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Monkeys Got to the Spark Plugs on My Mustang GT

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Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Spark plug ironies
Rob Spiegel   10/4/2011 10:25:02 AM
One huge automotive advance over the past few decades is that spark plugs last nearly forever. Remember changing them every few months? Now that we almost never have to change them, we pretty much can't change them. And of course, the shops are charging nearly a paycheck to change a stupid set of spark plugs.

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Changing spark plugs.
William K.   10/4/2011 1:21:14 PM
Yes, spark plugs do last a long time under normal conditions. Unfortunately, though, if you suffer a deffective ignition coil assembly or a failed high voltage plug wire, one or more plugs can become quite fouled, and need to be replaced, or at least cleaned. Those two failure do still happen, and so the poor design choice will cause some to suffer. A reliable pre-emptive fix would be to remove the plugs while the car is new and they don't yet have any buildup on the threads, and grind off those threads that would be inside the cylinder head. This would remove the potential problem, but, of course, a very wise choice will be to consider the possible unintended consequences. I am not aware of any problems that would be caused by the thread removal, but it is possible that the plugs would be more difficult to start innthe head, and that the effective heat range of the plug may change. There kmay be additional cautions that I ammnot aware of.

Tim
User Rank
Platinum
Spark plugs
Tim   10/4/2011 6:32:26 PM
I have an 02 Ford F150 that typically has plenty of room under the hood to do repairs.  The sparkplugs are an exception.  It is necessary to remove the power steering fluid resevoir to get to one and the two in the rear of the engine require a little magic to get the plug out without killing your knuckles.

philipp10
User Rank
Gold
Re: Spark plugs
philipp10   10/5/2011 10:05:16 AM
What is it with Ford and sparkplugs.  They also have a problem with one of the SUV's where the amount of thread engagement is so small that the plugs tear out at a relatively young age.  The fix is an expensive helicoil job.  This shouldn't be happening in this day of age.

Contrarian
User Rank
Gold
Quit whining and just buy the tool.
Contrarian   10/5/2011 9:20:45 AM
> The monkeys have provided a fix in the form of a special tool

> to remove the broken threads.

 

So buy the tool and get on with your life.  The first use will pay for itself and likely you won't own the car before it needs to be done again.  I just put a second set of plugs in my pickup at 150K, and I doubt it will run another 150K to worry about doing it again.  Often in cases like this there are OEM or aftermarket replacments that circumvent issues like these, so that may be another option.

 

 

rcwithlime
User Rank
Silver
So before you try to remove the plugs,
rcwithlime   10/5/2011 9:26:06 AM
the last few tankfuls of gas, use a lot of fuel injector cleaner. You may even be able to remove the air filter, place the fuel injector cleaner into a spray bottle, and spray into air duct as you bump the car over. I would suggest not spraying into duct when car is running as there might be a possibility that it coud catch fire. Might be remote chance, but better safe than sorry. Besides, you want to coat the plug, not burn off the cleaner.  Let the care sit for a couple of hours. That may loosen the carbon. Can also consider using a high grade of  penetrating oil like Aero Kroil, sprayed into air duct  as you just bump the car over. Let sit for a couple of hours. Just a thought...Might be worth a try as opposed to handing  your $ out to a mechanic. Also, do you know that when you remove stuck bolts, you cycle your turning out then in then out, etc. Screw out till you cannot turn anymore. Then back in. Then back out and you will gain a little more. Repeat until bolt or plug is out. This method allows the loosened rust or in this case the carbon a chance fall off the threads instead of just jamming between bolt (plug) and female threads.

John B
User Rank
Iron
Mustang Spark Plugs
John B   10/5/2011 9:40:24 AM
I'm surprised that Ford didn't learn from past mistakes.  Years ago, I had a 1970 Mustang with a 350 'Cleveland' engine.  The spark plugs were smaller than normal plugs and instead of using a flat seat with a crush ring they used a tapered seat.  This design virtually guaranteed that at least one of the plugs would break in half during removal.  This left a threaded metal barrel and half an insulator stuck in the cylinder head.  There was no easy fix short of removing the head.

Message to the auto industry:  If there's a proven workable design for an automotive component, don't change it only for the sake of change.

rcwithlime
User Rank
Silver
Actually, all the plugs are that way now
rcwithlime   10/5/2011 10:22:32 AM
NO RATINGS
Have been for a lot of years. 5/8" deepwell required instead of original 3/4"And yes, can be a pain.

OLD_CURMUDGEON
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Mustang Spark Plugs
OLD_CURMUDGEON   10/5/2011 10:47:52 AM
I too had a 1970 MUSTANG MACH I w/ a 351 CLEVELAND engine & 4-speed standard transmission (delivered Oct 1969 - $4,000!).  Drove that vehicle for several years until the first oil embargo (1973), and traded it on a DATSUN.  In the 4 years and close to 100K miles, I never had any problems removing the 14mm, tapered seat spark plugs.  After the original AUTOLITE plugs were removed, I ONLY used CHAMPION plugs (RBL-9Y) in that vehicle until the day it was traded.  Of course, that Mustang was designed as a "go-fast", so it wasn't encumbered w/ modern accessories like A/c and P/S.  Only factory accessory was an AM/FM radio.  The HURST shifter was part of the MACH I package.  Wish I still had it ........

ndjalva
User Rank
Iron
spark plugs
ndjalva   10/5/2011 9:58:55 AM
With the Mustang there was a tool to try a "fix" the problem......

Years ago the late 60's early 70's had a better one for the plugs, Pontiac wagon wiht the big V-8 ...to change the RH rear plug the chimps required the engine to be jacked up (engine mounts disconnected) and lots of skin removed from the nuckles. 

My fix was a 1" hole in the wheel well and rubber plug to close the hole after the job was 'completed. Using a long extention and flex the replacement was completed in a few minutes.

The monkyes got no bananas that day.

TEST_ENGINEER_II
User Rank
Iron
Spark Plugs might not last as long as you think!!!
TEST_ENGINEER_II   10/5/2011 10:23:07 AM
I see people talking about never needing to change their spark plugs or waiting until 150K miles.  Well, I have a 2004 Mustang GT and recently put a supercharger on it.  To do so, I had to replace my platinum plugs with standard plugs.  My car has 50K miles on it and I figure the platinum plugs were good for at least 100K.....WRONG.  When I removed the plugs from engine, not only were 2 of them extremely loose but each one had a very different gap set on it.  I don't know if it simply changed over time or what.  But the 2 that were loose I could take out with my hand easily.  And all of them had such different variation in gap Im surprised the car ran as well as it did.  Some gaps were double others, it was terrible and I'm glad I switched over to standards and will be checking/replacing them frequently now.  At least I'll know they are correct.  I've had many other quality issues with Ford, too many to go into now, but in summary....this is my very last Ford car EVER.

Sport
User Rank
Silver
Re: Spark Plugs might not last as long as you think!!!
Sport   10/5/2011 11:00:07 AM
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I've yet to see Platinum plugs rated to last 100K miles...

The plugs in my Buick are rated for 100K miles and they were made from Iriduim.  They looked almost unused after 125K miles.

MIROX
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Spark Plugs might not last as long as you think!!!
MIROX   10/5/2011 12:24:00 PM
While other manufacturers spend their time and money to redesign the wheel, FORD apparently is way above that, and just redesigns the Spark Plugs each and every year as well as each and every model.

In well designed and matched ignition system (coil, plug, and the electronic ignitor) with modern fuel, the Spark Plug life is almost unlimited.

And if you have BOSCH Platinum 4 (with 4 ground electrodes) then they will outlive the rest of the vehicle.

The longest running car I have with same plugs is 1980 FIAT X1/9 that now has over 300,000 miles - same plugs, but 3 timing belts; 4 water pumps and 2 alternators and one clutch.

Each time I take them out (about every 2 to 3 years) they look just fine and are ready for more, they replaced the OEM plugs at 7,500 miles.

On 350 GM engine in a van I now have 230,000 on same plugs, the OEM plugs misfired at about 30,000 miles and were replaeds with the BOSCH Platinum 4 - and not a problem since.

Any engine that does not run at optimum Air-fuel ratio can ruin spark plugs in just few hundred miles, but ODB II cars if they do that the MIL check light will be on, and even as few as 3 misfires in just few engine revolutions will set the "engine misfire" code.

So absolutely no need to even remove and "check" sparkplugs in any vehicle made since 1996 !!!

That is unless you want to improve on the Monkey Design.....

 

 

Keldawwg
User Rank
Gold
Re: Spark Plugs might not last as long as you think!!!
Keldawwg   10/6/2011 6:55:48 PM
Your praise of the Bisch Platinum Plus 4 spark plugs caught my attention... I put a set into my Mercedes 400E. It's old, but still a great car. I put in new distributor caps and rotors and some good spark plug wires while I was at it... Figured I was done with that for quite a while.

Less than 6 months after I had done the tune-up, it started missing. The car is a 1993, so the computer is not as sophisticated as some newer models. I do have a special code reader for the Mercedes, but it showed no faults in any of the systems.

About 6 months before I had done the tune up, I had to replace the engine wiring harness. This is a common problem with Mercedes of a certain vintage; the German government dictated that everything plastic in the car had to biodegrade in a landfill, and the engine wiring typically disintegrated at some point... I looked into a new electronic throttle actuator, but at $1000 I thought i would wait until it was really bad.

So, I assumed that it now needed the electronic throttle replaced. So I bit the bullet, bought the $1000 part and spent about three hours cussing at the guys that designed the thing. And when it was all back together, it still had the miss.

Searching online, I ran across a lot of complaints about Bosch getting really cheap with the Platinum plugs; they were now junk. So I decided to pull the plugs and see for myself. They were terrible! Almost all the ground electrodes had all but dissapeared! Those Bosch Platinuim Plus 4's sucked!

I replaced them with Nippondenso Platinum's, and the car has been perfect since...

I will never buy Bosch spark plugs or oil filters again... They are crap!

dutchman
User Rank
Iron
Re: Chic Magnet
dutchman   10/7/2011 10:34:25 AM
NO RATINGS
In my years of experience as a single guy, I found out that most women don't have any interest in cars, as long as they are clean. The ones that do care, all turned out too matererialistic for my temperament

MIROX
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Spark Plugs might not last as long as you think!!!
MIROX   10/9/2011 2:33:14 PM
WOW that is good to know !!!

Re:BOSCH, all the plugs I have in my cars and still some NEW ones were made in 1980's, if the current ones are really as bad as you claim perhaps theya re no longer made in "West Germany" and mosr likely moved the production to run by Monkeys if not accountants plant !

 

I better get mine gold plated over the +4 electrodes !!!

 

If ground electrodes melt that just means that the air fuel mix is just too lean, and vehicle runs too hot, generates too hign combustion temperatures at the end of combustion cycle which loead to excessive NOx emissions, if you now have plugs that do not melt, the valves will melt next, so actually you will be far better off to if the problem, the spark plug melted ground electrode is just indication of the combustion problem you already have !!!

 

 

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Spark Plugs might not last as long as you think!!!
Rob Spiegel   11/3/2011 1:14:50 AM
NO RATINGS
Hi Keldawwg,

I'd like to use your spark plug story as a Monkey blog. 

Please let me know if it's OK. And please send along your name so I can credit it properly.

Thanks.

Send to:

rob.spiegel@ubm.com

Greg Stirling
User Rank
Platinum
Monkeys Got to the Spark Plugs on My Mustang GT
Greg Stirling   10/6/2011 4:16:26 PM
NO RATINGS
Too bad about the spark plug thingy on that doowackus under the hood in the front of the car. 

Maybe a special fuel additive that cleans the threads prior to the tuneup.  Or we could just remove the heads, send them out to get them bead blasted and reassemble.  Along with simple instructions to perform this operation for the avarage motorist...

But we have to admit - that is a cool flame paint job on the valve cover and headers. 

A Total Chick Magnet..

We can now burn like a Disco Inferno...

dutchman
User Rank
Iron
Re: Monkeys Got to the Spark Plugs on My Mustang GT
dutchman   10/7/2011 10:25:36 AM
NO RATINGS
I have always had the best luck with ND or TDK plugs. A Porsche owner once told me that he too uses only TDK plugs after having zero luck with Bosch.

Greg Stirling
User Rank
Platinum
Chic Magnet
Greg Stirling   10/7/2011 2:17:17 PM
NO RATINGS
I agree Duchman, and that is pretty much my Point!  It looks good, is bought by teenage boys to attract women, and it does attract certian women.  But if the women were smart they would look for good engineering and what's on the Inside...

Critic
User Rank
Platinum
Chick Magnet
Critic   10/7/2011 5:22:09 PM
NO RATINGS
What kind of car do you drive, Greg?

dj95401
User Rank
Silver
Where's the pictures of the spark plugs
dj95401   10/10/2011 7:41:57 PM
I think pictures of the bad spark plugs would have been more fitting than a flamed out engine compartment, that says nothing about bad spark plugs but everything about the author

toolnife
User Rank
Iron
Helicoils? Really?
toolnife   10/11/2011 6:58:47 PM
Helicoils will not provide the best repair. We provide Factory and Dealer approved repair inserts, tools, and kits for many major automobile manufacturers, including kits for stripped or damaged spark plug threads. Our product is available to the public for this and many other thread repair uses. We also do thread and crack repairs for everything from small, thin wall turbo housings to huge diesel cruise ship engines, on, and off site, and in situ. We are Lock-N-Stitch Inc., and our thread repair product is called FullTorque. Check it out, it is the best engineered thread repair product available for most applications. Not the cheapest, just the best. Sorry if this seems like a sales pitch, just thought you might want to know about a better product.

dj95401
User Rank
Silver
Re: Helicoils? Really?
dj95401   10/11/2011 9:15:31 PM
Does your company also include the means of chip removal from inside, say like an engine cylinder without having to remove the head? That's always been a problem with "Helicoils"! Other than that, I've haven't any other problems with "Helicoils"

toolnife
User Rank
Iron
Re: Helicoils? Really?
toolnife   10/12/2011 11:03:29 AM
We have an extensive library of instruction sheets in .pdf format, plus many video installation guides, both at our websites,(fulltorque.com, and locknstitch.com), and via YouTube and Facebook. There is also a wealth of information regarding casting repair, crack repair, and thread repair. Following these instructions, thousands of successful repairs have been made with no issues due to chip contamination. One of the main disadvantages of Helicoils and other thread repair inserts is that they are notoriously bad at heat transfer between the plug and cylinder head. Our products solve this and many other problems. They have undergone extensive dyno testing by many major engine manufacturers with stellar results.

Amclaussen
User Rank
Platinum
Sparkplug threads exposed in Combustion chamber?
Amclaussen   10/24/2011 3:40:52 PM
NO RATINGS
After re-reading the article, I realized it says that "the exposed threads of the spark Plug inside the combustion chamber get carbon on it, making removal difficult"...

Well; to begin with, NO theads should be exposed, because their sharp edge would become red-hot during high acceleration or heavy engine loading, producing detonation or preignition, along with high NOx production...

One other thing that puzzles me, is that car engine spark plug design continues to use the sealing of the hot combustion gasses in the upper part, that is, the standard design places the deformable gasket (or conical chamfer) above the threads... thus a small part of the gasses can travel into the threads.  Even my small, hobby-oriented 1/A (about 1.00 cubic centimeter displacement) two cycle engines have their sealing surfaces UNDER the threads, so that NONE of the hot gasses leak into (and back out of) the threads. This sole measure increases notably the power output of this very small IC engines.

(these Model engines are of a semi-diesel design, so that the plugs are not strictly "spark" plugs, but "Glow" plugs, but I'm refering to the seal design)

Maybe the Model Airplane engine industry hasn't been invaded by Monkey designers yet!

By the way... this is a Photo of a "Nelson" plug, FYI, a Nelson model airplane engine produces about 2 BHP from a displacement of 0.36 Cu In... that is about 2.97 BHP per Cu-In, or 180 BHP per liter!

Amclaussen
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Sparkplug threads exposed in Combustion chamber?
Amclaussen   10/24/2011 3:43:05 PM
NO RATINGS
Photo of Nelson Model Airplane engine Glow plug, next to a conventional plug.

http://www.clcombat.info/Images/Glow/plugs.jpgNelson plug next to a conventional one.

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