How to: Replace Spark Plugs and Wires – 97 Ford Explorer, 6 Cylinder, SOHC | Page 2 | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations

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How to: Replace Spark Plugs and Wires – 97 Ford Explorer, 6 Cylinder, SOHC

natertater

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March 27, 2011
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City, State
Whitewater, WI
Year, Model & Trim Level
97 sport trac
Hey dude thanks for posting this! I'm about to go do this job in a bit so I am glad I got on here before hand and read your tutorial as I'm sure it will go much smoother. Wish you had posted some pics but you gave detailed enough instructions so its all good. All together good post!

Nate
 
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showknow

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December 13, 2008
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City, State
Greensboro, NC
Year, Model & Trim Level
'91 XL & '95 XLT
I just finished this job on a '95 by accessing all plugs from up top. It's a b*tch no matter how you go at it, but I've changed them from up top a couple times. There are a couple things I use that make it a lot easier--a 3/8 thumb ratchet and socket cap. Invest in a good plug wire boot puller too. I have never gotten one and I cuss that fact every time. Of course I have every combination of extensions and swivels to help (I use a wide variety of lengths). I don't have any 'wobble' extensions but wonder if they might help a little bit for those passenger side plugs.

Anyway, I just wanted to give you guys some hope. Thanks for all the good posts. I learn something new every visit.
 
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AMC

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August 20, 2012
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City, State
Northern California
Year, Model & Trim Level
2000 explorer xlt 4x4
I've been on a near obsessive quest to perform all this DIY maintenance on my 2000 EX. Not being the original owner I had no idea what had been done to this rig. BTW, I got it 3 years ago with 68 thousand. It now has only 83 thousand. I already performed all the fluid/filter replacements, new shocks, new sound system.

After reading some of these near nightmare stories of busted, bloody knuckles, broken off spark plugs, I was really dreading this near last task. But last week I shopped online for Motorcraft plugs and wires. $57 shipped from Rockauto...amazing price considering through Ford the wire set alone was $86. I also picked up a 5/8 spark plug socket, a 3/8 drive swivel, and a breaker bar.

So this morning at around nine I begin. I was done before eleven. I can't believe how easy it was! I didn't need the swivel or the breaker bar. Just used a 4 inch and a 1 inch extention. The passenger side was the easiest. I did pull the wheel and the mud guard flappy thing. I probably exerted more force pulling those little plastic retainers that hold in the mud guards then replacing the plugs/wires.

I'm in the appliance repair business and one of my favorite and often used tools is a small hook tool. The one I like best comes from Mac Tools. The reason why I mention it is because it worked very nicely pulling the rubber sleave away from the plug, then I used a pair of channel lock pliers to pull the wire from the plug.

The drivers side was a little more difficult mostly because of the wire routing. I had read here somewhere about taking off the foam thingy...that's what they called it and that's what I call it. Anyhow, once removed you could push the wires through with no problem.
BTW, I started doing the drivers side from the top but decided pulling the wheel and mud guard would make it much easier.

I was surprised how little force it took to remove the plugs. When I first seen them, I noticed how rusty looking they were. I figured it was going to be PB blaster time...wasn't the case at all. Also, the gaps on the old plugs were around 0.60 to 0.70 I'm guessing because they were worn out?

So...If anyone out there is contemplating a plug/wire replacement, opens the hood, looks at all the crap in the way, don't worry about it. It's easy. At least it was for me. What is all that crap under the hood anyway? I guess I should buy a manual so I don't have to call parts "thingy".

The internet and this site are amazing!
 
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scrovak

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February 17, 2012
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City, State
Aberdeen, MD
Year, Model & Trim Level
1998 Explorer XLT
OP, great advice, thank you. I found this forum via this thread, while figuring out how to replace mine. For me, the biggest issue came with the right side #3 plug. For some reason, the socket I was using wouldn't enter the well far enough to grip the plug. I ended up having to basically pound the socket onto the plug to get a good bite, I'm thinking due to corrosive build-up. That same build-up was preventing me from getting the new plug far enough in for the threads to catch. To anyone else that has this problem, what I did was grab a section of stiff plastic hose around the shop, and squeezed it onto the plug. I used that stiff tubing to place the plug into the well and rotate until it caught. Once it caught, I tapped the socket and wrench onto the plug again, and tightened it down.

At 138k, I'm pretty sure this is the first time the plugs have been replaced (I bought this truck last January). Once my photo comes through, I'll post it - the buildup on the contact head for the aforementioned problem plug was incredible. Thanks again!

-John
 
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ScottInOKC

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May 25, 2013
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City, State
Oklahoma City
Year, Model & Trim Level
99 Eddie Bauer
This is my weekend project. My 99 had 183k miles and most likely the original plugs and wires. It's going to be fun :)
 
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swshawaii

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City, State
Kailua-Oahu, Hawaii
Year, Model & Trim Level
'05 Sport Trac XLS (RWD)
This is my weekend project. My 99 had 183k miles and most likely the original plugs and wires. It's going to be fun :)
Cold engine and passenger tire removal for #3 are keys to success. Use proven OEM Motorcraft SP500 or Autolite 103 series plugs gapped @.054, anti seize threads, and dielectric grease in boots. With the proper tools and taking your time you'll do well and good for another 100K. These are invaluable if reusing the wires and your hands will thank you after. :thumbsup:

http://www.craftsman.com/craftsman-spark-plug-pliers/p-00947315000P#crumbWrapper
 
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ScottInOKC

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99 Eddie Bauer
I've got 6 AP103s and a new set of plug wires ready to go. Just waiting on Saturday morning. This will be my first plug change ever, I'm as giddy as a schoolgirl.
 
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azvampyre

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December 15, 2014
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Year, Model & Trim Level
1998 Ford Explorer
If you remove the overflow/washer fluid tank and air box, you can easily get the passenger side from above with only a ratchet and deep 5/8 socket; no special extensions or wobbles required and you don't have to remove the tire and wheel well. If its stuck, use a breaker bar or a box end wrench over the ratchet handle for extra elbow grease.

p.s. those pounding the socket onto the plug to get a bite will surely destroy the plug. So when putting them in, make sure its perfectly straight on. Any crookedness and you'll be buying another plug. The hex of the socket will be turning the ceramic of the plug and break it apart.
 
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ccm2001

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City, State
Vaughan Ontario
Year, Model & Trim Level
2003 Sport XLT
Hardest was the passenger side closest to the rear. Had to use a stubby wrench and slowly take her out. 03 sport 4.0l
 
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REMARKSD

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July 14, 2008
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City, State
STATEN ISLAND, NY
Year, Model & Trim Level
96 XLT, 98 XLT, 08 Escape
More tune up tips 98 SOHC with 144K

on my 98 4.0 SOHC failed my emissions inspection with 301 and 304 codes.
I have 144K on this truck which I bought used with about 134K and it was poorly maintained.. so I dreaded trying to remove the plugs. Started on the Driver's side -- all came out easy -- not over torqued and all on this side went in well.
Now the passenger side is tough.. Was able to get the front plug out, but the middle one and one closest to the firewall took some time. Having cracked plugs and stripped them in the more than 40+ cars I have owned.. I am always cautious.. I recommend -- as did another poster -- for additional access removing the inner fender. It is only 5 8mm bolts and a three Phillips screws. Note: I couldn't remove two of the screws as they were rusted in the fender but was able to bend the plastic back and the extra work space made all of the difference. I used a 3/8 drive 6 pt. 5/8 deep socket -- not a spark plug socket-- and carefully using an SK offset ratchet handle was able to get the last two plugs out.
For the install on the passenger side -- I recommend using a craftsman --or any brand 3/8 drive with swivel 5/8's spark plug socket which -- with a short extension makes threading them in correctly much easier. I always use anti-seize on my plug threads..
 
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