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Spark Plug Replace and install HOW TO

Old 8/13/07, 10:48 PM
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Spark Plug Replace and install HOW TO

Ok,
I've been asking around, on several different forums and no one could produce a How To pertaining to the removal and replacement of the spark plugs.

So as I am no expert, I have built an "article" if you will, of how I replaced my sparkplugs. It was fairly easy, (much harder than replacing the plugs on my old Honda) and the total time involved was a couple of hours. I know it can be done much faster, but I took my time, documented everything and checked the condition of my old plugs before progressing.

Here Goes:
Step 1
I cleaned the engine. As I have neglected the underhood appearance of things for a few months, I wanted to remove as much dirt and debris as possible. Beginning by blowing everything off, I was amazed at the amount of loose dirt I was able to remove. Secondly, I gave the engine a good bath. I used a safe degreaser, and followed with a soaking from my Mr. Clean spot free car wash kit. (I didn't forget to cover the intake, alternator, etc...) The next step i used was to break out the yard blower and remove as much loose water as possible. The yard blower has become an intergral part of my car cleaning tool box and I see no reason it can't be used under the hood as well. The cherry on top was to spray everything with Meguier's detailing spray and hand dry everything I could reach.

Step 2
As the temperature reached 105 in the shade today, I worked in my garage. Setting up lighting was a huge help as the spark plugs reside in dark unholy caves within the bowels of our S197's.

Step 3
Now were doing what we set out to do. Removal of the Coil on Plugs ( COPs). In the picture below you'll see the bolt that holds the COP in place. I noticed that they were EASY to remove and I thought it was cool how they floated over the plug sockets.


Additionally, the connector needs to be removed to get the COPs out of the engine bay.


The COP itself can now be pulled out of the plug socket. I simply reached around the bottom of the COP and gently tugged. Now that I have the COP out of the engine bay, I gave it a good wipe down and inspected the COP and Boot for any wear or tear.

Step 4
Removal of the Spark Plug.
Using a can of compressed air I blew out the Plug hole. I was suprised to see how much dust and sand that came out of each one. (do this before you remove the plug you don't want debris going down into the cylinder)



I used a 14mm socket to remove the plugs. I also greased the outside of my plug socked with each plug removal. IT WAS A VERY THIGHT FIT, ALMOST TOO TIGHT.




Inside before blowing out hole.

Step 5
Gap them plugs
The pic below is pretty much self explanatory. I won't get into how much gap and why. That's another write-up entirely.



Step 6
Reverse Direction.
I applied a SMALL amount of anti-seize compound to the threads of the plug. I then used a section of fuel line to hand thread the plugs into their new homes. These cars have aluminum head and it is paramount that you do nothing to damage them.



A torque wrench is another MUST HAVE.
I torqued my plugs to 25 ft lbs.



Step 7
I applied a small amount of brake caliper grease to the bottom of the COP's boot. Using gentle pressure I pushed them over the new plugs. Installed the COP's retention bolt and reattached the COP's connector.
I put a dot of touch-up paint over the OEM dot to mark that a plug was complete.



Then I did it all 7 more times.
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Old 8/13/07, 11:32 PM
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Very nice write up!!
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Old 8/14/07, 09:48 AM
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Nice write up. I do have a quick question for you: Is there a reason you did not use dielectric grease for the COP boots?
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Old 8/14/07, 10:16 AM
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Great write-up and pics, Sharky.

How many miles were on your car when you changed the plugs?

Was the engine cold, warm, or hot when you changed them?

Were you able to easily reverse thread the old plugs out of their sockets, or did you have to use penetrating oil to help remove them?

Did the old plugs have any carbon build-up?

Thanks.
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Old 8/14/07, 12:49 PM
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Dang, why can't I see the pics? Looks like a great write-up...

Mike E
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Old 8/14/07, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by RRRoamer View Post
Nice write up. I do have a quick question for you: Is there a reason you did not use dielectric grease for the COP boots?
Dielectric grease conducts heat. Well just about anything conducts heat, but some things better than others. I used the brake caliper grease because it is not as good a conductor of heat and does just about the same thing as the dielectric. From Motorcrafts website regarding the changing of plugs:

Related Chemicals & Lubricants
The following Motorcraft® chemicals and lubricants are recommended for the replacement of spark plugs:
Power Flush Injector Fluid
Silicone Brake Caliper Grease and Dielectric Compound
High Temperature Nickel Anti-Seize Lubricant
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Old 8/14/07, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by ski View Post
Great write-up and pics, Sharky.

How many miles were on your car when you changed the plugs?

Was the engine cold, warm, or hot when you changed them?

Were you able to easily reverse thread the old plugs out of their sockets, or did you have to use penetrating oil to help remove them?

Did the old plugs have any carbon build-up?

Thanks.
Approx 10k miles... I am installing a nitrous kit and wanted to go to a lower temp plug.
I changed the plugs with the engine almost at ambient temperature.
The plugs were not difficult to remove but some did require a little oomph to get them to budge.
And the old plugs still had alot of life left in them. No damage what-so-ever and had the exact amount of deposits/ carbon that i'd expect from any plug that's been abused for 10k miles .
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Old 8/14/07, 05:25 PM
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Nise write up. Did you happen to check how many plug treads these 3V heads have? I remember my '01 only had two or three treads and if you buggered just one, you would have a spit plug.
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Old 8/14/07, 06:39 PM
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Just an FYI to add here--Ford has a TSB of some sort on removing spark plugs. There is a known issue with the plugs getting carbon build-up on them and separating on the way out on 3 valve heads. Not a fun repair if the plug is in pieces. I can't locate the .pdf file for the TSB, but I did keep the basic instructions:

1. Get the motor up to operating temp
2. Let the engine cool till it is comfortable to work on.
3. Pull the coil packs
4. Squirt a little penetrant in each hole
5. Loosen each spark plug aprox 1 turn
6. Squirt more penetrant in each hole allowing the penetrant to soak for a few minutes.
7. You should now be able to remove the plugs, take it easy, Ford says if it takes more than 35ft-lbs, then apply more penetrant. 35ft-lbs is the point that the plug can seperate, if it feels tight turn it back in a little and then continue loosening. Also, listen to the plugs, if they are making a ton of noise then they have carbon buildup that is preventing them from coming out easily.
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Old 8/14/07, 08:33 PM
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can not wait for the gapping write up, seems like and interesting operation
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Old 8/14/07, 08:40 PM
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Don 't you normally just buy the plugs pregapped?
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Old 8/14/07, 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by RedDragon777 View Post
can not wait for the gapping write up, seems like and interesting operation
I did learn that our plugs CAN be not only Gapped but Degapped. It is a delicate operation but can be done! I was forced to find a way after I applied a little too much oomph while gapping one.
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Old 8/14/07, 09:31 PM
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Originally Posted by randy_tho View Post
Don 't you normally just buy the plugs pregapped?
Depending on your application...
N/A - .45 is just fine (how the plugs come, but you should check them anyway)
S/C or Turbo- .32-.38
Nitrous - .32 - .40 Depending on the size of the shot, fuel octane and timing.
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Old 8/14/07, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Import-Slaya View Post
Just an FYI to add here--Ford has a TSB of some sort on removing spark plugs. There is a known issue with the plugs getting carbon build-up on them and separating on the way out on 3 valve heads. Not a fun repair if the plug is in pieces. I can't locate the .pdf file for the TSB, but I did keep the basic instructions:

1. Get the motor up to operating temp
2. Let the engine cool till it is comfortable to work on.
3. Pull the coil packs
4. Squirt a little penetrant in each hole
5. Loosen each spark plug aprox 1 turn
6. Squirt more penetrant in each hole allowing the penetrant to soak for a few minutes.
7. You should now be able to remove the plugs, take it easy, Ford says if it takes more than 35ft-lbs, then apply more penetrant. 35ft-lbs is the point that the plug can seperate, if it feels tight turn it back in a little and then continue loosening. Also, listen to the plugs, if they are making a ton of noise then they have carbon buildup that is preventing them from coming out easily.
I had the penetrant nearby, but I honestly didn't need any. I set my Torque wrench for 35lbs and they all backed out fairly easily.
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Old 8/14/07, 09:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Sharky View Post
Depending on your application...
N/A - .45 is just fine (how the plugs come, but you should check them anyway)
S/C or Turbo- .32-.38
Nitrous - .32 - .40 Depending on the size of the shot, fuel octane and timing.
You forgot a 0 in front of your specs. My HTO's are gapped to .028.
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Old 8/14/07, 10:02 PM
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Sorry my ambien is typing.
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Old 8/14/07, 10:09 PM
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Yes, as I understand it, the lower gap for forced induction helps prevent spark blowout.

I guess I forgot we were talking about modified cars.

I've got a keychain that is a circle and starts thinner and gets thicker as it goes around. Ir measures gap and apparently you can insert it, and tap the electrode to shorten the gap. That's probably not the best way to set it though. I'm guessing there is some kind of tool from your above pictures.

I did learn that our plugs CAN be not only Gapped but Degapped.
The Iridiums I put in my Stealth have such a sharp electrode, you can't really gap them.
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Old 8/15/07, 12:41 AM
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where did you get the gapping tool from, and what did you use to find out the gap on the plug because i know you can not use a normal gap tool
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Old 8/15/07, 09:16 AM
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I got the gapping tool from Vortech. It was $40. OUCH!
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Old 8/15/07, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by RedDragon777 View Post
where did you get the gapping tool from, and what did you use to find out the gap on the plug because i know you can not use a normal gap tool
Originally Posted by Sharky View Post
I got the gapping tool from Vortech. It was $40. OUCH!
Here is a better and cheaper option... 25 bucks and it fits nicely in the vice becuase of the hex shape. Kevin and Josh at PMP are good guys, I just bought one from them recently. PMP 3V Plug Gapper

I also used a dremel to narrow down my feeler gage so it would fit under the electrode.




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