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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-06-2006, 06:35 PM Thread Starter
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How to Replace Spark Plugs?

I can't find a "How to" for replacing spark plugs. The tech article only stated which ones to use and where to gap them at. Can someone explain how to do this in basic, simple english. What tools will I need, how do I do it?

I originally wanted to replace them on the Contour, but because I don't drive the Thunderbird much, and because there's more room under the Tbirds hood, I have decided to use it as my gerbil. Once I become more inclined, I will try to replace them on the Contour. I think the Contour will be more complicated to do.

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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-06-2006, 06:43 PM
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For a 3.8 tbird, you will need a 5/8" spark plug socket, a ratchet, swivel, and some extensions, and a flat head screwdriver. First loosen the hose clamps on the ends of the intake tube and remove the tube. Now follow the spark plug wires to the plugs. Only do one plug at a time so you won't accidently cross wires. To get the boot off the plug, reach down and grab it, then twist and pull until it comes off. Once the boot is off, use the socket and ratchet (and swivel/extension if needed) and remove the plug. Take the new plug and put a little anti-sieze on the threads then reach down and start threading it in, and tighten with the ratchet and socket. Repeat this procedure for all the plugs doing one at a time and you will be fine. The hardest part is figuring out how your arm has to contort to get down to the plug.

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-06-2006, 07:00 PM
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^^ What he said. ^^


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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-06-2006, 07:03 PM
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I recommend doing the passenger-side plugs first so that you get the hard ones out of the way. That way when you get to the driver's side, you'll be so happy at the simplicity of it.

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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-06-2006, 07:23 PM Thread Starter
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Is it that bad? To change them on my Contour, I need to remove all 6 of the wires and the entire coil pack just to get to the back 3! Is the Thunderbird the same way? Now, I'm wandering if I should just pay a service shop to do it instead.

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-06-2006, 07:26 PM
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You don't have to remove anything except for the intake tube. After that it's just maninpulating your tools and hands to get them in/out right. Like I said, the passenger side is a *****, but the driver side can be done in two minutes. I've got it down to about 7 minutes for all 6 spark plugs.

Don't pay the shop, you can do it.

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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-06-2006, 07:32 PM Thread Starter
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What are the best plugs to use? What about those double platinum things?

Also, what is the flat head screwdriver for, I didn't see it mentioned in the steps.

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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-06-2006, 07:35 PM
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Douple plats are the OE plug. They give long life and good fuel economy. I use them but other people have their preferences. Just go with Autolites.

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-06-2006, 08:04 PM
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Flat head screwdriver is to loosen the hose clamps on the intake tube and to pry the tube off the throttle body and MAF.

-91 Cougar LS, coming soon, complete overhaul with a 427" Windsor.
-90 XR7 5-speed black on black w/sunroof, MP2, coated rotors, double intercooler, 15%OD, ported heads, comp stage 1 cam, 85mm TB, 90MM LMAF, 80# injectors, and ported big valve heads
-98 Mark VIII LSC, Procharger P600b, TR3650 swap and 3.73s.
-90 SC Automatic rustbucket winter beater
-97 Tbird Sport 4.6 Nice weather daily driver
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-07-2006, 01:51 AM
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A lot of people (and this has nothing to do with master486's post) are quick to say, "Wow, I changed to platinum plugs and got a huge performance and driveability increase!" Well, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the increase wasn't due to the platinum/very expensive new spark plugs, it was probably simply because the old plugs were crap, and you'd have seen the same results with cheapo copper plugs, simply because they are better than what was in there.

I would not waste the extra money on platinum plugs for a 3.8 Bird. My 2 cents.

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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-07-2006, 08:45 AM
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autolite 2545 coppers, found at walmart, are the best deal. let the engine cool down for a few hours first.

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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-07-2006, 10:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by big mike
.......let the engine cool down for a few hours first.
lol Most practical advice I've seen yet! Can't tel you how many times I've burnt my hands cause I just had to get it done NOW!

Also it is a good idea to get the passenger side done first. Don't ask why, just is.

The Bird will actually be easier than the Contour because it doesn't have a "back bank" just a Left and right. I've tried to do plug changes on east/west V-engines before. It sucks trying to reach those back plugs.


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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-07-2006, 03:05 PM
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not that great advice but... use a piece of rubber hose to pull the spark plug out of the hole (once loosened). It is easier then messin with a spark plug socket that has the rubber piece already in it because they always move around, fall out, etc. You can start threading the plug with the rubber hose too... yippiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeee.

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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-07-2006, 03:43 PM
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You're wrong, I think thats great advice. I'll have to try that next time. Might save my poor old hands from damage to.


1997 Thunderbird Sport
Low Miles
Wifes Car
destined to remain stock

1997 T-Bird GT 4.6
80 MM Mustang GT MAF - P&P'd Mustang GT TB and Intake Plenum - PI Intake manifold - PI Heads
Mark VIII Torque Converter - J-Modded 4R70W transmission - Mark VIII Aluminum Driveshaft - 3.73 gears
PBR Brake Calipers - Eibach Springs - KYB Shocks
'89 SuperCoupe front and rear sway bars
SCT Chip programmed by Lonnie Doll
255/50/16 Falken Ziex ZE-512's
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-07-2006, 06:50 PM
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lmao... thx

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post #16 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-08-2006, 01:22 AM
 
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Lucky you don't have a XR7 or SC.
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post #17 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-09-2006, 06:41 AM
 
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I recommend sticking with motorcraft. Same with the wires. Aftermarket stuff is junk.
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