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Tips on Changing Spark Plugs & Wires

Use this forum to post up basic info sort of like a how-to. If you do a basic maintenance job on your van and you wanna post about it because another member can use the tips and tricks, please do so here. This section isn't for issues or problems with your van.

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Re: Tips on Changing Spark Plugs & Wires

Post by ihatemybike » Tue Jun 30, 2009 4:42 pm

Dealer prices are also a fun little game for me. My wife and I do some work on the vans or Jeep, get it done then call the dealer to see how much they would have wanted to do the same job. When she was injured, I spent 10 hours fixing her Jeep. Replaced the struts, a CV boot, and seal on the front diff. Long day, but we saved over $1000. So for those ten hours, I'm worth $100 an hour. Plus we are able to use the money we saved for travels.
Aaron

2005 Astro (Gandalf) - AWD, 4.3L, 3.42, 130k+ miles
1997 Astro (Grumpy - $250 Rally Van) - AWD, 4.3L, 3.42, LSD, 2" lift, 31" tires, 335k+ orig engine, $30 eBay fuel pump
Prev Astros:99,97,00,94,87,86

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Re: Tips on Changing Spark Plugs & Wires

Post by Detectorist » Tue Jun 30, 2009 10:42 pm

Can anyone tell me if the heads on the 262 are aluminum?
2000 White Astro Van 2WD
64000 miles
Everything stock

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Re: Tips on Changing Spark Plugs & Wires

Post by Smiliesafari » Tue Jun 30, 2009 11:04 pm

No. They are not. \:D/
1996 Safari SLX Hotair balloon transport vehicle

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Re: Tips on Changing Spark Plugs & Wires

Post by Detectorist » Tue Jun 30, 2009 11:10 pm

Smiliesafari wrote:No. They are not. \:D/
Thanks! Oh, I used to live in Orlando, Metro West area.
2000 White Astro Van 2WD
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Re: Tips on Changing Spark Plugs & Wires

Post by Festus33 » Fri Jan 29, 2010 6:38 pm

Well Thank all of you folk's again.

Had to change plug's, wire's, cap, and rotor on Red Menace the 2000 :rolleyes:
After reading all the tip's in here, the job only took Me 3 hour's.
With the right extension's I was able to get all 6 plug's out through the wheel well's.
The only time I had to crawl underneath the van, was to reconnect the #3, and #5 wire's.
With dealer's wanting $650 , and the part's running me right around $120.
I figure it was well worth My time, to do it Myself.

Thank's once again for all the great help this forum produce's.

Rick
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It's Paid for with the Blood of Patriot's

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2K LS AWD (Red Menace) converted to RWD
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Re: Tips on Changing Spark Plugs & Wires

Post by astrozam » Fri Jun 18, 2010 2:57 am

Festus33 wrote:Thank's once again for all the great help this forum produce's.

Rick
Your Welcome.. :cheers:

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Re: Tips on Changing Spark Plugs & Wires

Post by Philly758 » Thu Oct 07, 2010 5:28 pm

The only thing I haven't seen mentioned is torque. Does anyone use a torque wrench to install their plugs, or is there not enough room? If you are installing them by feel, any tips to get the proper torque? Also, what is the factory torque spec?

Thanks.

EDIT: Found this elsewhere "The rule of thumb is hand tighten plus 1/4 turn (snug not tight)."
Last edited by Philly758 on Thu Oct 07, 2010 7:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tips on Changing Spark Plugs & Wires

Post by ihatemybike » Thu Oct 07, 2010 6:57 pm

I've never used a torque wrench on plugs, just get them nice and snug with a standard 3/8" drive ratchet. Never had a problem.
Aaron

2005 Astro (Gandalf) - AWD, 4.3L, 3.42, 130k+ miles
1997 Astro (Grumpy - $250 Rally Van) - AWD, 4.3L, 3.42, LSD, 2" lift, 31" tires, 335k+ orig engine, $30 eBay fuel pump
Prev Astros:99,97,00,94,87,86

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Re: Tips on Changing Spark Plugs & Wires

Post by Philly758 » Thu Oct 21, 2010 1:44 pm

Finally got around to doing my plugs and wires last night. Plugs/wires took me about 6 hours from start to finish. I had to remove the glove box and dog house to start so that took some time. I also did one side 100% before moving the the other which made the job take a little longer. Considering I am not a mechanic at all and work very cautiously I'm not surprised it took as long as it did.

Here are some quick tips from my experience:
- Be sure to have several extensions handy and a u-joint link. I bought a u-joint and a set of 3 extensions (3", 6", 10") and ended up using all of them at the same time more than once.
- I was trying to thread my new plugs in with the spark plug socket (by hand) and was having a lot of trouble getting the threads started. I finally figured out that the metal shield surrounding the plug was close enough to the hole where the socket thickness would not allow the threads to line up. This is one case where I wished I had gotten a piece of rubber hose to help start threading them in. On one plug it almost felt like the plug was cross threaded when I took it out because there was so much resistance against the side of my socket.
- After I had my plugs finger tight I used a normal socket rather than the plug socket with rubber insert. This way the socket slides off smooth after I had tightened the plug and you don't need to fetch a stuck plug socket or extensions from the plug.
- Plug #5, success. This plug is difficult and can seem impossible at first. Be creative with your extensions, u-joints or whatever you have available and I'm sure you will find something that works for you. Just think, you know it can be done, you just need to figure out how. Its almost like one of those mind games you find on a coffee table.

She purrs as smooth as ever and I definitely think it was worth the time/effort. I took some photos of the job below and tried to document the location of the infamous plug #5.

The easy part, buying what I need
Image

Doghouse removed
Image

4 & 2?
Image

6?
Image

The one and only #5
Image

One of many super extensions
Image

Before I bought my Safari and joined this forum the most I had ever done was change windshield wipers and refill wiper fluid. I have since installed an an aux trans cooler, fuel filter, axle swap with full syn gear oil, and now rotor/cap/plugs/wires. I have been adding threads to my favorites as I browse and have a number of things on my to do list. Lets just say I will be very busy flushing/replacing fluids (front diff, trans, power steering, coolant, etc).
I'd like to thank you all for the support, help and knowledge I have gained from this website. I could not have done it without you. :cheers:
2000 GMC Safari SLE AWD

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Re: Tips on Changing Spark Plugs & Wires

Post by timelessbeing » Thu Oct 21, 2010 3:21 pm

Thanks for posting your tips Philly.

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Re: Tips on Changing Spark Plugs & Wires

Post by blacknome » Thu Oct 21, 2010 6:59 pm

:) almost 2years since I posted in this thread and I can still remember freezing my nutts off in the driveway like it was yesterday.

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Re: Tips on Changing Spark Plugs & Wires

Post by kkamakasi » Mon Mar 14, 2011 6:03 am

I'm about to attempt this in the near future but have a few questions.

I've never replaced plugs on a car that uses cap and rotor before. How often am I supposed to replace the cap and rotor? My 2003 Astro Cargo 2WD is nearing 110,000 miles and I tried getting the maintenance records for it at the dealership but since it's been so long since my last visit, they deleted my maintenance records to make room for other customers so I'm not sure if they have ever been changed or not.

So from my understanding, to do JUST THE PLUGS, all I need to do is jack up the front of the van and do everything through the wheel arches, right? And if I want to do the cap and rotor (and wires?? what wires?), I need to remove the glovebox (doghouse?)?

Where is a good place to jack the front of the van? Good locations for jack stands?

Thanks in advance!

EDIT: Thought of another question.

I've found a picture on this forum of the "engine cover" off. Here is the original picture:

Image

Now I'm assuming that the plugs are underneath what looks to be those black engine cover (painted yellow in the picture below)

Image

Is it possible to remove those engine covers (what is painted yellow above) and then just replace the plugs from inside the car?

Or are those just the valve covers??

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Re: Tips on Changing Spark Plugs & Wires

Post by CaptSquid » Mon Mar 14, 2011 6:53 am

Those are just the valve covers. Unless you have skinny arms and hands, you'll have to rely on assistance or be prepared to jump in and out of the van.
Mike, Billings, MT, 'MERICA!
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Re: Tips on Changing Spark Plugs & Wires

Post by ihatemybike » Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:19 am

In all honesty, do not waste any time trying to do them from inside the van. Go in through the wheel well. It's mostly a straight shot to them there.
Aaron

2005 Astro (Gandalf) - AWD, 4.3L, 3.42, 130k+ miles
1997 Astro (Grumpy - $250 Rally Van) - AWD, 4.3L, 3.42, LSD, 2" lift, 31" tires, 335k+ orig engine, $30 eBay fuel pump
Prev Astros:99,97,00,94,87,86

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Re: Tips on Changing Spark Plugs & Wires

Post by Dead Cell » Sun Jul 10, 2011 8:20 pm

also do not use platinum spark plugs with a standard ignition system (distributor) Platinum plugs are actually designed for high energy and distributorless ignition systems. The standard ignition does not produce nearly enough voltage to fire the platinum plug properly and you will take a hit in performance and mileage. A/C Delco makes a fine standard copper-core plug which should make for a nice replacement, Delco plugs are actually pretty good by my comparisons with other plugs over the years.

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