2007 Crown Victoria Repair: Blown out Plug!
It seems that my car has a mind of its own. The day after I had posted the last post about the intake manifold repair, the car decided to blow out the number 8 spark plug on my way home from work. If it had been number 4, it might of made more sense, but no, it was number 8. Some people commented that maybe my car had heard me talking about buying a truck, and it got jealous. That is also possible. But guess what, I don't bow down to jealousy, so I ended up buying a truck anyhow.
In any case, I had a stripped spark plug hole to fix in my number 8 cylinder head. At first I was thinking, awww shit, maybe I need to do a tear down and replace the head. I searched YouTube and found the following video which did ease my mind a tad.
I ended up ordering the suggested kit from Amazon. I was hoping it would get here within a couple days, but it had taken almost a full week to arrive. So that was frustrating.
Meanwhile, with my car off the road, I decided to try to fix my cylinder 4 misfire issue. I also figured it would be a good idea to do a full 'tune up' and replaced all the spark plugs. I torqued them all down to about 15ft/lbs with a fine coating of Anti-Seize Compound on the threads, being careful not to put too much on. That went fairly smoothly. I removed the fuel rail (NOTE: When you remove the fuel rail you have to run the fuel system's pressure down first. How to do that? On the Crown Vic, you just remove the plug for the fuel system safety stop, which is located in the trunk on the left side - while the car is running, and let it run until it stalls.) as well, and removed the old fuel injectors. I had purchased 'reconditioned' fuel injectors for about $40 for the set of 8. Yeah, probably not as good as new ones, but if they work, I am not going to complain. One of my theories about cylinder #4's misfire, was that it was a faulty, or clogged fuel injector. I put the 'new' injectors in, and put the fuel rail back on. The seals on the injectors take a lot of force to seat properly, it seems, and I ended up carefully using my air hammer on the fuel rail to tap it down onto the injectors. I mostly used the air hammer on the screw tabs of the fuel rail, but I did need to tap in the middle on the actual rail a few times to get every injector fully seated. The injector repair seemed to fix the cylinder #4 misfire.
As for the cylinder #8 issue, that ended up being a really nerve wrecking experience. The kit does look very nice. However I had some issues with it. One of the biggest issues was that the guide that you are supposed to slide down into the spark plug hole to help guide the drill bit and tap, didn't fit in to the hole. Part of the plastic intake manifold seemed to be overhanging the hole just enough to cause it to not fit in. I am not sure if this was a defect on the intake manifold, or just the way that it is on cylinder #8 since it is towards the rear of the engine. Also, the air tester, that you use to test if the cylinder is closed or not, didn't work for me. The air hose adapter that was on it, seemed a tad too short, and wouldn't snap into either of my air hoses fully. I have never had this problem with any male air compression fittings before, but the one that was on this device did seem to be about 1/32's or maybe even 1/16 of an inch too short when comparing it to my other male fittings. In any case, I don't think it mattered as I took alternative precautions to ensure that metal shavings didn't corrupt the cylinder.
I ended up using Whipped Cream, in the cylinder. I attached a rubber vacuum line to a whipped cream can and filled the cylinder with whipped cream. This was suggested to me by a few people who I would consider very experienced mechanics. Because the guide wouldn't fit into the hole, I ended up having to drill and tap this all free handed. The kit suggests using an air ratchet, and that is what I did. I used electrical tape to wrap a which layer around the drill, maybe a good 1/16th of an inch thick, to try to prevent it from falling into the cylinder. I also then taped the bit to my socket, and the socket to the extension I was using. I dipped the bit in red 'tacky' grease before drilling. I figured that should catch most of the metal shavings. The drilling was very nerve-wracking. My air ratchet is fairly smooth, but the drill bit still seemed to wobble a bit. I drilled down quite a ways, but in hindsight, I don't think I drilled completely through. I was so worried about the drill falling in, that I was hesitant to really push through. I was also worried about the wobbling, and eating away too much at the hole.
I used similar precautions when it came to tapping the hole. Electrical tape was holding the tap onto the socket and such. I also used more red tacky grease. The tapping seemed to do smooth, but then it came to an abrupt stop. I wasn't worried too much because it did seem to tap a fair amount into the bore hole, so... I think I ended up being fairly close to the actual cylinder when I had stopped drilling. I then used a vacuum with a vacuum line taped onto the end of it, to try to suck out all the whipped cream in the cylinder head. Using a combination of shop air and engine cleaner, I cleaned out the spark plug hole. I then proceeded to insert the spark plug into the insert, with some Anti-Seize Compound on the threads. I then applied a thin, but continious bead of Loc-Tite 266 around the 2nd or 3rd thread of the insert. Using a regular spark plug socket, I then began to screw in the insert, and the plug together into the new threads I made. I did this by hand as much as I could, then used the torque wrench when it neared the end and began to tighten. I torqued down to 15 ft/lbs like all the other plugs, and left it at that.
The engine started up, rough at first because of the fuel rail having been drained. The exhaust was very smokey for a while as the engine cleared up and began to smooth out. I imagine that was mostly from the whipped cream burning off. In any case, things seem to be holding together, and running smooth now. I have no misfire codes, which is always good. So we shall see how she holds up. I kinda surprised myself a bit, as I thought I was done for when I knew I had to free hand it.