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2002 V6 MTX

102K miles

My husband (GoFastDaddy) went out of town on business yesterday and left me with his beloved Cougar...and it broke! I was going to the store yesterday and the engine light suddenly starting blinking. Then the engine started making a clacking noise, so I took it back home. I thought maybe the oil pump was out. Had it towed to the shop and the mechanic just called to say that one of the spark plugs was blown completely out of the sleeve and the threads were stripped! Whaa??

Anyone ever have something like that happen? What on earth could have caused such a thing?

Car is pretty much stock except for a dual exhaust installed over a year ago and I think he replaced the spark plug wires about a year ago as well. Any thoughts?
 

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1999 3.0 SilFro
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I have seen that happen on more than one occasion. Misfires do a number on the plugs, and I would venture a guess that when the plug wires got changed, the boots didn't get a coat of dielectric grease. The resulting arcing caused the damage.

Best to replace all 6 plugs AND wires now, and coat all of the porcelain with a nice helping of dielectric tune-up grease before starting the engine.
 

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I saw that happen once in my brother's Escort - the plug had been cross-threaded when it was put in, and in an aluminum block...well, there just isn't much for the plug to hold on to. :(

Helicoil time...and be VERY careful working on that plug in the future.
 

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This is hrhcalico's Husband. When I talked to my Mechanic, Gary, He told me that it had stripped the treads and blown out the aluminum insert or at least dislodged it. Gary said he has never seen this before and he has been working on all types of cars for 20 plus years.

Could anything have dislodged the spark plug insert?

I've had to replace the wires and spark plugs twice before. Once at 40k and then again at around 68K. The wires would fry and burn the plug tips. Each time the items were replaced and diaelectric grease was applied. Luckily the 2nd time I didnt have to pay for it.

We did run across something curious. The first time when I had to replace the wires, I went for some aftermarket wires, but they would not fit the 2002. It appeared that the coil was different than the what was expected.

What was really confusing was that the factory wires fit perfectly.

I do know that the aftermarket wires could have been just plain ole wrong.

I'm at a loss, hopefully the repair won't take to long and won't cost an arm and a leg.

If anyone has run across this before, please let me know.

Thanks
 

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1999 3.0 SilFro
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Aftermarket wires are bad news. I had BAD misfires with a set of Ford Racing wires, as have many others. Your best bet is stock Motorcraft wires.
 

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For the Ford Racing wires, it's a moot point - the 2001/2002s have a different design at the coil pack, as you noticed, and the Ford Racing wires are only available for 1999/2000 models. Other aftermarket wires might have similar restrictions.

P.S. Which cylinder was the plug in?
 

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same thing happened to me a few years ago...if you changed the plugs yourself, you are screwed because the sleeve was cross threaded and it slowly worked its way out...you have to get it helicoiled...the alternative is replacing the head itself which is very expensive...if a dealership did it, they should warranty their own work...
 

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I think I may be missing something here, is the mechanic saying that the "insert" of the plug came out? Meaning the porcelain part with the electrode fell out and into the cylinder? If that is the case the stripped threads are the least of your worries. If the plug came apart while the engine was running most likely you are going to have to replace the head, piston, rod, and oil pick up tube, may as well pull all of the rod and main bearing caps while you are at it. If that came apart there is bound to be debris in the engine. Have your mechanic cut the oil filter and look for metal and porcine particles.


At least that is what is sounds like to me from the noise you described.

To add to this How? Well if the plug was dropped before installation it can weakin the structure or maybe cause a small fracture in the porcelain eventually leading to failure. Don't mean that you necessarily dropped it but somewhere from the time it was made from the time you installed it. Think about it that plug has been through many hands by the time you get it.
 
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