3.3/3.8 Rear Spark Plug Replacement



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Thread: 3.3/3.8 Rear Spark Plug Replacement

  1. #1
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    Exclamation 3.3/3.8 Rear Spark Plug Replacement

    I've read many different ways online to get to the rear spark plugs, in my case on a 1997 Town & Country LXi 3.8L, and I was wondering for those who have replaced them before, What is the best method you have used to reach the rear plugs? And also, any instructions or links to websites would be helpful, it looks like one of the hardest spark plug jobs I've ever seen.
    2001 Infiniti i30 3.0 DOHC V6: VQ30DE 177,000 miles; 1999 Nissan Altima GLE KA24 168,000 Miles
    1997 Dodge Ram 1500 SLT Laramie 5.9 46RE, 182,000 Miles
    Prev. 97 T&C LXi 184k 3.8, 94 T&C 3.8 156k Miles, 93 GV LE 3.3 123k

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  3. #2
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    Most people do it from below; it's best to put it on a lift. I also have a '97 Lxi, I looked at it, gave up, and had it done at the shop. I'd advise you to do the same.

    If you search these forums, you'll discover lots of conversation on this topic.

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    I did mine from down under a year ago with the van on a lift.

    From what i seen when taking my engine apart i would definatley do it from the top if i ever do it again.
    Taking the wiper assembly away(easy) and remove the upper intake plenum and you got plenty of room to do it without scratching your hands and arm to pieces.

    Even if it means removing some stuff it would go faster that way because of the incredible limited workspace you have from below, it tok me 15 min to get one plug in,the whole job was done in 4 hours if i remember right including to do one plug twice because i managed to break it when installing the new one, it was incredible tiresome to be underneath with your arms over your head all the time. From the top i'll think i could be finished in about 1- 1 1/2 hour.
    Last edited by Harpo; 12-07-2008 at 06:37 PM.

    -96 Chrysler Grand Voyager T&C LXi 3.8l Up for sale
    -02 Chevrolet Trailblazer LTZ EXT

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    I did mine from below

    There's quite a bit a bit of room in the transmission tunnel, and you can reach up and actually touch the plugs. I had trouble with the "alternator plug" (#6?) , I couldn't reach it from below, and ended up removing the alternator bracket and shoving the alternator back
    Thanks -- Erwin

    '96 Chrysler Town and Country LXi

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    Talking Wow, what a job.

    Thanks for all of your suggestions and input guys. I ended up doing it from the top end. I removed the hood(not necessary, but sure helped with room and removing the windshield wiper cowl assembly and it was only 4 bolts), removed the windshield wipers/cowl assembly, the intake plenum(the vacuum lines were a little bit of a pain and a few snapped but I got those replaced), had to remove a bracket from the alternator, easy, and the hardest part was just removing the bracket holding a wire harness from the back of the plenum, the bolts were a little hard to get to due to the a/c lines and my big hands i guess, and the bolts were torqued down like crazy, but after they were out the plenum removed with ease and I replaced the back plugs(with champion double platinum RN14PMP5 OEM's) and I replaced the wires with BWD Selects, which I believe are Borg-Warner. They are very good wires. Used anti-seize of course. Mounted the wire harness bracket back, put the plenum(with new gasket), vacuum lines, sensors, and alt.bracket back on then changed out the front ones. Replaced Wipers and Hood and I was good to go, It runs great and what a difference in acceleration these new plugs made. The old ones were alittle worn out. I started the job at 2:30pm and was finished and had it running at 6:00pm. I guess 3.5 hours wasn't too bad for everthing that was removed and it being my first time replacing them. I think if I had a torque wrench and some other air tools, it would have gone by alittle faster.
    2001 Infiniti i30 3.0 DOHC V6: VQ30DE 177,000 miles; 1999 Nissan Altima GLE KA24 168,000 Miles
    1997 Dodge Ram 1500 SLT Laramie 5.9 46RE, 182,000 Miles
    Prev. 97 T&C LXi 184k 3.8, 94 T&C 3.8 156k Miles, 93 GV LE 3.3 123k

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    Quote Originally Posted by ArtBasement View Post
    There's quite a bit a bit of room in the transmission tunnel, and you can reach up and actually touch the plugs. I had trouble with the "alternator plug" (#6?) , I couldn't reach it from below, and ended up removing the alternator bracket and shoving the alternator back
    The alternator plug is #1. With everything removed as I did it, it was very simple, also a very simple way to change the upstream O2 sensor as it was in plain view, though I'd already changed it a few months ago from down under.
    2001 Infiniti i30 3.0 DOHC V6: VQ30DE 177,000 miles; 1999 Nissan Altima GLE KA24 168,000 Miles
    1997 Dodge Ram 1500 SLT Laramie 5.9 46RE, 182,000 Miles
    Prev. 97 T&C LXi 184k 3.8, 94 T&C 3.8 156k Miles, 93 GV LE 3.3 123k

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    My Dad and I replaced there rears from the top, really hard and not fun to do. But we did it!
    1996 Chrysler T&C 3.8 with 334,000 and Still Goin Strong

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    I also went from the top. The first time I paid a mechanic to do it. But my Power steering pump went bad so I had to replace that. And had a O2 sensor that needed to be done too, so I figured I mine as well replace everything I could get my hands on since I knew I was going to be driving the van for at least two more years. Did the power steering pump, Alternator, O2 sensor, plugs and wires.

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    Fighting with the M10 (15 mm head) bolts holding that bracket to the plenum can be avoided if you unfasten the rear harness from the bracket instead, and push out the oxygen sensor plug retainer. That way, you only have to remove the bolt holding the support strut to the head, and disconnect the ground strap at the firewall.
    The harness clamps are held to the bracket by hex-head sheetmetal screws. They are hard to reach but aren't tight.

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    I've changed the rears on several 96 - 98s and always rotate the alternator to get the pass side and from below to get the middle and drivers side. I use jack stands and a creeper. Takes me about an hour. Yes it's a PITA but, going from below greatly reduces the chance of spinning a bolt head off or breaking something else in the process of getting to the plugs. No special tools needed.
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    96 Gr Caravan LE 3.8, 206K miles
    07 Fusion / 06 RAV 4 / 06 Accord / 94 Camry

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