Spark plug gap



ChryslerMiniVan.net is the premier Chrysler Minivan Forum on the internet. Registered Users do not see the above ads.
+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 12

Thread: Spark plug gap

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    22
    Country: Users Country Flag
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post


    Spark plug gap

    My T&C has about 57k miles; I understand it's nowhere near needing plugs, but is it required or advisable to check the gap at a certain interval, or are they basically no-maintenance until they're changed? Maybe I'm too used to my Alfa, which needs at least the gap checked each year (on the points, too), but it almost seems like I should be doing something with the plugs.

    Now if they could only make the O2 sensor and the EGR valve last as long as the spark plugs . . .
    --Bob Farace

    2005 Chrysler Town & Country Touring 3.8 liter
    1971 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce, 1987 Alfa Romeo Milano Gold

  2. Remove Advertisements
    Chrysler Minivan Forums
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    562
    Country: Users Country Flag
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 30 Times in 26 Posts


    If the van runs OK then leave the plugs alone. To go thru the trouble of removing the plugs to check the gap makes no sense. If you remove them, install new ones. It would also pay to replace the spark plug wires at the same time. Just my $0.02.

    FredB

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    6,321
    Country: Users Country Flag
    Thanks
    76
    Thanked 397 Times in 277 Posts


    Quote Originally Posted by farace View Post
    My T&C has about 57k miles; I understand it's nowhere near needing plugs, but is it required or advisable to check the gap at a certain interval, or are they basically no-maintenance until they're changed? Maybe I'm too used to my Alfa, which needs at least the gap checked each year (on the points, too), but it almost seems like I should be doing something with the plugs.
    Nope, in this case doing nothing is most likely better.
    Sold: 1998 DGC Sport 3.8 (Final odo: 178,000 miles)
    Sold: 1998 Chrysler T&C LXi 3.8 (Final odo: 190,000 miles)
    Sold: 2003 DGC ES 3.8 (Final odo: 172,000 miles)
    1998 Audi A4 Quattro (5-Speed manual)
    2001 Honda Accord EX V6 (4-Speed automatic)
    2009 Mazda3 i Touring (5-Speed manual)
    2012 VW GTI (6-Speed manual)

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    22
    Country: Users Country Flag
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post


    Yeah, it's running fine, other than the problems related to the EGR valve that I'm about to replace. It just feels like something should be done, due no doubt to the fact that when I first started tinkering with cars in the '70s, we'd spend our Saturday afternoons cleaning and gapping plugs, and fiddling with the mixture screws on carburetors, just knowing that if we hit it just right we could tweak just a little smoother running and higher performance from the engine (which of course never happened). A habit learned from my dad, no doubt. Hence the gut feeling I should be doing something with the plugs. I'll try to ignore it.
    --Bob Farace

    2005 Chrysler Town & Country Touring 3.8 liter
    1971 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce, 1987 Alfa Romeo Milano Gold

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Niles Il.
    Posts
    10,106
    Country: Users Country Flag
    Thanks
    57
    Thanked 495 Times in 457 Posts


    Leave them. Our vans have plugs with crush washer seals. If you take out plugs with the washer seals, you normally shouldn't put them back in. The washer gets crushed to make a seal, and is only able to do that once. Tapered plugs can be taken out many times with no problem though.
    Candy the van. '98 Sport 3.8L 132,200 miles. Used trans at ~96k. Great piece of my life and a fine van.

    '69 GTO drop top
    www.facebook.com/people/Andy-Greif/1410438927

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Southwest
    Posts
    4,310
    Country: Users Country Flag
    Thanks
    97
    Thanked 334 Times in 285 Posts


    Quote Originally Posted by farace View Post
    It just feels like something should be done, due no doubt to the fact that when I first started tinkering with cars in the '70s
    Yup , know the feeling. Trouble is the wiz bang electronics on these vans have taken all the "fun" out of it. They adapt to worn components to maintain optimal performance. Plus, todays components are designed to last much, much longer that yesterdays antiques. That all adds up to much less requied maintenance and a happy EPA. The plugs are happy as they are.

    BTW - I've pulled plugs out of these vans with well over 100K miles on them. They nearly always look like they could go another 50K miles. The gaps have spread quite a bit without effecting MPGs or performance. An example of the PCM doing it's magic. If only we had these systems 40 years ago.
    ******** We took the time to answer your post. Please give us some time and post the fix. You'll help hundreds. ********

    **** Follow all prescribed safety procedures before attempting any repairs. If in doubt, refer to a maintenance manual. ****

    96 Gr Caravan LE 3.8, 206K miles
    07 Fusion / 06 RAV 4 / 06 Accord / 94 Camry

  8. The Following User Says Thank You to RIP For This Useful Post:

    dun4now (09-04-2011)

  9. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Empire State
    Posts
    3,192
    Country: Users Country Flag
    Thanks
    199
    Thanked 276 Times in 244 Posts


    a note on double platinum plugs (assuming that's what you have) - never adjust gap on used plugs, it should only be done once when you check the gap when the new plugs go in.. if at any later time you find that the gap is out of spec, the plug(s) need to be replaced...
    relevant vehicle: '05 -=C=- T&C Ltd @~110K

  10. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    22
    Country: Users Country Flag
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post


    Quote Originally Posted by atoman View Post
    a note on double platinum plugs (assuming that's what you have) - never adjust gap on used plugs, it should only be done once when you check the gap when the new plugs go in.. if at any later time you find that the gap is out of spec, the plug(s) need to be replaced...
    Not doubting you, but I'm wondering why that might be. Do they get brittle?
    --Bob Farace

    2005 Chrysler Town & Country Touring 3.8 liter
    1971 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce, 1987 Alfa Romeo Milano Gold

  11. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Empire State
    Posts
    3,192
    Country: Users Country Flag
    Thanks
    199
    Thanked 276 Times in 244 Posts


    Quote Originally Posted by farace View Post
    Not doubting you, but I'm wondering why that might be. Do they get brittle?
    No, the metal of the plug does not get brittle.. (the ceramic insulator can become more brittle over time esp. if it is overheated..) However platinum electrodes do not 'wear' like copper.. - they do not get shorter from use and are so thin that when they start to deteriorate the gap will not change much before all the platinum material is gone... (since the electrode is just a thin platinum 'disk' welded onto the metal..)
    relevant vehicle: '05 -=C=- T&C Ltd @~110K

  12. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Bucks County, PA
    Posts
    556
    Thanks
    33
    Thanked 66 Times in 39 Posts


    Andy said: "Our vans have plugs with crush washer seals. If you take out plugs with the washer seals, you normally shouldn't put them back in."

    I had to chuckle. I've reinstalled plugs with crush washers a thousand times without replacing the washer and never a problem. That's one of those things that you're supposed to to do but most people never do.

    That being said, Don't bother pulling the plugs to re-gap. The back row is just a bit too much trouble to make that a good idea, especially since plugs aren't all that expensive. If you want to mess with the plugs, just replace them.

    If you want to get an idea of what shape your plugs are in, just pull one of the front ones that's easy to get at. Then replace it (with a new crush washer if you want to, but I wouldn't bother).

    A couple of tips: Blow out that area around the plugs with compressed air before removing. That will prevent grit and dirt that's accumulated down around the plug's base from dropping into your cylinder. Another tip (and this may create controversy but it shouldn't) is to put a small amount of anti-seize compound on the plug threads. You have aluminum heads and this will prevent torn out spark plug threads later. The important part is to make sure the compound is on the threads only! The stuff is conductive, and if you get it on any parts of the plug insulator (the white parts on either end) you will have shorted the plug. But I'll take a shorted plug (though I've never had that happen and I always use anti-seize) over a stripped out spark plug hole any day - and I know from experience.

    Bill
    2001 Dodge Grand Caravan Sport, 3.3 flex-fuel V6

+ Reply to Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts