Changing Chrysler PT Cruiser spark plugs
- [Webmaster addition:] Gap the plugs. According to forum posts:
- Gap at or close to .50” if there is no misfire, hesitation, etc., and you want to get a trifle extra gas mileage. A safe middle ground may be .45” if there is misfiring at that gap. If you plan to modify your turbo engine, iridiums can be gapped down to .32” and other plugs can go down to .40-.45”. (Chrysler now specifies .40”)
- On naturally aspirated (normal) engines, the gap should apparently be .40” according to a service bulletin, originally .50”. See the underhood sticker.
- “Powerglide” seconded this: “I was very careful lifting the manifold up; there is a lot of stuff still hooked to the manifold when you rotate it up. The main thing is to get that EGR gasket out of harm’s way before you lift. Another thing that slowed me down was getting all my tools out of those 8 inch recesses the plugs fit in. I also put plastic over the open ports before I started pulling the plugs. I think I could do it now in about 30 minutes and I’m not a mechanic!
- Pretty much any dishwashing liquid works fine for hand-cleaning, though the antibacterial formulas are “pushing it” (in the long run, they may produce resistant bacteria, and they're not really needed for cleaning grease!)
- Plugs that are black and full of carbon deposits could indicate a coil pack issue (or bad ignition wires), oxygen or throttle-position sensor problems, or a dirty air filter.
- Not sure which brand of spark plugs to get?
Here’s what they said on the forums:
- Bob Hohn (Turbo): “NGK V-Power ... They are actually listed as a replacement plug on the underhood emission decal. Very pleased with them, and I have 11,000 miles on them now... smoother.”
- Again for the turbo: “mean green” suggested the factory Champion Copper Plus plugs as well as iridium plugs (e.g. Denso). Copper Plus plugs are under $2 each, retail.
- Several people noted that the Champion platinums are not best on the turbocharged engines, but work very well on the standard engines. The double-platinums should have a longer life than standard plugs, which is good given the nuisance of changing them.
- A couple of forum members noted Taylor brand wires (8.5mm) which are cheaper than some more common performance wires; these can also help smooth the idle.
- TSB 08-008-04 noted a new Champion spark plug specification and a new gap - 0.040 inches replacing the prior 0.050 inches. The correct plug is RE16mc which replaces REMcc5 to prevent cold-weather fouling, according to ‘VNT.’
It can be done in less than 45 minutes. The fun part is realizing where the bolts are to take off the top intake manifold (non-turbo cars). Five 8mm in front of the top/bottom half, clean the O-rings and reuse them. There are two bolts that hold he intake at the throttle body and a bracket, the other holds the EGR pipe to the intake manifold. They are both located on the back side of the intake but aren't that difficult.
Careful pulling the intake/EGR pipe apart, there is a green O-ring there, so it comes forward and pipe comes out.
From there, I took a ten inch crescent wrench and closed it down small enough to fit one of the ribs on the underside construction of the intake manifold and placed the other end into th O of the DOHC on the valve cover and went to town. Wipe the intake manifold out because there will be some slight oil film inside, and other than that, bolting together is the opposite.
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