How to Change Spark Plugs

How to Change Spark Plugs

When it comes to removing and installing spark plugs, a job well done isn’t always the quickest. Anyone who has had to remove a cylinder head to retrieve a broken spark plug knows just how important it is to do things right when performing this task.  Before you begin make sure that you have the correct spark plugs for the application and be sure that you verify that those spark plugs meet the dimension and gap specifications recommended for that application.  All Brisk Spark Plugs come pre-gapped from the factory, however it is critical to be sure that gap specifications are met before installation.

Tools and Material required

  • A set of New Brisk Spark Plugs
  • Spark plug socket that fits the spark plug
  • Spark plug socket plug extension (if required)
  • Spark plug socket ratchet
  • Compressed air to clean the area around the spark plug
  • Torque wrench to tighten spark to specifications
  • Spark plug dielectric grease
  • Spark plug anti-seize
  • Spark plug boot removal tool
  • Spark plug gap tool (if required)

You may also require

  • Additional tools to access the spark plugs
  • Safety glasses
  • Work gloves
  • Shop rags
  • Parts cleaner

 

Spark Plug Removal

If this is your first-time changing spark plugs you may want to take a picture of the engine compartment prior to beginning work on the vehicle.  This will be a good reference later if you are unsure about where things were when you are putting things back together.  Prior to beginning work on the vehicle, be sure to allow the engine to completely cool down.  This is going to greatly assist in the removal process.  Remove the engine cover to gain access to the spark plugs, ignition wires and/or ignition coil (s).  Most modern vehicles utilize a COP (Coil on Plug) format where the ignition coil “sits” on top of each spark plug.  The ignition coil is connected to the sparkplug by a spark plug boot which is essentially something like a very short ignition wire.  Older vehicles are commonly equipped with one ignition coil, a distributor and ignition wires (ignition leads) that connect to each individual spark plug.  Once access is gained to the spark plugs it is a good idea to change one spark plug at a time, in order to prevent mixing up the components.  Main thing here is “Keep it simple!”  To remove the spark plug wire or boot, turn the connection back and forth (clockwise and counter-clockwise) to loosen the bond.  Preferably using the spark plug boot removal tool, gently pull as you are rotating the boot until it “breaks free” from the spark plug.  If you just start pulling on boot or wire before loosening it from the spark plug, it frequently breaks and part of the spark plug boot remains on the spark plug.  This instance would make spark plug removal difficult as the spark plug socket typically does not fit over the remaining part still attached to the top of the spark plug.  Once the spark plug boot is removed the area around the spark plug should be cleaned using compressed air to prevent any loose debris from falling inside of the cylinder head.  Sometimes there can be engine oil or engine coolant sitting around the spark plug.  If this is the case, the engine valve cover gasket and/or spark plug tube seals are a frequent problem that cause of engine oil collecting around the spark plugs and should be replaced.  If engine coolant is collecting around the spark plugs it is typically caused by leaking coolant or heater hoses, or potentially even an intake gasket (only on some vehicles).  In either case, any such issue must be corrected prior to spark plug replacement as it will lead to engine misfire and damage to the spark plugs and boots.  If this is not an issue then unscrew each spark plug carefully using the spark plug socket

Spark Plug Installation

All Brisk Spark Plugs are pre-gapped in the factory but it is crucial that you verify that gap specifications are met for your application so using the spark plug gap gauge, check the gap between the ground and centre electrodes to ensure that the gap is correct.  You always want to perform this task before installation unless specifically advised not to by the manufacturer.  Always follow the recommendations of the spark plug manufacturer.  Before installing the new spark plugs, apply a thin layer of spark plug anti-seize to the threads of the new spark plug.  This will ensure a smooth thread installation and easy removal on your next spark plug replacement.   You want to also apply a small amount of spark plug dielectric grease to the porcelain insulator head.  This will ensure an air-tight seal between the boot or wire and the new spark plug and prepare for an easy boot or wire removal during your next replacement.  Thread one of the new spark plugs into the spark plug hole tightening it until you can no longer turn it with your fingers.  Using a short piece of “snug-fitting” rubber hose can greatly assist you with the hand tightening process and will also prevent thread damage due to “cross-threading.”  Then using the spark plug torque wrench, tighten the plug to the specification listed by the service manual or manufacturer.  Be sure you do not over-tighten the spark plug during installation.  Over-tightening the spark plug can cause the shell of the spark plug to stretch resulting in the loss of heat conduction and dissipation which will ultimately lead to serious spark plug and possible engine damage due to pre-ignition.  Once the spark plug has been installed correctly, attach the ignition coil or spark plug wire to the new spark plug assuring the boot is fully seated on the head of the new plug.  When performing a spark plug replacement, it is always recommended to change the ignition wires or boots to achieve the best ignition and engine performance.  Repeat this process for the remaining spark plugs

 

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