Ask the Expert: How do I remove spark plugs from Ford engines without breaking them?

Q: How do I remove spark plugs from Ford 3V engines without breaking them?

A: Ford’s three-valve engines, found in many Mustangs, Explorers, Expeditions, F-series pickups and the Lincoln Navigator, have proven themselves through the years as reliable and powerful. They also share another common characteristic, often frustrating technicians – a tendency for spark plugs to break off in the engine upon removal. 

The two-piece plug design separates the electrode portion of the plug, which can become locked in the cylinder head via carbon build-up, and the exterior hex head, used to remove and install plugs. Using a standard socket many times will only loosen the hex portion, leaving a broken spark plug stuck in the engine, and a frustrating problem for technicians.

OTC’s Ford Spark Plug Removal Kit, No. 6918, is specially designed to not only lock on the protruding hex head, but utilizes a collet assembly that locks onto the top of the spark plug, allowing the plug to be loosened with a standard 3/8" drive ratchet. For the technician staring down a broken plug, OTC includes an optional adapter that can be used if the hex head has already been removed.