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Changed the spark plugs on Sunday, and [censored]??

Posted By: SirTanon

Changed the spark plugs on Sunday, and [censored]?? - 05/24/16 09:46 PM

This past weekend was a good one for my Fusion, maintenance-wise.

In addition to doing an oil and filter change on Saturday, which included PUP and a Fram Ultra, I also did a spark plug replacement on Sunday.

.. A little back-story. I bought the car at over 177,000 and it just rolled 215,000 miles this past weekend. Over the past few months, I've been noticing a slow drop in fuel economy, and also that the engine idles a bit rough sometimes, when I'm stopped at lights. I figured it was probably due for new plugs.

Ordered new Autolite Double Platinum plugs from Rock Auto about 2 weeks ago, got them in hand about a week ago, and set time aside to do them on Sunday.

.. No problems in getting to them - the 2.5 liter engine is easy to work on - but once I got in there, I could not believe what I found.

1 - The plugs looked old, like they'd been in there a LONG time.
2 - The plugs are branded FoMoCo - not Motorcraft - making me wonder if they are the factory plugs. Can you get FoMoCo plugs anywhere?
3 - I looked on the CarFax for this car, and while I found detailed service records going back to when the car had 4 miles on it, I could not find anywhere, any single mention of Spark Plugs

Some pics:







... Could these plugs actually have 215,000 miles on them??

- I checked the FoMoCo part number (ILTR5A-13G) and found that they are Laser Iridium plugs, so I suppose they COULD technically last that long, but 215,000 miles? That's unheard of.


.. One other observation:

Plugs 2 and 4 both had quite a bit of oil in the socket wells, and plug 4 was almost covered in oil up to the tip. The strange thing is, this car uses virtually no oil over a 7,500 mile OCI - I fill it to the full like when I change the oil, and I check just before I change it again, and it's still at the full line.

The only thing I can figure is that before I bought it, someone did an oil change at some point and spilled oil all over the valve cover.. and left it there, where it ultimately drained down into the plug wells. I was able to wick the oil out with some paper towel, and while it was dark, it did not smell burnt or 'used' - It still smelled almost exactly like new oil.


Anyways, discuss..
Posted By: JC1

Re: Changed the spark plugs on Sunday, and [censored]?? - 05/24/16 09:54 PM

maybe someone put oil in the plugs to free them up and never changed the plugs and forgot all about them?
Posted By: SirTanon

Re: Changed the spark plugs on Sunday, and [censored]?? - 05/24/16 09:58 PM

Originally Posted By: JC1
maybe someone put oil in the plugs to free them up and never changed the plugs and forgot all about them?


Not this much oil. I could understand maybe a couple drops, but this was at least 4 ounces pooled around plug 4. I wish I'd gotten a picture.
Posted By: Klutch9

Re: Changed the spark plugs on Sunday, and [censored]?? - 05/24/16 10:00 PM

If those are original, that's incredible. I'm about to replace the plugs in our Fusion as PM. Only 60k miles, I know, but when you can get iridium XP Autolites at $2 each with rebate, why not?
Posted By: TomYoung

Re: Changed the spark plugs on Sunday, and [censored]?? - 05/24/16 10:01 PM

The plugs were totally in there from Day 1. While they were due to be changed (Overdue) in many modern cars, the plugs come out at 100k and still look like new, so nothing to worry about.
Posted By: GumbyJarvis

Re: Changed the spark plugs on Sunday, and [censored]?? - 05/24/16 10:04 PM

I would think with FOMOCO on them, they are factory.
Weird where they put stuff in at factory that is OEM, yet isn't the on the shelf OEM part.
(My Previous Dart had a MOPAR filter that was white. I couldn't even find normal MANN? MOPAR filters on the shelf that fit it. I could find Magneti Mopar Filters though.)
I believe my Ranger had FOMOCO Plugs and Airfilter when I first got it, probably factory (Truck was a dealer parts hauler)
Posted By: Miller88

Re: Changed the spark plugs on Sunday, and [censored]?? - 05/24/16 10:14 PM

Factory plugs on my 11 Focus didn't say FoMoCo on them. Strange stuff!

I wouldn't be surprised if they are original. I know a few people with >125K on factory original iridium plugs.
Posted By: dave1251

Re: Changed the spark plugs on Sunday, and [censored]?? - 05/24/16 10:17 PM

If I was an wagering man, I would put my money down your car had factory plugs. Nice to know Ford OEM plugs can go that long, good call on changing them out.
Posted By: Oro_O

Re: Changed the spark plugs on Sunday, and [censored]?? - 05/24/16 10:26 PM

I would not ber surprised if they are original. Quality iridium plugs can go a LONG time.

The oil is because your spark plug grommets or lower press fit on your spark plug tubes are leaking. This is normal with that kind of mileage. On some vehicles the plugs can short, depends upon the boot design.
Posted By: slacktide_bitog

Re: Changed the spark plugs on Sunday, and [censored]?? - 05/24/16 11:04 PM

Yes, those are the original factory plugs, NGK iridium. And yes, NGK iridium plugs are fantastic and one of THE best you can buy. Yours are hardly the only set to make it near 200k and still look usable. ILTR5A-13G is an NGK type number.

Actually, it seems you can indeed get Motorcraft plugs that say FoMoCo on them. Part number SP530. They are reboxed NGK Iridium. The NGK part number is 3811.

It is unusual to see an OE Ford spark plug that isn't made by Autolite!

Return the Autolites and get the Motorcraft SP530 instead
A set of four for only $20

That is a bargain for NGK iridium! They can often exceed $10 EACH!
Posted By: bdcardinal

Re: Changed the spark plugs on Sunday, and [censored]?? - 05/24/16 11:31 PM

Was there a paint mark on the top of the plug? The factory ones have one, replacements do not.
Posted By: Kruse

Re: Changed the spark plugs on Sunday, and [censored]?? - 05/24/16 11:33 PM

I'm going to give another vote saying that those were original, factory plugs.
I once had a Ford Winstar come in with a check engine light that had recently come on. The van was driven by the original owners and it had 255,000 miles on it...without ever having the plugs changed. The plugs got changed, but the check engine light had come on because a vacuum hose had come off.
Posted By: i_hate_autofraud

Re: Changed the spark plugs on Sunday, and [censored]?? - 05/24/16 11:58 PM

Looking at the Pics, I see some scorching on the insulator. Years back I drove a Chysler with a slant 6, pulled the plugs and had scorch marks half way up the insulator!! Champion sent me a complentary new set of plugs but said it was "hi voltage corona burns". I know that's not the big issue in the starting post here, but I thought the plugs were leaking at the insulator! Love the free plugs!
Posted By: SirTanon

Re: Changed the spark plugs on Sunday, and [censored]?? - 05/25/16 12:00 AM

Originally Posted By: slacktide_bitog
Yes, those are the original factory plugs, NGK iridium. And yes, NGK iridium plugs are fantastic and one of THE best you can buy. Yours are hardly the only set to make it near 200k and still look usable. ILTR5A-13G is an NGK type number.

Actually, it seems you can indeed get Motorcraft plugs that say FoMoCo on them. Part number SP530. They are reboxed NGK Iridium. The NGK part number is 3811.

It is unusual to see an OE Ford spark plug that isn't made by Autolite!

Return the Autolites and get the Motorcraft SP530 instead
A set of four for only $20

That is a bargain for NGK iridium! They can often exceed $10 EACH!


Had I known what was in the car already when I bought the Autolites (or really, had I given it a little more thought), I would have bought either the Autolite Iridium, or some NGK Iridium instead of the Autolite Double Platinums..

.. having said that, the Autolite Double Plats are already in the car, and I'm not going to mess with them. They should be good until 280,000 - 300,000 miles. I'll put Iridium plugs in then.
Posted By: Rand

Re: Changed the spark plugs on Sunday, and [censored]?? - 05/25/16 12:19 AM

Originally Posted By: SirTanon
Originally Posted By: JC1
maybe someone put oil in the plugs to free them up and never changed the plugs and forgot all about them?


Not this much oil. I could understand maybe a couple drops, but this was at least 4 ounces pooled around plug 4. I wish I'd gotten a picture.


Spark plug tube seals in the valve cover?

Its common on older subarus no idea about your engine.
Posted By: Bottom_Feeder

Re: Changed the spark plugs on Sunday, and [censored]?? - 05/25/16 12:41 AM

So... how's it running now?

X2 on the valve cover tube seals needing to be replaced.
Posted By: Roadkingnc

Re: Changed the spark plugs on Sunday, and [censored]?? - 05/25/16 12:53 AM

You need to replace your valve cover gasket.
Posted By: Klutch9

Re: Changed the spark plugs on Sunday, and [censored]?? - 05/25/16 01:34 AM

Originally Posted By: Roadkingnc
You need to replace your valve cover gasket.


Yep, this. On this motor, the spark plugs for cylinders 2 and 3 are in the same rectangular valley. Cylinders 1 and 4 have their own valley.
Posted By: badtlc

Re: Changed the spark plugs on Sunday, and [censored]?? - 05/25/16 12:30 PM

The oil in the plug areas means your valve cover gasket needs replaced. It doesn't leak enough to alter the dipstick reading.

I just did this on my ford 2.3L. It is an easy job.
Posted By: supton

Re: Changed the spark plugs on Sunday, and [censored]?? - 05/25/16 12:33 PM

Does the gasket really need changing? I mean, it's had six years to seep oil. Depending upon usage, maybe that slow seep can be ignored for a long time to come (or until it's traded off)? Not sure how hard the job is on this vehicle.

Makes me wonder if next time I do plugs I should pull out my Mityvac and check for oil first. When I did plugs on my Tundra I had oil also (not quite as bad) and it blew blue for a few minutes afterwards.
Posted By: rooflessVW

Re: Changed the spark plugs on Sunday, and [censored]?? - 05/25/16 12:50 PM

It did not leak over 6 years. It most likely leaked over the last few months or so. Change the valve cover gaskets. There aren't many cars where it is a challenge.

Your Tundra needs valve cover gaskets as well.
Posted By: supton

Re: Changed the spark plugs on Sunday, and [censored]?? - 05/25/16 12:59 PM

Very likely it does. Annoying, very few miles for it to lose a gasket. I didn't look closely at how to do it but I'm guessing it's a day long / weekend long job. Wonder if I can order the gaskets and have them for the weekend, I do have all day Monday to do the job.

Wonder if my Camry will be just as bad. Toyota dependability my foot!
Posted By: badtlc

Re: Changed the spark plugs on Sunday, and [censored]?? - 05/25/16 01:32 PM

Originally Posted By: supton
Does the gasket really need changing? I mean, it's had six years to seep oil. Depending upon usage, maybe that slow seep can be ignored for a long time to come (or until it's traded off)? Not sure how hard the job is on this vehicle.

Makes me wonder if next time I do plugs I should pull out my Mityvac and check for oil first. When I did plugs on my Tundra I had oil also (not quite as bad) and it blew blue for a few minutes afterwards.


It is a $15 set of gaskets and about 30 minutes work if you don't take it super slow.

EDIT: sorry, i thought i was replying to the fusion owner. might be harder for a toyota.
Posted By: supton

Re: Changed the spark plugs on Sunday, and [censored]?? - 05/25/16 02:59 PM

Yeah, it's a V motor. I don't think access is too bad but it was still a couple hours just to do plugs. And of course, without looking, I know this-and-that will be in the way. 2 hours tops for a real mechanic, a weekend long adventure for me.
Posted By: SirTanon

Re: Changed the spark plugs on Sunday, and [censored]?? - 05/25/16 05:49 PM

Originally Posted By: Bottom_Feeder
So... how's it running now?

X2 on the valve cover tube seals needing to be replaced.


It's running GREAT now. Much smoother, more responsive, and starts quicker. It's too early to really be sure, but I also think fuel economy might be improved. I just filled the tank Monday, and I'll know the next time I fill it if I'm getting better economy.

As far as the gasket/seals go, I had considered that. The valve cover gasket for this car also includes 'inner gaskets' as shown in this pic:



I'll be checking the plugs again in about 1000 miles to see if there's any new oil in the plug wells, and if there is, I'll be buying a new valve cover gasket set.
Posted By: badtlc

Re: Changed the spark plugs on Sunday, and [censored]?? - 05/26/16 12:34 PM

Unless you know that VCG set has been replaced, it is time. You were lucky to get past 150k miles before it leaked. although, maybe it has been leaking that whole time and you weren't aware.

I just replaced mine at 140k but due to the amount of oil in there, I think the leak/seep had been going on for 15k+ miles or more. The only time I can say for sure the plugs were dry was when I replaced them at 100k miles.
Posted By: supton

Re: Changed the spark plugs on Sunday, and [censored]?? - 05/26/16 01:12 PM

Not sure if I should start a thread for this or not, but... should the VC gasket just be replaced at spark plug time then? I mean, if the engine uses 120kmile plugs, then what are the odds of the gaskets making it another 120k then?

I was going to do plugs on my Camry in a few months but it sounds like I need to plan to do the VC gasket at the same time then.
Posted By: badtlc

Re: Changed the spark plugs on Sunday, and [censored]?? - 05/26/16 02:51 PM

Originally Posted By: supton
Not sure if I should start a thread for this or not, but... should the VC gasket just be replaced at spark plug time then? I mean, if the engine uses 120kmile plugs, then what are the odds of the gaskets making it another 120k then?

I was going to do plugs on my Camry in a few months but it sounds like I need to plan to do the VC gasket at the same time then.


What are people seeing for your engine? The ford/mazda 2.3, 2.5, etc. have a very well established history of needing it by 150k miles or less. What are toyota folks seeing?
Posted By: supton

Re: Changed the spark plugs on Sunday, and [censored]?? - 05/26/16 03:06 PM

I honestly haven't been following... it's a Toyota, and I'm the typical (oblivious) Toyota owner.

I don't see many complaints about the Camry, after a quick 30 second google search. But I'd rather have the parts on-hand. It's a nice long weekend this weekend, so maybe I should toss plugs and gaskets at it this weekend, and once done, pull the known-bad ones on my Tundra.

I did see complaints about it for my Tundra, not "tons" but since I know each bank did have oil on the plugs it's a done conclusion that it needs the job done. The Camry, well, same vintage, so... shrug
Posted By: SirTanon

Re: Changed the spark plugs on Sunday, and [censored]?? - 06/04/16 09:34 PM

For anyone interested, I just went by my local dealer service department to talk about service history, etc.. I also brought one of these plugs in to ask their opinion.

2 seconds after the tech looked at it, he said "oh yeah, these are factory plugs."

So yeah, 215,000 miles on the factory Iridium plugs.
Posted By: GMFan

Re: Changed the spark plugs on Sunday, and [censored]?? - 06/04/16 10:43 PM

Originally Posted By: SirTanon
For anyone interested, I just went by my local dealer service department to talk about service history, etc.. I also brought one of these plugs in to ask their opinion.

2 seconds after the tech looked at it, he said "oh yeah, these are factory plugs."

So yeah, 215,000 miles on the factory Iridium plugs.


The factory plugs I replaced a few months ago from my 11' Mazda6 with the 2.5L looked identical to your pictures. They were stamped with FoMoCo. The replacement OEM plugs called for in the manual are Motorcrafts.
Posted By: Ducked

Re: Changed the spark plugs on Sunday, and [censored]?? - 06/05/16 12:19 AM

I'd vote for the spilled oil theory, unless the marque generic faults suggested above are verified in your case.

Pretty much all my past cars have had oily plug recesses when I got them, but they cleaned up and didn't recur until I spilled some oil or had a rocker cover gasket go.

Plugs look OK apart from a wee bit of stained porcelain.
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