Spark Plugs May be Difficult to Remove on Ford Explorer Sport Trac

Our technicians tell us the spark plugs in this engine can be very difficult to remove. Ford has issued a service bulletin (08-7-6) to address this issue, which includes a recommended procedure on how to remove the plugs. Failure to follow the recommended procedure can result in the one or more spark plugs breaking off in the cylinder head.

The recommend procedure is as follows. Using this procedure will greatly reduce the chance of breaking a spark plug.

1. Break the spark plugs loose when the engine is warm.
2. Turn each plug 1/8 to 1/4 turn and soak the treads with 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of Motorcraft Carburetor Tune-Up Cleaner or a quality penetrating oil. Do not try to remove the plugs at this time.
3. Let the threads soak for at least 15 minutes.
4. After the soak period, tighten and loosen each spark plug, working it back and forth until the turning effort is reduced. Then, you can remove the spark plug.

There are special tools available to remove the broken spark plugs and repair shops will often charge additional labor time, over and above the quoted spark plug replacement cost, for the removal of each broken spark plug.

RepairPal Verified
Average mileage: 113,000 (71,000–185,000)
Drive Trains affected: 2WD, 4.6L V8, 4WD
5 model years affected: 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007, more2008
8 people reported this problem
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Viewing 1 - 4 of 4 problem details
2004 Ford Explorer Sport Trac - 2WD 112,500 mi,
Spark plugs VERY tight in sockets. I will try the penetrating oil procedure recommended on this site.
2007 Ford Explorer Sport Trac - 2WD 71,000 mi,
Spark plugs break easily
05 sport-Trac and cannot remove the middle and rear plug on passenger side
2007 Ford Explorer Sport Trac - 4WD 83,500 mi,
#4 Spark plug in 4.6 engine broke off and had to be removed with special tools, costing $330.00