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post #1 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 11:05 AM Thread Starter
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Changing spark plugs - Easy job???

Hey all, quick question. I'm thinking of changing my spark plugs to try and up my fuel efficiency. I've had a dramatic loss of mpg over the last year or so from about avg 25 to about 15. Since I'm nearing 100K on this thing, I though this would be a good place to start.

Is this a difficult job? In other words are they difficult to access? I basically just want to open the hood and get right at it. Also, can I just change the plugs or do the wires have to be changed out too? How can you tell if they need replacing?

Finally if anyone could tell me what size socket I'll need for this and what types of plugs are good. anyone use autolite?

Thanks,
Mike

p.s. any pics would be useful too if you got'em, thanks!

Last edited by pottermj2007; 02-09-2009 at 11:10 AM. Reason: needed more infor
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post #2 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 11:16 AM
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Spark plugs are a very easy job on these engines. There are 6 coil packs on the top of the engine, 3 on each valve cover. Remove them and the spark plugs will be underneath.

You will need a T25 torx bit for the coil pack bolts (3.2/3.5 engines), and IIRC its an 8mm socket you will need for the 2.7. There are two bolts on each coil. Be careful if you have the torx bolts, they are easy to strip out.

The plugs are 5/8, you will need an 8" extension and deep well spark plug socket with the rubber holder inside so you can get the plugs out of the heads.

There are no wires to replace, although there are coil boots that you can replace as part of a tune up. I have always used Champion plugs, and have had good luck with them.

Check your air filter, pcv, change the oil, and check your coolant and transmission fluid while your there.

If you are nearing 100K miles, it might be time to change your timing belt/water pump if you have a 3.2/3.5, or your chain and pump if you have 2.7.


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post #3 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 11:18 AM
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autolite is crap. use NGK or if you want something cheaper use champion platinums, they are $2.75 a plug. I have never changed the wires on mine and they are fine. Changing spoark plugs shouldn't take more than 30 mins for a beginner. You need a spark plug socket ( any auto parts store will know what it is), a ratched and a 10 inch extension for your ratchet. You do need a smaller socket (forgot the size) to remove the coils. You can either unplug the wires that go into the coils and then remove the coils or just pull em out. Make sure you use anti-sieze both on the thread of the spark plug and the screws holding the coils. Oh yeah you need to gap the plugs too, look at the sticker under the hood (between the two head lights) it will tell you the gap you need. Make sure you have a gapping tool with you (99cents).
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post #4 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 11:19 AM
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dammit dan
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post #5 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 11:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jdnet View Post
I have never changed the wires on mine and they are fine.
Quote:
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dammit dan

I take it that sentence explains the "dammit dan"...LOL...no plug wires....
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post #6 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 11:54 AM
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I'm going to reiterate on the anti-seize bit. I just swapped mine out not too long ago and had to brace myself against the car in order to pop the old ones loose. Broke the skin on my hand in several places trying to do it too. So use anti-seize!

Other than that, it'll take maybe ten minutes the second time around, 30 tops if this is your first time.
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post #7 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 12:05 PM
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if your fuel economy is dropping and just to improve the performance, idling characteristics, etc on your car, you ought to give a SEAFOAM TREATMENT some consideration. If you do Seafoam, do that first, then do the plugs...
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post #8 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 12:26 PM Thread Starter
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Spark plugs are a very easy job on these engines. There are 6 coil packs on the top of the engine, 3 on each valve cover. Remove them and the spark plugs will be underneath.

You will need a T25 torx bit for the coil pack bolts (3.2/3.5 engines), and IIRC its an 8mm socket you will need for the 2.7. There are two bolts on each coil. Be careful if you have the torx bolts, they are easy to strip out.

The plugs are 5/8, you will need an 8" extension and deep well spark plug socket with the rubber holder inside so you can get the plugs out of the heads.

There are no wires to replace, although there are coil boots that you can replace as part of a tune up. I have always used Champion plugs, and have had good luck with them.

Check your air filter, pcv, change the oil, and check your coolant and transmission fluid while your there.

If you are nearing 100K miles, it might be time to change your timing belt/water pump if you have a 3.2/3.5, or your chain and pump if you have 2.7.

I guess I should have mentioned that I have a 2.7L engine. So from what you've told me, I can just take off the coil packs using an 8mm socket wrench, followed by a 5/8" for the plugs with an 8" extend. That's it? Sounds pretty easy.

I do understand that the engine must be cool b4 doing this, but is there any other advice so that I don't damage anything? I heard I need some sort of rubber adapter to insert and start the plugs? Where can I get this, or do I need it?

As for the plugs, the reason I asked about autolite was that I was going to get them at Wal-Mart, and that is all they sell besides Bosch, but I read on here that Bosch is crap. I don't want to spend a lot, so I guess I'll go with Champion..

Finally, I just had the chain and pump replaced last month, as my car died...$1700bucks!!! Hence why I'm more firm on trying to do this myself. Don't want to give those guys anymore money. Everything else you listed I've done. Maybe I'll try the seafoam thing. I've read about it, but I don't want to if I don't have to.

OH last question at this time...do I need a torque wrench to set the plugs or just go until they are tight?

thanks,
Mike
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post #9 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 12:29 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Jdnet View Post
Oh yeah you need to gap the plugs too, look at the sticker under the hood (between the two head lights) it will tell you the gap you need. Make sure you have a gapping tool with you (99cents).
Actually the plugs I was going to buy say on the package that they are pregapped? IS this not true of all plugs? If I get the champion plugs, will they be gapped already? I don't mind doing it...99cents is nothing, but I'd feel more comfortable knowing that they are ready to go.
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post #10 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 12:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 32Intrepid View Post
...You will need a T25 torx bit for the coil pack bolts (3.2/3.5 engines), and IIRC its an 8mm socket you will need for the 2.7. There are two bolts on each coil. Be careful if you have the torx bolts, they are easy to strip out...
My 2.7 also has torx head screws on the coils. I forget whether it is 25 or 27 - I do know for a fact that those screws on some of our cars do have torx 25, some torx 27 heads (relates back to them stripping out easily - i.e., must use the right size torx bit).

Last edited by peva; 02-09-2009 at 12:35 PM.
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post #11 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 12:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pottermj2007 View Post
I guess I should have mentioned that I have a 2.7L engine. So from what you've told me, I can just take off the coil packs using an 8mm socket wrench, followed by a 5/8" for the plugs with an 8" extend. That's it? Sounds pretty easy.

I do understand that the engine must be cool b4 doing this, but is there any other advice so that I don't damage anything? I heard I need some sort of rubber adapter to insert and start the plugs? Where can I get this, or do I need it?

As for the plugs, the reason I asked about autolite was that I was going to get them at Wal-Mart, and that is all they sell besides Bosch, but I read on here that Bosch is crap. I don't want to spend a lot, so I guess I'll go with Champion..

Finally, I just had the chain and pump replaced last month, as my car died...$1700bucks!!! Hence why I'm more firm on trying to do this myself. Don't want to give those guys anymore money. Everything else you listed I've done. Maybe I'll try the seafoam thing. I've read about it, but I don't want to if I don't have to.

OH last question at this time...do I need a torque wrench to set the plugs or just go until they are tight?

thanks,
Mike
Thats it. Just remove the coil packs to change the plugs.

Just get a spark plug socket. It should have a rubber sleeve inside of it to hold on to the plug. Without that it is a pain to pull them out of the spark plug tubes.

Spark plug torque is 15 ft. lbs.
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post #12 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 12:46 PM
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I always use platinum plugs when i replace mine whenever i do it, i changed mine i think a couple weeks ago. the 3.2 that i just bought still sounds incredible, i want to change the timimg belt and water pump. I just changed the coolant, changed the oil and put High mileage oil in there. There was no air filter in the engine, so i bought one before i even knew there wasnt one in there. Trusted my instinct. Plugs are easy as hell to change.
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post #13 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 01:17 PM
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I take it that sentence explains the "dammit dan"...LOL...no plug wires....
no it means I spent all that time writing a reply and when I hit the send button I found thatr you already replied.
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post #14 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 01:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pottermj2007 View Post
Actually the plugs I was going to buy say on the package that they are pregapped? IS this not true of all plugs? If I get the champion plugs, will they be gapped already? I don't mind doing it...99cents is nothing, but I'd feel more comfortable knowing that they are ready to go.
gapping them is a two second job. I had pre-gapped bosch platinum+2 in my car till I changed them to champions yesterday. I used the old plugs for about 6 months and found that they really suck even though they cost more than the champions. Plugs are usually gapped but your best bet is to check the gap because most plugs cover many different models therefore are not gapped accordingly.
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post #15 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 01:32 PM Thread Starter
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gapping them is a two second job. I had pre-gapped bosch platinum+2 in my car till I changed them to champions yesterday. I used the old plugs for about 6 months and found that they really suck even though they cost more than the champions. Plugs are usually gapped but your best bet is to check the gap because most plugs cover many different models therefore are not gapped accordingly.
Got it! I think I'll splurg and shell out the cold hard cash to get a gapping tool. I had life long plans for the 99cents. Possibly a king size snickers bar or maybe a bag of chips to keep me going during this job.

Thanks for your help people...I really appreciate it. I will probably do this job this weekend, weather permitting. The only thing I need is the plug socket with insert.

Talk to you later....Mike
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