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How To: Rounded Off Spark Plug Removal

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How To: Rounded Off Spark Plug Removal

Postby rex2nr » Sat Mar 18, 2006 10:08 am

I just rounded off a spark plug on the Ranger... luckily, yet strangely, it was the easiest one to get to. Two of them are hidden behind a box, looks like an air filter of some sort (cabin?). the other two are hidden under the brake booster and master cylinder.

Anyway, this one plug is stuck, and I'm running out of ideas.

I've read to JBWeld a socket to it, but that has iffy results. I've also read to chisel out the porcelin, and vacuume out the cylinder... hmmm, debris in the cylinder, sounds like a great idea. I dont have a welder to weld a socket to it, besides, it would be pretty difficult since I'd be welding inside the cylinder. I tried to use a craftsman bolt-out, but I can't get a good grip on it. My next idea is to try to turn it with a chisel. I'm just worried that will eff up the head.

Any suggestions?
Last edited by rex2nr on Mon Mar 20, 2006 6:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby rex2nr » Sat Mar 18, 2006 3:26 pm

anyone?
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Postby downest » Sat Mar 18, 2006 3:31 pm

Try using a slightly smaller socket and hammering it on, maybe heat it up first so it expands a little, and then force it over the rounded plug and let it cool so it locks on. They really shouldn't be in there that tight so it shouldn't need that much force. Make sure to use a socket you don't care about using again. Better yet, go get a cheap one, because the metal won't be great quality and it will more readily form around the plug. I did something similar to this to rebuild the forks on my motorcycle.
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Postby Krix » Sat Mar 18, 2006 8:01 pm

gator grip maybe? its worked for me before actually. dont know if you could fit that thing down through the valve cover though.
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Postby rex2nr » Sat Mar 18, 2006 9:43 pm

It's on the Ranger, a V6, the plugs are on the side of the head, not under the valve cover.

I messed around with it a little more today. I tried Tom's suggestion, but it's so bloody windy here that I couldn't even light a torch. Also, every socket I've used thats smaller is continuing to strip away the hex. A friend of mine around here suggested JBWelding a socket to the thing... I'm kinda doubtfull on that one though.

Anyway, I also tried to chisel it out, by hammering on the edges. All that accomplished was cracking the ceramic, to the point I eventually chiselled it off. I thought that would allowe me more room to get on this thing, but the base is so thin, it just keeps breaking away.
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Postby downest » Sat Mar 18, 2006 10:37 pm

That sucks man. I'm out of ideas... maybe try getting some high temp paint and put an "H" on the valve cover, and put a little of this in the motor:
Image

Maybe if you fool it into thinking it's a Honda, it will come out?
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Postby akirarex » Sat Mar 18, 2006 11:00 pm

well if you do crack the ceramic out of the way, yes it will go into the cylinder...... but you may be able to use an Easy Out or little joe extracter on it, once you can get to the inside diameter of the spark plug.
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Postby rex2nr » Sat Mar 18, 2006 11:31 pm

yep, looks like what I'll be doing... hopefully I can get most of it out, and not damage the cylinder walls. I guess using a shop vac can be pretty effective.
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Postby ryan_long_01 » Sun Mar 19, 2006 2:52 pm

If it sticks out enough to get a chisel on it, can't you clamp a set of vise-grips on there? It can't be in *that* tight...
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Postby rex2nr » Sun Mar 19, 2006 4:26 pm

ended up usig the piston to pop the ceramic out... I tried a square extractor, but it didn't work... I'm going to try using a round one... this thing has to come out

the truck runs GREAT on 5 cylinders :roll:
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Postby rex2nr » Mon Mar 20, 2006 5:59 am

well, half the reason I couldn't get it out was how tight it was in there. I'm not sure if using the extractors and other tools pressed the remains into the head's threads, or what. I took the truck down to my friend's since he had a set of Snap-On round extracters. Jammed it in there and started turning. A half inch ratchet did nothing, so we added a 3' pipe to the end... still nothing. Added heat, no help. Finally we put the EZ Out in an impact... ended up running it on nearly full force to free it.

Luckily it came out clean, with no damage to the head, and minimal crap in the cylinder (hopefully).


What an Adventure...
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Postby rex2nr » Mon Mar 20, 2006 6:43 am

How To: Stripped Spark Plug Removal Procedure

So, you go out side with wrench in hand to do one of the simplest jobs you can, change your spark plugs. Then, tradgety strikes. Your plug socket begins to devour the hex of the plug.

You are now left with a plug with a rounded off hex.

The easy solution would be to ue a bolt extractor like Craftsman's Bolt-Out tools. However, we have limited space to work with in this area, so, chances are, they will not work.

When all else fails, you are going to have to remove the porcelin center of the plug. This can be accomplished by prying, or chiseling with a screw driver. The goal here is not to fully remove the center, just mainly get it loosened up.

Now, start the car. Let it warm up a bit, and then begin to rev it up. It will take a couple tries, but the compression of the piston stroke will build pressure, and push the guts of the plug out of the base. You can now reach down there and CAREFULLY remove the chunks. We don't really want these going in the cylinders. Cranking the engine over a couple turns helps to push the crap out, as does using a shop-vac.

Now, take one of the round screw-type extractors, and back out the plug. You will probably need a breaker bar, and may need the torque levels to be increased. Use as few extensions as possible, because they allow flex, and a loss of power. If worse comes to worse, and you have access, try an impact on the extractor. The hammering action helps to vibrate the bolt lose, and will provide plenty of torque to get the plug out.

Another thing is to not pound inward with the easy out, chisels, or any other tool. It will cause the base to expand in the head, and add to your misery.

After the plug is freed, screw the new plug in by hand to make sure the threads are clean, and to be sure not to cross thread it. Also, make sure to apply a bit of Anti-Sieze to the threads of the plug to avoid this issue in the future.

Now, go drink up... you're going to want to, and deserve it :P
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