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Spark plug and wire change nightmare

SoNic67

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Anyone else ever have one that was a nightmare like this?
Worse. I broke 3 of them and used an extractor to take out the leftovers. At the third one, the extractor broke in the heads, so I had to take them out and to a shop.
Most expensive spark plugs that I ever changed... and I changed probably close to 100 by now.
It is all because of salt belt that my truck lived until I bought it. And laziness of original owner. And poor design of original plugs (just 1/2 threaded to help with automatic machines on the factory floor plus no anti-seize coating or plating on the OE plugs).

PS: New plugs have metallic anti-seize plating deposited on them, no need for anything else. Read here if you don't believe:
http://www.ngksparkplugs.com/pdf/dyk_5points.pdf
 



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2000StreetRod

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Why I sold our Highlander

ALL the V6 transversal mounted CAR engines have the same issue. You have to lift the plenum to get to the rear plugs.

Last year I decided to change the plugs on my wire's 2006 Highlander transverse V6 at 30K miles since it was 8 years old. I did the front plugs with little problem but couldn't figure out how to get to the rear plugs. After doing some research online I decided to just trade the vehicle in on a new rear wheel drive Jeep Grand Cherokee with an inline V6. That way I also don't have to worry about constant velocity joints going bad. Another advantage is a much shorter turning radius.
 






PAExplorerXLT

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A man's got to know his limitations.

In about a minute I realized that this is not a job I am going to finish myself. So I asked my trusty mechanic to do it. They came out at 164000 miles and I am pretty sure they were stock plugs. The gap in one of them was about a mile wide. I miss the days of the DOHC engines with spark plugs lined up smack in the middle of camshafts. They were begging to be changed.
 






SoNic67

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They are still there. On I4 engines are on top. On V6 engines are on V angles :p
 






koda2000

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Now that service interval for spark plugs is commonly recommended by manufacturers for spark plugs is commonly run 100,000, it would be wise to break free the spark plugs at 40,000 - 50,000 miles. No need to remove completely.

I guess it couldn't hurt, but if you're going to go through that much trouble, why not just go ahead and replace them? Use dielectric grease on the boots and anti-seize on the plug threads. Doing that will insure you can get them out easily next time.

Tip: Just like coolant hoses, always twist the plug boots to break them free before pulling on them and you'll find they will come off much more easily.

Considering you live in AZ (assuming your truck didn't come from rust-belt) you shouldn't have much trouble changing the plugs. All but one of mine are GA trucks and changing the plugs was a piece of cake.
 






SoNic67

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Doing that will insure you can get them out easily next time.

Actually, the anti-seize is needed only on the old style, non-plated spark plugs.
On the ones treated with Cr-Ni-Zn plating, it might do more bad than good.

I linked several times the document stating that...
 






1998Exp

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On many newer V engines, the plugs go through the intake manifold. This includes the not-so-new Ford 4.6L V8 (used until around 2010 or so on many different vehicles). No crawling through the wheel opening there...
They are still there. On I4 engines are on top. On V6 engines are on V angles :p
 






SoNic67

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Oh, that was a Ford "experiment". Two-piece spark plugs that were famous for being ejected from block....
 






nkfroth

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True enough, but.....

I guess it couldn't hurt, but if you're going to go through that much trouble, why not just go ahead and replace them? Use dielectric grease on the boots and anti-seize on the plug threads. Doing that will insure you can get them out easily next time.

Tip: Just like coolant hoses, always twist the plug boots to break them free before pulling on them and you'll find they will come off much more easily.

Considering you live in AZ (assuming your truck didn't come from rust-belt) you shouldn't have much trouble changing the plugs. All but one of mine are GA trucks and changing the plugs was a piece of cake.

Anti-seize compound is applied to the threads. the end surface of the threaded body of a sparkplug is flat and nearly flush with the surface of the combustion chamber - a location where anti-seize compound is not applied, and even if a small amount of A.S. compound was applied, it would burn off quickly.

Those deposits are what you are disrupting when removing sparkplugs. It's up to the owner to determine just how tough a sparkplug will be to break free and remove. For MY money, it makes more sense to break the sparkplugs free at shorter intervals than are recommended by the manufacturer - at least once every 30,000 - 50,000 miles.

The auto manufacturers may say that service interval on the spark plugs is 100,000 miles If you read the sparkplug manufacturers own recommendations, they'll tell you that there's a BIG difference between servicing a sparkplug ( the periodic loosening of the plugs) and the actual life of a sparkplug (when they should be replaced).

And I can pretty much guarantee that having to helicoil a sparkplug hole in a head is a lot more work and much more expensive than loosening the plugs by a couple of turns and then reseating the sparkplug 30000 - 50000 miles. And my vehicles that have lasted longer than 400000 miles (76 Buick Skylark and 87 Volvo740T).

But that's just my opinion and my vehicles.

One last point - the climate where we park our vehicles at night does not by itself make sparkplug easier or tougher to remove. That is more a function of how well each person/mechanic tolerates seasonal temperature extremes. I've not only lived in AZ.
 






SoNic67

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One last point - the climate where we park our vehicles at night does not by itself make sparkplug easier or tougher to remove.
But where you drive them does. Salt on roads does make a difference.
I have bought my first (and last) vehicle that was first registered in salt belt - didn't know better. This is how all of the the spark plugs were looking at 80K miles (with penetrant oil on them).

s1.png
s2.png
 






koda2000

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You say "True but..." however you don't really offer an argument to anything I said.

Removing a spark plug has always involved working it back and forth to knock the carbon deposits loose from the end of the threads. Using a torque wrench when installing spark plugs is also important so that you don't over tighten the plug and expose the first thread to combustion chamber deposits. This is even more important on plugs that still use metal crush washers.

As far as where you live not being relevant, you obviously never seen what a spark plug looks like that's been in a northeastern vehicle exposed to road salt for 100,000+ miles. They get so rusted that they weld themselves to the cast iron cylinder head and can round off (or worse yet, break off) when you try to remove them. A plug in an aluminum head w/out anti-seize can pull the threads out of the head due to dissimilar metal electrolysis. I've been changing spark plugs in 100ths of vehicles for over 50 years and have pretty much seen it all. The business end of the plug wearing out is only one issue. I never said loosening the plugs periodically was a bad idea. I just said if going through the trouble, why not go ahead and replace them? I've always used a small dab of anti-seize on the threads, regardless of plug coating, and it's never caused a me problem.
 






SoNic67

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Using a torque wrench when installing spark plugs is also important so that you don't over tighten the plug and expose the first thread to combustion chamber deposits.
And exactly that's why you never use anti-seize on metal-plated spark plugs. It will lubricate and lead to over-torqueing the plug.
That metal is designed to break-off and assist in later removal of plugs.
 






nkfroth

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Plenty of Chicago winters

You say "True but..." however you don't really offer an argument to anything I said."

Your mind is set. What good is continued rebuttal?


Removing a spark plug has always involved working it back and forth to knock the carbon deposits loose from the end of the threads. Using a torque wrench when installing spark plugs is also important so that you don't over tighten the plug and expose the first thread to combustion chamber deposits. This is even more important on plugs that still use metal crush washers.

"As far as where you live not being relevant, you obviously never seen what a spark plug looks like that's been in a northeastern vehicle exposed to road salt for 100,000+ miles."

There's nothing unique to northeast winter that I didn't see in 20 years of living north of Chicago's winter wonderland on the Wisconsin/Illinois border.
What I see is evidence of little preventative maintenance.
 






Millertime1987

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I am hoping that after changing plugs and wires the cel light goes off from the 7th and 8th plugs are misfiring. I think they had the OG wires
 






Blueskeys

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i was expecting a nightmare when I replaced my plugs and wires on my 96 5.0. Apparently
who ever did them before (had aftermarket non Motorcraft wires) had used anti seize on the plugs. I replaced with Motorcraft wires and iridium spark plugs. it took me all of two hours to do the job and about $110.00. A mechanic I have used in the past wanted $300 and I thought that was a rip off. I was right!!!

Before my gas mileage was averaging about 16mpg and now it is closed to 18 and I have gotten 19.8 on the highway a couple times. I am enjoying the power this has given my truck.
 






sirdigalot

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where the car lives makes a massive difference, my explorer is a born and raised Florida central florida vehicle ( none of that coastal salt water!) i recently changed the plugs since i figured the last owner was not up to much maintenance ( they were more concerned with 20 inch rims rubber band thin tires and large booming stereos than actual "maintenance :-/ )

however the plugs came out a breeze nothing was hard work at all, sadly the wires faired worse ( origional from the factory - from 1997!) i needed to replace the coil too.

but removing them? not an issue, and, fortunatly nothing has been difficult all bolts come out no shearing no problem even without PB or WD40.

on the other side of the equation, we were given a 2001 highanddry elantra which spent its entire life in the midwest ( michigan) that thing is oxidising so fast i think it might catch fire! nothing, and i repeat nothing is easy i have had to replace a rear brake line because it was rusted right though ( one side had already been replaced) i cannot undo the bloody bleed nipple on the rear drum to bleed properly ( it is this sort of amalgamated rusty blob *L*) i cannot ( or more appropriatly will not) remove the drum because again it is just a pile of rusty poop, heck even in the engine bay the A/C compressor pully has rusted through in places!

i think i also got some rust in my eye when i was working on it... I HATE THAT CAR!

i am still in two minds whether we even want to keep it or scrap it, i am really leaning to the latter.

so yes if you live in the salt/snow belt, make sure you clean your car regularly and get it sealed or treated every so often, your mechanic (or you yourself) will be thankful for it - unless you want to dump it off to some poor schmuck before stuff goes bad *L*)

(you see similar rust on coastal cars too thanks to salt spray.... saltwater and most metals do not mix... maybe get a large sacrificial block somewhere to help with the corrosion i dunno)
 






SoNic67

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....a 2001 highanddry elantra which spent its entire life in the midwest ( michigan)...
I had the same experience. My Explorer lived three years in Michigan and it was already full of rust. I will NEVER buy again car from rust belt, no matter how good is the price.
I would look hard into your Elantra's subframe, it was a recall of those from rust belt states - it was rusting out and had wheels falling off at highway speeds.
Dealer will probably replace the subframe for free... if you can trust the rest of the car.

http://topclassactions.com/lawsuit-...i-subframe-corrosion-class-action-settlement/
 






sirdigalot

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thanks! i will certainly check that out!
 









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