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Old 01-08-2006, 05:26 PM   #1
rlith
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How-to change the PITA #3 spark plug

So many threads have gotten started asking how to change the #3 plug because the intermediate shaft is in the way. "Typically" people say to wedge the socket on, use a wobble, this that an the other thing. They end up fighting with something they don't have to.

So I've decided to show the "EASIEST" way to change the #3 spark plug, (It is by no means the only way). My how-to can be done in about 5 minutes.

Tools needed.
11mm socket
Socket Wrench
2 or 3 Extensions
Flathead screw driver (or prybar if rusty)


Step 1: Turn your wheels straight and leave the ignition key forward enough to keep the steering wheel unlocked.

Step 2: Open the rag joint cover at the base of the intermediate steering shaft.

Step 3: Remove the 11mm bolt at the base of the intermeiate

Here in the picture we see the plastic rag joint cover. The red arrow points to the circled 11mm bolt that has to be removed.



Here is a pic of the bolt removed



Step 4: Use a large flat head screw driver at the base and pry outwards. The steering shaft will start telescoping in on itself. (If your intermediate shaft is a bit rusty, simply spray the shaft with wd40 or similar and use a prybar instead of the screwdriver. Don't worry about prying to hard, the shaft can take a lot. )



Step 5: Lift Steering shaft out of the way (don't worry, the top is fairly mobile)



Do not worry about how you put the shaft back on. The shaft and the splines on the steering box are keyed. (Meaning it only goes on one way) Avoid spinning your steering wheel all the way around though. You don't want to bust the clock spring in the steering wheel.



Here we now see the # 3 plug fully accesable. Simply use a couple of extensions and a spark plug socket to remove.



When putting in new spark plugs, even if you are told they are pre-gapped, take no chances. Check your gap with a gap tool. It's a .25 cent tool, get one! Also you can spread anti-seize on the threads of the sparkplug so you don't have difficulty later. Also use dialectric grease inside the plug boots. This way you won't have a prob when you need to pull them off later and it will create a better contact between the wire and the plug.

Here is a shot of the AC-Delco Rapidfires that I installed. Note the gold tone, that is the anti-seize.



Total time to change all 6 plugs was 20 minutes. This includes collapsing and reinstalling the intermediate shaft. This way you don't have to worry about trying to work other tools in there.
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Old 01-08-2006, 06:10 PM   #2
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Re: How-to change the PITA #3 spark plug

Good post, wish I would have had it a couple of months ago when I did my wire/cap/rotor/plug change!!!

Heh, will keep this in mind for next time though!

=)
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Old 01-08-2006, 07:04 PM   #3
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Re: How-to change the PITA #3 spark plug

Another great thread. Now that people can see how to do it, maybe they'll believe us when we tell them it's easier than fumbling with multiple swivels and extensions.
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Old 01-08-2006, 07:31 PM   #4
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Re: How-to change the PITA #3 spark plug

Hey the pic worked the first time this time lol.
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Old 01-08-2006, 09:28 PM   #5
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Re: How-to change the PITA #3 spark plug

Great post!
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Old 01-09-2006, 08:46 AM   #6
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Re: How-to change the PITA #3 spark plug

Pretty awesome!
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Old 01-09-2006, 08:17 PM   #7
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Thanks again rlith, first it was the door hinge bushing post and now this!!! you are a life saver
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Old 01-09-2006, 11:28 PM   #8
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Re: How-to change the PITA #3 spark plug

Great info. I wish I had that last fall when it took me 2 hours to change all my plugs. LOL.
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Old 01-10-2006, 04:24 AM   #9
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Re: How-to change the PITA #3 spark plug

Glad its not this difficult on an 89 model . But a body lift helps with clearance . Another good job . Rob
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Old 01-10-2006, 09:38 AM   #10
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Re: How-to change the PITA #3 spark plug

I might actually need this for v8 because from plug 3 on back its a no go lol.
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Old 02-14-2006, 12:05 PM   #11
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Re: How-to change the PITA #3 spark plug

Thats awesome, just another idea as well...snap-on makes an offset sparkplug socket that works great too
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Old 02-14-2006, 04:58 PM   #12
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Re: How-to change the PITA #3 spark plug

I guess my question would be....would this effectthe air bag system in any way?? Just dont want to set off my airbag over a spark plug...lol
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Old 02-15-2006, 06:24 AM   #13
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Re: How-to change the PITA #3 spark plug

Quote:
Originally Posted by friesza
I guess my question would be....would this effectthe air bag system in any way?? Just dont want to set off my airbag over a spark plug...lol
No, it won't affect the airbag system. Your airbag sensors are actually under the core support, so unless you bang those with a hammer you've got nothing to worry about
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Old 03-07-2006, 07:18 PM   #14
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Re: How-to change the PITA #3 spark plug

good advice, dude master, i also found on my 2001 jimmy, the flap behind the front wheels/tires, if lifted up, gives good acess to the other 5 plugs, and nothing above has to be removed. i got off easy last time i changed #3, as i used a wobble socket extention and ground a few mm's off both ends of the spark plug socket. it was still hard, but went better that witha regular socket. p.s. are the ac/delco's you put in working well, i put in a set of bosch platnum +2's and i don't think it was worth the money. thanks for the info/helpand graphics are always good!!!
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Old 03-30-2006, 01:49 AM   #15
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Re: How-to change the PITA #3 spark plug

Thanks for the easy steps, even on my 2001 blazer it was almost exactly as you wrote. Im a complete car novice (can hardly change my own oil if i had to) And i got this granted it was a biatch my engine cavity had about 10x the wires as shown in your pictures but with a little TLC you can make it happen!
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