1996 - 2004: 4.6 2V Spark Plug change writeup for dummies - Mustang Evolution

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Old 03-01-2014, 03:35 PM   #1
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1996 - 2004: 4.6 2V Spark Plug change writeup for dummies

From what I have seen here there are a lot of ppl who have tech skills but just as many beginners or just someone who has not had to work on the modular before. Anyway, I just did my plugs/wires today after finding one of the connectors was rusted and also since I had not changed them since I've had the car. Here is the way I did it with specs, torque values and a parts list. Again, this is NOT an official Ford guide so myself/this forum/jeebus/whoever is not responsible for anything that YOU goober up although it is very simple to do plugs/wires.

First, the list of all the stuff you will need:

-Spark Plugs (duh)
-Gapping tool

FYI the factory spec on these motors is an Autolite 104 (764). However, modulars run better one range cooler so I recommend the 103s. Also as far as the Iridium/Double Plat/Silver/omgwtfbbq plugs... Copper is going to be your best performer at the expense of longevity and that is fact. They are also easier to read when pulled and cost next to nothing. These are $1.99 a plug at Autozone and $1 on Rockauto.

-Wires (96-98 only) or COPs (99-up) OR a COP rebuild kit

I have a 98 so I am doing the wires. If you have COPs the process is the same except you are disconnecting connectors on the COPs and pulling those instead of plug boots. For those buying the crazy $160 MSD wires or even the $80 FRPP ones on AM/LRS/Summitt/Jegs... save yourself some money and have some nice OEM black wires for $50 from the link I posted. If your wires or COPs are newer then you can skip this part.

-5/8 magnetic spark plug socket. This one is a $6 Duralast one from Autozone
-Assorted extensions
-3/8 drive ratchet

-Torque wrench capable of doing 12 ft lbs or 144 inch lbs

Let me repeat that, torque wrench capable of doing 12ft lbs or 144 inch lbs.

One more time for the dense... TORQUE WRENCH CAPABLE OF DOING 12FT LBS OR 144 INCH LBS.

This jobber cost me $20 at Harbor Freight on sale, it is 5-80ft lbs. If you don't find this on sale like I did then Harbor Freight sells a 1/4 drive Torque wrench in inch lbs that goes up to 200 inch lbs and that is always $20.

"But Scotty, I've been doing spark plugs forever and never used a torque wrench"

Ok that's great what is your point? Most PI heads are 4 thread and ALUMINUM which blows out easy.

"Oh well in that case, I'll just do hand tight and 1/4 turn and that will be fine"

Nope, no it won't. Here is an illustration as to why. 1/4 turn is 47 ft lbs. Bad idea... GET A TORQUE WRENCH.

Sorry for that but I don't know how many people look at me funny when I tell them to make sure they torque their plugs. This is aluminum, not iron, you WILL blow the plugs if you do 1/4 turn especially if you have 4 thread heads.

Ok, finally...

- Dialectric Grease for the plug boots


-Disconnect the negative battery terminal from your battery with an 8mm socket.

-Remove the airbox and inlet tube and set aside.

-Grab and firmly pull up on the plug boots to remove them OR, disconnect your COPs and remove them.

Your engine bay should now look something like this.

-Prior to removing plugs, it is always a good idea to take a can of compressed air or if you have a compressor use a blower attachment to blow out the plug bores of all debris/fluids etc... Don't want anything falling down into the cylinders.

-Using your extensions/plug socket and a ratchet, remove the first spark plug, I like to do these one at a time to keep the time the cylinders are open to the air at a minimum. Remember lefty loosey lol.

-Grab your first spark plug, gap it to .52-.54 and apply antiseize

-Set your plug/socket and a single extension up like so

-Using just your fingertips start threading the new plug into the head. Go SLOW and make sure you DO NOT CROSSTHREAD the plug. If you do, you are screwed. This pic below is how you should be doing this

-Once the plug snugs up to finger tight, set your trusty torque wrench to 12 ft lbs

-And torque the plug to 12-15 ft lbs. I do 12, no reason to tempt fate with these heads that are notorious for stripping out. If you have an inch lbs torque wrench 12 ft lbs is 144 inch lbs (12x12) so setting to 145 will be fine.

-Apply Dialectric grease to the boot of your wire/COP and seat it back on the plug

-If you are swapping out wires, I also like to do this one at a time and match up the new wires by length so there are no mistakes.

One is old, one is new, both are Motorcraft so they are perfect replacements

-Repeat this process for all cylinders. IMO, the only one that is any sort of difficult is the rear passenger plug and that is barely harder than the rest.

New Everything

-Replace airbox/inlet tube and hook up any vac tubes and plugs you removed

-Reconnect negative battery terminal

-Fire it up and listen to it purr.

I hope this guide was helpful to anyone on here or searching on the Google (she knows much). And I apologize if it sounds like I'm being an *** about the torque wrench but again, these are 4 thread aluminum heads. Even if you have an 04 or FRPP PI heads with 8 thread plugs you don't want to risk a big $ fix because you don't want to spend $20 on a tool that EVERYONE should have in their toolbox anyway.
2000 Mustang GT Steeda #0048 34k miles. 99 Cobra 4V swapped, FTBR IRS swapped, exhaust, tuned by James Gordon.

Just because I give you advice, doesn't mean I know more than you. Its just means I've done more stupid ****.
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