plug takes out the valve cover?

Whoever told you that has no idea what they’re talking about, at least not in this specific instance

We have plenty of 2 valve 5.4 engines in our fleet, and a few plugs have already blown out. The valve covers have not sustained any damage

Time-sert makes the best thread insert kits for this problem, in my opinion

If you have to pay a shop to do the repair, ask them to use time-sert

And if the shop says you need to buy a head, walk away. They don’t know what they’re talking about. Time-sert even makes a last chance thread insert kit, for instances where other brand inserts have blown out

I agree with all the above comments. My dad’s 97 2v 5.4 expedition blew a plug and the mechanics did a standard heli coil and there’s been no problems since. That was years ago. The plugs have to be torqued in on the money or you risk this issue. Timesert is pricey but they do seem to make a good solution. You can watch the tutorial on YouTube.

“The plugs have to be torqued in on the money or you risk this issue”

I don’t entirely agree

The problem, as I understand it, is that the original design only had a few threads. The insert has far more threads. The motorcraft plug itself has also changed. It also has more threads than it used to

In my opinion, no matter how often you remove those plugs and torque them, if they’re going to blow, they’re going to blow

Yeah, I truly believe that due diligence won’t prevent this problem from occurring.

In our fleet, we’ve replaced sets of plugs, only to have a plug or 2 blow out a few months later

The plugs DO have to be torqued in on the money or you risk the issue.

The aluminum heads only have four threads to hold the plugs.

If the plugs are over torqued it cracks the threads in the head. If the plugs are under torqued and loosen up, the combustion pressure pounds on the plug which then pounds on the threads cracking them.

If either of these happen, the threads give out in the head and the plug blows out of the head.



Let’s try this again . . .

I am aware that spark plug torque needs to be followed

That said, it will NOT prevent plugs being blown out

The original design leaves something to be desired, and that is the main problem, in my opinion

As I said, we’ve replaced plenty of plugs in our fleet . . . as regular scheduled maintenance . . . only to have them blow out a few months later

Please do NOT suggest they blew out because we left the plugs loose, or cranked them down with a 1/2" breaker bar and a 2’ extension, wielded with hamfists on gorilla arms

If they’re gonna blow, they’re gonna blow




Thank you for that interesting website

But it still doesn’t change my opinion that a correctly torqued plug can blow out a short time later

By the way, one of my “less enlightened” colleagues had a plug blow out on a truck. He said he was going to throw a plug, coil and boot at it, after retapping the threads

I told him in no uncertain terms, that it wouldn’t be a lasting solution, that the plug WOULD blow out again

Sure enough, a few months later, that same plug blew out again, taking out the coil that he had installed

I was given the repair order this time. I put in a timesert, new coil, plug and boot. And I torqued the plug, as per factory specs. I fully expect this repair to last much longer than my colleague’s “repair” did

It’s a little bit of both sides of the argument here. Yes, the design lacks more threads and even routine maintenance will weaken them likely, however, that is exactly why these heads are really sensitive to the correct torque specs. If they’re too loose it will be audible. If they’re too tight it over stresses the threads. No argument that the design is lacking strength.


If I put in a new plug, torque it to specs, and it blows out next week . . . that almost certainly wasn’t due to a loose plug

That’s been my point the whole time

By the way, when I changed the plugs on my 9 year old car . . . all aluminum V6 . . . a few months ago, none of the original plugs were loose

Just something to think about

My point is that plugs don’t typically/constantly loosen by themselves, at least not in normal circumstances. I will agree that it may have been more of a problem in days past. But the triton is a fairly modern engine design.

I’m not saying the plugs loosen on their own either, I’m saying the danger is in guys doing it by feel, and being a few foot pounds short when installing them. Installing them too loose from the start is a problem. The range of acceptable torque is limited by the lack of threads.

Thank you everyone for your information. I will be looking into getting the time-sert thread inserts. I appreciate all the advice.