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HDGENE, Ford Senior Master/Diesel/Trans
Category: Ford
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Experience:  25 years Auto experience, Ford ,GM, Chrysler, Asian & European
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How to change spark plugs in a 1997 crown victoria

Resolved Question:

How to change spark plugs in a 1997 crown victoria
Submitted: 10 years ago.
Category: Ford
Expert:  HDGENE replied 10 years ago.


See Figures 3 through 10

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Fig. 3: Grasp and carefully twist the plug wire to release the retainer from the spark plug. If the plug wire is stubborn, a pair of special removal pliers is recommended to remove the wires from the plugs


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Fig. 4: Carefully remove the plug wire from the cylinder head


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Fig. 5: A special spark plug socket with a rubber insert is needed to remove the spark plugs. Typically the spark plugs on engines covered by this guide require a 5/8 socket


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Fig. 6: Using a suitable drive tool and the special socket, loosen the spark plug and ...


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Fig. 7: ... remove the spark plug from the engine


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Fig. 8: Clean out the spark plug bore and threads before installing the new spark plug


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Fig. 9: An inspection of the old spark plugs will give a general idea of the condition of the motor; compare the spark plugs to the chart in this section


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Fig. 10: A piece of fuel line or a small hose is useful in installing the spark plugs to avoid stripping the threads



A set of spark plugs usually requires replacement after about 20,000-30,000 miles (32,000-48,000 km), depending on your style of driving. In normal operation plug gap increases about 0.001 in. (0.025mm) for every 2,500 miles (4,000km). As the gap increases, the plug's voltage requirement also increases. It requires a greater voltage to jump the wider gap and about two to three times as much voltage to fire the plug at high speeds than at idle. The improved air/fuel ratio control of modern fuel injection combined with the higher voltage output of modern ignition systems will often allow an engine to run significantly longer on a set of standard spark plugs, but keep in mind that efficiency will drop as the gap widens (along with fuel economy and power).

When you're removing spark plugs, work on one at a time. Don't start by removing the plug wires all at once, because, unless you number them, they may become mixed up. Take a minute before you begin and number the wires with tape.

  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable, and if the vehicle has been run recently, allow the engine to thoroughly cool.

  2. Carefully twist the spark plug wire boot to loosen it, then pull upward and remove the boot from the plug. Be sure to pull on the boot and not on the wire, otherwise the connector located inside the boot may become separated.

  3. Using compressed air, blow any water or debris from the spark plug well to assure that no harmful contaminants are allowed to enter the combustion chamber when the spark plug is removed. If compressed air is not available, use a rag or a brush to clean the area.

Remove the spark plugs when the engine is cold, if possible, to prevent damage to the threads. If removal of the plugs is difficult, apply a few drops of penetrating oil or silicone spray to the area around the base of the plug, and allow it a few minutes to work.

  1. Using a spark plug socket that is equipped with a rubber insert to properly hold the plug, turn the spark plug counterclockwise to loosen and remove the spark plug from the bore.


To install:

  1. Inspect the spark plug boot for tears or damage. If a damaged boot is found, the spark plug wire must be replaced.

  2. Using a wire feeler gauge, check and adjust the spark plug gap. When using a gauge, the proper size should pass between the electrodes with a slight drag. The next larger size should not be able to pass while the next smaller size should pass freely.

  3. Carefully thread the plug into the bore by hand. If resistance is felt before the plug is almost completely threaded, back the plug out and begin threading again. In small, hard to reach areas, an old spark plug wire and boot could be used as a threading tool. The boot will hold the plug while you twist the end of the wire and the wire is supple enough to twist before it would allow the plug to crossthread.


    1. Carefully tighten the spark plug. If the plug you are installing is equipped with a crush washer, seat the plug, then tighten about 1/4 turn to crush the washer. If you are installing a tapered seat plug, tighten the plug to specifications provided by the vehicle or plug manufacturer.

    2. Apply a small amount of silicone dielectric compound to the end of the spark plug lead or inside the spark plug boot to prevent sticking, then install the boot to the spark plug and push until it clicks into place. The click may be felt or heard, then gently pull back on the boot to assure proper contact.



    Check the plugs for deposits and wear. If they are not going to be replaced, clean the plugs thoroughly. Remember that any kind of deposit will decrease the efficiency of the plug. Plugs can be cleaned on a spark plug cleaning machine, which can sometimes be found in service stations, or you can do an acceptable job of cleaning with a stiff brush. If the plugs are cleaned, the electrodes must be filed flat. Use an ignition points file, not an emery board or the like, which will leave deposits. The electrodes must be filed perfectly flat with sharp edges; rounded edges reduce the spark plug voltage by as much as 50%.

    Check spark plug gap before installation. The ground electrode (the L-shaped one connected to the body of the plug) must be parallel to the center electrode and the specified size wire gauge (please refer to the Tune-Up Specifications chart for details) must pass between the electrodes with a slight drag.

    NEVER adjust the gap on a used platinum type spark plug.

    Always check the gap on new plugs as they are not always set correctly at the factory. Do not use a flat feeler gauge when measuring the gap on a used plug, because the reading may be inaccurate. A round-wire type gapping tool is the best way to check the gap. The correct gauge should pass through the electrode gap with a slight drag. If you're in doubt, try one size smaller and one larger. The smaller gauge should go through easily, while the larger one shouldn't go through at all. Wire gapping tools usually have a bending tool attached. Use that to adjust the side electrode until the proper distance is obtained. Absolutely never attempt to bend the center electrode. Also, be careful not to bend the side electrode too far or too often as it may weaken and break off within the engine, requiring removal of the cylinder head to retrieve it.

    See Figures 11 through 15

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    Fig. 11: Inspect the spark plug to determine engine running conditions


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    Fig. 12: A variety of tools and gauges are needed for spark plug service


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    Fig. 13: Checking the spark plug gap with a feeler gauge


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    Fig. 14: Adjusting the spark plug gap


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    Fig. 15: If the standard plug is in good condition, the electrode may be filed flat-WARNING: do not file platinum plugs


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