Between a rock & a dealer! | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Between a rock & a dealer!


October 11, 2013
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City, State
Year, Model & Trim Level
2007 Explorer / 2008 F150
Im hoping other members can give me some input.

Here is the rundown with explainations.

We have a 2007 V8 (4.6) Ford Explorer. It currently has 70,000 miles on it. We purchased Fords ESP (Platinum) warranty for it. To date we have had to replace 3 batteries (our pocket), 3 sets of tires due to half life (half us / half Ford), and are on our 3rd radiator (Ford ESP). The car is driven by my wife so it hasn't been abused (thats what my 2008 F150 is for!).

The main problem with it has been what I suspected to be a transmission problem. It was loosing its get up and go and seemed to be searching for gears at freeway speeds. We took it to Lake Elisnor Ford in CA in May of 2013and they said it was due to a dirty throttle body. They indicated it was not covered and would cost around $500 for the fix. They said it was caused by too frequent of oil changes and bad fuel (BS!). He car has a maintenance plan through Ford every 3,500 miles. I was out of town and at their mercy so I told the wife to do it. We moved to Las Vegas, NV 06/2013 and begining in July the same thing started happening along with a large knock below the center console around the trans tunnel followed by what sounded to be a release of air near the brake booster and a road hum (like knobby tires on a 4x4) coming from the left front. I took it to Ford County in Henderson, NV last week and was informed the #6 coil was bad also that #1 & #3 spark was weak. Coil pack was covered but of course plugs arent. They wanted $120 to change 2 plugs to continue or $450 to change all 8. I was reluctant to shell out the cash and just change the plugs myself.

At this point I dont know if I should change the plugs and take it back to the same dealer or go to a new dealer. Also how would they know if it is a weak spark without pulling the plugs? They never removed them from the engine due to possibility of breaking.

I still need to have those other noises diagnosed but can't until I correct the ignition problems. Also the vehicle never showed a check engine light, wrench, nothing! The lights has never once come on throughout the life of it.

Im tired of burning cash on this car and being at the mercy of the dealerships. Im handy with the tools and have a workshop to do all this. Time is my enemy right now. Dont have a lot of it and dont want to have to pay a ton of money if I screw something up.

Any input would be GREATLY APPRECIATED!!

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One more thing. A tech at the dealership said the dealer who did the throttle body probably misdiagnosed it and the bad plugs / coil could most likely caused the throttle body to be cleaned as a result.

Any truth to that? Should I try to get my money back from that dealer & if so how?

The way I look at it is your going to pay a ton of money for them to fix it so if you mess something up it is going to cost the same as having them fix it the first time so if you don't screw it up you just saved money

As far as i know are trucks with v8 are
Know for coil problems you can get a whole set
From summit for under 200 and there
Easy to install. Bad coils can cause a bad
Performence loss and make your truck do
Weird things are v8's are not really kown
For bad trans the v6 have trans problems
As far as the rads they go bad across the
The line up this is from what iv read across
The fourm on my 06 had them do plugs when
I bought as part of the deal. And they
Had a hard time with them. Iv aslo had
My rad done at 84000.

Dealer Warranty Caveat

Gawd, where to begin with this one? You buy a wondrous "Platinum" warranty (I'd hate to see what a lesser warranty covered!), so your vehicle's issues would be handled by competent technicians. Yet, it seems it's been misdiagnosed more than a few times.

That throttle body may have needed cleaning, but I doubt it caused the issue described. And, $500.00! WTF? :eek:

That "maintenance plan" sounds as bogus as the warranty.

Spark plugs in that engine are a *****, but there are ways of dealing with them.

Overall, my advice generally is to buy a few year used vehicle with a proven track record. Fix as many issues as you can yourself. Replace normal maintenance items first, then strive for a proper diagnosis before throwing parts at it. Most important, have a trustworthy, competent mechanic you can trust. I have at least two or three I can leave my vehicles with, knowing I won't be misdiagnosed or gouged.

In your current situation, I'd first look at the fuel filter. It's relatively easy and cheap to replace, and a normal maintenance item, so no wasted money. If that doesn't do it, move on to the plugs. If that doesn't work, have it smoke tested for a vacuum leak. Next would be a compression test, which you could actually do during the plug change. With that all done, and problem still persisting, it's time for the competent mechanic with proper diagnostic equipment to have at it. That may very well be a dealer, but I'd try a recommended third party first.

One more thing. A tech at the dealership said the dealer who did the throttle body probably misdiagnosed it and the bad plugs / coil could most likely caused the throttle body to be cleaned as a result.

Any truth to that? Should I try to get my money back from that dealer & if so how?

Like mentioned above by Ornery, yes they misdiagnosed it when it was the plugs/coils all along. At this point it has most likely been way too long since that repair was made so no way to legally ask for your money back since you/your wife authorized the repairs to the vehicle.
One thing that has not been mentioned here is that the exhaust manifold bolts can shear/break off on your year of vehicle and start making a lot of noise under the hood and that may be where your new hissing/clunking noise is coming from and if bad enough cause a major loss in engine performance.
However, the coils need to be replaced first before anything else is done (as mentioned by Scubasteve) since it sounds like you have not had them replaced yet and while the plugs may be good now one or more coils is most likely bad and not firing correctly.

Thanks everyone for the responses. This week I'm going to tackle the plugs. Since I own a 2008 F150 also I'm gonna order the plug removal tool just in case. Wish me luck!

Oh and thanks for reminding me, 2 exhaust bolts already! And the throttle body was done less than 5 months ago.

So I am half way Thor gh the plug change and I swear I'm gonna have a heart attack! Never in my life have I been nervous about changing spark plugs! LOL. So far have 1, 3, 8 & 6 out. Others are being stubbord so I'm letting them soak a little. I did notice the dealer changed the plug on 6 with the updated version. They neber pulled 1 / 3 which they said were bad. Wonder how they determined that? I'm wondering why they changed the plug on 6 still since they claim "plugs not covered".?? Wish me further luck!

Success! All 8 out, none broke!! Geez what a nightmare! Not a drop of antiseez on any of the plugs except 6 which the dealer swapped. I can't believe how bad these plugs look! That's after wiping them off! Looks like every 20k i'm changing them.

So I checked and the fuel filter was done @ 60K. I have to say I probably should have changedthe plugs 20K miles ago! This thing runs like a race car now!

Here are some pics of what I pulled out. Just glad its done. Time for a beer!




Congrats! And, thanks for the updates, which seem sort of rare around here.

I know exactly what you mean about the heart attack. When I had one come out without the porcelain, my heart stopped! Stomach started churning, with visions of pulling a head in the back of my mind. You're right, it never should have to be that way. And, thank GOD for the Lisle Broken Plug Remover!

GREAT!!!! i cant tell you how many i have had to fix for customers. i work at a ford dealer here in virginia. the best way I have found to do the plugs is to run the car just long enough to heat the plugs but not make it to hot to work on. and run down one side with a 3/8 impact gun to remove them. put it back together and them do the same thing on the other side. i can recall only breaking one plug in the dozens of these 3v motors i have done this way. but not everyone likes this way :D

Congrats! I broke 5 of 8 when doing mine following the TSB, but all easily removed with the Lisle Tool (greatest tool ever). Can probably do these in my sleep now! You'll appreciate the better, smoother running of the motor now. I ended up getting MSD COPs from Summit. I trust MSD for ignition parts way more than most OEM and definitely more than Motorcraft... and a little cheaper, too!