Have Ford Questions? Ask a Mechanic for Answers ASAP
Do you have a check engine light on?
May I have the engine size in this vehicle?
Ok. If there is a check engine light, then the best thing to do is have the trouble codes (aka "p-codes") read from the on-board computer. These p-codes will help better point to the root of the problem. A VERY common problem on these engines are faulty Ignition Coils which will definitely produce a "skip" when accelerating as you describe. However, no need to replace them all when only opne is faulty. That's where those p-codes come in. . You can have these p-codes read FREE (except in California) at any local "big chain" part store (ie. AutoZone, PepBoys, Advanced, etc). If the spark plugs are original, then with 150k miles on them, they are also due to be replaced. Unfortunately, it is true- there was a serious issue with spark plug removal on this engine. There "is" a procedure to follow that will reduce the risk of plug breakage. The Labor Time Guide calls for 3 hours to replace the plugs using that procedure with roughly 30-45min per plug "if" it does happen to break. Labor rates vary from shop to shop, so what you pay for labor will effect the bot***** *****ne. For a job of this type, a "fair" labor rate can by anywhere from $85-$125 per hour. Please remember to leave a rating using the star rating system at the top of this page or accept the answer so I may be credited for this Q&A. You can ask follow-up questions any time, even after you rate or accept.
The spark plugs sell for around $4.99 each (x8) and, as stated above, the Labor Time Guide calls for 3 hours to replace. Using worst case scenario, using the labor given above, I believe $850 is a bit on the high side. Seems like they're charging you the extra time for the plugs breaking rather than tacking the time on "if" a plug breaks. Might be a good idea to get a second estimate.
Please remember to leave a rating using the star rating system at the top of this page or accept the answer so I may be credited for this Q&A. You can ask follow-up questions any time, even after you rate or accept.