Friday, November 21, 2008

The SUV and Ignition Coils

We bought a new Ford Expedition in 2003 and have enjoyed owning it for the most part. A year or two ago, the 'check engine light' came on. We took it to the dealer to get it checked out since it was under warranty.

It turned out one of the ignition coils was bad and that our warranty wouldn't cover it. I think it was around $90 for the diagnostic (it's more detailed than what Auto Zone does for free) and about $150 to have them replace the ignition coil.

One of my brother in laws bought the same Expedition and had told me about the ignition coil problem. They last about 50-60,000 miles. So I was at least aware of this nice feature in the Expeditions.

When I checked the local auto stores for the price of these coils, they ran around $50 a piece (8 cylinders times $50 = ouch!) I then went on the web looking for them and found a place that would sell me an 8 pack for about $10 a piece. I ordered them, assuming they wouldn't be as good as the $50 ones.

I now go to Auto Zone to have them run the diagnostic for free.

I just replaced the #6 cylinders' ignition coil for the 3rd time. I decided to replace the spark plug too in the hopes that it was causing the coil to fail. I guess I'll have to wait and see.

Replacing the ignition coil is a pain since there is a 7mm 1.5 inch bolt that holds it to the engine. I can't get a regular 1/4 inch drive socket and ratchet on the darn thing. The whole socket and ratchet are too tall to fit under all the crap above it. So I devised a solution, I use the socket, a short 1/4 socket driver that has a 1/4 inch hex head on the other end. I then use the 1/4 ratcheting box wrench to turn it. I don't I described it too well but it works.

Replacing the spark plug was pretty easy except for having to go get a spark plug gap tool - I couldn't find any of the ones I own. Getting the socket off the new plug after installing it was a headache. I spent about 5 or 10 minutes pulling on the darn thing with needle nose pliers. The spark plugs are about 6 inches down a little hole in the block.

Overall, this experience was not nearly as bad as the ride home the day before.

Now I get to work on the motorcycle and see if I can get it to charge the battery. I really don't wanna spend a bunch of money replacing the stator etc....

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