Thursday, June 9, 2011
Changing Spark Plugs on a Nissan Xterra
I had 95,000 miles on my 2007 Nissan Xterra, so I decided to change the spark plugs. I'm unemployed, money is tight, so I decided to do it myself. I always start with the easy stuff (personal motto: Make a Showin'!), so first I changed the three plugs on the driver side of the motor. These first three easy guys took about an hour. Hey, I'm a carpenter, not a mechanic, and I tread VERY cautiously into the unknown.
Clicking on any of these pics will make them bigger.
This side is the reason that the spark plugs I bought last December($59.94 for 6 NGK platinum plugs) didn't get put in until last week. Look at all this air-intake stuff in the way! My first thought was to remove this stuff so I could get to the plugs. Nope, ain't gonna happen! I never did figure out how to get all this stuff out of the way. I spent an hour scratching my head and undoing a few bolts, hoses and wires. Finally, I put everything back like I found it and steeled myself to the task of being a contortionist. Two hours later, I had this side done, with a minimum of bleeding and a lot of cussing.
Here's the minimum tools you'll need:
3/8" socket wrench and extensions of various lengths. (I used all of these.)
3/8" universal. (I bought this afterwards. It would have saved me an hour.)
Long, skinny screwdriver. You'll need this to disassemble extensions in places you can't reach with your fingers.
Flexi-grabber. (The orange-handled thingy in the pic.) You'll need this to pull the plug out after you unscrew it. If the rubber gripper inside the spark plug socket had worked, I wouldn't have needed it. I use this tool daily to pick scorpions up off the floor. Here in the Mohave Desert, scorpions are the most common insect.
5/8 spark plug wrench. Make sure it has the rubber gripper inside.
10mm socket for undoing the caps over the spark plugs.
Don't forget to put connector grease on the plugs. $1.29.
Here's the old plugs. No oil or carbon fouling, so the motor is probably OK. You can see that a deposit stalactite(stalagmite?) was starting to form and eventually would have shorted out the plug.