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I'm planning to change plugs on my 2007 Explorer 4.6L V8. How do you set the gap on these type of plugs? Rockauto says the gap is preset and no need to set them.

I think it's great the gap is preset; however, the boxes were pretty banged up when I received them. I'd like to confirm the gap is accurately set to .045.

 

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I'm planning to change plugs on my 2007 Explorer 4.6L V8. How do you set the gap on these type of plugs? Rockauto says the gap is preset and no need to set them.

I think it's great the gap is preset; however, the boxes were pretty banged up when I received them. I'd like to confirm the gap is accurately set to .045.

To confirm their current gap, you can buy a gap tool from any auto store for like $8. I have no experience adjusting gaps from those kind of plugs but check the gap first. Usually a banged-up box won't affect the plugs so most likely you should be fine.
 

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I'm planning to change plugs on my 2007 Explorer 4.6L V8. How do you set the gap on these type of plugs? Rockauto says the gap is preset and no need to set them.

I think it's great the gap is preset; however, the boxes were pretty banged up when I received them. I'd like to confirm the gap is accurately set to .045.


Oh geez! Those plugs , iirc, are know for breaking when removing. Or maybe its the larger V8, i remember how horrific the plugs on an expedition were to remove. Like scary, and a constant fight.

Thats tough to check maybe a set of dial calipers would be ideal i think
 

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Oh geez! Those plugs , iirc, are know for breaking when removing. Or maybe its the larger V8, i remember how horrific the plugs on an expedition were to remove. Like scary, and a constant fight.

Thats tough to check maybe a set of dial calipers would be ideal i think
yeah, you might be able to get a feeler gauge in there, or at least the corner of one.

This is the infamous spark plug:
https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2014/04/ford-triton-v8-engine-spark-plug-tsb/index.htm
 

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UGH!! Truly appreciate the the 'heads up'. I just bought this car for my new driver son to drive. I wanted to get him something sizeable to ensure he could hold his own if he got into a collision.

I avoided this era of Dodge Durango's because of their cowl leaks. I steered clear of the Expedition/Navigators due to their issues with cam phasers etc... I never ran across any issues with this era of Explorers....UGH!!

Appreciate you likely saving me from a ginormous amount of worry.
 

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UGH!! Truly appreciate the the 'heads up'. I just bought this car for my new driver son to drive. I wanted to get him something sizeable to ensure he could hold his own if he got into a collision.

I avoided this era of Dodge Durango's because of their cowl leaks. I steered clear of the Expedition/Navigators due to their issues with cam phasers etc... I never ran across any issues with this era of Explorers....UGH!!

Appreciate you likely saving me from a ginormous amount of worry.
I had use a 1/2 drive breaker bar the entire removal process for the faulty Motorcraft plugs in my Uncles 09' Expedition. It was horrifying. There was like some kind of thread compound on the plugs that really seized them in there. Just took my time, and they made all sorts of cringing sounds. I will never, ever, forget that experience. Took quite awhile to get all 8 out.

Shoot some pb blaster on them the night before, and prepare to get freaked out. They were known for breaking in half because of the two piece design, super nerve racking.

Plan to be there awhile. Hopefully it all works out just fine. POS Motorcraft plugs, geez.
 

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I did a spark plug change on a friend’s ‘08 Expedition EL a few years back. I watched tons of videos on different techniques, soaked the plugs with penetrating lube numerous times over the course of 2 days and still managed to break either 3 or 4 of the plugs off. Granted, this was on a 5.4L engine and it seems like those are what you hear of more problems with the plugs, but that could be because the 5.4L is in way more large Ford trucks than the relatively unusual 4.6L Explorer. I believe the 4.6L is an identical design so I would expect the same problems with breaking plugs.

My advice, recognize that this is potentially a way more time-consuming job than a typical spark plug change and plan ahead. Watch the videos, read up, soak the old plugs in penetrating lube and definitely do not attempt the job without the special Lisle spark plug extractor tool. Worst case you can always return the tool if you somehow hit the lotto and end up not needing it.
 

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It might also help to rapidly whack the end of the socket extension sort of like a poor-person's impact gun while undoing them as that can help a little with freeing things up. It's a trick I learned working on boats. It's not a revelatory method for removing recalcitrant hardware, but it can help. Hitting the ratchet handle would be a closer approximation of an impact gun, but I think you lose too much of the force by the time it makes it to the plug, so I always just hit the end of it, as if you were assuring the socket was fully seated.
 

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It might also help to rapidly whack the end of the socket extension sort of like a poor-person's impact gun while undoing them as that can help a little with freeing things up. It's a trick I learned working on boats. It's not a revelatory method for removing recalcitrant hardware, but it can help. Hitting the ratchet handle would be a closer approximation of an impact gun, but I think you lose too much of the force by the time it makes it to the plug, so I always just hit the end of it, as if you were assuring the socket was fully seated.
Wonder if one of these guys would help:
https://www.homedepot.com/p/TEKTON-3-8-in-Drive-Impact-Screwdriver-Set-7-Piece-2905/205674679?

You get the impact from the hit and the tq at the same time
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Wonder if one of these guys would help:
https://www.homedepot.com/p/TEKTON-3-8-in-Drive-Impact-Screwdriver-Set-7-Piece-2905/205674679?

You get the impact from the hit and the tq at the same time
I had a mechanically minded guy at work suggest I use impact wrench. He said the wrench chatter breaks them loose without destroying them. I've not yet researched his suggestion but was surprised at his recommendation. I figured an impact wrench would break them for sure.

I'm planning to wait until fall to change them. My Explorer will be sitting idle for a few months between my daughter leaving for college and my son getting his driver's license. At this point I'm leaning towards soaking them with PB Blaster and having a Lisle 65700 extraction tool on hand when/if any break.

I read a great article where Champion makes a one-piece plug for these 3V modular engines.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I tackled the spark plugs on my 2007 Explorer 3V 4.6 today. It's the one with two piece plugs that tend to break apart inside the well when being extracted.

I was able to get all eight of them out w/o breaking any!! I stole the procedure from folks on Youtube.

I put 16oz of Seafoam Motor Treatment into a 1/4 tank of gas, pulled the coils, sprayed a couple squirts of carburetor cleaner down into the wells, put the coils back in, and then drove it until it was running on fumes.

The theory is carbon builds up onto the old plugs and binds them into the head. The idea is to use the Seafoam and carb cleaner to loosen and remove the carbon from the old plugs. When the carbon is cold and binding the plugs into the head, it takes more force to break the plug free from the carbon than the two-piece plug can withstand - resulting in snapped plugs.

After driving it and letting the Seafoam and carb cleaner work on the built up carbon, I pulled it into the garage and immediately began removing the plugs. The first couple I did came out so easily I wondered if they were even tightened down. The third one gave me a fair amount of resistance - I was wondering if it would snap. I took my time with it and it worked it's way out without causing any trouble. The remaining five were similar to the first couple.

I had the Lisle 65700 tool on-hand but thankfully didn't need it.

There was a guy on Youtube who said the key is to remove the plugs when the engine is at full operating temperature while also working to loosen up as much of the carbon as possible. It definitely worked for me.
 
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