Not something I did today, but yesterday I replaced all of the spark plugs and spark plug wires in our new-to-us 2005 R. I was too tired to write about it last night.
OMG, Iíve changed probably hundreds of spark plugs over the years, but Iíve never had a vehicle where every, single, one fought me tooth and nail. I have to say, itís probably one of the most brutal R&Rs Iíve ever done.
There was another one, a friendís Monza (another Chevy) that was a contender. It required undoing the passenger side motor mount to raise the engine enough to remove the rear spark plug. But even in that case most of the plugs and wires came out willingly.
The R has about 55K on it and I know the plugs are supposed to last 100K, but it had an intermittent miss at idle and the exhaust odor was pretty bad. After firing it up I needed to get it out of the garage right away to avoid smelling the place up. Iíve run a couple of tanks of premium Tier 1 fuel though it now so I knew it was not burning it right. Iím not a big believer in additives like fuel injector cleaner and such so I thought Iíd start with the plugs and wires and see if that would help.
So long story longer, it was a real test match between my knuckles, the Rís wires - almost all of which refused to come out in one piece - plugs that were near seized to the block, and almost no space to work with. Did I say brutal? Blood was shed.
What would normally take a half-hour to an hour on most cars took me well over five hours to finish.
There are probably a couple of plugs that could have come out a bit easier from underneath, but I have yet to get jack stands and what-not to do that kind of maintenance.
The previous owner had the R programmed and tuned by Joe at Left Coast 32 so I got in touch with him. He suggested using NGK TR6 (PN 4177) plugs gapped at .028, saying thatís what heís doing at his shop and that Iíd really like the performance. I was going to go with popular after-market wires from MSD or Edelbrock but after reading multiple postings here and elsewhere saying there isnít much to be gained by spending three or four times as much, I decided to use GM/ACDelco OEM wires.
I made sure to use the prescribed anti-seize on the plugs, dielectric grease on the connections and so on and in the end I did show them who's boss and now have all new plugs and wires in place. Woo hoo!
Itís been raining here so I havenít been able to put the R through its paces, but idling and some quick revs in the garage indicate that things are much better. The exhaust odor has improved 100%. Now it really doesnít smell at all.
Iíve attached photos of one of the plugs I pulled (next to a new one). All of the ones I pulled looked almost identical, fairly normal, no ash, no oil, etc. (which is great news), but as you can see, they were more than ready to be replaced.
Although Iím feeling pretty beat up by all of the bending, twisting, turning and other gymnastics I had to perform on this job, Iím glad itís over and Iím glad I did it.
One downside is that I dropped one old plug and it didnít hit the floor. Even crawling around underneath and feeling for it in as many nooks and crannies I could slip my hand into, for the life of me I could not find it. So sooner or later itíll either be road kill or someone will discover it when its on a lift.
On a positive note, my cuss jar is now overflowing!
This work should last me a good, long time, but in the future (mine or someone elseís) itíll hopefully be an easier job. And apologies for the novela here, but I thought it was worth sharing.
OR maybe itís something for the folks at a Chevy dealer to tackleÖ a good way to get back at Ďem.
In any case, weíre really looking forward to some sunshine and top-down adventure!
UPDATE: The sun came out this afternoon so I took it out and cleared out some carbon, well as much as the local law will allow. I did punch it from a stop light and hit 40 MPH (the speed limit on that particular stretch of road) in what seemed to be a split second. So performance seems to be a few notches higher now. And it sounded grrrrreat!
I hope my trials and tribulations won't intimidate anyone. It was a good learning experience that allowed me to get (really) up close and personal with the heartbeat of America.