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Old 09-27-2013, 12:04   #1 (permalink)
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Spark plug diagnosis

Our 2004 285,000 mile 3.9 Windstar came in running rough. Code for #4 misfire was stored so I pulled the plug. Ugh: broken insulator. Pulled #5 and it was actually worse. Pulled #6 and it looked good. Picture follows.

So can you spark experts help out a Diesel head? What is going on? I have looked at charts on reading spark plugs and it points to - most likely - running lean. I think I replaced the intake manifold seals on this one a few years ago, but if I had a leak on the runners to just these two cylinders, would that cause it to run lean on just those two?

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Old 09-27-2013, 15:55   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Spark plug diagnosis

Yikes!! The buildup is typical to a point. How long have they been in the van? May be due to the miles. Burning a little oil


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Old 09-27-2013, 16:37   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Spark plug diagnosis

Had similar when pre igniting due to timing being out .
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Old 09-27-2013, 16:48   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Spark plug diagnosis

I changed plugs and wires and the coil pack was changed out 12.5 months ago.

I then checked cylinder contribution and random cylinders would spike randomly. Sometimes they would spike to -1XX, but mostly it would be in the -30 to -50 range. So I guess I will go searching the forum to see if I find anything.

Fuel rail pressure is 35-43 at all loads/speeds. I am thinking that it needs injectors or a heavy injector cleaning. Maybe even SeaFoam?
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Old 09-27-2013, 16:52   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Spark plug diagnosis

The build-up is really hard and I believe that it is melted insulator rather than carbon. I pulled all of the plugs and those two were the only ones damaged. If it were timing, wouldn't we see something on all of the plugs?

My thinking on injectors is that since only two were affected, it is something unique to those two cylinders and the only other thing would be injectors.

Please tell if if you think I am wrong. I would rather not spend the bucks on injectors if I don't need to.

BTW, plugs had something like 30-50 K miles on them.
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Old 09-27-2013, 17:05   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Spark plug diagnosis

Wont cost you to check timing and it eliminates that .
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Old 09-27-2013, 17:34   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Spark plug diagnosis

Possibly a lean condition. Read item #5 Spark Plug Analysis - Technical Information - NGK Spark Plugs Australia
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Old 09-27-2013, 18:03   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Spark plug diagnosis

Yes, probably a lean condition. $300 for six injectors from NAPA. $14 for two cans of Luqi Moly Jection cleaner.

I know what my contribution numbers are right now, so I'll run one through, then at the next LOF, I'll check contribution and decide if I want to run the other one through or get new injectors or what.
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Old 10-07-2013, 11:52   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Spark plug diagnosis

Well, they didn't make it to the next LOF. Just a few hundred miles and it was missing again. I pulled all of the plugs and checked compression and it was fine so I ordered two new injectors and intake plenum gaskets.

In the picture, you can see how dark it was burning on the one side. The tip of the electrode is actually bent that direction from the excess heat. This is #4 and #5 looked almost the same without the bent electrode. All of the others looked perfect. The only other thing I noticed wrong in there was the clip for the intake runner link on that side was broken so the runner wasn't working. Could this have caused two of three to burn this way? I know that I have changed the clips on the other side as well but we didn't have this problem.
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Old 03-06-2014, 18:53   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Spark plug diagnosis

It's back. 13,000 miles and #4 and #5 are fouling again and it's not electrodes melting.

My guess is that since it is cylinder specific, I have stem seals going TU on these two cylinders. The good part is that it's easy enough to do on these two. The bad part is that we have all hands on deck right now and I can't see any downtime that won't entail me working on this on the weekend. Oh well, that's what they pay me minimum wage for.

Do these engines even have replaceable stem seals? I am just guessing and if they don't, that means the guides are wacked. I guess all gassers have to have stem seals since they SUCK so much. :)

Anyway, has anyone tackled this on a 3.3? How was it? What do I need, just stem seals and a valve cover gasket?

Oh yeah... and a PCV heater since somedog that I won't mention broke this one.
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