Installed new plugs with 42K miles on old ones - Mustang Evolution

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Old 03-24-2016, 04:01 PM   #1
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Installed new plugs with 42K miles on old ones

I put in new plugs in my 2012 3.7 today, NGK LTR6IX-11 (6509) my old plugs were the factory Motocraft Platinum CYFS 12F-5 that had 42,700 miles on them. The old ones did not look bad at all, the gap was still good on them. At high rpms I had a slight miss so I figured this was a cheap way to see if the plugs were the problem. So far the miss is gone, must have been a plug unless I fixed something else by accident when changing them. FYI I purchased them from RockAuto for $41.32 which included shipping; best price I could find anywhere. These are Iridium plugs so they should be the last ones I have to ever put in. The biggest problem is all the wire connectors that have to be removed from the intake manifold, I just cut the straps on most of them as I could not figure any way to disconnect them. The look like cable ties that are fastened to a hold down that snaps into the manifold. Once all the wires and hoses are disconnected remove 7 manifold bolts and pull it right off. You will need a torque wrench, I would suggest an inch-pound one. Once I removed the boots I sprayed penetrating oil around the plug; let it set for about 1/2 hour and gave it a quarter turn; let it sit for another 1/2 hour and they came right out with no problem, although I don't think I would have had a problem just taking them out without the penetrating oil but why take a chance. I put a little anti-seize on the new threads and dialectic grease on the boots. Took about 3 hours, included lunch, but this was my first time doing it. If I did it again it would take about half of that. It would be real easy to over-tighten the plugs, I torqued them in to 133 inch-lbs and the manifold bolts to 89 in-lbs. NGK says that anti-seize is not needed on their plugs as they have a special coating on the threads. After reading many blogs I decided to go with the anti-seize as it seems like it would not hurt, just don't go crazy with it as if you get it on the plug electrode you will short out the plug.
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Old 03-24-2016, 04:22 PM   #2
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Very nice. I did this on 2 mustangs and now I am very familiar with a spark plug change on a cyclone engine. Now here is the biggie I try to shoot for when doing this, and that is cleaning the upper/lower intake manifold and throttle body. Since you have it all apart anyways. I did replace the gaskets on the 2011 I had.
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Old 03-24-2016, 04:51 PM   #3
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My upper and lower intake manifolds seemed to be very oily. I wiped them down as best I could but wondered if there was some type of cleaner I should have used. How do you clean yours when you are changing plugs?
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Old 03-24-2016, 08:41 PM   #4
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I just use some carb cleaner on the top manifold, wipe it down, and let it sit to dry. For the bottom one, i just wipe it down.
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Old 03-25-2016, 07:34 PM   #5
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My upper and lower intake manifolds seemed to be very oily. I wiped them down as best I could but wondered if there was some type of cleaner I should have used. How do you clean yours when you are changing plugs?
Simple green degreaser works great. Its non toxic or corrosive.
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Old 04-02-2016, 11:28 AM   #6
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I'm getting ready to do this for the first time as well. I got the exact same plugs from NGK and such but I'm confused on the gap size. Does this mean I only screw it in to a certain depth or is the gap it's describing from the tip of the plug ?
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Old 04-02-2016, 12:40 PM   #7
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The gap is the distance from the spark plug's center electrode to the piece of metal that is attached to the base of the plug and bends over the electrode. This is the distance the spark jumps. Not to insult you but I suggest you get someone who has done this before to help you the first time. If you screw the plugs into the head too tight you can destroy the head and have to pay big money to have it fixed, this is why a torque wrench is used. I have changed hundreds of plugs but this was the first time I did it in an aluminum head and I swear I said a prayer before I started the car.
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Old 04-02-2016, 02:43 PM   #8
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Plug gap = 0.049-0.053 in
Torque = 133 in lbs, or about 11 ft lbs.
There are a number of different gauges. Here's a common one.
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Note: When adjusting gap, do not come in contact with the center electrode.
Also, the use of an anti-seize compound(on the threads) is recommended by some but generally should NOT be used, nor recommended, with NGK plugs in an aluminum head.
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Old 04-02-2016, 05:49 PM   #9
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Awesome. I'll look into a torque wrench prior to installing. Thank you for the help and insight. You don't offend me as you are trying to give me the best advice without f$&king up my 'stang. I appreciate that .

I'll have someone surveying me with experience.
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Old 04-03-2016, 07:15 AM   #10
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For people doing this the first time I want to give you a few of the finer points I learned from doing this. You should really have an inch pound torque wrench, NOT a foot pound one if you have a choice. A click type is easier to use than a beam type. Always reset your click type back to "0" when storing it. The biggest problem I had was getting the wires that plug into the top of the coil pack off. First you slide a little red clip up, this is pretty obvious. I figured the connector would pull out after that but it does not. You have to push down on the center of the connector, there is a little piece of plastic that moves down a little, and once you push it down correctly the connector slides out very easily, don't force it, once you push down on the correct piece it comes out very easily.

There are a lot of connectors that hold the wires in place. Best I can tell they are zip-ties that go around the wires and connect to a piece of plastic that snaps into the intake manifold. I used a razor blade knife and carefully cut the zip-ties. When I put it back together i just used new ties, in some places, to hold the wire to other tubes that kept them out of the way. I could not figure out how to re-connect them to the same piece of plastic that was connected to the manifold, probably because I destroyed most of it trying to pull it out before I just cut the ties.

The manifold is plastic so be sure you use the torque wrench on the 7 bolts that hold it on. As I remember it was 18 inch pounds. The intake manifold has a gasket on it that can be reused. My manifold was extremely oily, read all of the posts on this thread as there are recommendations on how to clean the upper and lower manifolds. (I would recommend going onto YouTube and watching the video of a guy removing his upper manifold; just search on mustang manifold removal)

When you pull the coil packs off have some dialectic grease to put on them when putting them back in. I put a little around the tip that goes over the spark plug and coated the areas on the upper coil pack that contact the valve covers. It makes it easier to re-install and may keep water out also.

The NGK plugs I purchased recommend not to use anti seize grease. I read about 20 articles on the use of anti seize grease on aluminum heads and my conclusion is that it can not hurt to use it. If you do just use a little and do not get it near the tip of the plug, it will short it out and your car will not start.

There may be better ways to do some of the steps I described but it worked for me. I can't believe how much better the car ran after replacing the plugs even though they only had 42K miles on them. I can now pull a big hill by my house in 3rd gear that I use to have to do mostly in 2nd from a dead stop. The low end torque has really improved; don't know why but it has.
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Old 04-03-2016, 07:37 AM   #11
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The NGK plugs I purchased recommend not to use anti seize grease. I read about 20 articles on the use of anti seize grease on aluminum heads and my conclusion is that it can not hurt to use it. If you do just use a little and do not get it near the tip of the plug, it will short it out and your car will not start.
Did you also happen to read that the anti seize lubricates the threads and changes the torque applied to the plugs?
I kind of look at it as, if it's not required, why do something because you feel it will do no harm?
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Old 04-03-2016, 07:42 AM   #12
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Did you also happen to read that the anti seize lubricates the threads and changes the torque applied to the plugs?
I kind of look at it as, if it's not required, why do something because you feel it will do no harm?
Yes I read that anti seize will lubricate the threads but I'm pretty sure I read when torquing anything the threads should be lubricated, as well as the head of the bolt, if you are torquing a bolt, so the anti seize should not make any impact on the correct torque. As I mentioned, I read, and watched a lot of YouTube videos on anti seize grease. The majority of the recommendations were to use it, most of these came from mechanics that have been doing this for years. Perhaps I should have said it would be beneficial to use, rather than do no harm. Many times a manufacture of a product will recommend a way to do something that is not the best because a certain percentage of the people will f*** it up when doing it the best way. I read about people dipping the entire plug into anti seize compound, all over the electrode, and the car would not start, naturally. So if you are a plug manufacture that does not want the headache of idiots who mess up using anti seize they will recommend not to use it. The spark plug manufacturer does not have to worry about replacing head if the plug will not come out 100K miles later, and most people will probably not even have the car to replace the plugs a second time. I'm just saying that the people that seem to know the most recommend it, just don't overdo it. A little goes a long way.
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Old 04-03-2016, 08:40 AM   #13
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Yes I read that anti seize will lubricate the threads but I'm pretty sure I read when torquing anything the threads should be lubricated, as well as the head of the bolt, if you are torquing a bolt, so the anti seize should not make any impact on the correct torque. As I mentioned, I read, and watched a lot of YouTube videos on anti seize grease. The majority of the recommendations were to use it, most of these came from mechanics that have been doing this for years. Perhaps I should have said it would be beneficial to use, rather than do no harm. Many times a manufacture of a product will recommend a way to do something that is not the best because a certain percentage of the people will f*** it up when doing it the best way. I read about people dipping the entire plug into anti seize compound, all over the electrode, and the car would not start, naturally. So if you are a plug manufacture that does not want the headache of idiots who mess up using anti seize they will recommend not to use it. The spark plug manufacturer does not have to worry about replacing head if the plug will not come out 100K miles later, and most people will probably not even have the car to replace the plugs a second time. I'm just saying that the people that seem to know the most recommend it, just don't overdo it. A little goes a long way.
Sounds reasonable enough.
I've been fortunate in that replacing my spark plugs for over 50 years, and at least every year(in the earlier years) to clean and re-gap or replace, and many in cast iron heads, never used anti seize and never had a problem removing them. Never torqued them either.
The one and only problem I ever had was cracking the porcelain on a plug when installing it. Didn't realize it until it started misfiring when driving.
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Old 04-03-2016, 09:25 PM   #14
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Did you have to gap it from the .044 to the recommended .049-.053 ?
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Old 04-03-2016, 09:35 PM   #15
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Did you have to gap it from the .044 to the recommended .049-.053 ?
Not sure who this is addressed to but when I started gaping plugs they were more like .030 - .035. In fact my older gap gauges only go up to .040.
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Old 04-06-2016, 07:24 AM   #16
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I wonder what it says in the book for our cars? The type of plug shouldn't matter.....depends more on thread class of the threads in the engine....Some threads and are made really fine that shouldn't he used with any coatings, some are made specifically to have some play in them to allow room for Teflon or some type of coating


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Old 04-06-2016, 07:34 AM   #17
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The owner's manual iirc is .49-.53

I would not recommend using NGK 1 step colder plugs if your car is not FI or nitrous equipped. On the normal N/A setup, I found these tend to cause the engine to idle a little worse and such. Possibly due to things not burning as well as it would with a normal, hotter plug.

I will always use Motorcraft plugs in mine until I get a Procharger. I have always had good experiences with this on my Fords.

I did a little testing on this myself last year when I had the 2011 and 2014 3.7 so I do have my own proof/findings.
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Old 04-06-2016, 08:26 AM   #18
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The owner's manual iirc is .49-.53

I would not recommend using NGK 1 step colder plugs if your car is not FI or nitrous equipped. On the normal N/A setup, I found these tend to cause the engine to idle a little worse and such. Possibly due to things not burning as well as it would with a normal, hotter plug.

I will always use Motorcraft plugs in mine until I get a Procharger. I have always had good experiences with this on my Fords.

I did a little testing on this myself last year when I had the 2011 and 2014 3.7 so I do have my own proof/findings.
So based on your experience on 2014 3.7 DD mostly highway when have you discovered might be a good time for a fresh set? I understand there are variables but just in general what time frame worked for you?
Mine is lightly modded, borla, airaid tube, shorties, drop in k&n. Do you know if a tune affects the plug used?
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Old 04-06-2016, 08:31 AM   #19
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I am a crazy man and will do mine whenever it is convenient. Such as if i have the intake manifolds off and such. It's just more convenient for me. Whether it be 30k miles, or 70k miles.

The 2011 had the same ones for 100,000 miles and they were garbage. Car ran like s*** and idled like s***. So definitely don't wait that long.

I would say if I were to go with a timeframe, I personally would shoot for about 40-50k if you want tip top performance and efficiency from them. Some people just clean and regap them. But honestly, i hate putting back in old parts if I have it all apart. I would much rather put in new stuff and be done with it.

But everyone has their own funding limits and such. So it will vary per person.


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Old 04-06-2016, 08:33 AM   #20
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As far as a tune, I am not sure. I am definitely not the tune/tuning expert. I just go by how my car feels. A good car owner will know when something is off with their ride.


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Old 04-06-2016, 08:41 AM   #21
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I am a crazy man and will do mine whenever it is convenient. Such as if i have the intake manifolds off and such. It's just more convenient for me. Whether it be 30k miles, or 70k miles.

The 2011 had the same ones for 100,000 miles and they were garbage. Car ran like s*** and idled like s***. So definitely don't wait that long.

I would say if I were to go with a timeframe, I personally would shoot for about 40-50k if you want tip top performance and efficiency from them. Some people just clean and regap them. But honestly, i hate putting back in old parts if I have it all apart. I would much rather put in new stuff and be done with it.

But everyone has their own funding limits and such. So it will vary per person.


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Yeah I'm with you on reusing parts. I feel the same with brake pads. Whats a couple K more miles if I go through the trouble to check there was a reason.
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