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How is it possible?

StuartT

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August 5, 2008
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City, State
La Conner, WA
Year, Model & Trim Level
98 XLT
I am the original owner, 1998 Explorer, 4.0 SOHC with 220,000 miles, and I have never, ever, (oh I hate to admit this), replaced the spark plugs. But it still idles well, runs well, has good power, and does nothing to make me want to get in there and bust up my knuckles. In fact, 2 of the 6 plugs would be a female dog to get at.

All the other general maintenance gets done, brakes, engine and transmission oil, lube, etc, but those plug have me at bay. Anyone else experiencing this kind of reprieve from sound maintenance habits?
 



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I have one with 181k on it, original plugs, no issues. You learn to leave things alone if they aren't causing problems

Bill
 






Remove the passenger tire and access #2 and especially #3 from below. Confined, but easily done using the proper tools.
 






I'm still on the original plugs at 100K mi., BUT I have a set of new ones sitting around till I get motivated to swap them in.

I agree that 4 look easy, 1 medium difficulty, then the rear passenger's side plug I may go through the wheel well to get to, subject to further scrutiny or how many extensions and flexible links I can come up with.
 






Oh heavens I would be going nuts til I got those replaced! But I know one guy he says I "fix things that ain't broke!" Lol what a cheapskate ;-)
 






I have one with 181k on it, original plugs, no issues. You learn to leave things alone if they aren't causing problems

Bill

So you're still on the same oil?
 






So you're still on the same oil?

Of course! It spent millions of years underground with no problems, what's 18 years in an iron case?

Bill
 






I changed out the original plugs when I bought my 2001 EB 5.0 with 179k. they were very worn, but the truck ran fine. Ford's coils must be very strong, but it's probably hard on the coil to have to jump a huge plug gap.
 






So assuming I break down and risk the knuckles and change the plugs, what other engine items should I tend to at the same time. There are really very few adjustments to be made anymore, if any. Just filters, coolants and lubricants, belts, PVC, what else?
 






Clean the throttle body if it's never been done, especially at 220K. Depending on the severity of carbon and varnish buildup, it may require something stronger than throttle body cleaner. Optional, but also a good idea to service the IAC valve and MAF sensor with the appropriate cleaners. Absolutely change the fuel filter if it's never been replaced, you'll be shocked what comes out of it. :eek:

http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=139457
 






as I understand it, the two rear plugs on the passenger side can be hard to get at on the SOHC. on my V8's I pull the splash shields off and go thru the inner fender. i'll bet if you also remove the passenger side inner fender you'd have lots of room. if the plugs are super rusted to the heads, i'd leave them alone. if you break one you'll be up s**t's creek.
 






Didn't think about breaking one. That's a scary possibility. Does the plug just snap in two, and do they frequently mall the head threads as well.

Thanks for the additional items to check swshawaii.
 






That's right Koda, pull the plastic liner on the passenger side.
 






Yeah, pull the passenger side fender liner and they are right there, easy to reach. After being in there for 220,000 miles, they are probably going to be a bear to get out. Go slow. Lots of penetrating fluid. Work them back and forth as necessary until they come out. If you break one off you have a lot of work to do. But I wouldn't leave them any longer. They will be very worn down by this point.
 






Roger that. I am shaking in my boot on this one.
 






Fit the new plugs using anti-seize, you don't want too much trouble in 220k's time.

This is probably why Australian spec for these plugs is Iridium so you don't have to do it so often.
 






Ford's coils must be very strong, .

I've heard they're not.
Not on an Explorer forum though.
The Mondeo uses the same coil and it's supposed to be a problem.
 






I did my plugs on the 01 sport I just got this past weekend. took me two darn hours. (finally figured the inner wheel well removal on passenger side trick). mine were original plugs, and it was still running good. HOWEVER!!! 4 of the 6, the small "node" was burned down even with the plug, and gapped well over 100 thousand. yes I said 100 thousand. the two plugs that were the closest to being correct were over 90 thousand. NOW I said it ran good. but after I changed them, it runs awesome. smoother idle, better power on take-off. better everything. night and day. Bite the bullet, change the plugs. you will be glad you did. ALSO, my mileage has gone back up almost 2 miles per gallon. :)
 






I did my plugs on the 01 sport I just got this past weekend. took me two darn hours. (finally figured the inner wheel well removal on passenger side trick). mine were original plugs, and it was still running good. HOWEVER!!! 4 of the 6, the small "node" was burned down even with the plug, and gapped well over 100 thousand. yes I said 100 thousand. the two plugs that were the closest to being correct were over 90 thousand. NOW I said it ran good. but after I changed them, it runs awesome. smoother idle, better power on take-off. better everything. night and day. Bite the bullet, change the plugs. you will be glad you did. ALSO, my mileage has gone back up almost 2 miles per gallon. :)

You make a good case to take the leap. Still apprehensive though. This 'break a plug' thing still scares me.
 



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Didn't think about breaking one. That's a scary possibility. Does the plug just snap in two, and do they frequently mall the head threads as well.

you have to worry about breaking the porcelain and about possibly breaking the threaded part of the plug off in the head. if you break/crack the porcelain and can't get the plug out it's just as bad as breaking the threaded part. if you do change them, be sure to use Motorcraft or Autolite brand replacements. NKG's are okay too, but stay away from Bosch. i'd recommend using at least double platinum's.
 






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