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Tips for removing stuck spark plug?


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MarineGrunt
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Jan 4, 2015, 10:45 AM

Post #1 of 21 (2280 views)
Tips for removing stuck spark plug? Sign In

Just curious what tricks there are for removing a stuck plug. I've heard that you want the engine cool so you don't pull the threads. I've also heard that you want it warm so the head expands some. I had one years ago when I was in high school that snapped off flush. It was in a Pontiac Sundbird. I'm just wondering what the pros do when they come across one that will not come out.


Hammer Time
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Jan 4, 2015, 11:00 AM

Post #2 of 21 (2275 views)
Re: Tips for removing stuck spark plug? Sign In

Other than the special plugs that go in the 5.4 3 valve, I haven't seen a spark plug break in 20 years. The plugs are steel and the heads are mostly aluminum. They will tear the threads out sometime coming out in which case you would try to install a heli-coil. They make some especially for plugs. Some of the older 5.4s would loosen the plugs if they weren't torqued correctly. That would ruin the threads and I have a kit for installing inserts in those.



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Tom Greenleaf
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Jan 4, 2015, 11:08 AM

Post #3 of 21 (2273 views)
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OK buddy here's the book - just kidding. Hope it's a quality plug first. Some are two crimped parts and you can just get it to snap leaving the threads and ground electrode inside head, no hex - oh no, thrust me! Try PB just because. Get a good straight shot at it and try a tad of shock if possible, wrench on plug socket with light taps with hammer on wrench both tighten direction and out.


NO HEAT - yet. Heat really should make it tighter but might be useful later when it really screws up. Worried about an alloy head also.


At some point you have to go for it and would do a shocking turn square on handle of ratchet or what you use.


Gotta try at some point. If it does the worst and you are down to screw extractor(s) just use good stuff. You know it's totally trouble if you break one of those off. Assorted ideas if you do but try first. Do not rush this. The fix could take many hours if it breaks just wrong, TomCrazy



Tom Greenleaf
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Jan 4, 2015, 11:10 AM

Post #4 of 21 (2269 views)
Re: Tips for removing stuck spark plug? Sign In

I knew HT would hit before I did. If another has come out already and is a Champion be worried! Try to break one already out on a vise and see how it would break? One piece plugs shouldn't and haven't on me for ages, T


Discretesignals
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Jan 4, 2015, 11:33 AM

Post #5 of 21 (2260 views)
Re: Tips for removing stuck spark plug? Sign In

Believe it or not I've had more of a success rate removing spark plugs on the Ford 3V with a 1/2 inch impact on a warm motor. That is what the Ford techs at Bartow have been doing.

Another main factor is that the plug is torqued to factory specifications and that the threads are free of oil, dirt and grease before sticking another plug in. Don't use anti-seize on nickel coated plugs. I've seen people put He-Man torque on spark plugs making it miserable for the next poor soul to service them.





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(This post was edited by Discretesignals on Jan 4, 2015, 11:37 AM)


Hammer Time
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Jan 4, 2015, 12:04 PM

Post #6 of 21 (2248 views)
Re: Tips for removing stuck spark plug? Sign In


Quote
Believe it or not I've had more of a success rate removing spark plugs on the Ford 3V with a 1/2 inch impact on a warm motor. That is what the Ford techs at Bartow have been doing.


You gotta be Sh!tting me

Did you put anything on it to soak first?

I can usually do a set with 2 or 3 broke.

Back to MGs question...................

They really don't break off in aluminum heads. They just pull the threads out if they are seized.



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(This post was edited by Hammer Time on Jan 4, 2015, 12:08 PM)


Tom Greenleaf
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Jan 4, 2015, 12:29 PM

Post #7 of 21 (2243 views)
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Taper seats are only ones to give me trouble like this - no gasket types. One was aluminum head others iron not broken by me but got that job. All did remove with an extractor but took tons of time........



^^^^ Sample pic and wont show with my luck????? Tom



MarineGrunt
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Jan 4, 2015, 2:54 PM

Post #8 of 21 (2230 views)
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I'm not actually doing plugs right now just noticed the warning under the hood about a cool engine before removing. I replaced the plugs last year.


When I had the one break off years ago I did use a helicoil. I didn't know much about working on cars then. Looking back, I know I didn't get all of the shavings out from trying to drill out the plug. What do you all do about the possibility of the shavings left behind inside the cylinder? I'm sure you could rig a small hose to a shop vac but I bet you can't get them all.


With my luck, if I used an impact, I'd break every one! I guess if they normally break anyways what the hell, give it a go, huh.


Hammer Time
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Jan 4, 2015, 3:05 PM

Post #9 of 21 (2229 views)
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Just get a blow gun with a long stem and insert it well into the cylinder. When it create turbulence and pressure, there is only one way out of the cylinder.

The plugs we were talking about on the 3 valve engine are special plug.

The bottom housing is only connected the to top section by glass.





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(This post was edited by Hammer Time on Jan 4, 2015, 3:09 PM)


MarineGrunt
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Jan 4, 2015, 3:11 PM

Post #10 of 21 (2225 views)
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I think I remember you guys talking about those special plugs one time or you me mentioned that if you get half of them out without breaking you're doing good. Something like that.
Thanks for the info.


Hammer Time
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Jan 4, 2015, 3:16 PM

Post #11 of 21 (2224 views)
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That is correct. The lower section goes into a fitted section of the head and it gets all carboned on the outside so when you turn the plug socket, you can hear the glass breaking and the bottom section stays stuck in the head.





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MarineGrunt
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Jan 4, 2015, 3:59 PM

Post #12 of 21 (2221 views)
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Why would they design them like that? Common sense tells you that design is bound to cause problems. I bet we could design a better plug and become millionaires. I could then buy a convertible, move to Miami, and live the good life along the coast. Cool I guess a different replacement plug is probably out there already though.


Hammer Time
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Jan 4, 2015, 4:02 PM

Post #13 of 21 (2220 views)
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Nope, same plug goes back in.



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MarineGrunt
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Jan 4, 2015, 5:53 PM

Post #14 of 21 (2214 views)
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No kidding....If they break that much I'm surprised they haven't designed a new style......Wanna put your business up as collateral for investment money? I'll need money for patents, molds, along with a new building decked out with the latest tools and equipment so I can install them in the new Ford truck to see how they'll work. Oh yeah, I'll need a new Chevy truck and enclosed car hauler to go and pick everything up.
Do you trust how they say you don't have to touch certain types of plugs for 100K? I realize there are probably a lot of different variables involved in how long they last though. Reason I ask is yesterday I was helping a friend change out his front seals in his 07 Silverado and he said his has iridium plugs and you don't have to even touch them for 100k. Supposedly our Envoy has platinum plugs which they say are good for 100k but I changed them around 60K or so just to be safe. I always buy used vehicles though and I like starting with a fresh slate so I have an accurate maintenance schedule. 100k just seems like a long time and wonder if it's used more for a sales pitch. I'm aware that some plugs could possibly last that long but is it worth waiting until 100k or until one goes bad?
With all of my questions today we ought to turn this thread into a game show.


Discretesignals
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Jan 4, 2015, 6:28 PM

Post #15 of 21 (2209 views)
Re: Tips for removing stuck spark plug? Sign In

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHQxnG6Bd3o





Since we volunteer our time and knowledge, we ask for you to please follow up when a problem is resolved.


Hammer Time
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Jan 4, 2015, 8:00 PM

Post #16 of 21 (2207 views)
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According to that video they have modified the new plugs. I didn't realize that.



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Discretesignals
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Jan 5, 2015, 5:47 AM

Post #17 of 21 (2195 views)
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Quote
What do you all do about the possibility of the shavings left behind inside the cylinder?


If you put grease on your drill bit, it will catch a majority of the shavings.





Since we volunteer our time and knowledge, we ask for you to please follow up when a problem is resolved.


nickwarner
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Jan 6, 2015, 1:52 PM

Post #18 of 21 (2170 views)
Re: Tips for removing stuck spark plug? Sign In

Also, to ensure you got everything out of the cylinder you can always run a borescope in there to see. For iron heads you can use a magnet attachment on the scope to pick up anything left in there. But its a rare thing to be having an iron head with this issue.

I would say nominate the engineer that invented the original 3v plug for a severe beating, but it has been profitable for techs when the job is actually bid properly. I tell people with those motors that I can't give a total firm price until I have all the plugs out.


Hammer Time
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Jan 6, 2015, 1:58 PM

Post #19 of 21 (2169 views)
Re: Tips for removing stuck spark plug? Sign In

Personally, I don't like the grease idea. That grease is going to get on other things and just attract the chips. I would prefer to keep everything clean and dry and things will blow right back out of the plug hole.



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Tom Greenleaf
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Jan 6, 2015, 2:14 PM

Post #20 of 21 (2166 views)
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All ideas have merit IMO. Depending I would trust a long blast or air in all directions as enough such that strong air is coming back out plug hole. By rights anything left should about instantly blow out exhaust without harm if just some filings, T


Discretesignals
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Jan 6, 2015, 4:57 PM

Post #21 of 21 (2156 views)
Re: Tips for removing stuck spark plug? Sign In

You don't put a mound of grease on it and spin the drill up to 20K rpm. You drill some, pull the drill and clean, and then repeat. Believe me it works and you'll have less of a mess.





Since we volunteer our time and knowledge, we ask for you to please follow up when a problem is resolved.

(This post was edited by Discretesignals on Jan 6, 2015, 4:58 PM)






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