: Spark Plugs



investor74
04-19-06, 11:22 PM
Hi,

I have 82K on my '97, original owner.

I never had the spark plugs changed. Its running smoothly, seems to have plenty of power, and gets fairly good gas mileage, as good as ever.

Am I going too long on the plugs? When did you change yours?

Thanks,

Barry
'97 Forest Green Catera

guardian
04-20-06, 08:59 AM
I am WAY, _WAY_, too smart to express a personal opinion on a topic this sensitive.:)

But for anyone out there thinking me unaware:

The Catera has aluminum heads. Period.

And I AM aware of this.

However, you did not come to this forum looking for your daily dose of BS, you want counsel.

So here's some counsel if you have the time to read it all the way through and the good sense to understand the message:

http://www.parttrackers.com/library/1/24/50/

Yeah, I realize it's a really long-winded piece. But as a favor to yourself, understand the good part is just starting when you read the words "triple yttrium electrodes".

Good luck. If nothing else you can delight in knowing the HUGE can of worms you have opened.:stirpot:

The Catera has aluminum heads. There, I've said it again!

Elo
04-20-06, 11:36 AM
Every year I change my plugs... Period...

Yah, it costs money, and yah, the plugs are still good...

But I accomplish two things by doing this:

1: I always have good condition plugs
2: The plugs are a hell of a lot easier to change every year than if I were to change them every couple of years... The longer they sit, the harder they are to remove... And breaking a plug while it's still screwed in sucks... ;)

Since I haven't had my Catera very long, I haven't done much service work to it yet... But it's nearing the 55k mile mark, and as soon as it does, I'm doing my "tune-up"

-Elo

guardian
04-20-06, 12:50 PM
Every year I change my plugs... Period...

Yah, it costs money, and yah, the plugs are still good...

But I accomplish two things by doing this:

1: I always have good condition plugs
2: The plugs are a hell of a lot easier to change every year than if I were to change them every couple of years... The longer they sit, the harder they are to remove... And breaking a plug while it's still screwed in sucks... ;)

Since I haven't had my Catera very long, I haven't done much service work to it yet... But it's nearing the 55k mile mark, and as soon as it does, I'm doing my "tune-up"

-Elo

Well, I agree with everything you wrote.

But you have left me realizing my earlier post missed the mark:

The point is changing the plugs ISN'T primarily about the plugs. It isn't primarily about how difficult they are to remove, or about the possibility of breaking one. And it isn't primarily about how well the car might, or might not, be running.

That's why the 100K change interval is such a fraud in a car having aluminum heads. The plugs could easily be operating fine at 100K, but who cares.

I'm sure there are posters here adept enough to Heli-Coil a rear cylinder, a rear spark plug hole, on a Catera in situ.

http://www.helicoil.com/products/helicoil.html

I just happen not to be in that group.:)

I wouldn't even be able to keep the filings from falling down into the cylinder.:eek:

No, for me it would probably mean removal of the head and maybe even a trip to the machine shop.

So it's hugely smarter to change the plugs early and often. Or, at the very least, to remove and replace the plugs sufficiently often to minimize the chance of having one seize.

Again, bottom line it's not about the plugs. It IS about the condition of the threads in the aluminum head AFTER the plugs have been removed.

If waiting too long to do a plug change results in damage to the aluminum head when the plugs finally are removed, you have transformed a simple tune-up into a calamity.

Remember, the spark plug bodies are steel; the heads are aluminum. Removal of a plug in there too long can be a "transforming" experience for the threaded hole in that aluminum head. There is no way you want to go through this experience.

Elo
04-20-06, 02:45 PM
Most definately, Guardian...

Anyone, that in good conscience, can go 100k miles without doing any sort of tune up on their car, doesn't deserve a car... IMO

I don't care what kind of advertisement they have... And whether or not the car can run fine for 100k without changing plugs...

It's just not worth the risk... Period...

-Elo

investor74
04-20-06, 03:00 PM
Uh-oh

Looks like I believed the hype and blew it.

Thanks guys.

Barry

Elo
04-20-06, 03:31 PM
Uh-oh

Looks like I believed the hype and blew it.

Thanks guys.

Barry

Don't like the sound of that... What happened?

-Elo

guardian
04-20-06, 08:29 PM
Uh-oh

Looks like I believed the hype and blew it.

Thanks guys.

Barry

Well, let's hope not.

I'm not saying too infrequent plug changes GUARANTEE trouble with the aluminum head threads.

But I do belelve it heightens the CHANCE for trouble.

And this is not the kind of trouble you want to encounter; trust me. Sure it is more convenient to slough off plug changes, especially when the car is running fine.

But if you end up having to Heli-Coil a thread, well, that is NOT so convenient.

Here's an interesting reference:

http://www.georgiazclub.com/tips/ztech/sparkplug.htm

And for those who absolutely must Heli-Coil:

http://www.automedia.com/Spark/Plug/Hole/Thread/Repair/ccr20020401st/1

As I said earlier, Heli-Coiling in situ would most likely be beyond me. But for others, obviously, it is within reach.

tedhontz
04-29-06, 09:51 PM
on average, how much does it cost to have the plugs changed in the catera at a service shop? Do you really have to drop the engine? Or was that mentioned just to scare me?

guardian
04-29-06, 10:52 PM
. . . . . . Do you really have to drop the engine? Or was that mentioned just to scare me?
? ? ?

Where did any of us mention dropping the engine to change the plugs:batty:!

pompste
03-11-08, 10:02 PM
Every year I change my plugs... Period...

Yah, it costs money, and yah, the plugs are still good...

But I accomplish two things by doing this:

1: I always have good condition plugs
2: The plugs are a hell of a lot easier to change every year than if I were to change them every couple of years... The longer they sit, the harder they are to remove... And breaking a plug while it's still screwed in sucks... ;)

Since I haven't had my Catera very long, I haven't done much service work to it yet... But it's nearing the 55k mile mark, and as soon as it does, I'm doing my "tune-up"

-Elo


You would`nt change spark plugs every year if you had to change them on a 4.9 liter.I got one of the front plugs out the other day to look at it`s condition and i`ve got cuts all over my knuckles.

callingmonroe
03-16-08, 10:26 AM
Glad this came up, I would have not known at all about the 100,000 fraud, which reading above I have learned much. Thanks for bringing it up.

wufibug
03-30-08, 12:28 AM
So just how difficult a job is it, and which plugs are the hardest to get at? Also curious about plug wires. Back in 98, I think the stock wire was 7mm; most now seem to be 8mm and bigger. Is there any source for an 8mm plug wire that anyone knows of? Can any part of the plug wire be reused, such as the long boot that seems only to fit the Catera?

cateraowner
03-30-08, 01:02 AM
just did it today. it was an easy job. if you've done spark plugs before these are one of the easier ones. the more difficult ones were the ones on the left bank (driver side ) cause there is the wiring that run right above that, and they don't move very much so it's difficult to get straight at it. but it's not too bad. nothing really hidden. ( keep in mind though I was cleaning my breathers so had the plenum and the scuttle off. so I had access to everything)

I used bosch 4+ platmun plugs. running great

and I reused my wires

Army_MP_From_MO
03-30-08, 12:33 PM
on average, how much does it cost to have the plugs changed in the catera at a service shop? Do you really have to drop the engine? Or was that mentioned just to scare me?

I got a tune up when I purchased my Cat in Jan. It ran me around $700. The engine doesn't have to be removed. You could save yourself a crap load of money and do it yourself. I'm recovering from a spinal fusion but I had to get it done.