Spark plugs 1& 3

Help plz.  How do I get the old # 3 and #1 plugs out and new ones installed.  I struggled with the other 2 and had to call in my wife with her smaller hands than mine to assist.

On the #3 I've removed a tin, but I can't get  get a straight shot.  What are the tricks for this?     

Thanks, Art        ,                      

Original Post

I reach back to the #3 with the spark plug socket only and get that on first. I use the smallest wobble extension I can and get that on. Last but not least I get the socket wrench on and that seems to work for me.

To put it on I push the plug into the spark plug socket, reach back to the #3 spot and get it started by hand. Add the wobble extension, add the socket wrench and tighten it all up.

Seems to work for me but I don't have the largest hands by any stretch of the imagination.

I take the bottom tins off that are just above the valve covers, this gives me access from the bottom and as Robert said, put the socket on the plug first.

When I install them I use a short piece of rubber hose over the top of the plug to install it, this helps to prevent the plug from getting cross threaded in the hole and once started you just pull the hose off.

I also put a very small dab (technical term) of anti seize on the plug thread to prevent it from seizing in the head. There is conversation about the insulating characteristics of applying this with regard to proper heat transfer of plug.  My feeling is that I would rather ponder the issue of heat transfer than deal with the transfer of my head threads ending up on the plug.

When I had my electric hot water heater replaced I saved the 2 electrode access panels.  They are near flat and a nice grey color (blue in photo shown).  I plan to cut access hole in each inner wheel well and use they with rubber gasket to seal holes.  They will allow easy (after removing tire) access to plugs and carbs.

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Art, I learned from a great VW mechanic to always use anti-seize as spark plugs (steel) are notorious for seizing in VW heads (aluminum), especially #3 which typically runs hottest.

Also, he taught me to hand-start the plugs and if you can't get them to start turning them clockwise/in, try turning them counter-clockwise until you feel a "grab", that "grab" is the cut threads on the head telling you it's time to turn the plug clockwise into the hole.

Last thing he taught me about spark plugs, don't over-tighten, turn till you feel everything's snug, then continue 1/4 turn and you're golden.

You should be able to do a spark plug change from the top without removing anything...but the plug wires...and old plugs...

My car has a lot more room in the engine compartment than a pan-based speedster. If I had a pan-based car (and I had two before this one), I'd absolutely put removable panels in the fenderwells and remove the wheels to gain access.

... but there's still the matter of reaching down through the tin to get to the plug itself. What I do with ANY plug I can't reach well is to employ a trick I learned back in the day at Bruner Brothers Mobil Service Station in the big town of Tremont.

Take an old straight spark-plug boot from a discarded set of wires, push the boot on the plug, and use the boot to spin the plug in the hole. You won't cross-thread it (as you can't get enough torque on it to do that) but you can get a plug started when you can't even touch the tip otherwise.

It works great. 

On my CMC, I don't remove any tins, just reach back there from above (blind and using your touch sense, only) and with the appropriate amount of cussing and swearing, manage to get them out of there.  Usually can't decide whether to use the left hand backwards or the right hand frontwards - usually neither works all that well to begin with.

OK, Art, try this:

Go get a magnetic spark plug socket.  Amazon has them, NAPA has them, maybe even Autozone.  MUCH better than a socket with those silly rubber inserts that never seem to work well.

Also, get a 2" wobble-end 3/8" ratchet extension.  I've found those to work better than a universal joint extension. - a bit more control than the universal.   Now, I've gotten straight-shot 2" extensions on plugs for 50 years and only recently inherited a set of wobble extensions.  The old straight-shot extensions worked well with a magnetic socket (the holy grail of this exercise) but the wobble thingies help to give you more latitude over there.

Reach in and gently slip the socket onto the plug.  You'll have to guide it on, but it will pull itself in once close after twiddling it.  Press the wobble-end of the ratchet extension into the socket - You can have it pre-loaded onto the socket or the ratchet or just push in the extension itself.....I prefer to have it pre-loaded onto the ratchet handle.  Then, once everything is seated, use the ratchet to back things out.  Sometimes I find that a shorter ratchet handle works better - some of them are jointed, but I've found that not to be a big help, so one of these works well:

Once you get the plugs out (there is always a certain amount of X-rated swearing involved - just the nature of the beast), I advocate using anti-sieze on the new plug threads, but only the copper-based anti-seize to remain electrically conductive:

The Permatex stuff comes in smaller tubes, too.  Get one of those little tubes.  How many plugs you gonna change in the next 50 years, anyway?  There is a raging debate on the PCA sites (never involving people who build engines) about using or not using anti-seize (usually they talk about the non-copper stuff) , but you have a steel plug thread going into an aluminum threaded head so the threat of electrolytic action between the two causing Dendritic crystalline bonding is real - that's where the two different metals cause a chemical/crystalline reaction that causes "schmutz" to grow between them and securely bond them together.  Just "Mother Nature's" way of saying "Don't do that!"  The copper in the Permatex conducts the plug base to ground AND prevents "Schmutz", seizing and galling between the parts.  Nickel-plating the plug base doesn't seem to help much - the Chemists on here can attest to that for us.

Good luck.   gn

OBTW:  Did you know that Bosch makes Platinum-tipped spark plugs that fit our engines?  They don't foul nearly as easily in fuel-rich or oil contaminated situations AND they tend to last 100,000 miles or so (that's what almost all of the new car manufacturers are using) AND aren't much more expensive than "regular" plugs (maybe a dollar more per plug).  That's all I've ever run in Pearl and only changed one when it failed at 35,000 miles (the Porcelain tip broke when I was installing the engine - oops...).  Look at your current plug to get the heat range (6,7 or 8) and then get an equivalent platinum plug, so a Bosch WR8AC (a resistor plug with heat range 8) becomes a W8AP (same plug with a platinum tip, just use a resistor rotor or resistor plug wires (not both).  I use a W8AP with non-resistor rotor and resistor plug wires (so I can still hear my FM radio!)

I took a Craftsman spark plug socket, cut 1/2" off the socket end, pulled the foam inner holder out and cut 1/2" off it (that way the plug fitted deeper in the socket), rounded off the top of the socket part (where it joins the part that you stick the extension into) so it clears the intake manifold easier, and along with Gordon's wobble joint and extension this combo will clear almost any dual carb manifold. In my Beetle (with dual Webers) the socket and 3" extension were used for threading the plug back in, then the wobble joint and ratchet finished the job. Al

A 2,110 in a VW sedan is an awesome little giant killer.  Been there, done that, but it was a loooooooooooong time ago when it was totally unexpected.

I wouldn’t mind doing another one, but this time with the 3.6 Suby 6-cylinder with full EFI and maybe a Suby automatic.  Now THAT......Would truly be a giant killer!

But then, Chris just bought his 996 Porsche for significantly less than a new VS Speedster.  Certainly makes me think about which is a better value (for me).  

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