Lets review sparkplug and dist. cap renewal

Lets review sparkplug and dist. cap renewal

Postby MrBob [OP] » September 8th 2014, 10:52pm

I've searched through threads for instructions on how to change spark plugs and ask those with this experience check me out.
Gather plugs, cap, and wires. Is there a rotor?
Gather tools, including a long 3/8" extension.
Jack up front of vehicle and remove front wheels.
Remove dust shields.
Now you have access to the plugs, right?
Once they're done, remove dog house to access dist. cap and wires, right?
Anything else?
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Re: Lets review sparkplug and dist. cap renewal

Postby Leeann_93 » September 8th 2014, 10:57pm

Yes, rotor.

Remove doghouse before you start. Do one plug and one wire at a time. Attach new wire onto new cap in the same position as the old wire on the old cap. Once all wires are done, remove old cap & rotor, put on new.

I don't remove the tires. I use the tire as something to lean on while doing the work - I do drape a rag over it first.
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Re: Lets review sparkplug and dist. cap renewal

Postby chevymaher » September 8th 2014, 11:00pm

Yes there is a rotor. Take the doghouse off first. You may find some of the plugs accessible. I do all the plugs from under the van or inside. I imagine through the wheel route is easier. But I been doing it this way and I am to lazy to take the wheel off.

Got me that time LeAnn
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Re: Lets review sparkplug and dist. cap renewal

Postby Leeann_93 » September 8th 2014, 11:19pm

chevymaher wrote:Got me that time LeAnn


:wave:
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Re: Lets review sparkplug and dist. cap renewal

Postby redfury » September 9th 2014, 1:12am

I got the nice spark plug socket that was suggested here a while back, haven't gotten around to replacing the plugs...got a nice set of Iridiums laying around here somewhere....lol. I don't really want to do the job, which is why it hasn't been done yet.
A temporary fix usually becomes a permanent solution, therefore it does not exist.
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Re: Lets review sparkplug and dist. cap renewal

Postby Leeann_93 » September 9th 2014, 1:20am

No one wants to do that job. The bonus is, once you put in the iridiums, you won't have to do it for a long time. And the nice spark plug socket with the wobbly on it makes it a heckuva lot easier. Long-handled sparkplug wire pliers makes it easier still.
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Re: Lets review sparkplug and dist. cap renewal

Postby MrBob [OP] » September 9th 2014, 1:30am

redfury wrote:I got the nice spark plug socket that was suggested here a while back, haven't gotten around to replacing the plugs...got a nice set of Iridiums laying around here somewhere....lol. I don't really want to do the job, which is why it hasn't been done yet.


Don't really blame you, I watched Scottie's great Youtube videos on changing the spark plugs and, clearly, the job sucked. It took him 4 hours. He used two 10" extensions, one of them with a wobble end, and one 6" extension. I can't put it off though; I have a trip to MN from CO coming up and the weather is getting colder.
I've done a zillion tune ups over the last 40 years and this looks like one of the most frustrating.
NAPA has everything I need for the Astro tuneup and in high quality parts. The parts guy told me he owns an Astro with 350.000 miles.
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Re: Lets review sparkplug and dist. cap renewal

Postby Lumpy » September 9th 2014, 2:39am

MrBob wrote:
... I watched Scottie's great Youtube videos on changing the spark plugs and, clearly, the job sucked. It took him 4 hours. He used two 10" extensions, one of them with a wobble end, and one 6" extension. I can't put it off though; I have a trip to MN from CO coming up and the weather is getting colder.
I've done a zillion tune ups over the last 40 years and this looks like one of the most frustrating...



Keep that mindset and you'll never change them... :poke:

4 hours is ridiculous. I did mine a couple days ago in an hour. That includes the time spent removing and re-installing the doghouse on a Gen I.

Do it once, learn from it. Do it the next time faster. Time after that faster.

Dielectric grease on the boots and terminals, anti-sieze on the threads, PROPER TOOLS. More importantly, PROPER MINDSET.


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Re: Lets review sparkplug and dist. cap renewal

Postby Leeann_93 » September 9th 2014, 2:48am

4 hours? Maybe if I did it on all 4 of my vans :think:

Should take an hour. Maybe a little longer the first time, but not much.
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Re: Lets review sparkplug and dist. cap renewal

Postby Canyonero » September 9th 2014, 2:58am

yeah, getting the boots off ends up being the hardest part, at least the first plug change…
I've used fuel line to start the plugs by hand, and I always clean the plug hole with WD so it's not dry when trying to thread the new plug.

Biggest pain the last time, was those plastic spacers on the front drivers side, couldn't get the thing undun,and it's metal mount ended up snapping… Now mine are spaces and zip tied, but doing fine with Iridium ACdelco and Bosch wires.
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Re: Lets review sparkplug and dist. cap renewal

Postby paulo57509 » September 15th 2014, 11:43pm

It might be too late for this but before you button up the distributor with your new cap and rotor, locate the vent screens on the distributor body and punch them out.
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Re: Lets review sparkplug and dist. cap renewal

Postby MrBob [OP] » September 15th 2014, 11:52pm

paulo57509 wrote:It might be too late for this but before you button up the distributor with your new cap and rotor, locate the vent screens on the distributor body and punch them out.


Just about to head to NAPA for parts and plan to get into it tomorrow. Many thanks for the heads up.
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Re: Lets review sparkplug and dist. cap renewal

Postby Iulik » September 16th 2014, 12:03am

He he, just did that on saturday :D the biggest pain was the rear left plug, had to go underneath the van to take it off, the rest aren't too bad, you just need wobbly extensions, got mine from advance for like 15$ or smthn, totally worth it, i don't know about you guys taking one hour, it took me probably like 3-4 also, doing it the first time, also changed the cap/rotor/wires, changed cap rotor first than spark plugs/wires one at a time and always started the van after each plug, one of them went wrong and cracked, van was running bad, noticed it right away, good thing i did not do all of them and then check after that, i would suggest doing the same thing, starting and checking if everything runs after every plug and wire combo, other than that, just take your time, first time is always painful ))
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Re: Lets review sparkplug and dist. cap renewal

Postby c.zhou57 » September 16th 2014, 7:00am

I've done this so many times on the van that I can probably get it done in 45 min to an hr... but the first time definitely took around 4hrs or more.

I bought a long 90 deg needle nose plier to help get those stubborn boots off, a wobble extension kit to get to the spark plugs easier, and pick set to undo those stubborn clips on the holders. I start new plugs back in with a rubber hose and then use the socket without the rubber insert to get a better feel of the plug when threading in.

You'll need a torx set to get the cap and rotor off. While you're in there check the rotor for excessive play. Make sure vent holes on the bottom of the distributor aren't plugged and blow out any carbon dust that may have settled down there.

The left side of the distributor cap is 3-1-5 instead of 1-3-5. It will be numbered on the outside of cap but can easily be overlooked.

Make sure the boots are all the way in and snaps onto the plug.

Don't forget to use anti seize and dielectric grease on the plugs.

Good luck..
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Re: Lets review sparkplug and dist. cap renewal

Postby MrBob [OP] » September 17th 2014, 4:14am

What a miserable job that was, but it looks like all turned out well. While undergoing the torment I many times felt gratitude for the helpful posts here and on Youtube. They really helped. I had the tools I needed and a general idea of how to proceed.
My ordeal took about 4 hours but I also took care of a few other issues and rotated the tires. My advice, do the left side first, get it over with. The right bank, by comparison, is a piece of cake. I did one plug and plug wire at a time.
I removed the distributor cap and left three plug wires on one side. I plugged the other three wires into the new cap. This got them out of the way of the distributor so I had lots of room to work without losing track of the wire order.
When I bought the van last year (30,000 miles ago) the PO told me that plugs had just been done but what I found were plugs that were on their last legs and the wires were original at 211,000 miles. The color of the plugs was uniform and a lovely brownish, gray.
Gone are the days when 50 bucks would buy your basic tune up parts. More like 150 bucks for Iridium plugs, wires, rotor, and cap, though they were the best quality NAPA offers. Of course the parts are cheaper on line but I try to support the local NAPA.
I later realized that I should have replaced he PVC valve while it was right in front of me.
Because I have AWD I don't fool around with tire rotation and do it about every 8,000 miles.
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Re: Lets review sparkplug and dist. cap renewal

Postby MrBob [OP] » September 19th 2014, 5:34pm

My CEL had been on for months and throwing codes related to the evaporative system. Since the tune up, the light is off. :shrug:
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