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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello..
As you can see I am new to the forum AND I am new to owning a Ford. 50 y/o collector of cars, own mostly Corvette, Fbod's.. Recently purchased a higher mileage 02 Lightning ( 160K hwy mi).

I'll be as brief, and to the point as I can.
Purchased my 02 Lightning 1 month ago from a 70 y/o gentleman who owned 2.. this one, and an 04... He purchased the 02 back in 2005 2 40K mi on it (reflected on the title) He "said" this truck was his daily commuter. the only mods were a K&N CAI, magnaflow muffler, Diablo tune. (Diablo came w truck). N other mods done, claimed he just had new plugs installed HOWEVER, I noticed a slight miss @ idle and cold start up.. I asked him about it he said it "may" "could" be a coil pack... Not knowing these trucks I took his word. Again, he's 70 and seems knowledgeable and the Carfax checked out. Drove the truck for a week.. Ran and drove great ( other than the miss) 325 mi out of a tank of fuel, 50-60 psi oil pressure, no leaks, noises, etc... 190deg coolant temps always. Purchased a new coil pack from Ford ($85):shocked003 Truck threw a code showing #3 cylinder misfire, something about a "cold cranking idel misfire" or something to the sort. The coilpack did not fix the issue. So I take it to the shop that does ALL of the work to my Z06, Fbods'... have been going to them for YEARS! They also do Fords, Mustangs, GT500's,Cobra's, etc..... Hell the owner races a Foxbod in the National circuit. I trust them... So I took the Lightning to them, they did a compression test on the cylinder #3 and found that it was 60psi... all the others were like 150ish... Easy right? Well, not so much......

Once they remove the head (passenger) they can tell by the gasket that it has been removed before, also 2 of the other spark plug holes are tapped.. Or has an insert... whatever is most common. They send the head of to do a valve job on #3... The machinist claims that the valves are not sealing. so he does a valve job on the entire head.. The shop gets the head back and reinstalls, start it up and it idles WORSE!! As in BAD... They think that they guy did not adjust the valves for the machine work...? Then they claim perhaps it is the lifters sticking.... See where I am going? 3 weeks later they still have my truck and are trying to figure it out.....?? both they and I are VERY frustrated!!! while the truck was tore down I purchased a 4lb lower for them to install.. along with some TR6 plugs... when I inquired as to what they would gap them to the guy said .22??? Even I know that is NOT what is suggested for mildly modded Lightnings... I was thinking .32-.36:smt102

Went up there today and they were still trying to get hold of the machinist. I am led to believe that he doesn't know WTF he's doing because these guys do really well on my other cars....

The truck does have high mileage but it ran VERY good before all of this other than the 1 cyl being down. Please educate me and offer me some advise from your experiences. Thanks in advance....
 

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You said they did a compression test and they said it was a valve issue? Did they also do a leak down test on the cylinder? Certs are normal for these trucks but did they mention if there were signs of detonation?
 

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No offense to this shop. But this is the perfect example of why u should have someone with experience with these trucks work on them. And it sounds like the machinist is horrible. 60 psi in one hole is no good
 

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You said they did a compression test and they said it was a valve issue? Did they also do a leak down test on the cylinder? Certs are normal for these trucks but did they mention if there were signs of detonation?

I was going to say that as well when I had 60 in one hold hehahahah get it . No seriously it was a hurt piston. We put a camera down there and saw the damage
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
They did a leak down on THAT cylinder #3.... They guaranteed me that is was not "rings" and that it was in fact "sticky" valves... That is the ONLY reason that I allowed them to remove the head to fix it.... Had they said piston, ring issue I would have chose to drive it as is til I could build me a "built shortblock.

Yesterday... (not running) compression was 100psi on drivers side and 80psi on passenger side...? That is why they "wanted to replace lifters".. They placed one of my old lifters in a vice and showed me how hard it was to compress vs the new one which was fairly simple... Am I making sense? I am trying to recall all that they said... For the record I am NOT a mechanic and my wrenching skills are limited. They did say that the plug in the #3 cylinder was lower than the other and "barely" touch the top of the piston but not enough to damage... Getting all of this info second hand.....
What questions should I pose....? What should I be looking for.... When they told me today that they are still trying to figure it out, I just WALKED OUT..... I was not thrilled...
Thank you for the timely response....
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I don't really have a lot of good choices here in Dallas..... I would prefer they just tell me that they cannot figure it out instead of throwing parts at it.... What started as a "sticky" valve ( not opening,closing) has turned into this debacle....
 

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Even Then I Was Old Skool!
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Stay away from universal/generic shops. These mod motors are weird to start with, and on top of that the blower just puts an uncanny load on everything bc of the torque. Factor in the weight of the truck and you begin to appreciate what the successful racers have gone through to get there. Building the motors is a science. Go to a good shop that has worked on Lightnings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you Old Timer... I appreciate your input and respect it!
At my age, I am very OCD/Anal when it comes to my cars and who touches them. 28 yrs in the Army, I am VERY regimented. To be clear, I would not allow some "hack" put his hands on any of my cars.

This "shop" has a good reputation here in the Dallas area.... Mostly on the LSX platforms... They built my 414ci Stroker for my C5Z06 w a 200 shot and I beat the F*** out of it on 1/2 mi events along w TX mile, spirited weekend driving. Laying doe 750/740 to the wheels...

They have several built, blown BOSS302's, GT500's, 03-04 terminators alike putting down 800-1000 rwhp.... However, they have not messed with many 2nd gen Lightnings ( quite honestly). I don't have many options here in N. TX.. I bought this truck to play with and do simple bolt ons' until I could build me a shortblock, and add a Whipple, KB.... I am sure they will figure it out... I would really just like to educate myself on these truck so that I can speak intelligently when inquiring or countering what they are telling me.


Stay away from universal/generic shops. These mod motors are weird to start with, and on top of that the blower just puts an uncanny load on everything bc of the torque. Factor in the weight of the truck and you begin to appreciate what the successful racers have gone through to get there. Building the motors is a science. Go to a good shop that has worked on Lightnings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
My truck

My Vette

My fbod/Lexus

I really enjoy driving the Lightning!!!! I am surprised that I have never owned one... Ironically enough the owner of the shop that is working on it is a FORD guy... HE is the one who talked me into getting one of these....
 

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Tell you a story about "ford guys " I had a shop before I knew better. This guy tuned a cobra with a turbo in the 8s u would think he's good right. Wrong. Just built my motor(non ford guy as well )put an mp on it bring it to this guy. He tunes it 550 on pump gas. It's tuned I drive it it's a dog slower than stock. Took two plugs out of it it's all chewed up and destroyed. So I'm like wtf this guy just tuned it. Bring him the plugs bring him the truck. Okay it's good to go pick it back up. It's still a dog it still chewing up plugs. Tells me to lower the boost its to much boost. I was running a ten lower and a 2.7 upper normal stuff for an mp blower and a built truck. Waste 500 dollars on this tune. Finally bring it up to Paul at total induction tuning solutions he puts it on the Dyno pulls plugs out of it we find out the "ford guy" put 40 degrees of timing in it. And the engine builder put 11:1 compression Pistons in it. So moral of the story people suck, bring it to a ford guy who has worked on lightning's and proof that he has. Sounds like the motor was hurt and the guy just wanted to dump it to me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Okaaayyy... So, that is def a horror story... I'd bet money that is not my case! No doubt the old fella was chasing something.... I am thinking the "blown plug/s" out of the head... I am a little more optimistic than you. The cylinder head holds pressure now... THAT part is fixed and it def was the problem... Myself and the owner of the shop feel as though it is something electrical, vacume, or perhaps fuel related as to why it won't idle right now.( Even with the mileage the cylinder walls still had plenty of cross hatching.... It's not a hurt engine... Compression is even on both sides of the engine now. It has to do with "putting it back together".

Anyone else.... "RedRum" youre a "half empty" kind of guy huh?;)

I do appreciate the feedback though.... Surely someone has something constructive to add....?
I'll post the results regardless once it is figured out.:cheers


Tell you a story about "ford guys " I had a shop before I knew better. This guy tuned a cobra with a turbo in the 8s u would think he's good right. Wrong. Just built my motor(non ford guy as well )put an mp on it bring it to this guy. He tunes it 550 on pump gas. It's tuned I drive it it's a dog slower than stock. Took two plugs out of it it's all chewed up and destroyed. So I'm like wtf this guy just tuned it. Bring him the plugs bring him the truck. Okay it's good to go pick it back up. It's still a dog it still chewing up plugs. Tells me to lower the boost its to much boost. I was running a ten lower and a 2.7 upper normal stuff for an mp blower and a built truck. Waste 500 dollars on this tune. Finally bring it up to Paul at total induction tuning solutions he puts it on the Dyno pulls plugs out of it we find out the "ford guy" put 40 degrees of timing in it. And the engine builder put 11:1 compression Pistons in it. So moral of the story people suck, bring it to a ford guy who has worked on lightning's and proof that he has. Sounds like the motor was hurt and the guy just wanted to dump it to me.
 

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Any Ford dealerships near you? It might be costly but they will fix your truck the right way for sure. You can always get it tuned afterwards if your looking for more power.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Yes sir.... There is a Ford dealership about 15 min from my house.... I'll give the shop until the end of the week to figure it out... It's not like I am incurring additional fee's..... Fingers crossed that it is something minor. Thank you again for the feedback~!:bigtu


Any Ford dealerships near you? It might be costly but they will fix your truck the right way for sure. You can always get it tuned afterwards if your looking for more power.
 

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I wouldn't assume that the old guy was chasing an issue. Given the mileage, who knows when the head gasket was replaced or the plugs blown out. There was actually a TSB on the passenger-side head gaskets leaking. My '01 leaked at 20k. And the plugs were issues up until the upgraded '03 heads.

Given the fact that you fixed the valve issue, I would look for a vacuum line that wasn't connect when everything was put back together - or even possible a cracked vacuum line. Spraying starting spray in the area is a great way to find these leaks.
 

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Okaaayyy... So, that is def a horror story... I'd bet money that is not my case! No doubt the old fella was chasing something.... I am thinking the "blown plug/s" out of the head... I am a little more optimistic than you. The cylinder head holds pressure now... THAT part is fixed and it def was the problem... Myself and the owner of the shop feel as though it is something electrical, vacume, or perhaps fuel related as to why it won't idle right now.( Even with the mileage the cylinder walls still had plenty of cross hatching.... It's not a hurt engine... Compression is even on both sides of the engine now. It has to do with "putting it back together".

Anyone else.... "RedRum" youre a "half empty" kind of guy huh?;)

I do appreciate the feedback though.... Surely someone has something constructive to add....?
I'll post the results regardless once it is figured out.:cheers

Ya pretty much
 

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There are a plethora of items that can go wrong during the repair process. Head removal with the engine in the truck is quite difficult and there are lots of things that can get messed up.

Just a guess from here but if the compression is unbalanced, good chance the timing chains are off a tooth or two. Unless they took pictures and clearly marked everything, vacuum hose routing can get pooched, wiring can be pinched or loose. If they took the egr and dpfe off, good chance the hoses got crossed, very slight difference in size.

Ford Stealerships not recommended unless you know and trust them personally.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
This is the kind of feedback I am looking for.. Very constructive, and realistic.
Thank you.


I wouldn't assume that the old guy was chasing an issue. Given the mileage, who knows when the head gasket was replaced or the plugs blown out. There was actually a TSB on the passenger-side head gaskets leaking. My '01 leaked at 20k. And the plugs were issues up until the upgraded '03 heads.

Given the fact that you fixed the valve issue, I would look for a vacuum line that wasn't connect when everything was put back together - or even possible a cracked vacuum line. Spraying starting spray in the area is a great way to find these leaks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
This is what the shop owner was eluding to... I am sure that this is the case and that it is not mechanical... Thank you for your input. It is noted, and much appreciated.


There are a plethora of items that can go wrong during the repair process. Head removal with the engine in the truck is quite difficult and there are lots of things that can get messed up.

Just a guess from here but if the compression is unbalanced, good chance the timing chains are off a tooth or two. Unless they took pictures and clearly marked everything, vacuum hose routing can get pooched, wiring can be pinched or loose. If they took the egr and dpfe off, good chance the hoses got crossed, very slight difference in size
.

Ford Stealerships not recommended unless you know and trust them personally.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Plano, McKinney area.... Not bashing the shop.... Just a little frustrated, confused as I was told initially that it was not a big deal. I am confident that they will figure it out. You in the DFW area? I am assuming you have a Lightning?


Where in North Dallas?

Anyways, sucks about the truck. I hate trying to find trustworthy shops.
 
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