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Hey all, I am wondering how to install new spark plugs in my 87' Alfa Spider... What different types of tools will I need to get the old ones out of their current position (sorry I am new to engine fixing).

Cheers.
 

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Spark plug socket, ratchet. remove 1 at time by unplugging the spark plug wire and using the ratchet/socket to 'unscrew' the spark plug. Install new one and reattach the wire. Pretty easy
 

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Spark plug socket, ratchet. remove 1 at time by unplugging the spark plug wire and using the ratchet/socket to 'unscrew' the spark plug. Install new one and reattach the wire. Pretty easy
On reinstallation, use a torque wrench and don't overtorque the spark plugs. Proper torque is 18.4 to 25 ft-lb. (I just go for the middle and torque to 22 ft-lb).
 

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Best to do this on a cold motor and whatever you do, do Not over tighten the spark plugs. The head is soft alloy compared to the threaded portion of the spark plug(s) and stripping the threads in the head will not be pleasant. Start the new plugs with your fingers as to help ensure not to strip or cross thread. If you have access to an air gun/compressor, after removing the wire/cable/boot and before removing the old plug, blow the area around the plug out as well as you can. This keeps any small bits from falling down the opening. Find the gap spec for the plug(s) and get that set as well. Youtube is a good resource for this as well. It's very easy to do and also very easy to mess up. ciao jc
 

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Not sure what opinions might be on this, but I always wipe a little copper grease on the threads and the sealing washer before installing plugs (after cleaning off the seating surface at the top of the plug hole). And always, as JC suggests, start the plugs in by hand, to ensure they are properly threaded, before putting the socket on. Don't go gorilla mad with tightening either. Snug and a bit more should do. Further tip - do them one at a time, removing and replacing the spark plug leads as you go - that way, no way they can get mixed up. (You can even use some white paint / correcting fluid / paint marker to place 4 dots on the #4 lead, 3 on the #3 etc. to ensure they go back on correctly and never get mixed up again. )
 

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And always remember it's: "lefty losey, righty tighty...

.
 

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I like to put a dab of dielectric grease in the cap of the spark plug wires.

Good luck,

Vin
 

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Honestly, torquing your plugs isn't entirely necessary if you don't have a torque wrench, but it is always recommended by the manufacturer. I would put some anti-seize lubricant or copper grease on the threads first but me sure not to get it on the electrodes.
Also, a top tip- use a small screwdriver and a two inch piece of 1/4 inch hose on it. Them put the end of your plug on there, and then you can start them in by hand without the risk of cross-threading. And then just tighten them up snugly and don't be too harsh- you can break the porclain end of the plug if you get it too tight.
Have fun! It's a simple enough job that is fun and cheap to do, so don't take those for granted! I am just now finishing up my tranny rebuild, so I wish all jobs were as simple as this.......
Cheers!
 

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When pulling the wire off the plug grab it by the boot or thicker material at the end of the wire. If you grab it by the wire and yank you may be buying another set of plug wires.

Best of luck mate.
 

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The washer at the base of the new plug threads is a crush ring. As you tighten you will feel the plug seat on the crush ring/washer and with a half turn of tightening you will feel the washer "crush". Stop. You're done. No need for a torque wrench. This only applies on fresh plugs, once the washer is crushed its crushed. If you don't have compressed air use a rag and small screwdriver to clean around the base of the plug before you take it out.
 

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I use those long Q-Tip kinda things with wood handles to clean the seats on/in the hole before restarting the plug. I soak the cotton end in solvent and swab it out.

Plus one on the crush"iness" of the sealing washers.

I've also seen folk use a shop vac and put the nozzle down over the plug before removal to remove any debris. Aside stripping the threads, problems seem to arise with pulling the boots off the plugs as well. Mr Randall' advice is well advised. The dielectric grease is a great tip as well.

here's 2 pics of the tools I use and 2 types of plug. The socket may or may not work the first time you break them loose but after changing, they come out easily with this set up. The plugs are both from 4 cyl Alfa engines. Used but they clean up well and are spares if needed. Ones a Beru from the 164 - commonly known as a "peanut plug" as the hex is 5/8 inch - and the other from the 75 and it's a Lodge 2HL. Very hard to find new and very expensive here in Italy. I have 4 new ones that were a gift and really dont want to use them.

The 2 final pics. Note the two types of ends at the top of the plugs. One - also seen above on the Beru - is the threaded clip on type and the other is the "normal" kind. Sometimes, in the box will be an end you screw onto the threaded end. It's wise to check what kind of end the removed plug has and ensure your set up is the same.

Also shown in the top pic, is the tool to check and adjust the gaps. Alot of us use different brands of plugs with single electrodes thus require setting. On the multi pronged plugs like these 2 are, YOU DO NOT adjust the gap. On the next set of pics you'll see this tool and how it's used. ciao jc
 

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I tend to follow the old fashioned way to tighten plugs: finger tight then a half turn on new plugs or quarter turn on old.
I put the coppereze only on the top half of the threads and under the crushwasher and really just a smudgin with my finger then wipe off the excess.

+1 on cleaning that little seat for the crush ring (and don't let the nasty gritty dirt drop in the hole in case it lands on the back of an open valve)
 

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nobody talked about indexing the plugs... I did have a valve burn a notch right where the single electrode was pointing. Lots of miles on the car and could have been a fluke, but Im pretty sure thats why they use the multi electrode Lodge or Bosch.
 

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intake or exhaust valve burned/notched? The plugs on the 164 cant be indexed as there are 2 per cylinder and the factory plugs are multi electrode. Well they "can be" but it'd take a bunch of them or indexing washers if using traditional single electrode plugs. Same with the 4 running the Lodge plugs. Is this why they run multi electrodes? I have no idea but the more sparking, the better the burn. On the 75 I do index the NGK I run. Indexing is simply orienting the electrode/ground strap a particular way relative to the intake valve(s) or injector nozzle(s). Does it really make a difference? Beats me but I feel good doing it. Some good explanations come up if you google it. I particularly like Summit and Evinrude short videos. This write up from NGK is very good as well.

http://www.ngksparkplugs.com/techinfo/spark_plugs/installation.asp

ciao jc
 

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What different types of tools will I need to get the old ones out of their current position (sorry I am new to engine fixing).

There's good advice here. To this I will add that you should be very careful pulling the plug wires off the plugs. There's a right way and a wrong way. The absolute wrong way is to grab the wire itself and give it a hard tug. This is a sure-fire way to separate the wire from the attachment at the plug. Bad, bad, bad. You can't put it back and have the car run.

The proper way to remove the plug wire is to grip it wire at the boot portion which fits over the plug. Be gentle, but firm and the wire will come off in one piece. What you are doing is putting pressure at the actual connection of the plug wire to the plug itself. Do one plug change at a time and you'll be good to go in no time.
 

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kwik primer

I'm fortunate in that I dont have alot of over the top stuff to clear as my car has dual carbs and is euro. Here's how - down and dirty.

1. Blowing the area
2. Loosening the plug boot, grasp the boot, not the wire!! Twist while gently pulling upward, set aside
3. Loosen plug....
4. When plug is half way up, blow again then remove
5. Pointer pointing to crush washer. it can be reused.

Plug is a wee bit dark as I had started car cold and moved it to work area - normal color is light tan on properly running car. more to come
 

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next

1. Checking the gap. .30 in my case
2. Adjusting the gap if needed. The grove slides on the electrode and you bend as needed.
3. Spark plug hole - you dont want to drop stuff down there
4. Cleaning the sealing area
5. Anti seize to lube the threads

more to come
 

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