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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, once I figure out where the spark plugs are (rather, how the hell I'll contort myself to the degree I'll need to to get at them since I don't have a proper extender (well, not readily available, I know I've got one though), I'll need to figure out how to put them back in. I've gotta check and probably replace them.

I've had terrible luck with spark plugs in the past, every mower I've messed with (the whole two of them) I accidentally either cross-threaded or turned too far and stripped out the port. Quite frankly, I don't want to dismantle my engine to replace 6 spark-plug thread rings because I didn't have my information correct.

Is it 1/4th turn or 1/2 turn after hand tightening? I don't have a torque wrench that I know of (used to, but it was stolen when we moved, I believe) and they're ridiculously expensive to loan out (Autozone) or buy. I figure as long as I don't muss it up, a standard ratchet will work.


So again, 1/4 turn or 1/2 turn after hand tightening? I could have sworn I was told one half turn. Also, while I'm on the subject of spark plugs, I've heard that the two sides use different plugs or something like that, what do I need to know about my plugs? Its a 1997 Automatic V6, tragically, without the owners manual.

Any recommended brands/types that aren't obscenely expensive? Anything else I should replace while ditching these old plugs?

Thanks!
 

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Well first off, not to try and put you down or anything, but your making a way bigger project out of it than it really is. It's simple and since you have a V6, there is more room to work with. You shouldn't need more than a spark plug socket (one that is built with a wobly helps), maybe a 6 inch extension, and a decent 3/8 drive ratchet. Do one at a time and hook up your wires right after you change that plug to keep everything in order.

When you put them in, don't use the ratchet. You should be able to get them pretty far down by hand. If you feel like you can't catch the thread, turn it counter clockwise (left) a turn or so and it should find the thread, than start turning it clockwise (right). I usually go by feel when doing them, but once it bottoms out I don't see it turning more than a 1/4 turn.

Brands, I've used Autolite plugs before, but honestly go to the Ford dealer and tell them you want plugs for your 97 V6. Motorcraft plugs are awesome and they aren't much more (if they are more) than decent plugs from Chicanozone or Checker/Schucks/Kragen.

If you got the funds, change the wires if they look really old. MSD makes Super Conductors for it for like $80 I think, but if not, I would use Ford wires.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well first off, not to try and put you down or anything, but your making a way bigger project out of it than it really is. It's simple and since you have a V6, there is more room to work with. You shouldn't need more than a spark plug socket (one that is built with a wobly helps), maybe a 6 inch extension, and a decent 3/8 drive ratchet. Do one at a time and hook up your wires right after you change that plug to keep everything in order.

When you put them in, don't use the ratchet. You should be able to get them pretty far down by hand. If you feel like you can't catch the thread, turn it counter clockwise (left) a turn or so and it should find the thread, than start turning it clockwise (right). I usually go by feel when doing them, but once it bottoms out I don't see it turning more than a 1/4 turn.

Brands, I've used Autolite plugs before, but honestly go to the Ford dealer and tell them you want plugs for your 97 V6. Motorcraft plugs are awesome and they aren't much more (if they are more) than decent plugs from Chicanozone or Checker/Schucks/Kragen.

If you got the funds, change the wires if they look really old. MSD makes Super Conductors for it for like $80 I think, but if not, I would use Ford wires.
Yeah, I figured that was the case. I have a knack for drawing the most complicated, convoluted situations and assumptions out of the most simple tasks. Just ask shinerstang here, he's dealt with me probably more times than he cares to count. Its an old, bad habit and you know what they say about those.

Anyways.

I'll head out there today and check into it and get this all taken care of. Thanks for the advice, appreciate it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Update:

Well, the good news is I don't think I stripped anything. The bad news:

Smoke from the spark plugs. I can't find any useful information online about this. It smells a bit like burned popcorn. I didn't replace my wires, they were dirty, but otherwise looked fine (they didn't have any noticable scarring and the rubber was fairly pliable and soft still). The car seems to idle the same as it was before, which was smooth with a slight rough moment now and then (barely even noticable it happens so quickly) nothing new, just the smoke from the spark plugs is all.

What did I do/not do? I'm fairly certain I tightened them all the way, but I'm sure you'll tell me otherwise so for the sake of making sure I did it right, I'll head back out and check them. I'm hoping its just that, I can't afford a new coil right now, my return hasn't arrived yet.
 

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Smoke issues

What kind of plugs did you end up getting? Were they set up to the right gap? I think that might be causing you're smoking. Or maybe some junk got into the spark plug holes (which you should clean out). Personally, I replaced my stock plugs with Bosch Platinum+4 plugs and have had great results (no maintanence yet and no misfires).
 

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Is the smoke literally coming from the plug holes, or is it a short puff out the pipes? And what color is the smoke?

Normally if you get Motorcraft plugs, the gap is set. But check it, the gap should be on the emissions stickers under the hood, or on the radiator cover.

Also see if it goes away, it could be left over crap from changing it, as said before, did anything fall in while you were doing it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Heh, totally forgot about this post. The problem ended up being just gunk burnoff. I changed my plugs before I scrubbed the crap off my engine, so all the oil buildup I had on my hands after putting in the plugs got on the ends and was burning off when I started the car.

The gaps were supposedly preset .054 but I didn't see that being the case when I tried checking the gaps (had a rough idle after the plug change), they were about half that.

Still got a slightly rough idle, and the car is still slow to respond. Hits about 1000-1500 RPMs before it really starts moving with any reasonable speed. I think my tranny is showing signs of its age. My ignition system needs to be replaced though, its pretty old. New wires and the like should help with this problem unless the issue is indeed my tranny. Then again, I'm not exactly gunning it. I have noticed my fuel mileage is kinda bad, but I haven't actually done the calculations to see what I'm getting yet. Keep putting it off like its some kind of difficult task (which it really isn't. I just can't be bothered right now) :so

Damn autos are so moody.
 

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Why do you think the tranny is causing your lack of response/power? What does it do, like you take off and its just slow to respond? Because the single port cars stock are pretty damn slow, and if I remember right, my 94 had a very short power band like 2K-4K.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Why do you think the tranny is causing your lack of response/power? What does it do, like you take off and its just slow to respond? Because the single port cars stock are pretty damn slow, and if I remember right, my 94 had a very short power band like 2K-4K.
I'm not able to quite put my finger on it. It just feels like the car should be more responsive when it isn't. Maybe I'm just expecting too much from her right now. You know what, next time I take her out for a spin I'll take a video and show you guys the RPM to speed difference and you can either tell me if I'm erring and its totally normal or if there could be something wrong. But yes, its definitely when I take off. I'll go out in a few minutes and take a video of it at idle and takeoff, as well as some driving on the SR out here (speed limit of 60 or so) (after its warmed up, of course. I never run the engine cold when I drive) Hell, while I'm at it, theres a leak or something in my engine I'd like someone to identify for me. I can't get pictures because my shutter is broken on my camera (some jackass knocked it out of my hands jokingly) so I'll have to take a video of that as well.

In all actuality, the only real thing noticeable with my transmission is the fact that it shifts a little rough, it was worse before I had the fluid flushed and filled. Just old age I suppose. The fluid wasn't changed regularly and its starting to show.

The largest concern is that this is because of something expensive beginning to say "Hey, I'm worn out and about to break, replace me before I kill the rest of the car". As much as I'd love to have the engine rebuilt or have a new transmission installed, I can't afford it right now.

I'll post back in a little bit once I've got the videos.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Alrighty, had to drop some stuff off so I had a chance to get the videos I mentioned.

First one is the RPMs through various stages.
YouTube - RPMs

This one is the other things going on in the engine compartment, maybe unimportant, but since I'm posting videos, why not get answers for these too?
YouTube - Various engine "issues"

Alrighty, let me know if I'm just being paranoid about the RPMs or if maybe I should consider getting my tranny checked.

Also, that gasket I mention, it seems saturated with oil and could probably stand to be replaced. There is a slight oil residue on the gasket after I cleaned it (gasket is probably the reason its hissing)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Update: I found my extension piece for my ratchet and figured I'd put that anti-seize on my plugs before I forgot again.

I was displeased to discover oil on the #3 plug coating the section just before the threads (outside end of the plug, not the coil connector or the insulator, but between the insulator and the threads...) and a very small "dab" of oil on one side of the plug. Now I'm thinking this may be because I did have a leak from my PCV valve on the passenger side of the engine at one point and eventually cleaned the engine to a degree, that its just the runoff that accumulated on the plug (there was a pretty good amount of oil on the engine) since it almost seemed like it was dabbed (from contacting the edge of the engine that had the oil buildup when I removed it) on the plug end.

I sincerely hope this is simply run off and I'm not somehow leaking into the #3 cylinder. I'm going to check it again in a week or so to see if there is more oil. If its just one side, its a crankcase leak and not a head gasket, right?

How bad for my car's general health is this if its a confirmed cylinder leak?
 

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Well as far as the tranny, its possible that when you had the fluid flushed that it caused some damage, here's why. Some people beleive this, others don't, I do. Automatic Trans fluid has detergents in it to help clean the parts as it runs, so you haven't serviced the tranny on a regular basis, and debris and dirt are starting to build on the parts of the tranny, meanwhile the fluid is loosing its detergent properties/capabilities as its getting older, so now the dirt is just stuck on the parts. The dirt and debris is not enough to cause major damage in your case until bam, there's a bunch of brand new fluid ready to do its job; break up debris and dirt. Well since nothing has been serviced, all that old crap in the tranny starts floating around and causing problems. Most people say if you don't service the tranny on a regular basis and you have lots of miles, don't change the fluid.

From the video I couldn't really see what or where the fluid was or where it was coming from. If you think the PCV hose and valve are leaking, replace them, after lots of miles its possible for them to deteriorate and go bad.

If you have a blown head gasket, its possible for a few things to happen, and from mild to worse. Most the time you should not see oil from a blown head gasket, usually coolant if it blows out from a water jacket. Sometimes they blow inbetween the cylinders causing loss of compression, both usually cause overheatings, etc. Do some more checking before you condemn it.

The A/C Compressor isn't kicking on, thats pretty much the main part of your A/C system. First things first, dude, DON'T grab your a/c clutch while your car is running, if it decides to kick over it could cuase some bad finger/hand injuries. Anyways, there is a few thigns that could cause it to not work. I would check the charge on the system, and make sure there are no leaks. If there is not enough refrigerant in the system, it will not kick over, there are pressure sensors that will prevent it from working to avoid damage to the system. The pressure sensors could also be bad. If all else is sound it could be electrical related.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well as far as the tranny, its possible that when you had the fluid flushed that it caused some damage, here's why. Some people beleive this, others don't, I do. Automatic Trans fluid has detergents in it to help clean the parts as it runs, so you haven't serviced the tranny on a regular basis, and debris and dirt are starting to build on the parts of the tranny, meanwhile the fluid is loosing its detergent properties/capabilities as its getting older, so now the dirt is just stuck on the parts. The dirt and debris is not enough to cause major damage in your case until bam, there's a bunch of brand new fluid ready to do its job; break up debris and dirt. Well since nothing has been serviced, all that old crap in the tranny starts floating around and causing problems. Most people say if you don't service the tranny on a regular basis and you have lots of miles, don't change the fluid.
You know, I hadn't thought about that, and thats a very good point. I'm sure the filter is dying to be changed too, but for the sake of cost I couldn't get it changed at the time. The only thing I can see being wrong with the theory (however I have no doubt that this is contributing to the matter) is that it was already shifting kind of rough before.

Definitely never had any "jerks" but its enough that after riding in one automatic, then riding in my car, sometimes I do notice the shifts. My biggest concern though is how high my car revs up before getting into second. When I floored it, its probably inherent that yeah, I burn through first gear quite quickly because I hit the peak for that gear so quickly, but should it really be revving up to, what was it, something like 2k before it breaks 10mph in one of those clips? That just seems odd. I would think with that much RPM going, I'd at least be getting more movement. Maybe I'm just unrealistically assuming that my car is going to respond immediately.



From the video I couldn't really see what or where the fluid was or where it was coming from. If you think the PCV hose and valve are leaking, replace them, after lots of miles its possible for them to deteriorate and go bad.
Yeah, I figured it wasn't going to help much. It appears to have come from the corner of the valve cover, towards the top-center of the engine. It might just be extra sealant that extruded out when the cover was replaced... which leads me to wonder if the car has had engine work before because thats not what I'd consider "dealership" quality, allowing a bunch of sealant to ooze out and dry up outside the gap.

The PCV valve is getting replaced this week and so is that PCV valve cover grommet while I'm at it. I'm tired of the hiss/rattle sound it makes.

If you have a blown head gasket, its possible for a few things to happen, and from mild to worse. Most the time you should not see oil from a blown head gasket, usually coolant if it blows out from a water jacket. Sometimes they blow inbetween the cylinders causing loss of compression, both usually cause overheatings, etc. Do some more checking before you condemn it.
So basically if I blow a headgasket, I'll know it then. I'm not seeing any amount of smoke out the tail pipe on idle, and I've never noticed or been told of any while driving so you're probably right that I shouldn't jump to that conclusion just yet. I'll check that plug again in a week or so just to be on the safe side though.

The A/C Compressor isn't kicking on, thats pretty much the main part of your A/C system. First things first, dude, DON'T grab your a/c clutch while your car is running, if it decides to kick over it could cuase some bad finger/hand injuries. Anyways, there is a few thigns that could cause it to not work. I would check the charge on the system, and make sure there are no leaks. If there is not enough refrigerant in the system, it will not kick over, there are pressure sensors that will prevent it from working to avoid damage to the system. The pressure sensors could also be bad. If all else is sound it could be electrical related.
Alright, I'll check into that, and I promise not to touch the clutch with the engine running anymore. I didn't think about that potential when I did it (the whole ignorance breeds naivety thing). I've done some research and it seems the best way to check a charge/pressure is to pop the cap off the service valve and use a pen or some other narrow object to push the little bearing blocking the hole.

Will I notice anything in particular (besides the obvious "hiss" if there is pressure to be had) or is it assumed that if there is refrigerant that there will be pressure? I know the A/C hasn't seen service in ages so its very likely that its simply out of R-134A, but if this is the case, the compressor not kicking on means there wouldn't be any pressure, no?

Edit: There was definitely pressure when I pressed that little bearing in. At first I couldn't push it down (didn't push hard enough) and then I got it right and it scared the piss out of me because I wasn't expecting it. It was completely dark outside and I had my flashlight (I couldn't help but check, since its something so simple, why wait?) but it looked like some kind of mist sprayed out, but I couldn't tell if it was clear or grey/white or that was just the flashlight doing it. It smelled.... I don't know, but it seems slightly viscous, not quite oily but not quite watery either. There wasn't much of it on my fingers though so I couldn't get a good feel for it.

So now I've confirmed pressure in my system.

Hey, thanks for helping me out beyond the original question, I appreciate it. I've been learning a lot from you guys lately and I'm starting to really see that hey, its not so hard!
 
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