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FAQs

  1. I had my local repair shop put an insert in and it is holding.  But now runs rough and my check engine light is on.  What do you think could be wrong?

  2. I had my repair shop install an insert and it blew back out. Now they say the hole is too big to hold an insert. Can you still fix it?

  3. I had a plug blow out and I installed a new spark plug and it is currently holding, what do you think I should do?

  4. Will a wire type (Helicoil) insert work?

  5. Can I set a spark plug in the hole to drive my vehicle home?

  6. How long does the repair take?

  7. My local repair shop said that they could repair my truck and quoted me a lower price. Why is your price higher?

  8. Can anyone tell that my engine has been repaired?

  9. Is my truck is worth more if you upgrade the whole engine?

  10. I have seen steel insert kits sold for plug thread repair in the auto store.  Will that type work?

  11. I have heard of a Ford approved repair kit, have you seen these?

  12. I have read that installing a steel plug seat can cause the heat from the spark plug not to transfer to the cylinder head correctly causing the insert to blow out. Is this true?

  13. Where do you get your custom tools that you use for the repairs?

  14. Is there a way to prevent this from happening in the first place?

  15. Is there any way to temporary seal the hole so I can drive my vehicle to you for repair?

  16. What does your Local $500.00 service include?

  17. What does your Local $650.00 service include?

  18. What does your Traveling $800.00 plus expenses service include?

  19. What does the "plus expenses" mean?

  20. Do I have to pay for the repair in advance?

  21. Do you use a stock spark plugs after the repair is completed?

  22. Have you ever had one of your custom spark plug seats fail?

  23. I had a shop install an insert in the past. I went to change the spark plug and only half of the insert came out with the plug. What can I do?

  24. What is your insert like?

  25. If you travel here for the repair, what do I need to supply for you?

  26. Have you ever not been able to repair a blown out plug on a Ford?

  27. When tapping the hole with the tap, what do you do with the shavings?

  28. Do you have special techniques for installing the regular plugs during a tune up type plug change to help stop the dreaded blown out spark plug?

  29. Can I drive with a blown plug to bring my vehicle in for repair?

  30. Do you sell or can I buy your type of inserts or kit?

  31. Which cylinders are #1 through #8?

  32. Do you remove the cylinder head for this type of repair?

  33. How do you see down in the holes to repair the treads?

  34. Do you have a regular job or just do these repairs?

  35. I was quoted a price from a Ford dealership of $3500.00 to $4500.00 to replace the cylinder head. Is this normal?

  36. Can I contact any of your satisfied customers?

  37. What kind of warranty do you offer?

  38. Why do the new replacement spark plugs have 8 threads when the old plugs only had 5 threads?

  39. What kind of shape is my engine in after this repair?

  40. I do not have any issues right now but after all the reading I have done about blown out spark plugs I am questioning the dependability of my Ford engine. What should I do?

  41. Since you have so much experience, Can you replace my spark plugs for me?

  42. Is there any one in my area doing your type of repair?

  43. Have you ever had to repair more than one spark plug seat in an engine before?

  44. Which spark plug usually fails first?

  45. At what mileage does the spark plug failure normally occur?

  46. If for some unforeseen circumstance you can not repair my truck what is your service charge for the visit?

  47. What do you think is causing this phenomena?

  48. Is Ford ever going to claim fault in workmanship?

  49. Have the threads in the newer engines been upgraded?

  50. Do you repair spark plug threads on other engines or just on Fords?

  51. Why do you prefer 28 foot lbs torque instead of the factory specification?

  52. Do you use Anti-Seize when you install new spark plugs?

  53. Can you install your custom seats in all of the spark plug holes?

  54. Can you repair spark plug threads in motorcycles?

  55. I have a 2005 Ford that broke off a spark plug, can you help?

  56. What type of payments do you accept?

  57. How can you see down inside the hole while you are working?

  58. OK, I want you to fix my truck. What is the next step?


  1. Q:  I had my local repair shop put an insert in and it is holding.  But now runs rough and my check engine light is on.  What do you think could be wrong?
    A:  Unfortunately this is a very common problem. First things first.  Does it crank evenly?  If the code is PO30X, then how much compression does cylinder #X have?  If compression is leaking through the intake valve, then the valve was most likely hit during the threading process. The procedures for correctly repairing the spark plug threads is very intense and dangerous. If it is not done correctly you will have to have the cylinder head removed to repair the damaged valve. There is no room for error when cutting into the cylinder head. (see picture)

  2. Q: I had my repair shop install an insert and it blew back out. Now they say the hole is too big to hold an insert. Can you still fix it?
    A:  Maybe. We have developed a special oversized method just for these circumstances.  It utilizes some very specialized tools and very different procedures. We have testing tools that we can send to you to help up verify that we can repair the cylinder head.  We have performed quite a few repairs of this type and have been very successful. (See Pictures)

  3. Q:  I had a plug blow out and I installed a new spark plug and it is currently holding, what do you think I should do?
    A: 
     We have had many customers ask that same question and all of them have called back for an appointment when the plug blew back out. You should repair it before it fails again to save the risk of being stranded as well as the additional costs incurred for transportation and another replacement coil.

  4. Q: Will a wire type (Helicoil) insert work?
    A:  NO!!!! The tip on the end of the wire insert is designed to break off after installation. The tip can lodge itself next to the piston rings and destroy the cylinder wall. We have also seen the wire insert melt down and then start leaking. There is also no reliable way for the seating surface of the spark plug to seal against the cylinder head.

  5. Q:  Can I set a spark plug in the hole to drive my vehicle home?
    A:  No.  The spark plug will bounce up and down and will usually break off the ground tab which could cause major engine damage.

  6. Q:  How long does the repair take?
    A:  2 to 4 hours depending on which plug has failed.

  7. Q: My local repair shop said that they could repair my truck and quoted me a lower price. Why is your price higher?
    A: There are many reasons. Mainly because most repair shops use off-the-shelf repair kits that are known to fail in a few months and they cannot guarantee the repair to last. We, on the other hand use a very specialized replacement seat assembly and customized tools that give us the ability to guarantee our repair FOREVER. 

  8. Q:  Can anyone tell that my engine has been repaired?
    A:  No, The only way that anyone can tell that your engine has been repaired is if they were to remove the spark plug and use a bore scope or a magnet to identify the carbon steel threads.

  9. Q:  Is my truck is worth more if you upgrade the whole engine?
    A:  Yes, We have been requested by many vehicle owners to upgrade their complete engines. They stated that the resale value and appeal of their trucks are higher after the upgrade. 

  10. Q:  I have seen steel insert kits sold for plug thread repair in the auto store.  Will that type work?
    A: No. There is no real anchoring device on that type of insert. The insert can keep on screwing itself into the cylinder head causing major damage or just simply blow out again leaving a very oversize hole that may not be able to be repaired. The bottom line is that there is no positive way to torque those type of inserts. This is the reason that we decided to use a custom tapered insert. Our inserts are able to be torqued into the cylinder head to make a permanent repair. (see picture)

  11. Q:  I have heard of a Ford approved repair kit, have you seen these?
    A:  Yes, The Ford TSB 7-15-2 describes using the Lock-N-Stitch repair kit by Full-Torque. Keep in mind that that it states that this is for information only and that Ford will not warranty any repairs made with this kit. The biggest problem is that the replacement threads are again aluminum and if they fail you will most probably have to replace the cylinder head.

  12. Q: I have read that installing a steel plug seat can cause the heat from the spark plug not to transfer to the cylinder head correctly and causing the insert to blow out. Is this true?
    A: Yes and No. Standard thread repair kits do have a problem with expansion and are known to come loose and can eventually blow back out again. Our replacement seat assembly is tapered which gives us the ability to torque the seat into the cylinder head and the small part that protrudes into the cylinder head is very thin. We also use a bonding agent to guarantee the transfer of heat into the cylinder head.

  13. Q:  Where do you get your custom tools that you use for the repairs?
    A:  Many Repair shops and "Mobile Repair Services" out there just buy a standard thread repair kit from an auto parts store. All of our custom tools and parts are machined by us at our facility in Santa Ynez, CA. (see picture)

  14. Q:  Is there a way to prevent this from happening in the first place?
    A:  Yes, we have developed a process that includes an inspection of the spark plug holes and a customized process for replacement of the spark plugs. Click here for more information

  15. Q: Is there any way to temporary seal the hole so I can drive my vehicle to you for repair?
    A: We have a custom built and tested Temporary Emergency Plug Kit available. This emergency plug kit was mainly designed for Motorhomes but is usable on any type of vehicle giving you the ability to transport your vehicle longer distances for repairs without the annoying sound created when a spark plug is missing.

  16. Q:  What does your Local $500.00 service include?
    A:  At one of our local locations, it includes repair of one spark plug seat including the insert, spark plug, and coil. It also includes clearing of check engine codes.

  17. Q:  What does your Local $650.00 service include?
    A:  Tests have proven that if one spark plug has blown out then there is a good chance that another plug is also loose. for an additional $150.00 we will replace ALL of the spark plugs using our special replacement process. At the same time we will also be checking the condition of the additional spark plug threads. If we find another thread failure we will repair it at that time for no additional charge. It also includes clearing of check engine codes and a thorough test drive. Parts included in this price include up to 2 custom inserts, one replacement coil and a full set of Ford Motorcraft Platinum spark plugs.

  18. Q:  What does your Traveling $800.00 plus expenses service include?
    A:  Your $800.00 fee covers the repair of up to two spark plug holes and the replacement of all of the spark plugs using our specialized installation process. Parts included in this price include up to 2 custom inserts, one replacement coil and a full set of Ford Motorcraft Platinum spark plugs.

  19. Q:  What does the "plus expenses" mean?
    A:  You will be responsible for the air fare or mileage from our technicians location to your location and back, there will be baggage charges only if charged by airlines, and lodging only if required. If we are able to drive to your location then we charge a standard mileage charge of .50 per mile

  20. Q:  Do I have to pay for the repair in advance?
    A:  No, We do not expect payment for the repair until the repair is completed.

  21. Q:  Do you use a stock spark plugs after the repair is completed?
    A:  Yes, we use the same Ford Motorcraft spark plug as the original that way you do not have to have 7 of one type and 1 of another.

  22. Q:  Have you ever had one of your custom spark plug seats fail?
    A:  No. I have done hundreds of repairs with a 100% success.

  23. Q: I had a shop install an insert in the past. I went to change the spark plug and only half of the insert came out with the plug. What can I do?
    A:  We have specialized tools that give us the ability to remove the remainder of the broken insert and repair the spark plug hole correctly.

  24. Q:  What is your insert like?
    A:  We use a custom manufactured steel replacement spark plug seat that is tapered on the out side and the exact size of the original threads on the inside. When it is tightened it wedges itself in the cylinder head. We seat the assembly using a chemical locking agent and 50 foot lbs. of torque.  We have never had one of our inserts loosen.

  25. Q:  If you travel here for the repair, what do I need to supply for you?
    A:  All We really need from you is a shop vacuum, standard compressor with air hose, and a can of parts cleaner (see list).  We will bring the everything else with us.

  26. Q:  Have you ever not been able to repair a blown out plug on a Ford?
    A:  No, I have had 100% success rate for every repair.

  27. Q:  When tapping the hole with the tap, what do you do with the shavings?
    A:  We use a shop vacuum with certain adaptors to pressurize and vacuum the engine so that no debris is left in the cylinder.

  28. Q:  Do you have special techniques for installing the regular plugs during a tune up type plug change to help stop the dreaded blown out spark plug?
    A:  Yes, Use an air blast before and after plug removal to clean any debris that may affect the seating of the replacement spark plug. Using a small power wire brush or other device remove all carbon from the plug seating area. Torque the replacement spark plugs to 28 foot lbs.  In our opinion these 3 items added to a standard spark plug change will guarantee the best success.

  29. Q:  Can I drive with a blown plug to bring my vehicle in for repair?
    A:  Of course I do not recommend it. But I have had many customers remove the damaged coil, spark plug, and disconnect the fuel injector to drive the vehicle in for repairs.  One customer drove his V8 over 700 miles to our location for repairs. Note!  If you plan on following this process, VERIFY that you disconnected the correct injector.

  30. Q:  Do you sell or can I buy your type of inserts or kit?
    A:  NO. The tools we use are very specialized and machined in Santa Ynez. At this time there are no plans to make them available to the public.

  31. Q:  Which cylinders are #1 through #8?
    A:  On a V8 the Passenger side going from front to back is #1 #2 #3 #4 and the drivers side going from front to back is #5 #6 #7 #8. On a V10 the passenger side going from front to back is #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 and the drivers side going from front to back is #6 #7 #8 #9 #10

  32. Q:  Do you remove the cylinder head for this type of repair?
    A:  No.  I remove very little from the engine to do the repair. Sometimes (depending on the plug location ) we remove nothing but the plug and coil. (See Picture)

  33. Q:  How do you see down in the holes to repair the treads?
    A:  With experience and the right inspection equipment we can verify the treads in every spark plug hole. We also have a custom built Bore scope that can be used in special situations like after another shop attempted a repair and damaged the piston or valve.  We are able to take photographs with this bore scope if needed.

  34. Q:  Do you have a regular job or just do these repairs?
    A:  Yes. I do have a regular job, I work for a Ford dealership in San Diego County, California as a  master technician.
     
  35. Q:  I was quoted a price from a Ford dealership of $3500.00 to $4500.00 to replace the cylinder head. Is this normal?
    A:  Yes. Ford would like to replace the cylinder head. When money is not an object, it is the safest way to repair this issue but you may still have an issue with the other cylinder head in the future.
     
  36. Q:  Can I contact any of your satisfied customers?
    A:  Yes.  I have many customers that have informed me that if I ever need a reference to please use them. Take a look at our Testimonials page.
     
  37. Q:  What kind of warranty do you offer?
    A:  We are so sure of our repair process that if one of our spark plug seats ever fails we will refund your money. There are a few instances where special arrangements would have to be made such as a repair after someone else has attempted to repair the spark plug threads and damaged the cylinder head or if the vehicle uses alternate fuels (i.e. CNG)
     
  38. Q:  Why do the new replacement spark plugs have 8 threads when the old plugs only had 5 threads?
    A: Ford now only sells long thread spark plugs. If you try to install a ½ thread plug (5 threads) in a full thread late model cylinder head you will damage the threads. The new full thread spark plugs will fit both designs.
     
  39. Q:  What kind of shape is my engine in after this repair?
    A: With the problem plug fixed and all the rest of the plugs either checked or replaced and tightened to the correct torque specification you should not have to even think about your spark plug for another 100k miles.
     
  40. Q:  I do not have any issues right now but after all the reading I have done about blown out spark plugs I am questioning the dependability of my Ford engine. What should I do?
    A: You have 3 options. 1-Run it as is. 2-If you have fresh plugs installed re-torque them to 28 foot lbs. 3-Replace the spark plugs making sure that you use an air blast before and after plug removal to clean any debris that may affect the seating of the replacement spark plug. Torque the replacement spark plugs to 28 foot lbs.
     
  41. Q: Since you have so much experience, Can you replace my spark plugs for me?
    A: Yes, We seem to be getting more and more requests for this service. Contact us (Contact Page) for pricing. Many of the times while we are doing a plug repair if the customer has another vehicle that they feel may be at risk they have us check the threads and replace the plugs on that vehicle as well.
     
  42. Q:  Is there any one in my area doing your type of repair?
    A: At this time we have two local repair facilities located in California, One is in El Cajon near San Diego and the other is in Santa Ynez. From these locations we can drive or fly to your location and repair your vehicle. We are now traveling the complete USA including Hawaii and Alaska. Even with the traveling expenses we usually save each of our customers at least $3,000.00 on there repair bills.
     
  43. Q:  Have you ever had to repair more than one spark plug seat in an engine before?
    A: Yes. Occasionally we will find a second one that is also damaged. To relive customer fears we have decided to repair a second one free of charge. Only once have we found an engine that needed three. The additional charge after the second plug is $200.00 each.
     
  44. Q: Which spark plug usually fails first?
    A: On the 6.8L V10 it is #4. On the 5.4L V8 it is #3. On the 4.6L V8 it seems to be random.
     
  45. Q: At what mileage does the spark plug failure normally occur?
    A: I have seen failures all the way from 36,000 to 300,000 miles with no rhyme or reason.
     
  46. Q:  If for some unforeseen circumstance you can not repair my car or truck what is your service charge for the visit?
    A: If we can not repair your truck there will be no repair charges for the visit. The only times we have not been able to repair the vehicle has been when someone else has tried to repair it and damaged the cylinder head or valves.
     
  47. Q: What do you think is causing this phenomena?
    A: We feel the issue starts with a plug coming lose for some reason. After the plug becomes a little loose the plug starts to rattle in the treads and works the aluminum until the treads give out. Most of my customers will admit that for the last month they have heard what sounded like a exhaust leak. Then the plug blew out. If you put your finger on top of the coil and you can feel a pulse then that plug may be lose and should be checked.
     
  48. Q: Is Ford ever going to claim fault in workmanship?
    A: I do not think so. To initiate a recall or refund failures needs to reach a certain percentage of failed units compared to the total units built. The 4 thread plug design has been around for many years with only a small percentage of them ever fail.
     
  49. Q: Have the threads in the newer engines been upgraded?
    A: Yes. most all 1997 to 2003 4.6L, 5.4L, 6.8L engines used the 4-5 thread design cylinder head. In late 2003 the SOHC 2 valve type engines were upgraded to a 8-10 thread spark plug design. The newer 3 valve type engines use a whole new type of sleeved spark plug.
     
  50. Q: Do you repair spark plug threads on other engines or just on Fords?
    A: Yes, Blownoutsparkplug has repaired spark plug threads in vehicles manufactured by many different companies including GM, BMW, and VW. In fact, almost any aluminum cylinder head is subject to this kind of failure and can be repaired using our custom repair process.
     
  51. Q: Why do you prefer 28 foot lbs torque instead of the factory specification?
    A: Over the past few years we have heard from many of our customers that they tightened their plugs to the correct torque but they still came loose. We worked with 10 other Ford Certified Master Mechanics and concluded that 28 foot lbs of torque would be satisfactory. We have been using 28 foot lbs of torque for many years and have never had one come loose or strip out. To verify that we would not damage the original threads we used a test cylinder head with good factory threads we applied over 100 foot lbs of torque to the spark plug without any failure.
     
  52. Q: Do you use Anti-Seize when you install new spark plugs?
    A: No, we always use Motorcraft nickel plated spark plugs to stop any issues with electrolysis.
     
  53. Q:  Can you install your custom seats in all of the spark plug holes?
    A: Yes, We offer a Very High Reliability conversion mainly for Police, Ambulance, Rescue and Tow vehicles but can be completed on any vehicle (see High Reliability Conversions)
     
  54. Q: Can you repair spark plug threads in motorcycles?
    A:: Yes, We can use our standard repair process on many motorcycles. We also have a NEW repair process for newer motorcycles that use the special 10MM thread spark plugs. (see MC Repair)
     
  55. Q: I have a 2005 Ford that broke off a spark plug, can you help?
    A: Yes. Driven by requests from our customers who are now having a NEW problem with the Ford 2005 trough 2007 three valve engines breaking spark plugs during spark plug changes Blownoutsparkplug has developed a mobile repair process for these engines and has recently offered a new service named Brokensparkplug.com
     
  56. Q: What type of payments do you accept?
    A: While we are on travel we can only accept cash (preferred), cashiers check, money order, Paypal, or a credit cards with prior notification. For local customers we can also accept personal checks. In certain circumstances we can develop a payment plan. (see policies).
     
  57. Q: How can you see down inside the hole while you are working?
    A: We have specialized tools that give us the ability to view the area down inside the spark plug area and even inside the cylinder area. We also have the ability to take images if needed. (see picture #13)
     
  58. Q: OK, I want you to fix my truck. What is the next step?
    A: Simple, Just go to our new customer information submittal form (link) and fill it out as best as possible. This will automatically contact us and submit your information into our system. You will receive a call back within minutes to discuss the details.

 

 

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