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How do I get a second opinion when my car’s already taken apart in the shop?

My 2013 Ford with a 5.0L V8 was recently diagnosed with a misfiring #8 cylinder after getting a check engine light. I took it to the dealership (instead of my normal mech) to have them check it out. They gave me a loaner truck to drive, told me that they were going to have to rebuild the top end, and that the park was on backorder indefinitely. I had an EPS warranty, and they assured me that it would all be covered by the warranty. Today, they called me and informed me that repair would not be covered by warranty because it was caused by a spark plug. The spark plug was not covered by warranty. Now they are telling me that I need a whole new engine, and that it’ll cost $8-9K! I spoke to an attorney (who seemed to know Fords and auto fraud quite well) and the people at Ford EPS and both made it sound like I was SOL. Currently, my truck is in 1000 pieces at the dealership and I’d like a 2nd opinion but is that even possible with it torn apart? What should I do?

Who installed the plugs? How long have they been in the engine? I have seen improperly installed spark plugs drop the center electrode onto the piston and destroy the piston and cylinder bore. Improper gapping always seemed to be the reason for the plugs to break when the installer was honest enough to admit it.

If you are stuck paying for the work it might be worthwhile to shop around independent shops for alternatives and estimates including towing away from the dealer.

Bought the truck at 40K miles and never touched the plugs as far as I know.

Have them put all the parts in the bed and ask an independent mechanic of your choice install a used engine. Let the mechanic source the engine.

Do you see now why extended warranties are generally not worth buying. The manufacturer put spark plugs in your engine, They also specified what kind of plugs. For a warranty company to wiggle out like this is shameful, but it happens all the time.

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I agree with @oldtimer_11. A used engine is often the best solution to the problem especially on a popular and somewhat recent model.

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What is an “EPS warranty” or “Ford EPS”? Was this truck purchased as a “certified pre-owned” from a Ford dealer, and is this “extended warranty” from Ford itself, or some third-party insurance company?

Find a mechanic you trust and ask how much they would charge to go to the dealer shop to hear their explanation of the failure and repair needed. They can examine the parts to validate the diagnosis. Tell the dealer you can’t authorize that much repair cost without second opinion and your plan to have them explain it to someone more knowledgeble than you are. If they balk, tell them your only choice is to tow it away to another shop. I bet they change their tune and allow the inspection unless it’s a bogus diagnosis. Then you’ll be better off elsewhere anyway.

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They tore down motor and expect no fee for their labor? Tell them to put it back together. As it was when it rolled in.

What is the current mileage?

And are the plugs motorcraft plugs . . . or aftermarket plugs?

And exactly how did the spark plug cause the damage . . . ?!

Is EPS an aftermarket extended warranty . . . ?!

If they are in fact an aftermarket warranty provider, I doubt very much that there is any “auto fraud” going on. Many aftermarket warranties have loopholes so large, you could drive a Freightliner through them . . . you might be in that situation

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I think it’s ESP- extended service plan. If it’s through Ford, I’d be investigating further to see exactly how the repair isn’t covered. I could understand plugs not being covered themselves, because they’re a wear item and normally replaced as routine maintenance. But if the engine is damaged, I’d think they should cover that. It doesn’t really matter that the damage was caused by a plug, unless you had them changed after you bought the truck. I’d also want an exact description of exactly what’s wrong with the engine and how the plug caused it.

As for your real question on how to get a second opinion, I’m really not certain. Maybe if you could get the description of what’s wrong in writing, and how it was caused by a spark plug, you could take that to an independent mechanic and see if it even makes sense lol. I’m kind of skeptical, to be honest…

Suggest you secure a car-repair-savy person on your side. They’ll be able to communicate effectively w/the dealership’s tech people. Eventually they’ll all come to a consensus about what the problem actually was and what/who was the most likely cause. Until you reach that point I don’t see there’s anything more you yourself can do. So instead of you arguing w/the dealership, instead find someone car-repair-knowledgeable, hire them as your advocate, and let them figure this out in conjunction w/the dealership.

Note that it is entirely possible that poorly executed work that was performed on this car previously could have destroyed the engine. You can’t expect that the warranty company will cover something like that. However its also possible the prior work was done properly, but a faulty part caused the problem. In that case the warranty company should cover it for you (in my opinion), and then the warranty company should ask the manufacturer of the faulty part to cover their costs.

Thanks for the replies everyone. Sorry for the slow response but gotta work more now to pay off this dang engine. I’ll try to cover some of the questions.
ESP (Sorry, mistyped that) is the extended warranty from Ford, not an outside company.
I’ve had the truck for 40K of the total 80K miles. Never touched the plugs, nor have any other mechanics that I know of. They are motorcraft plugs. Somehow one failed, and damaged the cylinder from what I understand. I’m still trying to talk to the shop and get more info and pics. Unfortunately, with it being the weekend, and holidays, I can’t really do much but wait a few days. I have a good trustworthy mechanic down the street that I have talked to and is willing to help me. He’s worked on the truck so is familiar. I’ve always avoided the dealership for just this reason.

Talking to the extended service plan people, all they can tell me is that from the pics that the dealership shop took, they can tell that the damage was done by the spark plugs, therefore it is not covered by the warranty. I looked into the spark plug warranty and it was only 2yr from what I can tell.
I also check the emissions warranty, 5yr/80K miles. I’m one year and a few miles over that.
Right now, I’m thinking of writing a letter to Ford Customer service, and contacting the BBB if that doesn’t resolve it.

From my perspective, I purchased a “Certified Pre-Owned” 2013 F150, paid for an extended warranty, drove the truck 40K miles. I changed the oil and did routine maintenance. Then one day a tiny spark plug decided to fall apart in the engine and damage a cylinder. This causes an entire engine to be trashed? And I have no recourse with any warranty?

Definitely going to look into somewhere to replace the engine for cheaper than $9K.

My last truck was a 98 Tacoma and that thing ran 15 years and 280,000. My Ford lasted 80K. Buyer beware.

What is the recommended replacement interval on the plugs? Miles and months?

100K miles recommended spark plug change.

So how do they justify not covering it? Is there a specific “spark plug exclusion “ in the ESP?

They just say that “Spark plugs are not covered, the spark plug broke, and that damaged the engine, so you are SOL”

Have you read that in the document? I’d want proof.

I will be requesting a copy of the contract as soon as the shop is open. Probably tomorrow. But yeah, I want to see it in writing.

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If it proves true, I agree with the used engine approach. If the dealer wants money, I’d refuse, based on their prior assurance that it was covered. But there is a risk they could “forget” some parts when you go to pick up your truck.

Document everything

Keep track of names, dates, times, etc.

Go up the chain of command

Firmly state that you expect to speak to the service manager

If that gets no satisfaction, tell the service manager that you expect him to put you in touch with the regional manager, zone rep, or whatever he chooses to call himself

If that gets no satisfaction, you need to contact Ford corporate. The owner manual should have an address or phone number, just for that situation

At some point, you might want to contact a lawyer. Once the dealer and Ford corporate start receiving correspondence with the lawyer’s letterhead, things may start to move

Another thing to consider . . . “they” might want to do a goodwill repair. I’ve seen it happen, but you would either have to get on their good side, or make it clear that you’re going to make life difficult for them if they try to make you pay for the repair

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