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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay... so I'm in the process of changing my spark plugs out. The vehicle has 145,xxx miles on it and upon removing the front three I found that they were Motorcraft, and I'm assuming they're factory... I know. o_O

I discovered that they were in there VERY tight and I had to use some force to get them out. I'm using a spark plug socket on a 3/8" drive ratchet with a u-joint and extenders and it worked for the front three, which are in succesfully.

However. I'm now moving to the back.

I'm working on the #4 cylinder, to the right rear if you're looking at the car dead on from the front. This... spark plug... will NOT come out. And I'm afraid too push much harder for fear that I'll either break the plug off in the cylinder head or ruin the threads.

What can I do to get this thing out??? I've read WD-40 won't do anything. Is PB Blaster a good idea/safe?

Thanks!
 

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PB Blaster will work, just a spritz will do -- or else drown them in WD-40 because if it falls into the cylinders, there's no harm it will burn off with your fuel. PB will not burn, so you wouldn't want to use much at all. IMHO I'd use a spritz of PB Blaster and call it a day.
 

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Try Kroil if you can find it!!!! Many industrial tool houses stock it.
Apply & let it sit overnight if you have to. Just take your time, don't let it frustrate you to the point that you break something, or strip the threads, or round off the plug hex. Make sure your using a good quality 6 point plug socket.

If the spark plug socket has a hex head on it, you may be able to use a socket on that & a 1/2 inch drive torque wrench, to keep track of how much torque your applying, so you don't over do it.

If you have to, heat the plug with a heat gun a little, to warm it up some, to cause things to expand, then wet it down & keep it wet with the Kroil while it cools & draws it in & it'll likely eventually loosen up.

If you have problems with the other two, douse them too & wait a while & slowly work them out while keeping them wet with penetrant.

Make sure the engine is cool before tring to remove the plugs.

Use a little good quality high temp nickel anti-sieze compound on the new plug threads & torque the plugs to the low side of spec to allow for the lubricating effect of the anti-seize, so you don't over tighten them..
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Couple questions...

What's the best method to get the penetrant (PB or otherwise) onto the plug hex? Since they're in the back... you can't exactly see where you're aiming the can. I tried using a mirror in the other hand but the engine compartment is simply too cramped. I tried spraying the PB onto the socket and then attaching it to the plug but that didn't work either.

Secondly, in lieu of this, is PB dangerous to get on the intake manifold or any other parts of the engine? I just want to make sure I'm not gonna be driving down the road and have my engine just burst into flames...

Thanks again!
 

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Here's a bulletin right from Ford:

Technical service bulletin no.08-7-6.
Crack the plug loose then spray carb cleaner around plug. Let set for a few minutes. This will help dissolve the carbon around the bottom of the threads. Work the plug out slowly in a back and forth rotation.

Might want to give a slight clockwise (tightening) turn to begin with and then go to the loosening sequence. Doing this back and forth routine for the first complete revolution will help reduce the risk of galling and ruining the threads in the head. :huh:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Here's a bulletin right from Ford:

Technical service bulletin no.08-7-6.
Crack the plug loose

By loose do they mean that it needs to start turning? I can even get the thing started. It's on TIGHT. I've pushed so hard that I've caused the car to bounce when I let go. Soaked it in PB...

I'm thinking about just giving up and taking it in to my service shop.

Am I doing the right things?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Okay. So I've finally given in for the night, I've more or less coated the spark plug in PB and I'm just going to let it sit overnight. If I can't get it out in the morning, I'll just call a repair shop and see what they would charge to get the 3 plugs out.

If however, I can't afford to do it right now, is it safe to put the boot back on the plug and drive the car, with the PB on it?

Thanks again, and any other suggestions as how to get this wretched thing out would be appreciated!
 

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"..... is it safe to put the boot back on the plug and drive the car, with the PB on it?
I don't see why it wouldn't be okay. Might want to blow off as much of it as you can with compressed air, if you have it available, before attaching the boot. Will likely smoke for a bit, but shouldn't cause any damage.

Probably not a bad idea to take it to a pro if you can't get it to budge. Ruining a plug hole on the back side could get mighty costly.

Here is a tid-bit of info I picked up on another forum I frequent. Can't vouch for it's credibility, but would like to know if anyone has toyed with it. Here goes:

Machinist's Workshop magazine actually tested penetrants for break out torque on rusted nuts. Significant results! They are below, as forwarded by an ex-student and professional machinist, Bud Baker.
*Don't forget the April 2007 "Machinist's Workshop" magazine comparison test.*

*They arranged a subjective test of all the popular penetrants with the control being the torque required to remove the nut from a "scientifically rusted" environment. *

Penetrating oil ..... Average load*

None ............ ......... 516 pounds
WD-40 ............ ...... 238 pounds
PB Blaster ............ . 214 pounds
Liquid Wrench ..... 127 pounds
Kano Kroil ............ 106 pounds
ATF-Acetone mix....53 pounds

*The ATF-Acetone mix was a "home brew" mix of 50 - 50 automatic
transmission fluid and acetone.*
*Note the "home brew" was better than any commercial product in this one
particular test. Our local machinist group mixed up a batch and we all
now use it with equally good results. Note also that "Liquid Wrench" is
about as good as "Kroil" for about 20% of the price. *
*Your experience may vary, etc., etc. :dunno:
 

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U can take a wad of raw cotton soaked in whatever solvent U like and stuff it onto whatever part U are trying to break loose and let it sit o/night or longer. A heat/cold cycle can help, too. I've used carb. cleaner + WD-40 when I don't have PB or some other stuff.I have always had better luck w/ PB than Liq. Wrench.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The PB being > Liquid Wrench is the general consensus I've found by google-creeping. I have soaked the #4 in PB and I'm going to let it sit tonight and see what I can do.

@arkanDan thanks! I went ahead and re-attached the boot and ran the car for a bit to make sure it wouldn't spontaneously cdmbust. it likes to play practical jokes on me quite a bit as it is.

Also, I'm using just a standard ratchet (socket wrench, what-have-you) with a 3/8" drive 5/8" spark plug socket... would there be a better tool to loosen it? Would I have more luck with a breaker bar or torque wrench?

I know I'm SUPPOSED to be using a torque wrench anyways to tighten the new plugs properly, but money is tight so I went with the old "tighten to finger-tight then go 1/16th of a turn further with the ratchet" deal. Or just tighten it until light to medium pressure won't go any further.

But what do you think? breaker bar? torque wrench? SLEDGEHAMMER?! >< Sorry, this has got me rather agitated.

Thanks again for all the input, guys. =)
 

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I can't think of any instance where I would use a torque wrench to remove a fastener or plug. A breaker bar would be the "weapon" of choice, but with these new vehicles you have to sometimes be creative. A ratchet with a "cheater" pipe on the handle will work if it is a good quality wrench. If it isn't good quality you may destroy the wrench and do yourself some bodily harm in the process. If you can avoid using a "U" joint in the process that would be a good thing. Sometimes it is unavoidable, but then you run the risk of breaking off the plug. I guess that isn't all bad either as it will be replaced anyway. A torque wrench to install is good, but not absolutely necessary. 11 lbs. ft. is the torque for the plugs in my sable, but not sure what it is in the Vulcan, probably the same or close to it. The finger tight plus a sixteenth turn sounds like it should work. Much luck to you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
By "cheater" pipe, what exactly do you mean? Sorry for being such a newb.

And yeah, the spark plug socket I bought is attached to a u-joint that I can't remove. Re-invest in a straight-on plug socket...? I think there should be enough hand room back there to go straight on.

FWIW, the Haynes manual for Taurus/Sable says anywhere form 7-14 ft/lbs... which i find to be a rather imprecise range, but 11 sounds good. :)
 

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By "cheater" pipe, what exactly do you mean? :)
It would be a piece of ½" or ¾" water pipe or what ever size will slip over the handle on the ratchet to make it longer and give you more leverage. Tool companies don't like to hear this (puts undo strain on the tool), but it is done all of the time. Breaker bars are typically 14" to 18" in length and a ratchet can range from 6" to 12" typically depending on the drive size. ;)
 

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If you are just using a 3/8 ratchet I think you would be amazed at how much more leverage you get with even the couple more inches in length you gain with a 3/8 breaker bar, better yet a 1/2 breaker with a 1/2 to 3/8 adapter to fit your socket. I've really been impressed with PB Blaster but I'd like to try the ATV/acetone mix sometime too. Anybody who's done those spark plugs can share your frustration, just be patient and keep at it and you'll have success!
 

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OP: You don't need a torque wrench to install these. Put them in lightly snug with your ratchet. 11 ft lb is not very much torque, especially with a typical 3/8" ratchet or breaker. You can use a little high-temperature anti-seize on the threads of the new plugs when you put them in, which make the job easier next time you do it.

You may need to use the U-joint when you install some of the new plugs depending on the dimensions of your tools, but avoid it if you can. IF you do need to use it, make sure to hold the socket on straight, because if you torque it sideways you may crack/break the new plug, which will require you to replace it again.

Soaking for several days with PB / Liquid Wrench / whatever should make a noticeable difference. But that stuff won't do magic in just a couple hours. It takes time.
 

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If you've got a Vulcan there's more than enough room to get a ratchet, a small extension, and a spark plug socket back there. I do #s 1 & 2 from the passenger side and #3 from the driver's side.
 

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I have been using the ATF/acetone mix for a couple of years now, since reading the report that ArkanDan reposted here. Works unbelievably well and cheap to make. Just don't keep it in a plastic spray bottle that is not solvent proof, the acetone will melt it. Put never-seize on your new plugs before installing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Update - I soaked the #4 with PB overnight to no avail. Then applied wd40 to it and let it sit for an hour or two, heated up the engine to operating temp, then put on a long sleeve shirt and two layers of gloves and attempted removing it while hot.

No luck. I then discovered that on the way out at some point I nicked the porcelain with my socket wrench. :angry:

The car still runs, but roughly, and you can hear the electricity popping.

I have a professional mechanic coming out to pull them out with power tools (an impact gun I presume). I don't want to cause any more damage to the car by continuing to attempt to remove it myself.

I guess this should serve as a warning to not leave spark plugs in that long, although the people who really need to hear it aren't on this forum.

:angryfire:If I could hunt down the previous owners of this car and find them, they would find that my english is NOT very good when I'm mad, if you catch my drift. Way to leave factory plugs in for 145,000 miles, dumbs*#t.
 

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First, are you sure you're turning it the right way?

I use a Craftsman 3/8" ratchet with a flex head that has a handle about twice as long as a normal 3/8" ratchet handle that gives good leverage for stubborn fasteners. Also I have a Stanley ratchet handle with a telescoping handle that is longer than the Craftsman and has helped also.

Sears also makes a 1/2" drive breaker bar that is 24" long.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Yeah, I double checked myself on that a couple times just to make sure.

The mechanic is coming out here in about an hour hour and a half, I'm paying him to just pull all three of the back ones out while he's at it. Has specialized tools, and I'm assuming an impact gun.
 
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