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How do I replace the spark plugs on my Aerostar?

Discussion in 'Aerostar Forum' started by whynotthinkwhyno, May 23, 2009.

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    1. whynotthinkwhyno

      whynotthinkwhyno New Member

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      City, State:
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      97 4L and 92 3L Aerostar
      Now, of course that seems like an idiot questions. I'll prove I'm not that, but the reason I asked is because there might be some different methods appropriate to the Aerostar because of changes in year models, shifter location, and engines. Not to mention that it's really difficult to change plugs in an Aerostar anyway.

      I've always changed mine by disassembling the lower part of the dash, removing the trans cover, and removing the upper accessories on the engine to allow me to reach back in there.

      A Ford tech buddy of mine told me that I should try going from underneath. I've never tried that because I don't own a lift, and I have short arms. I'm considering trying it tomorrow, but I'm wondering if I'm going to have issues with the #3 plug.

      Any suggestions?

      I'll be happy to take some pics, but it would only apply to the later dash design, and the 4.0 engine. When I get around to getting the 92 running again, I'll be happy to post one for that dash/engine combo.
       
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    3. BrooklynBay

      BrooklynBay Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    4. whynotthinkwhyno

      whynotthinkwhyno New Member

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      That will work for #3? I can barely get the socket on that one. Usually I have to use a wrench on the end of the socket. Maybe my tight spaces ratchet will do the job.

      Like I said, I'm going to try that method this time. Last time I did these the van was infested with about 15 black widows because it had been brought up here from storage in a shed in FL. Thankfully, driving the van continuously encouraged the spiders that weren't hunted and killed by spray to move on.
       
    5. BrooklynBay

      BrooklynBay Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      An offset flex wrench with a spark plug socket/extension usually works. That socket has an extension connected to it. The offset flex ratchet with a regular spark plug socket is usually enough. They also make an extra deep spark plug socket.
       
    6. TedJ

      TedJ Active Member

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      Jacking and going underneath is the way to go. You will be sitting under the suspension so use a jack stand and make sure everything is secure. Put a towel over the brake and knuckle so you won't get grease and crud all over yourself. Sit indian style with your chest against the brake rotor, and you can reach up inside.

      If you have long arms like me, you can put one arm up over the suspension and the other up from under the frame, and get two hands on the job. (at least on the plug near the firewall on the driver's side)

      I used nothing but a 3/8 ratchet, plug socket, and an extension or two (including one of those really stubby 1in or so ones)

      To do the wires, take the cupholder, that black box with the wiring harness under the dash, and the doghouse off. Lay upside down on the seat. It sucks and all the blood goes to your head after 3 minutes. A better idea is to remove the passenger side seat so you can lay on the floor, making things much easier. I couldn't do this because the van wasn't mine and the seat bolts were going to snap off, but if it were mine I would have dealt with snapping the bolts off to make the job easier then and also in the future.

      Just take it slow and think through the ways you can stuff your arms in there. You will get to know your Aerostar a bit better than you wanted to, and don't expect to see what you are doing while doing it. Closing your eyes helps you to see with your hands.
       
    7. Aeroman59

      Aeroman59 New Member

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      Aero plugs

      Just for reference:
      Plugs on Drivers side you can get to all from the front, you'll need some extensions & a uni/joint. I take off the EGR pipe to get easier access to the rear plug #6.

      The Passenger side is a bit tougher, plugs 1 & 2 are really not bad at all, you can access through the wheel well with the wheel off. #3 is the worst of the lot, but as mentioned above go from underneath look up from under the wheel arch & look towards the ex/ manifold you will see the plug & it's not that bad to reach!

      Good luck,:salute:
      Aeroman.
       
    8. emerson

      emerson New Member

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      I did plugs today. I've got some ramps to drive up on that give enough space to get underneath and lie on some old plywood (gravel drive). Even with the tires on I got the front 2 on both sides from the wheel wells with a wobble extension and several more put together to reach. The driver's side rear I got from the bottom with a swivel ratcheting combo wrench on the spark plug socket. The passenger side rear was from the bottom. I'm in the middle of the wires. It's a real pain to get wires under the intake. I don't think I got the length confused; I wish they were long enough to go over the top.
       
    9. BrooklynBay

      BrooklynBay Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    10. emerson

      emerson New Member

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      No pictures. I'm in northern British Columbia, Canada, so it was getting dark and there was also a sleet shower that came through. I only had to put #5 cylinder plug wire underneath the intake, #4 and #6 were long enough to go over/around. That took care of the miss at higher rpm, but there is still one at idle. I cleaned the MAF, the air filter is new, I replaced the IAC, maybe the DPFE needs replacing. This Aerostar is a '97 Extended XLT is excellent shape inside and out with 183k km. I paid $500 at a local auction and it needed a battery right away.
       
    11. BrooklynBay

      BrooklynBay Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    12. emerson

      emerson New Member

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      Yes, I have to add it. Once the '97 is running right the '94 will sold.
       
    13. wag-04

      wag-04 New Member

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      About the miss at idle, make sure your plug wires are not burnt inside the boots. Also what type plugs are you using. Platinum plugs do not like moisture. I have a 92 & 2nd plug drivers side breaks down. I use a standard champion plug in that hole and the miss goes away. The 4l has a history of head problems, have not figured it out yet.
       
    14. K80

      K80 Active Member

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      Wow. Did not realize changing plugs could be so involved! I've done mine on a 1989 AS 3.6L probably twice, and I've yet to pull or move anything but the spark plug wires....No lifts and no jacks. If you are out in the cold working on this thing, and I were you, I would go out and remove one wire at a time, take it in and label it. Then, wearing gloves and using the proper tool[​IMG]

      Remove and replace one plug at a time. Open the doghouse (the engine cover) to get to the distributor.

      Other than that, it should be easy.

      As for the miss at idle, is it regular or intermittent? Only when running warm or cold? If it is regular hot or cold, then I bet you have a gap in a spark plug wire somewhere. Listen for a repetitive popping or snapping sound in the engine compartment which would indicate a short. I recommend replacing the wires with the plugs. If it is intermittent in any way, but especially hot, then I recommend looking into your Ignition Control Module (ICM) as the possible culprit, especially if it's under the distributor on the engine, rather than on the firewall. You will need an Allen wrench of suitable size to remove it, as well as some thermal grease for the module.
      Also, your distributor cap and/or rotor could be faulty.
       
      Last edited: January 13, 2010
    15. BrooklynBay

      BrooklynBay Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    16. bsr2002

      bsr2002 Member

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    17. BrooklynBay

      BrooklynBay Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    18. bsr2002

      bsr2002 Member

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      3" grommet
       
    19. guitar42

      guitar42 New Member

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      changing plugs on aerostar

      I have a '96 3L, V6 aerostar that has 190,000 miles. Have changed plugs 2X on it, most recently last week(this time changed wires too). I want to say it's not easy and a real pain in the.... Plugs 1+ 2 are VERY easy. You get at them through right front wheel well. Plug 4 on the other side is easy too,
      change from engine compartment. Plug 5(nxt to plug 4) is fairly easy,
      change from engine compartment. Plugs 3+ 6 are a bear even with the passenger compartment access cover removed. I cut 2 access holes in the floor board(one for each plug) w/ a sawzall on the drivers side and passenger side. If I didnt, it would be impossible for me to get at these two plugs. Hope this helps any ford aerostar d.i.y's out there!!
       
    20. nightfly

      nightfly New Member

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      Plugs

      I just pulled mine out the other day was not looking forward to it after
      installing them 45K ago, but since I put never seaze on the threads
      it was much easier than 1st time. I also removed the oil filler tube
      and it made getting to the passenger side much easier. I did however
      only remove 2 plugs from drivers side not the last one wedged next
      to the fire wall though. They were surprisingly clean considering
      my van uses a qt. a week. So if you dont have long arms then
      go through the wheel wells as mentioned from Brooklyn.
       
    21. JayT

      JayT Member

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      2 from under the hood, 2 from the wheel well, 1 from underneath, and 1 from the doghouse cover.
       
    22. wizzleman

      wizzleman New Member

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      i have to admit the 1 2 3 where easy as well as 4 5 but 6 have to cut a hole in the firewall tommarro let you all know how is goes.
       
    23. vvv

      vvv New Member

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      It is convenient to use from the ratchet wheel long. And the gimbal.

      [​IMG]
       
    24. shadowmachanic1

      shadowmachanic1 New Member

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      replacing spark plugs

      i have had no problems r&r the plugs i reach them all from the engine compartment
       
    25. Jose A.

      Jose A. Active Member

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      I got to the front and center passenger side plugs through the wheel well opening, Just raised the front passenger side, and removed the tire/wheel. The rear plug I loosened throguh the transmission opening.

      On the driver's side, the rear plug I loosened through the transmission opening;
      the center and front plugs were removed through a combination of going through the wheel well opening and standing in front of the van / top of engine.

      On both sides, I used long extensions and wobble adapters so that the ratchet was outside the wheel well, it was easy to turn that way.

      I would warn that trying to remove the plugs from under the engine is a dangerous proposition and that you should have the vehicle well supported, placing concrete blocks under each front tire and jacks, as well as chocks on the rear tires to prevent any rear movement. It really is overkill to go under the engine to change the plugs.
       

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