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Old 06-20-2010, 04:43 PM   #1
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Unhappy Spark plug snapped

I'm having a terrible weekend. I had my phone stolen and broke a spark plug in the same day. I coated the plug threads in anti-seize when I installed them, so I'm a little confused as to how it happened.

Went to take the plugs out for inspection, about a week after my fuel line repair, to make sure they were still fine. I've always needed a decent amount of force to take plugs out, but this time, the spark plug in cylinder #3 snapped in half. I bundled up the wire, and unplugged the #3 fuel injector to save my cat.

Am I looking at a new engine, or can a machine shop get the plug out and repair the block if needed?
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Old 06-20-2010, 04:52 PM   #2
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Did you twist the bottom half off leaving the threads in the head? I did that once. Did the porcelain come out in tact? If so, use a EZout to remove it.
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Old 06-20-2010, 05:17 PM   #3
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The porcelain is half in, half out. The spark plug socket doesn't seem to want to grab it. I'd say there'* about 60% left in the engine.
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Old 06-21-2010, 01:58 AM   #4
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How tight are you putting your plugs in? I usually get them snug, then a hair more.
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Old 06-21-2010, 02:32 AM   #5
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While I keep my eyes open for an EZout, people I know chimed in:

A friend replaced his van'* stuck upper control arm bolts a few weeks ago, and he said that a breaker bar, ratchet set, and some PB Blaster worked for him. (His suspension is now almost fully restored.) However, this idea, and the price of a new block, makes me weak in the knees.

Another friend had the exact same problem six months ago with one of his spark plugs, and he says a shop used a helicoil kit to repair his engine. (His V8 runs beautifully, now at 215K.)


@ymmot04: I tighten them by hand, and then give them a quarter-turn with a socket. Of course, this was yet another friend checking those two plugs (I let him handle it because the exhaust manifold was still warm). Still, he changes his own plugs, so I'll assume he didn't overtighten them.
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Old 06-21-2010, 02:38 AM   #6
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PB Blaster is your friend. Good stuff.
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Old 06-21-2010, 08:22 AM   #7
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Colin...if you want to stop up, I can take a look at it. If there'* any plug left to grab onto we can try that and if not, I have the bolt grabbing socket set.

When that fails, I'll explain that engines aren't that expensive, hand you an L36 head and tell ya how head gaskets aren't tough, but can add up in gasket/fluid costs.

On plugs. Go snug and then a tap more. Never 1/4 turn more. That'* a ton of torque.
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Old 06-21-2010, 09:09 AM   #8
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Thanks for the grim reality, Bill. That'* pretty much what went through my head in those first few moments. I've already been checking junkyards. I'll try and drive up on Tuesday night. My phone was stolen, so watch your PM box.

Like I told Dan, there'* about ⅔ of the plug left to grab onto, if that helps. I don't hand-tighten them all the way, though, so when I said a quarter-turn, it'* a very soft turn.
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Old 06-21-2010, 09:51 AM   #9
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As a point of thought... On a cam bolt you tighten to X ft lbs plus 90 degrees. 90 degrees is a true quarter turn. I once lifted my buddy (standing on engine stand) and lifted the engine/stand partly off the ground going 90 degrees.
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Old 06-21-2010, 10:31 AM   #10
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Hand tighten to seat the plug, then 1/16th of a turn. That'* all that is needed.
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