96 V8 Explorer, broken spark plug *pics inside of what I used* | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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96 V8 Explorer, broken spark plug *pics inside of what I used*


March 28, 2004
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City, State
Montreal, Canada
Year, Model & Trim Level
Trying to change the original spark plugs off my truck (215 000kms), I started with the passenger side.

After soaking the plugs with RELEASE-ALL (WD-40 equivalent), the first two plugs were pretty easy:


Came the 3rd one, just by looking at it, I knew it would be hard. And what I feared the most happened :( It snaped...and i'm left with the metal threads stuck in the cylinder head :



I tried using an extractor tool I had in my tool box :


...but it wouldn't budge.

I'm asking for any tips on how to remove the rest of this spark plug, should I heat it ? Is there any other better tool than my extractor ? I would like to try lots of things before I give up and pull the head :(

Any input is appreciated :)


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Leave it and go do the other head. If you have one on that side that won't come out all the time you spend fighting this one will be wasted cause you may very well have to pull the head on that side anyway.

Make your decision about pulling heads after you have tried to replace all of them.

If you can get a can of "PB Blaster" ( or if you have a can already for that matter ) spray the hell out of the threads and let it sit and soak in, go do the rest of the plugs. after you finish all the others, come back and wipe off any excess, then hit the threads with a propane torch for about 20 -30 seconds and then immediately use the "easy out" to try and get the broken part moving. All you have to do is get the broken threaded part moving, even a little, and your almost home. At that point, if you still can't remove it, hit the threads again with more blaster and let it sit overnight. Repeat application with the torch and try again,IF it STILL won't budge, time to yank the head.

I've done hundreds of busted plug removals and only a few required the head to come out of the vehicle. PB Blaster is undoubtably a mechanics best friend when it comes to getting out rusted/stuck parts, it's never failed me, even on bolts frozen on for years from being submerged in seawater.

I don't have any advice for getting it out, but needless to say, when you put the new ones in, make sure you use anti-seize.


If you do damage threads, this little gadget may help. Sav-A-Thread. You can retap the threads or add that threaded sleeve that's on the end. You might want to put some PB Blaster on those shock bolts also.

I had the same thing happen, '91 Bauer with only 56k but still had the original plugs and wires .... here's what I did ...

Heat the remains and as best you can ONLY the remains of the spark plug until you get a faint red glow ... then WALK AWAY for half an hour or so and let it COMPLETELY cool off ... then use your easy out on it, mine practically fell out

The key is you have two dissimilar metals, iron and aluminum ... you heat the iron and it expands against the aluminum (which you try not to heat) and when it cools it tends to 'shrink' more than the aluminum ... After I did this I turned mine a quarter trun with the easy out using little force (At least compared to before) and unthreaded it the rest of the way by hand ... and buddy that works all day on lift/fork trucks told me to do this and I was amazed how well it worked, much better than if it were iron on iron .... I found mine wasn't really froze/corroded on the threads but on the collar between threads and the hex nut, why Ford doesn't allow a bit more clearance there I'll never know ....

The problem with American Engineering today is the engineers never have to work on their own designs after they have been in the field a few years ... things would be a LOT different if they did, guaranteed ...


Holy nasty block! :eek: I can't believe Ford would send an unpainted block to Montreal.

Good thing it's nice outside and I can commute with the bike these days...I'm going to get working on the Ex tonight, seems the heating is what's left to do. I hope it will budge out without having to remove the head out. My plug seems to be glued also by the collar to the block from what I can see. Thanks the help guys, :chug: :chug: :chug: I'll keep you updated... :D

If you do get it out without removing the head, remember to make sure there are no metal filings that may have fallen into the cylinder. Start it up with a few of them in there and you'll be needing to do more than just pull the head off.

get your hands on one of them small telescopic mechanics magnets and use that to fish around and grab whatever may have fallen in. Sure you'll have to bend it, and then it won't collapse anymore, but it's cheap insurance that you won't shred your cylinder wall.

They do make them also on a thin rigid cable, which would be perfect in this situation, but they are harder to find.

Because of the rain yesterday, I postponed "operation spark plug" to today. After heating the remainings of the plug, I shoved the extractor in there and started turning...and I feel it moving and suddenly it gives away and removes the spark plug :D :D :D Operation spark plug is a success :thumbsup:

I wanna thank you guys for the help, we made it team :p

Thanks again for the tips.

P.S. The truck is so smooth now, doesn't take as many turns to start and doesn't vibrate at red lights :thumbsup:

Glad to hear it. Nothing like a painless ending to an annoying problem. I'm sure there was that "sigh" of relief when the threads broke loose. :thumbsup:

I forgot to show you a picture of the remainings...
Here it is...


Congrads on the success of operation spark plug.. :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

what a mother f@!#$r that must have been

i have the same problem

just doing a routine tune up yesterday and snap, all i've heard is you need to remove the head, thanks guys just what i needed, by the way i've got a 93 explorer xlt and have'nt drove it yet, hope to get it ready for july. thanks once again.

Wow I am going to remember this trick for sure.... heat it up, let it cool, try again

after a month of blasting it, and everday trying to unscrew it out with an extractor, I finally got the end of the spark plug out from the head, did'nt even have to tourch it, now I can continue.:D:salute:

i use a impact and rearly break a plug off even the most rusted ones

How do you turn the extractor when its right next to the manifold and has that shock in the way

I broke the same plug and have heated it several times and have put on almost a whole can of pb blaster and have stripped a 12 point 8mm socket that fits on the 7/16-9/16 extractor I found at the parts store. the only other thing I can figure will work is a REALLY long tap handle, but those are hard to find.

alternatively if someone wants to weld a 3/8's extension to something tha would fit this I would pay for parts and shipping and greatly appreciate it. I want to use a breaker bar, but I keep stripping bits.

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