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Spark Plug job on Explorer Sport 3.5L Ecoboost

Is it worth paying for a shop (or dealer), or should I replace the spark plugs myself?

  • Its worth paying to have someone else do it for you.

    Votes: 2 16.7%
  • Its not that hard, take care of it yourself and save the money.

    Votes: 10 83.3%

  • Total voters
    12

SheriffMoose

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I've got a '15 Explorer Sport with 108k miles on it. I've noticed the gas mileage has gotten pretty bad, averaging 13MPG city. Anyway, its overdue for spark plugs, so that's what brings me here.

I've looked around via google and some forum searches. I've found instructions/videos on how to change the spark plugs on the standard 3.5L engine, but not the ecoboost! I suspect its a significantly different job than the standard engine since it looks like you have to remove part of the exhaust manifold on the standard engine. I did consider just looking at the job on a F-150, but since the Explorer engine is transverse engine, I figure its not really similar enough (among other differences, I'm sure).

That said, before I commit to doing the job myself, I was trying to find instructions, a video, or at the very least someone who's done it before than can say if there are any gotchas or difficulties with the job. I'm a novice at best when it comes to repairs, so I don't want to get into something overly difficult, esp. since my tools are limited and I don't have a garage big enough to work in.

Any advice/guidance is appreciated!

Cheers,

Moose
 


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peterk9

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Welcome to the Forum Moose.:wave:

Peter
 




Adrian Gitch

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I've recently watched a video on the non-turbo version and although it's time consuming, it doesn't look that difficult. I've done worse. I'll probably do mine when it comes due soon. I can't warrant paying the dealer several hundred when I've got the tools etc... If you've got the tools etc... I would recommend doing it yourself if the turbo version isn't that much harder.
 




Napalm

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You know I'm not 100% certain if the turbo version is really any different than the NA version. I do think you want to pull the intake off to do the job.

I hear people say you don't have to - and they might have smaller arms than me. But I would take the cover off and probably the manifold off too - and then work the plugs. I think the front plugs might be just as bad as the rears with how close the front is to the radiator. Hard to say I've not done it yet.
 




66 Galaxie

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The regular 3.5 requires you remove the upper intake manifold while the Ecoboost does not.

I find it to be an easier job on the Ecoboost 3.5
 




san~man

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You do NOT have to remove the intake to do plugs on the 3.5 EB.
 




Napalm

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people also say you don't have to take the intake off to do the NA motor - I think My big hands/arms might have issues without it.

I find this to be the case more often than not - on things in the engine bay
 




RhinoQuartz

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people also say you don't have to take the intake off to do the NA motor - I think My big hands/arms might have issues without it.

I find this to be the case more often than not - on things in the engine bay
This engine bay is extraordinarily cramped, due to it being FWD(-biased, in the case of those with AWD). That's why the engine is transversely mounted. Such a nightmare.
 




SheriffMoose

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Well, since the intake doesn't have to be taken off then I may give it a shot. I probably need a couple more tools before attempting it though - I say a number of people recommend getting a locking extension so you don't lose your spark plug wrench in the cylinder when pulling them out, particularly in the back 3. I'm still surprised there aren't more people who have done it yet!
 




Napalm

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Yes I love my lock adapter for my sockets. I only have it for the 3/8 and 1/4 but they come in handy. Mine hard lock in that you have a set screw that will punch in the ball detent - and hold on. Then on the other end it has a locking bar that is secured when the collar down - you pull the collar to get the socket off. adds about 2 inches to your reach but it also won't come off easily either.
 




Keith N

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I just did mine on the 3.5 N.A. and I did remove the upper intake. Even at that, it was not too bad. I took maybe 4 hours, but that was usual first time slowness and careful working for me. My point is even if you have to remove manifold, its not that bad. I put in a new PCV valve and new intake gasket when I did mine. I also used iradium plugs over the stock platnum.
 




SheriffMoose

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Well, I'm still torn. I've decided to go ahead and get a Haynes book so that I can at least have instruction on what's required. That, and make sure I get the right parts needed for the job so I'm not running back n forth to the parts store if I do decide to tackle it myself. It looks like dealers are going to charge somewhere between $375-430 to handle it for me, so I know I'd be saving quite a lot to handle it myself.
 




RhinoQuartz

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Well, I'm still torn. I've decided to go ahead and get a Haynes book so that I can at least have instruction on what's required. That, and make sure I get the right parts needed for the job so I'm not running back n forth to the parts store if I do decide to tackle it myself. It looks like dealers are going to charge somewhere between $375-430 to handle it for me, so I know I'd be saving quite a lot to handle it myself.
Just a heads up, as I actually have a subscription to it, but Haynes manuals are based on a complete teardown and rebuild of the vehicle in question. It's really only a mechanical/electrical manual. For any programming I would highly recommend the factory manual.
 




san~man

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Well, since the intake doesn't have to be taken off then I may give it a shot. I probably need a couple more tools before attempting it though - I say a number of people recommend getting a locking extension so you don't lose your spark plug wrench in the cylinder when pulling them out, particularly in the back 3. I'm still surprised there aren't more people who have done it yet!
I did it on Monday on my '18 sport. Easy, but sucked, especially the back right-driver's side plug.

It's not hard to do the actual changing of the plugs, but the hardest part is getting the coil boot off the plugs on the back 3. There's just not much room to get your hand around them to wiggle them out.

Loosening the intake tube that runs over the top of the motor helps. The locking spark plug socket isn't necessary, but makes the job easier and one less thing to worry about. Mine was magnetic too, so gives a little piece of mind.
 




boominXplorer

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You don't have to remove the intake to do plugs on the EcoBoost. The only things in for way are the intake tubes. It helps to have a swivel socket if you want to remove the intake tubes.
 




Stephen Cannon

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AutoZone sells a 5/8" Spark Plug Socket but wait there's more. Deep Well Socket, magnet to help retain the spark plug head to the socket and has a 6" extension built in to the socket. Slight range of movement but should be able to get enough to loosen with socket then you might have to hand turn rest of the way if the firewall clearance becomes issue during removal. Last time I checked price was about $20 and that socket has carried me through four vehicles over ten years and probably the best $20 spent for a dedicated spark plug socket. It has even worked on the rear bank of plugs on my 2014 Taurus SHO E/B and only other items for removal was the strut tower cross brace and the intake tube. Hate to say it but the rear bank of my transverse V6 for the Taurus were easier to remove than the rear two plugs of my 2015 Expedition XLT E/B V6 front/rear layout. Yes you heard me 2015 Expedition E/B V6. Power is great and low 20's for fuel economy.
 




KyleJames

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2013 Sport Spark Plug Replacement How-To?

Hey guys. Is there a specific how-to for the 5th Gen Sport spark plug replacement? My understanding is that it is different then the other 5th gen models..? Thanks!
 
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peterk9

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I don't recall seeing a specific "How To" video on the Ecoboost but here is one on the N/A 3.5L that may help somewhat.

Peter
 




Napalm

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AutoZone sells a 5/8" Spark Plug Socket but wait there's more. Deep Well Socket, magnet to help retain the spark plug head to the socket and has a 6" extension built in to the socket. Slight range of movement but should be able to get enough to loosen with socket then you might have to hand turn rest of the way if the firewall clearance becomes issue during removal. Last time I checked price was about $20 and that socket has carried me through four vehicles over ten years and probably the best $20 spent for a dedicated spark plug socket. It has even worked on the rear bank of plugs on my 2014 Taurus SHO E/B and only other items for removal was the strut tower cross brace and the intake tube. Hate to say it but the rear bank of my transverse V6 for the Taurus were easier to remove than the rear two plugs of my 2015 Expedition XLT E/B V6 front/rear layout. Yes you heard me 2015 Expedition E/B V6. Power is great and low 20's for fuel economy.
I'd buy that for a dollar. my LS V8 in my daily driver number 8 is nearly impossible. I end up putting the socket on it - then thankfully the socket has a nut boss on the end - so I can turn it with a wrench - because it's up against the firewall and my ratchet can't fit there. so it's 2 turns with a wrench and then the rest with fingers.
 


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Napalm

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Interesting pretty much what I was planning on doing. I don't know how you'd get to the back 3 without taking that off.
 




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