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Made by Monkeys

Tricky Spark Plugs Take Hours to Replace

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William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Remove the tire???
William K.   4/30/2014 10:16:54 PM
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M1Dave, wow, you certainly have had some bad luck with heater cors. Never had to replace one, just a couple of radiators that failed because the clamp band that held the plastic parts on rusted away. Cheap steel and a poor design. Probaly the cheapest Chinese steel that could be found.

I agree though, cutting the box to replace the core is much better, but only if you can avoid cutting other expensive parts at the same time.

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
A smaller level of agravation, but still a pain.
William K.   4/30/2014 9:46:25 PM
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I just changed the brake pads on our 2005 Dodge Caravan, which would have happened sooner except that for some dumb reason the caliper alignment posts did not have that easy to work with 8mm hex pattern on top that is so very simple to grab with an 8mm socket. I have changed quite a few with that arrangement. It is easy, since the head is not visible, just poke the socket into the rubber sleeve. BUT NOT FOR 2005! That vehicle, with the 4-wheel disk brakes option, takes a 7mm male driver to get those guide pins out. But 7mm is not a very standard size, since the metric system was designed by accountants, the steps in sizes are strange. And 7mm drivers are a bit less common. I did find one at O Rileys, for a sort of reasonable price, and now I can do the job. But figuring out what the unsen toll connection needed was quite an exercise.

timbalionguy
User Rank
Gold
Various auto maintainability woes
timbalionguy   4/30/2014 1:25:34 PM
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My fun is with a 1995 Chevy S-10 pickup. Like the OP, one of the spark plugs are for all intents and purposes inaccessible. At least, the spark plugs should last 100,000 miles in this vehicle (and I did use platinum plugs when I replaced them). I have noticed that nothing is easy to work on in this vehicle.

The GM products that were supposed to recieve the rotary engine that was cancelled at the last moment had even a worse problem. To replace the spark plugs in the substitute reciprocating engine, one had to cut a hole in the fender well.

I had a 1985 Plymouth Horizon that was very easy to do routine maintenance on (except the timing belt!). This vehicle's downfall was its poor body protection. It rusted out terribly in western New York winters, and I finally gave up trying to stop it. This was also the last model year to use a carburator, and it was dreadfully complicated due to the emission controls. if someone hadn't rear-ended it one day, it would have required a new carb in a few more months. (Ironically, I lived next door to GM's Carter carbuerator plant!)

My other current vehicle (beside the S-10) is a 2004 Ford Focus. That is a pleasant vehicle to work on. I can practically take it apart with hand tools!

Larry M
User Rank
Platinum
Platinum plugs
Larry M   4/30/2014 12:24:15 PM
Well, the author of this post never said it so I will. If the plugs are that hard to change, use platinum or iridium replacements to stretch out the replacement interval.

Larry M
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Spark Plugs--VW Beetles had a similar issue
Larry M   4/30/2014 11:57:24 AM
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VW Beetles had a similar issue. The threaded portion of the German plugs was exactlly the right length, but if you bought American plugs (e.g., AC or Champion) at the auto parts store, they were about one thread longer. Carbon built up on the last thread. No problem going in, stuck when you tried to remove them.

The VW beetle had aluminum heads. The spark plug shells were hardened steel. The problem was not that the plugs broke off, but that they simply chewed the threads off the heads. It was even difficult to tell what was happening. You knew you were tugging hard, but couldn't tell (until it was too late) whether you were freeing the plug or stripping the head.

Knowing now what I didn't know then, if I had to do it again, I think I would simply install the plugs with two gaskets.

Larry M
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Serpentine Belt
Larry M   4/30/2014 11:49:05 AM
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Uhhh, I did change a serpentine belt by the side of the road, maybe six or seven years ago. This was on a 1995 Chevy Lumina APV minivan with transverse V6 engine.  These belts never seem to fail, but the idler pulley on that model comminly fails. The bearing wears and heat up which suddenly melts the hub from the center of the thermoplastic (!) idler wheel.  (Who designs these things anyway?)

I was right at an interstate interchange on the way to work when the steam started rising and the temperature needle pegged. I exited and pulled into a shopping center parking lot. My son lived nearby and he gave me a ride to work. That afternoon I got a ride home, bought the pulley, and went back to the shopping center and installed it and reinstalled the belt. (The dealer had plenty on hand, naturally--I later found out this is a common aftermarket part because it fails so frequently.)

That particular interchange was about eight miles from my house, just enough for the Lumina to reach full operating temperature. So I wasn't too surprised when it overheated and I saw steam again, at the same spot, a few years later. The failure this time (a second monkey item on the same car) was a plastic fitting on the cooling system. It didn't melt; it just sheared off. One end threaded into the plenum (new name for a fiberglass intake manifold). The other end was a heater hose nipple. The dealer provided a brass replacement for $16.00--what should have been used in the first place. I was disgusted to see an aftermarket brass replacement fitting at the auto parts store a few months later for only $4.00. I've since become very attuned to internet shopping for parts, even those I think might be dealer-only items. Don't forget to look here: http://frugalmechanic.com/ first.

 

 

Amclaussen
User Rank
Platinum
Re: More Spark plug removal notes
Amclaussen   4/30/2014 11:45:34 AM
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JohnE: the socket that I have at hand is the long, slotted, heavy wall one from Autozone. I don't know the one you are describing, maybe I should make a trip to our local Autozone (not very well supplied here in Mexico City, but maybe with some luck...). Do you have a part number for the one that worked for you?  Thanks for writing.  Amclaussen.

fire-iron.biz
User Rank
Gold
Re: I can beat that!
fire-iron.biz   4/30/2014 6:46:23 AM
I'll gladly take that 3.3L '97 off your hands, once you make some modifications to correct the blatant stupidity of automotive dis-engineering they're not too bad. Change the rear plugs from the bottom. At least on these you can change the belt ... or at least put it back on along side the road when it routinely flies off from rain and puddles.

Automobiles and appliances are the prime examples of "how not to".

a.saji
User Rank
Silver
Re: Remove the tire???
a.saji   4/30/2014 6:26:19 AM
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What about the market? Has the market share increased ?      

Amclaussen
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Remove the tire???
Amclaussen   4/30/2014 1:22:06 AM
Chrysler cars derived form the original K-cars, specially those sold from 1990 to 1995 were the best of all.  Reliability and maintenability were above average. That's the reason I still keep and drive my 1991 Dodge Spirit R/T, which is a Turbocharged four that leaves behind many V8's at our very high altitude of more than 7350 ft. asl, (usually our Density-Altitude is above 10,000 ft).

Engine access and layout is very good, component durability is surprinsingly good for the price, and overall results were comparable to Japanese options of the time, at a lower price.

After designing those excellent automobiles, Chrysler only went down. Germans (Daimler) only damaged the company.  The "cloud cars" were much less well designed.  To improve looks, a "Cab-Forward" and lower hood design reduced engine compartment volume, but the design of the engine compartment, was left to truly dumb people that placed batteries inside fenders and transformed the previous good design into maintenability nightmares.  A radiator service in my 1991 Spirit takes me about 4 hours, taking it out to properly clean it inside and out, replacing all the hoses, Thermostat, engine coolant flushing and replenishment, all working at a leisurely calm pace (enjoying it).  On my 2002 Stratus R/T, the same exact task demands several times the 4 hours demanded by the older car: even removing the radiator is a chore!

Trying to purge air out shows the stupidity of the designers, as the purging accesory is UNDER the pockets inside the engine head and thus, useless. Engine is so cramped inside the compartment, that first years (1995 to 2000) reported many heat induced failures. Now, after many years of owning both models, I can report that the older was comparatively better, demanding much less replacement parts at the same mileages. So much for true progress and improved "quality of design"  Amclaussen.

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