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Spark Plug blew Stripped Cylinder


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24 replies to this topic

#1 skelly

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Posted 13 December 2004 - 11:32 AM

I have a 97 Subaru Impreza Wagon, Engine Family VFJ2.2VJGKEK (2.2 liters, SFI) Engine Type EJ22ECX6FZ with 92K and I need some advice if I'm going to try for the 200K club. I currently have a slight hesitation during acceleration.

Car running beautifully over the years then suddenly I had a rough idle and an intermittent check engine light. I made an appointment with my independent garage, but got there too late. The engine blew a spark plug. I drove it to the garage (not where I had the spark plugs replaced). They said the threads in the cylinder were stripped and installed a Subaru kit. They also did a minor tune up, replaced all of the plugs, and cleaned out this and that- they said I shouldn't have driven the car after the spark plug blew. I drove the car for say 1000 miles and the spark plug held. I brought my car back to the same garage and they just did the 90K scheduled maintenance. However, this is the same garage that is saying I can wait until 105K to replace the timing belt for the first time.

I called the Auto Rep at BBB and asked him if it was my fault the spark plug blew - since it hadn't been replaced in over a year. He said no. He said you only need to replace the spark plugs if you suspect a problem, and he's gone nearly two years without replacing plugs. He also said something to the effect that these things happen, and after a year, it doesn't indicate a problem with the garage. Nevertheless, I won't be going back to that garage.

I'm wondering if the blown spark plug is symptomatic of another problem. Would appreciate some ideas. If it's any significance, the spark plug that blew was on the passenger side, rear plug. Car seems to be running fine, but not as good as before it blew a spark plug. Now there is some slight hesitation during acceleration for me to think more work needs to be done. I have scheduled timing belt replacement, etc. according to the advice I got from earlier posts. Anything else I should consider? Thanks

#2 subeman90

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Posted 13 December 2004 - 01:29 PM

I had a sparkplug blow once on my old legacy. They fixed it and all was well. If your car was flashing a CEL then you might need to get the computer reset because it obviously knew that there was a problem and it was trying to tell you so. Now the comp. might not know any differently and somebody needs to reset it. This is what I would do before I was to get too excited... How are your plug wires??? They (specifically the one that was on the plug that blew) might have been damaged and you just can't see it. Do you have new wires on the car too???

Matt

#3 Legacy777

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 05:52 PM

I'm bringing this thread from the dead because I find it very interesting that I've got a similar issue on my 1997 Impreza 2.2l.

I've had what I thought was an exhaust leak for about a year. I could not find the leak. The engine ran fine. Last weekend I noticed a little bit of a sputter and then it went away. So last night I decided to do a tune up, changed oil and rotated the tires, and was going to change the plugs. I find that the # 3 cylinder (passenger rear) plug was loose. The threads appear to be stripped. The odd thing is that I put a used plug back in that hole so I could at least move the car out of the garage, and it started fine, engine ran fine, so the plug must have caught some teeth.

Anyway, I'm probably going to use a time-sert repair kit, since I just want to get it fixed, and sell it. The time-sert looks to be one of the better brands out there.

http://www.timesert..../sparkplug.html

They've even got a video.
http://www.timesert....ml/howtosp.html

#4 Red92

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 06:16 PM

They've even got a video.
http://www.timesert....ml/howtosp.html


How can you do this with the head on the car, and not get a pile of metal shavings inside the engine? :confused:

The website says it is an "over the fender" kit, with no need to remove the engine, and to use grease or WD-40 on the tap to help catch the shavings. But then the video shows them cleaning the shavings out with a spray cleaner and a rag underneath to catch the shavings! :confused:

#5 Fairtax4me

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 08:32 PM

Time-sert recommends you use grease on the drill and cutting bits to catch the shavings that are produced. Apparently it works pretty well. Everyone I've talked to who has used a time-sert kit for spark plug threads has done it with the head sill on the engine and had no problems with shavings getting into the cylinder.

#6 Legacy777

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 09:53 PM

It may not be 100%, but the grease should catch most of it. Plus, it'll work for what I'm trying to do here. I ordered the time-sert stuff.

For reference, here is the site where I got the Time-Serts & the specific part #'s. They would be the same for pretty much any Subaru motor since they all would likely need the extended reach handle and the insert is based off the spark plug, which is common across a lot of Subaru engines.

http://www.denlorstools.com/

Time-Sert spark plug repair tool (M14x1.25) - p/n: 4412E - $184.99
Time-Sert spark plug insert (.60" / 15mm) - p/n: 44129 - $2.53
Time-Sert Driver oil (Optional) - p/n: 6010 - $2.99

#7 Quidam

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 11:44 PM

If I understand correctly, I'd use a shop vac on the cylinder before inserting the new plug.

Doug

#8 Red92

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 12:39 AM

Everyone I've talked to who has used a time-sert kit for spark plug threads has done it with the head sill on the engine and had no problems with shavings getting into the cylinder.


It may not be 100%, but the grease should catch most of it.



Yeah, don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to knock the kit or say that you shouldn't use it.

But if the grease only catches "most" of the shavings, then there are still metal shavings inside your engine. And if you don't pull the heads, then you can't know for sure that the shavings didn't get in unless you use a borescope to look inside.


Perhaps it is safer to say that the shavings that get inside don't typically cause enough damage to be noticed over the remaining life of the engine... But if it was my engine, I would pull the head if I could.

#9 987687

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 09:03 AM

If you use one of the kits where it doesn't require you drill, you won't get shavings from that. I used a kit that just has a tap with a meaty bite, and the insert.
Taps have a lot of space to get grease into, they're not solid the whole way around like a bolt.
If you pack the tap full of really heavy goopy grease I don't see how any shavings won't get trapped in it. If any shavings did manage in falling into the cylinder they'd be coated with grease and most likely wouldn't scratch. They'd get burned up and blown out the exhaust, if anything was left after combustion, that is.

#10 silverhelme

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 10:34 AM

I've used the grease method with good success many times one subaru's over the years and never had a problem. I did it on my neighbors 88 about 10 years ago and it is still running with no problems. The trick is to do a thread or two then remove the tap and regrease several times as you go in then a thin screwdriver and a rag to wipe out as much of the remainder as you can get. I use the NAPA kit with 3/4 inserts.

#11 WoodsWagon

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 06:39 PM

Aluminum shavings in a steel cylinder with iron piston rings are unlikely to scratch anything.

Last time I did one I put the compressed air nozzle in the throttle body with a rag around it while I drilled it out. With the crank rotated so that the cylinder your drilling is on the intake stroke, the air will rush out through the spark plug hole. You have to be careful not to get chips in your eye, but it works well.

I like time-serts better than heilicoils because the time-sert gets locked into the hole by the knurled portion. I've had helicoils peal out of the threads before.

#12 987687

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 08:51 PM

They actually don't have steel cylinder linings.

#13 Legacy777

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 01:55 PM

I actually do have a boroscope, so will check out the cylinder before final assembly to make sure I got everything out.

I should be getting the kit this week, and will probably tackle the project next weekend. I'll let everyone know how it goes.

#14 WoodsWagon

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 10:13 PM

They actually don't have steel cylinder linings.

Oh really? What do they have then?

#15 MilesFox

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 12:54 AM

Shavings will blow out of the exhaust valve, or burn up, whichever comes first. There are steel sleeves in aluminum blocks. There would be enough carbon in there anyway. A burning shaving could make a temproary hot spot till it evaporates. Run some sea foam through the intake.

All of this is better than a blown out spark plug

#16 poolskaterpt

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Posted 27 October 2011 - 07:32 PM

I've done this same thing on an '87 Volvo 240 with aluminum heads; I blew the plug clean out of the head and it sounded like a baja VW :Flame:

Just used a tap with some hi temp lithium grease between the teeth rows and then implanted a healey coil into the head. While pressurizing the cylinder as described above with intake valve open via compressed air through the manifold with no shaving upon inspection with boroscope after the procedure.

The thing held solid for 89K after the minor surgery:popcorn:

#17 Legacy777

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 02:42 PM

Got the time-serts this past week and did the repair on Friday. Everything went pretty smooth. When tapping the hole I probably should have pulled the tap out and regreased more frequently. I did end up with a blob of grease shavings in the cylinder. To get that out I partially filled the cylinder with brake cleaner, pulled the exhaust, rotated the engine so the exhaust valves were open, and the grease blob came out. I repeated this one or two more times, and felt confident that everything was out.

Otherwise everything went good, the engine is running good, and no more exhaust leak!

Here are a few pictures:

http://main.experien...sparkplugrepair

#18 johnceggleston

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 05:06 PM

this repair is not cheap, not if you have to buy the tool for 180?? was it . i don't remember. but it is way cheaper than pulling the head and replacing it.

but for a one time use, it would be nice to get a used ''install tool'' or rent one. is either a possibility??

#19 Legacy777

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 06:07 PM

No, it's not a "cheap" repair. Yes, the tool was around $180. The tool, insert, oil, and shipping came to right at $200. But like you mentioned, the alternative to pull the head is far more time consuming and costly.

I'm not aware of any place that you can get a used tool or rent one. You can get cheaper spark plug thread repair kits for about $20 or so at the local autoparts store, but I can't comment on how well they'd work. I went with the time-sert because they seemed to have the best repair kit out there. It really was pretty straight forward and easy.....minus cleaning the shavings out of the cylinder.

#20 Olnick

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 06:18 PM

Is that insert copper? Kinda' surprised me when I saw the pic!

Josh, maybe you could rent your tool out and recoup some of your investment!

#21 johnceggleston

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 06:09 AM


Josh, maybe you could rent your tool out and recoup some of your investment!



this is kind of what i was wondering. since this is likely to be a once in a lifetime repair unless you have a shop.

buy the tool and make your repair. then ''rent'' the tool to the next user for the full retail replacement price. after their repair they return it for a refund less what ever rental fee.

any way just a thought. i pray i will never need it.

#22 grossgary

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 07:50 AM

fill the cylinder with shaving cream so it's all the way up into the spark plug hole to catch the metal from drilling/tapping?

i have a mis-seated spark plug in my daily driver XT6 so if chasing the threads doesn't fix it, then i'll be revisiting this thread/tool shortly.

#23 987687

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 10:38 AM

fill the cylinder with shaving cream so it's all the way up into the spark plug hole to catch the metal from drilling/tapping?


I wonder when the adapted shaving cream from catching metal shavings to use on the face? Never thought about from where that originally came.... :drunk:

#24 Legacy777

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 11:51 AM

Is that insert copper? Kinda' surprised me when I saw the pic!


Everything I read indicates that the insert is steel, but at the very least the insert has a copper coating on it. I don't know if they do that for corrosion purposes or some other reason.

#25 Legacy777

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 11:59 AM

Josh, maybe you could rent your tool out and recoup some of your investment!


this is kind of what i was wondering. since this is likely to be a once in a lifetime repair unless you have a shop.

buy the tool and make your repair. then ''rent'' the tool to the next user for the full retail replacement price. after their repair they return it for a refund less what ever rental fee.

any way just a thought. i pray i will never need it.



Yeah that might be an option. I usually don't loan out tools...it's just something I'm pretty particular about. I guess I'd need to decide whether this is something I plan to keep or something that will be a "rental" type tool.




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