Removing spark plug wires


#1

I was unable to remove the plug wires on my '06 Buick 3.8. I tried all of the front wires and stopped when I thought I was exerting too much pressure. I didn’t want to pull anything loose within the connectors. Are these wires just unusually tight, or is there a trick to removing them. I can imagine how difficult the rear wires will be. Thanks.


#2

Get ahold of the spark plug boots, not the wires themselves, as close to the plugs as possible, and twist back and forth as you pull. They may be stuck to the plugs, but they should come off eventually.

Smear some dielectric grease on the inside of the boots before you reinstall them. This will go a long way toward making them easier to remove the next time.


#3

Thanks for the advice.
I have changed a lot of plugs and never run into any as tight as these. The boot is covered by a metal sleeve and I thought maybe this was some kind of new gimmick thought up by GM. I’ll just keep trying.


#4

When they are really stubborn use a spark plug wire boot gripper so you don’t damage the wire.

BTW, why are you messing with the plug wires on a one year old car?


#5

I’ve already put 45K miles on the car and the mileage seems to be slipping. I thought I would check the plugs as an easy way to maybe improve gas mileage. I was going to put NKG Vpower plugs in and see what happens. Never had this much trouble with wires, even using a wire puller


#6

45K? That’s nothing. 100K is the norm, 150K is not unheard of (but not suggested). I wouldn’t worry about it.


#7

45-50,000 is the proper time to change plugs regardless of what the manufacturer suggests. Have you changed the fuel filter and air filter? These should be done now if they haven’t already been done.
~Michael


#8

I second Dartman’s recommendation about changing the plugs - and the filters.

Many car makers recommend extended intervals in regards to spark plugs, but speaking for myself, there is no way on earth plugs should be left in an engine for 100k miles. At least not if you care about peak performance.
I’m a licensed aircraft mechanic also and if I even insinuated doing something like this to someone’s Cessna 172, the FAA would have me swinging from the regulatory gallows by sundown as the powerplant license is run through the shredder.
Aircraft must be maintained at their peak efficiency, so why not an automobile?
(Cut to scene of a sputtering Beechcraft stalling at minimum air speed as the pilot mutters,“Them people told me I could leave those plugs in for 5000 hours. Liars”.):slight_smile:

Those metal sleeves are heat shields and even a slight plug misfire that is not even noticeable to you may cause the spark to jump through the rubber boot, into the sleeve, and then to ground. If a spark cannot jump the plug gap it’s going to do it’s absolute best to go somewhere even if that means burning its way through something.
JMHO anyway. (with a bit of levity.):slight_smile:


#9

I third that.


#10

The plugs will actually last 100,000 miles if they are iridium or 60,000 if they are platinum BUT you should still check them at least every 30,000 miles or the plugs will be darn close to impossible to turn out of the head at 100,000 miles. Every time you insert plugs (new or old) into the engine you should coat the threads with “never seize” and for heaven’s sake use a torque wrench to install them.


#11

It all boils down to maximum efficiency. The car owner may think the car is running fine, but an oscilloscope and infra-red may say otherwise.

So some of you think that you can remove a plug, eyeball it, and determine that it is in fine operating condition because it “looks good” and the tip is clean?

The car makers have done their jobs well. They have convinced the general public their cars are near maintenance free.