ba-bf spark plug replacement

BA-BF Falcon 6 Cylinder Spark Plug Replacement

Today we are taking a look at replacing the spark plugs on BA and BF model Falcon’s equipped with the six cylinder engine.

These engines are fitted with Platinum or Iridium tipped spark plugs meaning that replacement is due only after 150,000km and equivalent replacements only should be used (there is a bunch of genuine and non-genuine BA-BF Spark Plugs and Coils available on Ebay).

The first step is to remove the upper part of the air filter housing and the air intake to the throttle body. There are four clips joining the top and bottom sections of the air filter housing.

The rest of the air intake is secured to the inlet manifold with two 10mm bolts and there is also a hose to the tappet cover that has to be taken off.

Once the bolts and the hose are removed it is simply a matter of pulling the air intake away from the throttle body and placing the complete unit out of the way. It is a good idea to stuff a clean rag into the throat of the throttle body to prevent any foreign objects entering.

The next step is to remove the top cover plate. There are eight 5mm allen key bolts securing it to the tappet cover. These bolts have a small fibre washer that often falls off when the bolts are removed.

As well as the allen key bolts you will have to temporarily remove the oil filler cap and carefully remove the PCV valve from the tappet cover. You might find it easier to remove the hose from the PCV valve first and then gently ‘rock’ the valve backwards and forwards while lifting it up to remove it.

Once we have that done we can remove the top engine cover.

At this stage it is a good idea to refit the oil filler cap and block the PCV valve hole with a clean rag. Better to be safe than sorry!

Now we have to remove the ignition coils to gain access to the spark plugs. You can move the coils out of the way enough with the wiring still connected, just be careful not to place too much pressure on the wires though.

It is a good idea to make a mental note of where the coils sit in relation to the tapper cover surface so when refitting them you know that they are all the way home.

To remove the coils we need to twist them while pulling upwards.

Lay each coil near it’s corresponding cylinder. If you have access to compressed air blow out any grit or foreign objects in the spark plug tubes. A small length of garden hose and a lung-full of air can be substituted if compressed air is not available.

Grab your 5/8 Spark Plug socket, extension bar and ratchet. When loosening the spark plugs be sure to use two hands on the ratchet to keep the extension bar and socket straight in the spark plug hole.

If any of the spark plugs are tight to a point where you struggle to undo them, STOP and have a mechanic do the job for you. You don’t want to have to remove the cylinder head just because of a broken spark plug!

If the rubber in your socket that grips the spark plug is worn out as mine is you can either use a magnetic probe to get the spark plugs out…

Or a length of suitably sized hose…

Once you have all six plugs out refitting is the reverse of these steps with attention to the following points –

    • Be sure to visually check the spark plug gap of the new plugs before fitting. They should be gapped right out of the box but they can get dropped etc etc. Use your socket, magnetic probe or piece of hose to lower the new plugs into position.
    • A smear of engine oil or an anti-seize compound on the threads of the new plugs will ensure that they are easily removed next time.
    • Be sure to check that the coils are seated correctly on the spark plugs and have all gone down to their original sitting position.
    • Be sure to remove any pieces of rag you have used to cover the throttle body etc!
  • Fitting the air intake to the throttle body can be a bit troublesome and may require a bit of twisting and turning of the air intake before you get it seated all the way around the throttle body housing. Persistence is the key here!

46 thoughts on “BA-BF Falcon 6 Cylinder Spark Plug Replacement

  1. Hi Craig,
    all seemed ok till i could not get the socket and extension shaft into the rear spark plug tube. it would not fit between the bonnet and tube. any ideas


  2. Craig,

    As a printer I’m a shithouse mechanic so your article is helpful as. You probabaly saved me a stack of money.


  3. Hi Craig,

    Glad to hear that Jim’s comment cracked you up, but it doesn’t help me to get at the rearmost spark plug. I have a 150 mm extension on the spark plug socket spanner which is just right to reach five of the spark plugs, but the car body overhangs the rearmost plug hole.
    So how did you do it? Please don’t tell me to remove the head first. It seems to me that you need a torsion bar with a universal joint in the middle. I’m going to Autobarn right now and see whether they have one, but I suspect Ford have made a special tool for the job.

    Regards – Emil

  4. Hi Craig and Peter,

    I did go to Autobarn and the solution is simple beyond belief, but it will bring tears to your eyes. As I suspected, there is a special purpose tool consisting of a long T-bar handle with a 16 mm socket at the end that is 125 mm long with a swivel at the handle end. And the cost? $115 (I warned you).

    All this cost and bother just to chcange one spark plug! Now, why couldn’t they obstruct all 6 spark plugs in a similar way? Then I would be happy to pay the $115, in fact it would be a bargain at $19.17 per plug.

    The spark plug cover also has a screw at the back that is even more inaccessible, but don’t get me started on that!

    Regards – Emil

  5. Hi Emil,
    They certainly don’t make em like they used to do they! From memory, and not a good memory at that, I think we use two small extensions and drop the spark plug socket down first and then fit the extensions and ratchet.

    I can see how the tool you bought would be a simpler solution – albeit a very expensive one.

    Take care,

  6. Hi Ben,
    The tune-up manual we have here lists the spark plug gap for a 2002 BA 4.0 as 1.4mm. If it’s running the factory lpg setup or turbo the gap should be reduced to 1.1mm.


  7. Hi, is gap for 2004 petrol BA same as 2002? I assume that it would be but you know the trouble with assumptions!
    I got a tool from auto one that is the same as the one listed above for under $20……..I will let you know how good it is but on visual inspection seems ok.


  8. Hi Tony,
    Yeah, assumptions are dangerous things aren’t they! However, from my tune-up manual it looks like all BA’s regardless of year model run a 1.4mm spark plug gap. Unless it’s running lpg which runs a slightly smaller gap at 1.1mm.

    Hope that helps!


  9. Hi Craig,

    Great guide, had a first timer like me knock this over in less than an hour.

    For anyone who has trouble with the plug closest to the firewall, I used two extensions, one 75mm and one a touch shorter, with a little play it worked fine.


  10. Anyone that can help? I trying to pull out the two wired clips at the front of the engine, the two that sit closet to the front of the vehicle and have a spark plug cable in between them. I have broken the two clips, now although they can be still connected, it is not secure.

    Can anyone help me if finding a replacement? I do not know what they are called (part number?) or what are they for?

    Your help is appreciated.


  11. The plugs are for the cam angle solenoids and like you, I cracked the clips. I found this page by searching for replacements…………….still searching.

  12. Thanks for this, i did it in a good amount of time, the last plug i got to easy with splug socket and then reducer to 1/2 to 3/8 hald lenght extention and swivel… people dont buy new go to the op shops they get in tools… thanks for this article as bought this car and they stuffed me around till the warranty period was over and wont fix it…

  13. Thanks for the clear instructions, this was a relatively easy job .. For the spark plug closest to the firewall, I used two shorter extension bars, was no where near the amount of pain I thought it was going to be!
    A little tip for anyone using a new spark plug socket …. Take the little rubber grommet thing out and lightly dab it with some oil or lubricant .. I figured this out when the rubber grommet was too grippy on the spark plug (which kept the socket attached to the new spark plug)

  14. Thanks for the clear photo instructions, was able to complete the job in my lunch break after reading this, I also changed the ignition coils & plugs as car was running bad missing and flat spotting. With the rear plug my solution was to use some tape atached around the spark plug socket then droping it down the hole, this then allows you to drop in the extension as it would not go in together because of the angle. once unscrewed remove the shaft from socket and use tape to pull out socket from hole. install new plug the same way in reverse.

  15. All went as expected, old plugs were definitely tight so take care, 2 x 75mm extension sockets plus the 5/8 spark plug socket itself worked a treat for the rear plug under windscreen. Took me more than half an hour like others, allow an hour at least. Cheers for the instruction.

  16. Hi all,had my ba ute in for a service recently as it started running rough during idle.After a service it’s still rough and I returned it to the repair shop to be told its the catalytic converter:/ once again picked it up and what do you know still rough.Ive noticed the revs are down on idle and a slight touch of the throttle takes some of the roughness out.During the service the plugs hadn’t been done so I’m suspecting thats the culprit after 220 000 ks,any suggestions?thanks in advance.

  17. Hi Lee,
    My 2006 BF Ford (using LPG only) began to run roughly intermittently after about 95000 km. This always happened immediately after I started the engine and the only way to stop the vibration was to switch the engine off and restart it, sometimes it required several restarts before it would run smoothly. It seems that when the car computer wakes up in a bad mood, it decides to stop firing certain cylinders. Revving the engine only increases the frequency of the vibration. So I decided to change the spark plugs – and here, I would like to thank Craig Wilson for starting this thread which I found very helpful.
    Anyway, this fixed the problem instantly much to my delight, but here is the twist in the tale; about 18 months later, the problem returned, however, it happened only twice so far and needed only one restart to come good. This does not worry me much around Melbourne, but it might on the Birdsville Track. If you are running on the original plugs for 220,000 km then you have done very well.

  18. Took tappet cover off and then coils but found oil sitting around them, is this normal or do we have a problem? I’m use to just pulling plugs out of the side of the head, not the top, by the way a hole lot easier, but then not the same performance. I’m just an oldie I guess.

  19. done it finally, plugs and coils, easy enough, back plug went easier than I thought it would, also broke the little clip on one of the cam solinoids, dabbed a little gap filler on it, that should hold it ;).

    thanks for the guide, very helpful.

  20. All good. Thank you for the guidance and reading these comments and suggestions made mine relatively painless. My el cheapo Mechtric small socket set had the right length extension bar with the 5/8 plug socket and on the back plug I just dropped the socket in and then manoeuvred the extension bar under the rear lip of the bonnet and it fitted perfectly. After 151,000 km it is running sweet again. The old Ford plugs had rust marks around the ceramic connection at the base. Getting the back screw out of the cover plate was a bit tiresome but I used a short alum key and persevered. Thanks again.

  21. Thanks for the clear instructions. I was told the coils needed to be replaced after my engine started running very rough (2003 BA dedicated gas, 140k and spark plugs replaced 20k ago) so I picked up 6 new coils on eBay and installed them in about an hour taking my time as I’m a real novice at this. Now the car is running very smooth so happy saving myself a couple of hundred from what I was quoted. Tossing a fiver in your PayPal for that! Cheers.

  22. Can anyone pls tell me if I can tell if coils are stuffed or I do have to have them tested by ford? My BA is spluttering. Think its missing and going to do the plugs first and then go from there. Cheers

  23. My personal practice is to clean around the plugs prior to loosening with the vacuum cleaner. most nozzles are small enough.

  24. Just changed the spark plug up the back, I found the easiest way to get to it was with 2 small extension bars, put one in connected to spark plug socket drop the other one in on top and she’s all good just pull it out the same way

  25. Hi, im just wondering if the Ford ba use spark plug leads that go down to a distributor? Thanks

  26. I’ve been told that my BA needs new coils. Are the ones on e Bay worthwhile? I’ve been quoted $70 x 6 = $420 plus labour at my usual garage.

  27. Hi there, and thank you for a great set of instructions.

    Just tried to do mine, or at least have a good look at it….a practice run as my 2006 BF XR6 has just started missing at idle and underload. Followed the instructions in your video and as i removed spark plug 2, noticed a high degree of “rust” type corrosion around the channel into which the plug goes. Removed plug and yep….looks like corrosion from water damage. Same thing on No3 cylinder. 1, 4 and 5 were all fine (didn’t bother with 6 and don’t have the right tools.

    My question is….are these things known to be an issue, or is it just my hard luck. Suspect a cracked head or blown gasket. vehicle is never thrashed and done 190k….mostly open road.

    Any help muchly appreciated.

  28. The Cam solenoid wiring plugs (plastic) go hard & brittle & the retaining clips break off. This causes the car to run sick when it gets HOT because once the motor warms up the plugs become loose as crap & jiggle around.
    Now you have to get replacements from a wrecker because Ford don’t stock them in their Spare Farts.
    But if you need a quick patch up to get you out of trouble you can get the broken clip piece that just snapped off (the retainer part) & hold it in place on the wiring plug wit a Zip-tie.

    This stops them from coming loose. Actually one of mine has had this fix applied now for about 6 years. Have to get out the soldering iron & replace the wiring plug completely one of these days.

    But if these wiring plugs are in any way the slightest bit loose the car will run like a pig at idle especially when its hot.

    Take off the plastic rocker cover and wiggle the wiring harness that goes to the cam sensors while it is running sick & if you are lucky the car will instantly run good again & you will know where the problem lies.

  29. Hey guys I just replaced my spark plugs with Genuine Ford Spark Plugs and now my car takes longer to start.
    Instead of “er er vroom” it’s “er er er er er vroom”.
    Is it normal? Do they take a while to “burn in”?

  30. Cheers bro thanks for the clear instructions I replaced the spark plugs including the coils on my sister’s BA Falcon today very easy I must say with a little bit of patience and some care I did the job comfortably in 2hrs that included an engine clean at the end. Oh I forgot to mention I attended Repco and purchased a $24 elbow to fit the socket so I could access the last plug near the firewall but I allowed for this.
    So again thank you

  31. Ford suck. I replaced the coil packs at 150,000km because the vehicle would occasionally die on me or drop a cylinder when coming to a normal halt. I got a set of genuine coil packs back then. Well, at 185000km, it started again and I figured it’s probably still the original plugs.

    But I remembered how much of a bastard it was to get the coil packs out the last time, so I decided to get a set of NGK coil packs with NGK plugs in the event that I destroyed any of them in the process or otherwise had to butcher the rubber boots out. That rear plug though was the reason why I say Ford suck – absolutely no thought into the serviceability when the engineer designed it. Morons. That’s the trade-off when you just need a battleaxe wagon, I suppose. Anyway, to deal with the rear plug, I have a 150mm extension and a 1/2″ ratchet, so it was just a matter of dropping the socket in there (with the plug attached to it), then the extension bar (and hand threaded it in) and then tighten it up with the 1/2″ ratchet until it nipped with 1/8th turn extra, like any other spark plug install.

    And yes, the anti-seize is very important. I always use a little nickel grease for the job. Good for the earthing and definitely goes a long way. Those other spark plugs were squealing their way out, especially the one whose entire nut collar was a bright rusty colour. Looks like I’ve got a cracked head for it to be like that. Bloody Ford!!!

  32. This was the best information ? have seen for any ford vehicle. I sow it while looking for information on ford territory sy 2006 ghia how to install bonnet cable without any luck, expecially how to route cable behind the fuse box as there are so many opticals. I am sure all ford owners are thankful for information like the one on spark plugs.

  33. Wayne & Lukeyo – looks like you have the same oil problem I have. I’m assuming a new coil cover gasket will fix it. The engine is running rough, so I’m assuming it’s oil getting in the way of the spark. Planning to remove the coils & spark plugs, let the oil drain into the engine (I know it’ll blow a bit of smoke when I start it up again), then put it all back together clean with a new set of gaskets.
    Can anyone see any issues with this?
    Would someone like to comment?
    Cheers! Peter

  34. Hi guy i got no idea about car ..i own f6 6speed auto turbo tornado..lately vibration throug the ute also the gear running drives well it just sitting at traffice light it feels like engine gona stall on me..i took to performance they told me needs new gear but car runs smooth just at traffic lights or just stop and on gear. Plsssss some help me out here thanks regards freda.

  35. i am about to change the spark and coils on my ba 2004 ford.what are the best brands to buy on e.bay.ALL different prices so would about $85 be enough to pay.Thank you.

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