Question about 2005 Ford F 250 Super Duty

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The 5.4l F250 2wd was running great for apporx

The 5.4l F250 2wd was running great for approx. 500miles after a maintenance plug change at the Ford dealer at 95,000miles. After a 60 mile hiway drive it was idling rough and noisy at a stoplight. Oil pressure, temp, charging etc. were normal, no leaks, oil level good, antifreeze good, so I drove 3 blocks home. The CEL came on just when I parked it and it died. It just grunts when trying to start now but does not turn over. The battery seems to have a full charge. The code is P0304. Any ideas?

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  • mikehamari Jul 10, 2010

    The advice on the miss made sense but I need to know how to determine if there is a more serious issue keeping the engine from turning over now.

  • mikehamari Jul 15, 2010

    Both experts focused on the misfire on cylinder #4 but failed to comment on the engine no longer turning over. I have since towed it to the Ford dealer that changed the plugs about 300miles ago, had great difficulty extracting the old plug from #4 and #8, and in the process had first done a decarbonizing treatment to aid in plug removal, then changed the oil.
    The Ford dealer confirmed the engine is mechanically locked unable to turn when the failure happened with good oil level and pressure, good antifreeze level and good temp. The CEL only appeared seconds before dieing and the vehicle ran with a miss for 3 blocks after a trip of 60 miles running very well with only the miss at a stoplight suddenly showing up at the end.
    The Ford dealer says plug #4 & #8 but could not explain to me how the piston could contact them. . . any ideas?

  • mikehamari Jul 15, 2010

    Could you focus on the smashed plug tips and a possible cause?

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4 Answers

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Code p0304 equates to computer scan states #4 cylinder has detected a misfire. Sounds like they may have left a spark plug either broken(insulator cracked from installation with an improper spark plug socket that is missing the rubber insulator grommet) or the plug was left loose, or they never replaced the spark plug in #4 cylinder especially if it is in a real tight spot to get at which by the way couls also constitute the above possibilities of the plug getting damaged etc. on install.
You should have had the plug wires replaced as a rule if they are original, as it is also possible they are breaking down and causing a misfire and/or the silicone core that conducts the flow of voltage to the spark plugs may have been disrupted by the removal of the wires in order to gain access to remove/replace the spark plugs.
My suggestion at this point is to call them for an appointment and state your case but be nice, also try and wait for the vehicle while they're checking the entire job for possible shoddy workmanship.
If this condition is a fault of their own the tow and everything shall be covered by them, or at least depoending upon what the defect is for the very least perhaps they can cut you a good deal in case it is a faulty ignition wire harness that perhaps they did not replace but really should have at least discussed with you.
Bring your bill along with you as this is your ticket to getting any positive action in your favor if at all possible.
If the repair shop says they will not pay the tow check to see if your car insurance has any towing benefits or does your immediate family members have Triple AAA, you can use it on your car if they are present for the pick up or in most cases if you present the driver with the card and sign the ticket, just be sure the card membership is still valid and not expired. If the detected repair failure falls into their lap as being shoddy workmanship then perhaps they can negiotiate a huge discount toward the tow bill that they would be paying for anyway.
I hope this works for you.
Happy Motoring!!

Posted on Jul 15, 2010

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What does code p0304 exactly mean?A P0304 code means that the the car's computer has detected that one of the engine's cylinders is not firing properly. In this case it's cylinder #4. What are basic symptoms seen when this error comes up?
Symptoms may include:

  • the engine may be harder to start.
  • the engine may stumble / stumble, and/or hesitate.
  • The engine will make cranking sound but car will not start.
  • other symptoms may also be present.
In this error problem what possibilities has to be checked? A code P0304 may mean that one or more of the following has happened:
  • Faulty spark plug or wire.
  • Faulty coil (pack).
  • Faulty oxygen sensor(s).
  • Faulty fuel injectors.
  • Burned exhaust valve.
  • Faulty catalytic converter.
  • Running out of fuel.
  • Poor compression.
  • Defective computer.(In some rare cases only).
If there are symptoms such as the engine is stumbling or hesitating, check all wiring and connectors that lead to the cylinders (i.e. spark plugs). check the coils (a.k.a. coil packs). In some cases, the catalytic converter has gone bad. If you smell rotten eggs in the exhaust, your cat converter needs to be replaced. I've also heard in other cases the problems were faulty fuel injectors.Check the voltage at each injector from coil pack one by one.Which ever injector shoes low voltage that is the problem.It will show exact 12 volt with meter. Thanks. Keep updated for any more query. You can rate this solution and show your appreciation.

Posted on Jul 15, 2010

  • mikehamari Jul 15, 2010

    I understand the possible causes of misfire in #4 but the main concern is why the plug tips on #4 and #8 are smashed in less than 500 miles driving and why the engine is mechanically locked and won't turn over. Can the piston contact the plug tip if the rod bearing is worn? Could a head gasket leak cause antifreeze in the cylinder and damage the plugs? Could it be wrong plugs with too long a tip? Could a repair to the threads and seat cause the plug tip to be too close to the piston? This went from running great to not running and locked up within approx 1 minute time with a severe misfire for the minute and all fluid levels and gauges normal.

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HI. A P0304 code means that the the car's computer has detected that one of the engine's cylinders is not firing properly, at this moment. In this case it is cylinder #4.

I will list below some of the known causes that will set this code:

A. There may be a faulty or improperly installed spark plug or wire. Check to be sure that every thing has been installed correctly.
B. Coil Pack- Make sure this device is functioning properly. Most fords have what we call(COP). This will be coil on plug design. The actual coil will be mounted on top of the actual plug(local ignition). This coil or coil pack may be defective or damaged. Have the coil associated with the number 4 cylinder tested, asap. Replace if needed.
C. Faulty O2 sensor(s) - This may be an issues as well. Inspect all O2 sensor(s) that may be affected. make sure the connectors are not corroded or have oxidized contacts at the connectors. Test the wiring harness contacts for high resistance or shorted harness. replaced the entire O2 or wiring harness and connectors, if needed.
D. Check that number 4 cylinder injector for damaged pulsar and blocked port. replace if needed.
E. Burned Exhaust Valve - This will occur if the catalytic converter has failed. In this case, the comb will have collapsed, thus creating back-pressure and damaging the valve, itself. The valve in question will be the number 4 cylinder exhaust vale. Normally in this case, you will smell a bad rotten egg order coming from the engine exhaust during idle. This will cause major idling issues and extreme hesitation and no start.
F. Faulty CAT- This will cause your symptoms as well. As stated in the exhaust valve section, this will be accompanied by a rotten egg smell and a very high level of stumbling and idling issues. Inspect the CAT(s) for damage and replace if needed.
G. Fuel distribution issues- Check and replace your fuel filter and fuel pump, if needed. Make sure the ground wire at the pup module is connected well with no corrosion, present.
H. Poor Compression - This could be a possibility, as well. The best way to check will be to allow the local mechanic to run a engine block compression test. If abnormal pressures are found; Check the intake manifold for a cracked gasket to cracked structure. check the head gaskets for faults, as well. replace any failed part, if needed.

I. Defective computer- The best way to rule this area of concern out, will be to reset the DTC code and wait to see if it reappears. If it sets the code once more, this will confirm that the CPU is ok.



Due to the fact that there are symptoms such as the engine is stumbling or hesitating, check all wiring and connectors that lead to the cylinders (i.e. spark plugs) that are affected(Cylinder #4). Depending on how long the ignition components have been in the car, it may be a good idea to replace them as part of your regular maintenance schedule. I would suggest spark plugs, spark plug wires, distributor cap, and rotor (if applicable). Otherwise, check the coils (a.k.a. coil packs/COP). In some cases, the catalytic converter will have gone bad. If you smell rotten eggs in the exhaust, your cat converter needs to be replaced. I've also heard in other cases that the problem was due to a faulty fuel injector(s). Focus your attention on the cylinder #4.

Posted on Jul 10, 2010

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P0304 is a misfire on cylinder #4.

The coil pack on the spark plug probably is bad or check plug on that cylinder even though it was recently replaced. Check for cracked insulator.

just for your information, the firing order is the following:

5.4L – 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8

Rough idle definitely is caused by a miss in cylinder #4.

If you have time, you can switch the coil pack from one cylinder to another to see if it follows to another cylinder, also.

Good luck on this one.



Posted on Jul 10, 2010

  • mikehamari Jul 10, 2010

    The advice on the misfire makes sense but I don't know how this relates to not turning over now. I pulled the belt off to make sure an accessory bearing was not seized and everything turns. The starter has previously acted totally normal. Plug #4 is very difficult to see on this truck. I did pull the coil pack off but am reluctant to touch the plug because I know they worked a long time on that one at the dealership. If it does involve a plug install issue, I want them to see it as it is and not after I try to get it out. Is there anything that could lock the engine related to a broken plug or bad threads? It will likely go to the dealer on Monday, so I am just trying to get a background to better understand and anticipate what may come up. I should mention that I heard a tinny grating a couple of times when I first slowed down for the stoplignt. How can I best determine if the engine can turn over?

  • Duane Wong
    Duane Wong Jul 15, 2010

    If a starting problem has begun to be a problem, then the battery and starter condition should be determined before proceeding.



    A motor that turns with moderate force should have another battery put in first to make sure the battery is fresh, and then the starter should be replaced if it cannot turn over with the new battery.

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