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Best thing to happen to my car yet

 
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  • 1 Post By scrisp2

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Old 04 Aug 2008, 01:08 pm
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Default Best thing to happen to my car yet

Well, I've been meaning to change out the spark plugs and wires since last year, and finally got a chance to do it this weekend.

WOW, what a difference it made!!!

I was basically a bit leery about taking the intake of my PT (It's a 2004, n/a, with 72,000 miles), but it was so easy to do, I am kicking myself for not doing it before.

I had the, every once in a while it would hesitate or stall, problem that a lot of others have had. It's especially bad when it's rainy or I hit a puddle of water. I still think that it is a dumb design to have to remove the intake to change plugs, but out '98 Mustang GT was worse, with all the junk in the way that had to be moved to access the plugs.

I bought a set of Champion 7250(?) Platinum plugs form the local store, but I could not find anyone who could get me the Crane wire set that a lot of others use (8.5 mm), so I looked up the wires on my old standby website, Summit Racing, and they had them for $53.00. They of course have their $9.50 handling charge, but the shipping was free and I ordered them last Thursday night at 11:30 PM and they shipped Friday. I didn't get a tracking number, as it came to me work email and I was at home, but the wires were supposed to be to me by 3:00 PM Saturday. Well, Summit never disappoints and didn't this time either. I got up at 8:15 AM Saturday to take my dogs to their kennel and there, sitting against my front door were the wires from Summit. I just knew that it would be a good start to the day.

I ran to Sears and bought a nice little torque wrench, just to make sure that I got everything back together correctly. I have one of the clicker types, but it doesn't even start to work until 25 ft/lbs, so that wasn't going to do me any good. I got a beam type and I like it a lot better than the clicker type. It goes from 0-150 ft/lbs, and was only $29.99 and has a lifetime warranty.

I got the manifold disconnected and off the car in about 10 minutes. I noticed that one of the gaskets looked a bit drier than the others and a bit thinner, so I sprayed it with silicon spray and when it absorbed the spray, it enlarged back to the same shape as the others, and they were all very soft, so no need to change them (although I did find them at AutoZone for $17.00, if need be). The old wires just about crumbled in my hands when I pulled them off. The plugs all came out without a hitch, except the #1 (the one closest to the passengers side), it was really hard to get out and made an awful grating sound as it was backing out. When I got it out, it was just due to someone cranking it down into the head and not using any anti-seize lube. I had sprayed the holes all out with a compressor before taking any plugs out and some rusty looking debris came out, but not much. I looked at each plug to see if it looked okay and they all had a bit of white ash, which as far as I can remember, fine for the plugs. I could definitely see why I was having issues with the rough idle form the plugs side too. They were the original plugs from the factory and at 72,000 miles, they were shot. The gap ran anywhere from .072" on the smallest gap to .096" on the largest!!! The end (not the electrode, the end that you bend to form the gap), was so bad on the worst one that I could bend it with my finger nail. I'm so glad that it didn't come apart in the cylinder. I gapped the new plugs at .042" and added some anti-seize lube and put them in. The wires got a good treatment to some dielectic grease and went on without a hitch. The only thing that I noticed is that the new wires are about an inch longer, so they are a bit more prone to touching each other or the power steering reservoir, which I hope doesn't cause any rubbing issues later.

I got the whole thing apart and buttoned back up in around 30 minutes. Not bad for being my first time doing it, and not being a mechanic.

I cleaned the sensor that goes between the air box and the throttle body, as it had black soot all over it. I also opened and cleaned the throttle plates and all kinds of junk ran out from behind it. When I started the motor, she was a bit hesitant to fire up, but I'm guessing it was because of the cleaner.

The motor idled really rough and I thought that I had gotten a plug wire mixed up or not on all the way, but I let it run for a few minutes and it smoothed right out.

I took the car up the street and I could tell immediately that it ran better. I ran it on a straight open stretch of road and the difference was like night and day. It used to rev up through around 5500 rpm, with a bit of hesitation, but there is no hesitation and it runs smooth as silk. I didn't think that changing the wires/plugs would give a seat-of-the-pants feeling of better acceleration, but it did. My wife even said that she can't hear the little "putt-putt-putt" that we would get while idling any more.

The true test will be at the end of the week when I fill the tank again and check the mileage, but coming to work on the freeway this morning, it had so much more pickup and it ran better than it did when we bought it 3 years ago.

Sorry this was so long, I am just a lot less frustrated with the car today then I normally am (if you looks back at my old posts, you can see why), and am so glad that it is running so much better.

Now on to the brakes, next weekend.

later,
Scott
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Old 04 Aug 2008, 01:36 pm
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Default Re: Best thing to happen to my car yet

LOL! Scrisp! You sound really excited!!!! Congrats!!!
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Old 04 Aug 2008, 04:56 pm
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Default Re: Best thing to happen to my car yet

congrats !!
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Old 04 Aug 2008, 05:46 pm
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Default Re: Best thing to happen to my car yet

Nice job on your post. One other thing you could have done is take the negative battery cable off for a few miinutes while you did your work. The computer actually learns the way you drive and taking the cable off would give you a clean start on the computer with the plugs and wires. I'm told it will learn in time so you don't have to do it now. Glad it all worked out.

The plug number should have been #7570 for the double platinums.

You sound like you do your own oil change too. Are you using synthetic? It cost a little more but you'll be able to go further between changes to make up for the cost and it might give you 1-2 miles more miles to the gallon.
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Old 04 Aug 2008, 11:36 pm
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Default Re: Best thing to happen to my car yet

Actually yes, I do my own oil too and did it right after I changed the plugs the other day.

I didn't use synthetic this time and I'm so glad that I didn't. I bought a Fram filter and it had a faulty seal. I got it all ready to go and started the car, only to see oil spewing from the filter housing. I turned it off and pushed it up the driveway to get a clean area to lay in. I took the filter off and the filter gasket looked like part of it was shaved off, almost flat to the metal filter housing. This caused there to be a huge leak since it couldn't seal all the way against the housing. I wasted 4 quarts of Valvoline synth blend, for about $16. Luckily, I had a K&N filter sitting on my bench that I had forgotten about from last summer, so I had something way better than the Fram. I took the filter back to the store where I got it (Advance Auto Parts). My uncle works there and he said that mine was the 3rd one that has been returned since last week and they all had gasket problems. He said that he would always recommend the K&N over any others.

I got the engine bay all cleaned up, but still smell oil when I stop at a red light, it's just burning off the exhaust I think. It's amazing to see how fast and oil pan can be emptied by the oil pump, not a pretty sight at all.
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