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Old 06-28-2018, 01:10 PM   #1
2001Silver330CI
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Help! Can't Remove Spark Plug #3!

I was changing my spark plugs today because of two things: Running rough and they are at least 5 years old with 100k. I got them all out except number 3. It gets tighter when I try to remove it and it feels like the racket is going to snap. What should I do?
See the pictures of the plugs I removed below.
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Old 06-28-2018, 01:16 PM   #2
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Does it turn at all? Is your spark plug socket 6- or 12-point? Have you tried soaking it with a penetrant like PB Blaster?
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Old 06-28-2018, 01:16 PM   #3
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Those spark plugs don't look good man. I think you might have a serious problem. Also, it sounds like the spark plug is seized. Try tightening it back in a little and then twist it out further. If that doesn't work, well then maybe it's better to just leave that spark plug be. If you want to continue loosening it then I'd suggest a long breaker bar. Just keep going until it's out. Don't use a small ratchet.
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Old 06-28-2018, 01:17 PM   #4
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Spanner, I don't think he should be trying pb blaster in this situation, because it's going to get into the cylinder, and we don't want that getting into the cylinder.
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Old 06-28-2018, 01:26 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by kevinpereira79 View Post
Those spark plugs don't look good man. I think you might have a serious problem.
Per his previous thread, he is battling a misfiring issue. Otherwise the spark plug look like most plugs that haven't been touched for 100K...

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Spanner, I don't think he should be trying pb blaster in this situation, because it's going to get into the cylinder, and we don't want that getting into the cylinder.
Why not? It's combustible and will burn off in about 2 seconds once he starts the car.
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Old 06-28-2018, 01:35 PM   #6
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It moved a little, but got tighter. I almost felt like something was going to break if I kept going.I'm using a 3/8" medium ratchet with a 6 point 5/8" spark plug socket.
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Old 06-28-2018, 01:36 PM   #7
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Here is the troublesome plug!
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Old 06-28-2018, 02:03 PM   #8
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When you try to loosen it counter-clockwise it feels like it's tightening? Obviously that shouldn't be the case, it's a standard thread like the other 5 you already did.

I'm thinking maybe it was cross threaded when it was installed so many miles ago and it's not going to thread out nicely. You can just try to apply more force and it'll probably come out but it'll likely destroy the threads in the process. Not sure what other option there is.

You probably know it's important to hand thread the plugs before you start torquing them because cross threading with the E46's aluminum head is not fun.
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Old 06-28-2018, 02:26 PM   #9
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What about putting a little ATF oil on it. I doubt it will hurt anything. ATF penetrates really well. I'd put some oil on it and wait at leastan hour maybe 2. Let it penetrate. Even if cross threaded will help. People use ATF to clean engines... It dissolves burnt residue! It can reduce torque required by 20 to 30 ft-lbs.

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Old 06-28-2018, 02:43 PM   #10
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Tighten it and drive the car. See if your faults are coming back. If you continue you may be pulling the head to fix the problem.
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Old 06-28-2018, 02:50 PM   #11
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Don't underestimate penetrating oils and ATF oil. They work extremely well! I would not try this dry. They will only penetrate to half or 3/4 of the threads. I don't think you need to worry about these oils.
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Old 06-28-2018, 03:20 PM   #12
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don't use the ratchets wrench but a solid bar (as breaker bar) instead, then just go CW and CCW, back and forth until the movement increased, but don't force it too much or it might break.
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Old 06-28-2018, 04:17 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by 2001Silver330CI View Post
Do I use some PB Blaster penetrating oil and go back and forth with a breaker bar? I have a 1/2" breaker bar and my socket is 3/8" so I would need to use an adapter. Is that an issue?
It's only an issue if you're trying to torque/remove a fastener with much higher limits (think: suspension) than a spark plug. The advantage of a breaker bar over a ratchet for the kind of back-and-forth rocking movement you'll be putting on the spark plug is that you won't have to constantly keep switching the ratchet from "loosen" to "tighten" as you rock.
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Old 06-28-2018, 04:18 PM   #14
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That's the right approach but make sure you use penetrating oil. Don't even try without it. I don't get why you would even consider not using penetrating oil considering the risk.
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Old 06-28-2018, 04:32 PM   #15
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That's the right approach but make sure you use penetrating oil. Don't even try without it. I don't get why you would even consider not using penetrating oil considering the risk.
Cool! I will use penetrating oil. Let it soak overnight?
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Old 06-28-2018, 04:48 PM   #16
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Cool! I will use penetrating oil. Let it soak overnight?
It won't hurt but a warm head is an expanded head. As per the previous post, drive the car and then try to remove it from a warm engine.

When I changed my plugs, I found one plug was difficult to remove. After I had them all out, I saw that one of the plugs was missing the washer. Yep, it had never been on in the first place. It had fallen off when the plugs were put in and was jammed against the plug well.
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Old 06-28-2018, 05:48 PM   #17
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Heat + penetrating oil are your friends in general for seized parts. Good luck.
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Old 06-28-2018, 06:09 PM   #18
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Cool! I will use penetrating oil. Let it soak overnight?
It won't hurt but a warm head is an expanded head. As per the previous post, drive the car and then try to remove it from a warm engine.

When I changed my plugs, I found one plug was difficult to remove. After I had them all out, I saw that one of the plugs was missing the washer. Yep, it had never been on in the first place. It had fallen off when the plugs were put in and was jammed against the plug well.
Do I let it just for 15 minutes or do I need to drive it? I don't feel like putting it all back together again.
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Old 06-28-2018, 06:12 PM   #19
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Do I let it just for 15 minutes or do I need to drive it? I don't feel like putting it all back together again.
Warm is warm, it won't know you didn't drive it.
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Old 06-28-2018, 09:19 PM   #20
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Hot head has soft aluminum threads!!! Beside the plug also expanded too, so gain is little but risk is high of softer threads. If you like, fire it up for 5 minutes idling, wait for 5 minutes then work.
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