Broken spark plug


my friend bought a 1992 chevy cavalier 2.2 4cyl. One of the spark plugs broke off right below the nut so the spark plug is flush with the head. He attempted to drill out the center and use a bolt extractor which broke off and is now stuck also. I know the extractor is

made of a very hard metal so im not sure how to proceed. My friend doesnt have a lot of money so pulling the head is an absolute last resort. Any help is appreciated.


Unfortunately, I think pulling the head may be your only option at this point. If a bolt extractor didn’t do the job and is now stuck, how else can you possibly access it? The only way I see to remove the thing is to back it out from the inside, and that means the head will have to come off.

It’s something that can be tackled over a weekend, and while you’re at it you might as well change out the head and intake gaskets.


You’re probably going to have to pull the head. If you have someone with a stick-type arc welder, you might get lucky enough to weld something to the spark plug / broken extractor and turn the mess out, but even then, it sounds like the spark plug was cross-threaded and I’d bet the head needs to be removed to be fixed. :frowning:

EDIT: The thought comes to mind, if you and your friend are at all mechanically inclined, there’s no reason that you can’t buy a Haynes of Chilton manual for this car and pull the head yourselves. Everything is right up top on this motor, it’s not that big an ordeal.


You could use a large pair of needle-nose (or, duck-bill) pliers to rock the extractor, and turn it both in and out, and POSSIBLY get it out. If you get the easy-out out, there is still the spark plug to remove. Use a lot of penetrating fluid, maybe a larger drill bit (careful! not TOO large!). There are reverse twist drill bits that help, sometimes. You might have to call around to find a source. … Snap On, Granger,.?..


Thanks for the help. I’m the mechanically inclined one so I’m the one doing the work while my friends just an extra set of hands. I have a arc welder so I’m going to try and weld a nut on the extractor and see if I can remove it. If that doesn’t work the head will come off. It actually looks pretty simple on this car compared to the others I’ve done. Since this motor is OHV I won’t have to deal with the timing chain. Thanks again guys.


Did your friend drill through the spark plug? I suspect he did, and there should be debris in the cylinder. I would just pull the head and clean it out, fix the probably destroyed spark plug threads, and replace the gaskets as mentioned above. Anything else, and your flirting with danger.


Excellent point BustedKnuckles. Daves92gt is right that the head is an easy one. They are also prone to leaky headgaskets, antifreeze seeping out the front, so this is a good time to fix that eventual problem.

Be sure to use some antisieze lube on the new plugs so you won’t get to do this again.


If you have access to a wire feed welder, you can get all the broken pieces out.

Position a nut over the broken off extractor and through the center of the nut, weld it to the extractor. Let everything cool off, and then try turning everything out by the nut. If you’re lucky, everything will unscrew without damaging the threads.

If the threads get damaged, most parts stores sell a sparkplug hole repair kit called SAVE-A-THREAD.