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Changing spark plugs in my '98 Outback


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13 replies to this topic

#1 Pooparu

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 01:42 PM

[FONT="]I thought I might ask before I get in there and do it, but it looks like there’s not enough room to get a ratchet in between the frame and the heads. Any have any advice or warnings?[/FONT]

thanks!

#2 ron917

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 02:02 PM

There is enough room, but you have to assemble your ratchet/extension(s)/socket kit in place.

Remove the rubber insert from your spark plug socket, you don't want it to get stuck in there!

Slide the socket in, then extension(s), then attach the ratchet. Since the spark plug socket has a hex on the end, I found that a deep socket that fits the hex works better than an extension for some plugs.

Then, you need to disassemble your kit in reverse to get it out.

It's a bit of a puzzle figuring out which combination of things from your tool set will work. It's not hard, but it will take some time and head scratching. Long, skinny fingers (unlike mine) would be very helpful.

Removing the intake plumbing (air cleaner, MAF, etc), battery, and windshield washer reservoir make the job easier. Some folks say it's easier from below, I found access from the top better once the previously mentioned items were out of the way.

#3 Pooparu

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 06:15 PM

Thanks, I'm going to tackle this job this weekend so wish me luck.


There is enough room, but you have to assemble your ratchet/extension(s)/socket kit in place.

Remove the rubber insert from your spark plug socket, you don't want it to get stuck in there!

Slide the socket in, then extension(s), then attach the ratchet. Since the spark plug socket has a hex on the end, I found that a deep socket that fits the hex works better than an extension for some plugs.

Then, you need to disassemble your kit in reverse to get it out.

It's a bit of a puzzle figuring out which combination of things from your tool set will work. It's not hard, but it will take some time and head scratching. Long, skinny fingers (unlike mine) would be very helpful.

Removing the intake plumbing (air cleaner, MAF, etc), battery, and windshield washer reservoir make the job easier. Some folks say it's easier from below, I found access from the top better once the previously mentioned items were out of the way.



#4 porcupine73

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 06:36 PM

I've heard there's holes in the body where you can fit the socket&extension right through from the fender (like behind those plastic things in the wheel wells)?

#5 mnwolftrack

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 07:25 PM

Access for the plugs on my '98 OBW was definately easier from below. I didn't have to remove anything or even put it up on ramps. Just put a piece of cardboard on the ground and crawl under.

From what I remember, I used the spark plug socket (minus the rubber thing), a 3/8" six inch extension (the short one), and the rachet. I also had to slide things in one by one and assemble/disassemble one by one. I put the spark plug in the socket, then put them in the hole (don't tip the socket or the plug will fall out), then put the extension on, then put the rachet on the extension. Make sure you can put these things together one-handed and take them apart again. My 15 year old craftsman rachet didn't want to release from the extension and I had a bugger of a time getting it off.

#6 ron917

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 09:07 PM

I've heard there's holes in the body where you can fit the socket&extension right through from the fender (like behind those plastic things in the wheel wells)?


No holes in my '99 Outback. I doubt there are holes in a '98, either - the bodies are identical.

#7 theflystyle

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Posted 20 May 2007 - 05:39 PM

i just changed my plugs in the 94 leg, the driver side plugs are the hardest, and the one closest to the driver is the hardest (without the right angle sockets, etc)

i found the best way to get to that without any angle sockets is from the front parallel to the plugs.

#8 subsince77

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Posted 20 May 2007 - 09:47 PM

I have had multiple mechanics tell me this job is impossible without removing the engine - that is bull. I am not great mechanic by any means and I have done it twice on my 97 OB. Its a pain, and it shouldn't be, but it is easily doable per the instructions above with a bit of patience. Besides, i like to gloat about the fact that those guys are SO wrong.

#9 zstalker

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Posted 20 May 2007 - 10:57 PM

little tip I picked up at work (I'm a beginning Subaru dealer technician): unbolt the pitching stopper dog-bone shaped thingy from behind the motor (14mm, if I remember correctly), remove the nuts from the two motor mounts (also 14mm, I think), then position a jack and block of wood or something similar under the front of the motor (not the oil pan, but the block itself) and lift the motor a couple inches. you can go like 3, maybe even 4 inches up, just don't start actually pulling any hoses or anything. just that little bit of lift will give you all sorts of extra access to the plugs.

a little variation for pulling a cylinder head: undo the pitching stopper and only one motor mount (on the side that you're working on). lift the motor a couple inches, it will start to cock over to one side, and slip a large socket that you won't be using between the motor mount and the cradle. Now you've got that side of the motor propped up a little, and pulled a little away from the frame rail...pretty sweet.

~Erik~

#10 FiremanBob

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 11:39 AM

I attach a universal joint extension and a 1" extension to my sparkplug socket and it works great. Once you have the plug half-way out you can remove the ratchet and turn easily by hand. Left-side plugs are definitely easier from below.

The first time I did it without the U-joint and it took hours to do all 4 plugs.

#11 doc47

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 01:52 PM

Dumb question, but what size spark plug socket is used?

#12 CoupedUpSubie

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 02:11 PM

The hard to change spark plugs must only be on phase 2 engines. It took me 20 minutes to swap plugs and wires on my 1.8. I removed the battery, windshield washer tank and intake which took me 5-10 minutes. From there it was a couple minutes a plug then a couple minutes getting the wire setting right. Took 35-40 minutes at the most.

#13 johnceggleston

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 03:30 PM

The hard to change spark plugs must only be on phase 2 engines.


actually they are on DOHC engines since the spark plug tubes can't angle up. they have to be horizontal in order to miss the cam shafts. SOHC engines can have then point up a little. it makes a huge difference.

#14 rverdoold

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 04:03 PM

I found it easiest to remove the air intake duct on the passenger side and the watertank on the driver side for the soch. And the doch might be easier from underneath.




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