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how to remove a stubborn spark plug


thekeymaker's Avatar
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01-08-03, 06:16 AM   #1  
thekeymaker
how to remove a stubborn spark plug

ok i'm trying to do a tune up on my 1988 chevy astro van with a 4.3 liter engine i tryed to remove one of the spark plugs but i could not it was in there to tight now the last person to put the plugs in was the dealer. does anyone know how to Safely break these free with out breaking the spark plug off Don,

 
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01-08-03, 07:10 AM   #2  
Joe_F
An impact gun if it's really stuck.

If not, a 1/2 drive rachet will get it out. Spray it really good with WD40, PB Blaster or another good penetrant.

 
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01-08-03, 08:17 AM   #3  
tstokka
try warming the engine by running it for a while prior to wrenching on the plug. stop the motor before wrenching also that might hurt if you don't. good luck

 
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01-08-03, 11:01 AM   #4  
Dan Meyer
When you replace the plugs, put some anti-seize on the threads - keeps them from rusting tight.

 
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01-08-03, 11:28 AM   #5  
Joe_F
True. Sounds like this one is cross threaded...

I've never had a stuck spark plug in any car I've owned .

 
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01-08-03, 01:09 PM   #6  
thekeymaker
it better not be cross threaded and if it is the dealer is responsible since they are the ones who put the plugs in evrey time i put plugs in i did it by hand and was very careful. also is the pb blaster safe to use on spark plugs i was told to be careful if i used it in case the plugs get red hot. this is one reason folks why you try and do the repairs yourself i'm never going to the dealer again unless if it is a part that i need oh yeah if the threads are crossed can this be fixed and thanks for the advice evreyone

 
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01-08-03, 05:51 PM   #7  
Joe_F
Just spray PB Blaster on it cold and use a 1/2" drive rachet and spark plug socket to whip it out. Use a pipe on the end of the rachet handle (watch yourself) for leverage if you have to.

Unless we are dealing with an aluminum head, chances are the spark plug's threads will be wasted before the cylinder head's.

Yes, cylinder heads can be retapped. If the dealer did the repair the last time, have them make good on it if you can't get it out.

To use Otter's expression, "You can't tar all dealers with the same brush".

Your dealer, if they did indeed cross-thread it is at fault, not all GM dealers. There are good and bad in all walks of life/service trades/life in general.

 
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01-09-03, 12:42 PM   #8  
otter_
I'm pretty sure that the cylinder head in said vehicle is aluminum. If the dealer didn't use anti-seize on the plug thread, it's going to be stuck good and tight.

Follow Joe's advice and use a 1/2 drive with a cheater bar.

 
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01-09-03, 01:02 PM   #9  
Joe_F
I agree with Otter.

 
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01-09-03, 03:08 PM   #10  
dlrambo
Head is definately NOT aluminum on the 4.3L engine. Tapered seat spark plugs quite often will "get stuck" and take some force to unseat. I have never found it necessary to use anything except my 3.8 flex ratchet to remove them. A spark plug socket with a swivel built into it works well in the Astro/Safari vans. I have owned 4 of them over the years and found it easiest to remove them from the bottom (on a hoist is great) to achieve the best access and leverage on the wrench.

In any case, you definately will want to apply a light film of antisieze on the threads of the new plugs when you put them in. That will eliminate the problem you are having now. I will be surprised if you actually have one cross-threaded, but if you do you can get a re-threading die at the parts store fairly cheap to repair the threads in the hole.

 
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01-09-03, 08:56 PM   #11  
otter_
not entirely true. Current 4300 Gen II engines have aluminum heads, and they've been around for a while, perhaps not as far back as 88.

 
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01-10-03, 03:40 AM   #12  
dlrambo
Good point, but since we are dealing with an '88 model - we don't need to worry about current models - we just need to deal with the '88 models, and they were cast heads. That is entirely true!

 
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01-10-03, 09:44 PM   #13  
otter_
I'm going to have to correct myself. Even the newest incarnation of the 4300 has iron heads.

Hey! I'm wrong! There's a first time for everything.....

 
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