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96 | 4.6
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Hey fellows. Thank you very much Grog6 for your journal entry on Spark Plug and Wire Replacement . It was very helpful, but I couldn't follow it all the way. I really went half and half on the antisieze because I see its been so controversial for the 4.6, across many forums. I used compressed air at the gas station about a week before the operation to get rid of the PNW pine needles, & canned air for today. The engine was bone cold when I started today. The few rusty bastards took strength to break lose. Im sure some of that rust found its way into the engine after I unplugged them. Even though I didn't torque to specifications, the torque wrench was very helpful in giving more leverage just to remove the few nasty plugs.
I will post the pics of each plug, and maybe someone can chime in with whats going on. I have the haynes book, and believe it or not their scenarios are even worse than these so its not crystal clear whats gone on.

The weather seal on my bird bay, I dont know what its called, but its been pretty much unmounted for years. I wonder if thats putting a bit of water in the wells. The plugs seem fine but the mounts are a bit caked in rust. I snapped the weather seal back into place pretty easily (too easily?). Probably should have done that years ago.

I will do the wires tomorrow I think, or maybe next weekend. Motorcaft plugs, wires. I think I need more dialectric grease. Any tips on how to put them on the boots? Just cake it inside and out? It is nice to have additional hands help with the worm clamps for the air tubing. I bought some conduit because I might continue to route the wires under the alternator. I know some of you folks like to weave them over but I have no clue how to do that.

After the plugs were installed, and finally turning the engine over - the car was vibrating pretty hard. It was scary. I put a few more miles on it and the vibrations are gone, it seems to runs smooth again. Any tips at this point? I almost feel like going into a plug soon and checking if they had backed out at all.

Pics below: I somehow got the back plugs confused as to where they were. One was so bad that it lodged into the plug socket and we had to smack it on the concrete to yank it out. 7/8 of the plugs were gapped below spec, ~.042
41465

41466

41467

41468

41469

41470

41471

41472

Woudlnt you know it, the most accessible plug looks fine. This is at 160,000~. I have no idea when these were last changed, but they were autolites. My wires still say 1996, so I will be happy to swap them. Any thoughts? Love love
 

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1) All the spark plugs should have anti-seize on the threads. If you put them in without it, pull it out now and fix it because if you don’t do it now, then in 10 years when you pull them back out, the threads will come out of the cylinder head with them.
2) The dielectric grease only goes inside the spark plug boot, and only on the spark plug side, not on the coil side
3) I personally think it looks better running the wires over the alternator, but if you want to run them underneath, don’t waste your time with conduit. Just pull the alternator out, run the wires, then put the alternator back in. The amount of time it would take to route them underneath would be way more than what it takes to just remove the alternator.
 
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The Parts Guy
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Agreed on the anti-seize. Additionally, you REALLY should torque the plugs to spec to avoid pulling the threads out of the head or expelling a plug. Dielectric grease goes on the ceramic/porcelain tower of the plug; you don't want it on the actual point of electrical contact, as it is an insulator by definition.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I did apply some anti sieze to each but not much.
I forgot to post this image of the last boot, not normal but I cleaned it and tossed it back in hoping for the best
41479
 

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You have (or had) a cracked intake manifold. Unless it's the water infiltration you were referring to earlier. Get that weatherseal replaced with something ASAP. I found some really nice 3/8" thick black weatherseal at Lowe's the other day, it is very stiff.

And +2 on removing the alternator to do the wires, but pull the negative cable. It is nice to arrange all the wires neatly so they don't keep crossing each other, and there should be enough plastic loom to cover the wires from the engine block.

Al
 

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Discussion Starter #6
It loosely snapped into place. Is weatherseal some kind of bound coil that's cut, and you apply some sort of sealant? Hopefully can salvage that piece, maybe find a better, snug way to mount it to where it was.

The alternator beckons a lot of questions; if anyone has a thread in mind, is there risk to removing the alternator? Do the arrangment of looms change? I wouldn't know where to begin, would it help seeing an engine bay with that config? I wonder what for reasons that the wires went under originally

The new plugs have been treating me well, and I'm glad they're swapped out. I don't know how I confused my pics of the back few plugs, but they were both pretty bad. Are there further diagnostics for the cracked intakle?

I reinstalled the 'easy' plug multiple times because the plug socket kept giving the rubber seal to the plug. It wasnt till later that I learned my pliers could fit through the well - are there issues in reinstalling plugs for this model
 

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The weatherseal I am referring to is sticky on one side. Probably not as ideal as a stock piece, but if you have nothing else, it's better than getting water in the spark plug holes.

The only downside of removing the alt is those connectors are brittle. However, it is much easier to arrange the wires correctly than trying to shove them underneath the alt and hope they come out in the right spot. You can also get the plastic looms arranged to protect the wires from the hot engine block. The wires arrange nicely underneath the alt, I would never put them above, no reason for it.

To do the plugs, you need a universal. Coat the rubber seal of the socket with dielectric grease and don't slip the socket all the way on when tightening so it comes off easier. Might want to start by gluing the seal to the socket, I've never had that come off. Put a piece of duct tape along the bottom edge of the fuel rail, or you WILL end up with a couple gashes on the back of your hand.

Al
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Well, its done I suppose. Thank you everyone for your input. I did want to route them under the alt but I could tell that feeding the wires through it was going to be a tricky situation without removing the alt.

Doing these one wire at a time just wasn't as easy its said to be. I was better off cross referencing the diagrams.

I've got a lot of power restored now. I even spun out on dry pavement on accident, because I'm not used to the adjustment.

You'll see thee that I have added conduit to the 4 crossing wires, and split the conduit in two so that I could add a mount that could rest over the alt. There are two wires that are on top of my radiator hose, near thermostat housing I pushed the conduit over there since I grabbed the photo. Is there any other precautions I can take about these two?

I hope this isn't too ghetto
41705
 

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Its not the worst Ive seen. But I would spend the time un clipping and re routing wires to try and make it look neater.

Then again my engine bay looks like this.
41708
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Goddang thats super clean. One of these summer days I gotta sit around with a toothbrush. Is you weather seal below the windshield ? I dont see it

Edit: Do you think mounting putty would work to keep the two wires off contact from the radiator hose? Its tempting if that putty doesnt just react poorly do the heat
 

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The Parts Guy
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Using putty to hold plug wires would be "ghetto". If you need additional plug wire separators, and I'd suggest that, pick some up. That, and a little time, is all you need to straighten them out.



41711
 

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Well, its done I suppose. Thank you everyone for your input. I did want to route them under the alt but I could tell that feeding the wires through it was going to be a tricky situation without removing the alt.
You still can. I wouldn't leave the wires like that, it looks disorganized, plus they are blocking access to a lot of things. It is possible to get electrical interference from other wiring.

Al
 

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The Parts Guy
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U could prob win awards for that bay
I will be ordering plugs, wires and cool packs. Any specific brand of plugs? Ive done plugs before but they were pre gaped.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
U could prob win awards for that bay
I will be ordering plugs, wires and cool packs. Any specific brand of plugs? Ive done plugs before but they were pre gaped.
I just did Motorcraft. 7/8 were gapped in range, but probably only 2 of them were close enough to 0.056

I like these bays..
 
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