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

May 20, 2013
Many Ford 3-valve engines share a common characteristic, often frustrating technicians – a tendency for spark plugs to break off in the engine upon removal.

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.

About the Author

Rob Kochie | Product Manager with Bosch Automotive Service Solutions

Rob Kochie is a Product Manager with Bosch Automotive Service Solutions’ OTC brand. Kochie has been with OTC for more than 21 years, focusing on automotive aftermarket service tools ranging from electronics to most recently, special tools. Kochie is also a custom bike builder and metal fabricator, owner of Velocity Performance Design, LLC. He is based in Owatonna, Minnesota.

About the Author

Denny Hanson | Senior Product Specialist with Bosch Automotive Service Solutions

Dennis "Denny" Hanson is Senior Product Specialist with Bosch Automotive Service Solutions’ OTC brand. Hanson, an ASE certified Master Automobile Technician, Master certified Medium/Heavy Truck Technician, L1 Advanced Level Specialist, and Undercar Specialist, has been with OTC for 25 years. His focus is on automotive and heavy duty aftermarket service tools and is based in Owatonna, MN. Hanson is also the owner of DJM Repair, a 3-bay shop where he spends nights and weekends working on everything from cars, truck and tractors to ATVs and snowmobiles.

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