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Spark plug recommendations

professor229

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Good morning.... spark plug recommendations and/or spark plugs to avoid... please advise....

Here's what happened yesterday. Took the Ranger to my appointment at one of the metro's Ford dealerships. Nice people as you would expect. The purpose? To have the airbags inspected because of the recall. Got there, rode my bike home because they were running behind, and got a call from the service department manager. Currently inspecting both airbags but the technician noticed the miles on the odometer... she said (and it was written on the work order) that it was 101,000 miles when in reality it was 106,000 miles. The "tech" recommended a radiator flush and new spark plugs. I "declined" as the final paper print out said. Told her I was a mechanic (I am) and that ended the phone conversation about a flush and plugs. Got to thinking though that perhaps the suggestion was not a bad idea, so I watched a video to see how plugs are changed on a 3.0 liter Ford motor (ever try to change plugs on an HHR?) and there was no mystery to changing the plugs; pretty standard. Watched a "flush" video too and I am still debating that one. Then went to Rock Auto to see the options on spark plugs and again, was overwhelmed at the choices of good, better, best, and extremely the best. So, any advice would be appreciated. Right now, I do plan to keep the Ranger for at least one more year.

And a PS.... The video showed the guy putting a slight dab of anti-seize on a couple spots on the new spark plug threads.... not a lot... just a dab as he called it. Yes? or No?

PPS.... Got the print out for my records and it said the air bags were inspected and were acceptable as is.... this Ranger had been in an accident several years ago before I owned it (bought it from my neighbor) and the airbags deployed so new ones were installed at that time and apparently were the newer ones??? I even questioned whether or not it had airbags because of the "salvage" title.... Thanks for any advice/help on the plugs..... and if you have minute, the number on the Champion box? was 401.... is that correct?
 


Uncle Gump

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I only use Motorcraft or Autolites in my Ford vehicles.

I've also never put antiseize on spark plugs.
 

ericbphoto

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I try to stick to motor craft. There are bunches of spark plug threads in the TRS forums and the general consensus seems to be stuck with Motorcraft. No fancy designs. Just OEM spec. These engines, not just the 3.0l, seem to be picky about plugs.
 

19Walt93

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Motorcraft only and just a little never seize on aluminum head engines. Autolite isn't the same as Motorcraft, Ford sold the name. Some people would stretch their plugs to 130,000 or 140,000 but I wouldn't, old plugs have higher resistance and that kills coils. I wouldn't change the plugs on an HHR, I have a For Sale sign that has worked well in the past.
I drain my coolant-including pulling the block drain- and refill with fresh stuff mixed with distilled water every few years. If I bought something with rusty looking coolant I'd flush it but getting rid of coolant isn't as easy as it used to be.
 

ekrampitzjr

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I'll be contrary. Antiseize is (usually) your friend, and a very small amount on spark plug threads will help when it's time to change them again. You need the nickel-based or copper-based type of antiseize.

I'll be contrary again, and say that I switched to Denso platinum-iridium plugs on my 2011 with the 4.0 SOHC. The plugs were due to be changed because the truck had just over 100K miles when I bought it. Had to get a mechanic buddy to remove the original Motorcraft plugs because they were too difficult with the tools I had available. The truck runs like a champ on the Densos.

By the way, after just over 100K miles the original Motorcraft plugs were well out of spec. Most had worn to a gap of above 0.070", and the spec is about 0.052" IIRC.

The Motorcraft plugs have a black oxide-type of finish on the threads. In my experience with plugs in vehicles over the years, that makes them more prone to be difficult to remove if antiseize isn't used. The Denso replacements have polished threads.
 

ekrampitzjr

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Autolite was Ford's product in the 1960s. At auto swap meets I've seen a few old boxes with "Ford Autolite" on them. The irony is that I think Autolite makes some of the Motorcraft plugs today, as I've compared examples side by side and they were identical except for the name.
 

19Walt93

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You would have been happy with the way new Motorcrfts ran, too. I started at the dealer on 10/27/75 and have never broken a Motorcraft plug trying to remove it, even on high mileage plow trucks that were coated in road salt 6 months of the year. My techs very, very rarely broke plugs on the 3 valve 5.4's that were supposed to be prone to breakage, either.
Have you heard the expression "If it don't go chrome it"?
 

19Walt93

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My credo
If you don't have time to do it right will you have time to do it over?
Autolite was Ford's product in the 1960s. At auto swap meets I've seen a few old boxes with "Ford Autolite" on them. The irony is that I think Autolite makes some of the Motorcraft plugs today, as I've compared examples side by side and they were identical except for the name.
Ford sold the Autolite name years ago.
 

pjtoledo

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motorcraft or autolite, I use antiseize.
a flush isn't a real flush unless the small plugs are removed at the bottom of the block.
 

Shran

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I put copper antiseize on plug threads every time. Not really a big deal with iron heads but not using antiseize with aluminum heads is a recipe for disaster.

Usually I use Autolite or Motorcraft platinums or DP, I never put Iridium plugs in anything. Platinums last long enough. Copper plugs have no place in a modern vehicle.
 

professor229

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Motorcraft only and just a little never seize on aluminum head engines. Autolite isn't the same as Motorcraft, Ford sold the name. Some people would stretch their plugs to 130,000 or 140,000 but I wouldn't, old plugs have higher resistance and that kills coils. I wouldn't change the plugs on an HHR, I have a For Sale sign that has worked well in the past.
I drain my coolant-including pulling the block drain- and refill with fresh stuff mixed with distilled water every few years. If I bought something with rusty looking coolant I'd flush it but getting rid of coolant isn't as easy as it used to be.

It has been a few years now buy my HHR reached 100,000 so it was time to change the plugs..... researched it, and it didn't look too bad although the coil packs located on each plug was a little intimidating... and I decided to install some expensive iridium plugs.... the first three coil packs/plugs argued slightly but got them done.... murphy's law.. the fourth one argued and had to persuade the plug to come loose with a little language..... got it done. We were amazed at the gas mileage improvement... it was amazing... Have 174,000 on the HHR... think the tranny will give out before the motor... still looks very respectable to this day.... it owes us nothing....
 

professor229

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Thanks for all the help... Think I will look for some Motorcraft... hard to believe but I have never used Motorcraft plugs... but then again, I worked for Chevrolet so most of that was AC Delco.. and later we used a lot of Champion.... thanks again.
 

professor229

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So... about the only thing I hate worse than online spark plug application guides are "parts lookup" applications at the local parts stores' websites. "That won't fit" when I think it will so I guess I better eat some humble pie here and ask to be sure. The listing for Motorcraft platinum spark plugs for a 2004 Ford Ranger 3.0 liter naturally aspirated at Rock Auto says..... SP500.... Is that what I am looking for?
 

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