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Old 05-14-2009, 04:45 AM
 
80 posts, read 272,193 times
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im goin to use my spark plugs this weekend and i heard about some people who use a torque wrench and some who dont. how important is it to use one. do i need to go spend more than 20 dollars on one. thank you!
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Old 05-14-2009, 05:01 AM
 
Location: Londonderry, NH
41,505 posts, read 49,547,847 times
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If your engine has cast iron cylinder heads you can get away with just tightning the plugs until they are tight. If you have aluminum clyinder heads I would use a torque wrench because stripped threads in a aluminum head can be complicated and expensive to fix. I always use anti-sieze compound on the spark plug, and all other, threads to make disassembly easier.

Sears sells a decent torque wrench. Expect to pay about $50+ or so. Never buy cheap tools. That is just wasting money. Pawn shops are a good place to find good tools these days.
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Old 05-14-2009, 05:01 AM
 
Location: Blue Ridge Mtns of NC
5,661 posts, read 24,187,263 times
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A $20 torque wrench wouldn't even be accurate enough to bother with.
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Old 05-14-2009, 07:56 AM
 
10,700 posts, read 20,119,835 times
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If you put antiseize on the threads you might as well not use a torque wrench anyway as that significantly alters the accuracy of it. Just use the german method "guduntight", just snug enough to hold them in there. Don't go crazy.
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Old 05-14-2009, 08:05 AM
 
3,142 posts, read 7,154,567 times
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Judging by the indicated experience of the OP and the casual advice given.... I place my bets on stripped spark plug holes.
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Old 05-14-2009, 08:28 AM
 
Location: Earth
4,227 posts, read 20,285,035 times
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You do not need to torque your plugs with a torque wrench. All you need to do is snug them just ever so slightly and that's it.

But if you end up stripping a hole due to torquing your plugs then you'll DEFINITELY need that torque wrench....to retorque the head bolts once you reinstall the heads AFTER removing them to have a machinist repair the damaged threads. You see where this is going?

Last but not least, always buy the best tools you can afford. Yes I've bought cheap tools before....sometimes they paid for themselves, other times I had to go out and re buy a newer like tool that was much durable....that I should have bought to begin with.
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Old 05-14-2009, 08:32 AM
 
10,700 posts, read 20,119,835 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JTraik View Post
Judging by the indicated experience of the OP and the casual advice given.... I place my bets on stripped spark plug holes.
A 3 year old could r&r spark plugs. At some point people want to learn to take care of their cars themselves and they're only going to do so by doing it themselves. I remember when I wanted to do my own brakes people just like you were warning me against doing it myself and trying to scare me into paying some joker $600 for the job. What a joke.
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Old 05-14-2009, 01:19 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
13,388 posts, read 42,713,043 times
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Frequently outfits like AutoZone will loan you tools like a torque wrench, if you buy the plugs there.

IMHO *don't* use a torque wrench when tightening any kind of steel fastener, including spark plugs, into aluminum threads, which on the 4.6 Ford V-8 is what you got.

If you work carefully, coolly, accurately you should not have any trouble.

Again, you must have at least one bud who has done this a few times before. Ply him with beer to come supervise you. The feel of a sparkplug that's trying to gall the threads as you take it out is well known to me, but I can't transmit this knowledge over the internet. Likewise the feel of the plug tightening up right.

A tip. Hold your right hand out, thumb pointing up and fingers curled. If you turn a right-handed fastener in the direction your fingers are pointing, it will advance in the direction your thumb is pointing. So on the driver's side of the car, assuming you are holding the ratchet head downwards and handle up, you will push the handle towards the front of the car as you loosen the spark plugs. You want to use as short an extension as you can and if at all possible hold the head of the ratchet so you exert a clean torque on the plug, as opposed to levering on it as well. It's acceptable IMHO to tap the end of the ratchet handle with the heel of your hand to break the plug free.

If you have not already, get some PB Blaster at your local Wally World, or Kroil if you can find it. Also some good anti-seize.

There is a first time for every thing, and if you have done your homework going in the first time should be a success...
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Old 05-14-2009, 01:37 PM
 
Location: Billings, MT
8,989 posts, read 7,079,711 times
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As a retired mechanic, with A&P license, who spent a lifetime working on reciprocating engines from 3 to 4,360 CID, I know this:
If your spark plugs have gaskets, you need to torque them, so that the gaskets are crushed evenly for consistent heat transfer.
If your spark plugs have tapered seats, you need to torque them to insure consistent heat transfer, and to avoid overtightening them. Or undertightening them.
With the long life sparkplugs of today, anti-sieze might not be a bad idea, HOWEVER, be aware that torque specifications are for DRY threads. Anti-sieze compounds are LUBRICANTS. The torque specification must be reduced by at least 10% to avoid inadvertant overtightening. Also, be sure to use ALUMINUM based compounds, not LEAD based compounds. On aircraft engines, all we ever used was a drop of oil on the threads. Very rarely did we have difficulty removing the sparkplugs. Those engines ALL have aluminum cylinder heads, so we HAD to torque each and every plug!
Be sure you know how to use a torque wrench. NEVER jerk on the handle, apply firm even pressure until the torque is reached. On micrometer adjustment torque wrenches, ALWAYS return the adjustment to the lowest setting (NEVER below that) when finished with the job. Leaving it set at anything above the lowest setting will eventually ruin the calibration. A torque wrench is PME (Precision Measuring Equipment). Treat it as such. Banging it around like just another ratchet handle will ruin the calibration, then it will BE just another ratchet handle!
It wouldn't be a bad idea to have the calibration checked every year or two. When I worked on aircraft, mine had to be checked every six months!
Remember, do it RIGHT the FIRST time!
Good luck.

Oh, yeah, a "rule of thumb" for removing and installing anything with threads: "Righty/tighty, lefty/loosey". Obviously, that does NOT apply to left hand threads!
You won't find much on vehicles these day with left hand threads, though.
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Old 05-14-2009, 02:49 PM
 
Location: Winter Springs, FL
1,789 posts, read 3,959,080 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Redraven View Post
As a retired mechanic, with A&P license, who spent a lifetime working on reciprocating engines from 3 to 4,360 CID, I know this:
If your spark plugs have gaskets, you need to torque them, so that the gaskets are crushed evenly for consistent heat transfer.
If your spark plugs have tapered seats, you need to torque them to insure consistent heat transfer, and to avoid overtightening them. Or undertightening them.
With the long life sparkplugs of today, anti-sieze might not be a bad idea, HOWEVER, be aware that torque specifications are for DRY threads. Anti-sieze compounds are LUBRICANTS. The torque specification must be reduced by at least 10% to avoid inadvertant overtightening. Also, be sure to use ALUMINUM based compounds, not LEAD based compounds. On aircraft engines, all we ever used was a drop of oil on the threads. Very rarely did we have difficulty removing the sparkplugs. Those engines ALL have aluminum cylinder heads, so we HAD to torque each and every plug!
Be sure you know how to use a torque wrench. NEVER jerk on the handle, apply firm even pressure until the torque is reached. On micrometer adjustment torque wrenches, ALWAYS return the adjustment to the lowest setting (NEVER below that) when finished with the job. Leaving it set at anything above the lowest setting will eventually ruin the calibration. A torque wrench is PME (Precision Measuring Equipment). Treat it as such. Banging it around like just another ratchet handle will ruin the calibration, then it will BE just another ratchet handle!
It wouldn't be a bad idea to have the calibration checked every year or two. When I worked on aircraft, mine had to be checked every six months!
Remember, do it RIGHT the FIRST time!
Good luck.

Oh, yeah, a "rule of thumb" for removing and installing anything with threads: "Righty/tighty, lefty/loosey". Obviously, that does NOT apply to left hand threads!
You won't find much on vehicles these day with left hand threads, though.
Very good advise. Get a torque wrench and do the job right. If you screw it up and just go by feel and don't use a torque wrench you could end up with a stripped hole and have an expensive repair having your head pulled and retapped.
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