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Discussion Starter #1
I have a P0303 code. I just pulled the spark plug for cylinder 3. The spark plug had a good coating of oil around the ceramic and base of the plug. The area that threads into the engine was dry and normal looking. Could the oil around the plug cause a misfire?

Any ideas on cleaning the oil out of the hole of that cylinder without getting anything into the engine?

Should I thread the old spark plug back in and then spray parts cleaner down the hole and blow out.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Update! Replaced spark plug and ignition wire for cylinder 3. Started it up and test drove. No misfire for ten minutes or so then started to misfire. The CEL started to blink so I returned home. Scanned code.....P0304 Cylinder 4 now misfire. Pulled spark plug boot and it was wet and steam was coming off of it. Took a flash light and the spark plug was full of liquid. I stuck my finger in there and it was brown and a bit oily.

My valve covers look like they are leaking a bit but not that bad to fill the whole up with oil. My coolant recovery tank just a bit lower than normal. No white smoke when I drive. Cylinder 4 is in the back on the left side of the engine. The heater hose doesn't look like it's leaking.

Any ideas? Does it sound like a head gasket gone bad or a crack in the block?
 

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oil in the spark plug wells can cause a misfire

if you havent already done so, get a vacuum cleaner with a small diameter attachment......spray carb cleaner ior equivalent into the plug well (with the plug in there of course), and suction out the oil mess with a vacuum...repeat several times to get all the oil out of there.

as for the cyl # 4 misfire, it could very well be a coolant leak from the intake manifold gasket...happened to me once...and sure enough, a tiny bit of coolant in the #4 made it misfire...the brownish look could be just the coolant mixing with any pre-existing oily residure and or dirt/grime
 

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Thank you for the reply guitar maestro. I will try the vacuum and carb cleaner tip.
I was thinking after I do that. I would drive it and see if it fills up again and misfires if so then I know that it's probably the intake gasket.

Have you ever replaced the valve cover gasket on the passenger side of the engine before? It looks like the bottom bolts are really close to the fender wall.

How long did it take you to replace the intake gasket? Any hints that you can give me?
 

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The valve cover bolts are no problem if you have a swivel connector at the end of the socket. Been there done that:) And I would say about a 3 hr job on the intake, Been there done that as well . Hope this helped a bit
 

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yea get a 8mm swivel socket to take care of the bolts near the passenger side shock tower....also get some Qtips, alcohol, and some RTV sealant.....this is because sometimes the new gaskets dont like to stay in place when you put them in the ridge in the valve cover......once the valve cover(s) are off, clean the ridge with the qtip and alcohol to get rid of the oily residue, then put several dabs of RTV all around......then put the gasket in there and let it set a while, and you should have no problem when you flip it around when it comes times to put it back on

if the intake manifold gasket really is leaking, then the first thing i would do is is drain the coolant.....otherwise you'll get coolant in almost all spark plug wells and intake ports........clean off the visible area where the intake manifold runners meet the head....a lot of dirt usually collects there, and you dont want that fallin into an intake port...once that is nice and clean, then its just a simple procedure of disconnecting everything that hooks up to the intake manifold....make sure you have a fuel line disconnect tool....dont try to pop out the injectors/fuel rails from the manifold, because there is usually a ton of dirt around the bottom of the injectors that is very difficult to clean 100%...remove the manifold/fuel rails as a whole, then take the rails/injectors off the manifold once its off the car.....dirt/grime into the intake ports = bad
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you for the tips GM. I vacuumed out the plug hole today along with carb cleaner. Installed new plug and wire. I drove 30 miles locally today. So far so good. No visible sign of any leak anywhere that I could see. One thing I know about cars is never say you fixed it on the same day of your repair. I will have a better picture after a tank of gas or so. I will keep it to local driving for now. I'm going to replace the valve cover gasket, next weekend.

Thanks for your support.
 
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