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How to Replace the Spark Plugs on a Silverado/Sierra

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How to Replace the Spark Plugs on a Silverado/Sierra

Postby thenutter [OP] » Oct 24 2010, 12:50pm

First thing you want to do is buy the appropriate plugs and wires for your truck. Check what the gap is and set it on all the plugs prior to so you don't have the "Did I gap that last plug?" fear that I did. Next locate where all your plugs are, on the V8 6.0L they are all on the sides and easy to locate.

Time:
2 hours for the first time plug replacer without all proper tools and a kid going through your toolbox.
Tools required:
  • Ratchet
  • Torque wrench
  • Universal Joint
  • Various extensions
    (6in worked for all but one)
    (...on 2003 6.0L)
  • Spark Plug Socket
    (5/8ths in my case)
  • Spark plug boot pullers
    (or slip joint pliers)
  • Spark plug gap tool
    (if not pregapped to your truck)
  • Toothbrush

Next figure out what side of the engine you are going to work on. I chose the right side and it was very simple. First off pull the upper part of the wire from the engine. This should be very easy, never pull a spark plug wire by the wire itself, it will break and make your life much harder; pull it by the rubber boot. Make sure you only pull one wire at a time, not so confusing for vehicles without distributor caps but still it maintains order.

Once you have the upper portion pulled next you will remove the wire from the plug. If you have a boot puller, attach it and give it a twist and pull and it should all come out very easy. If you only have a pair of slip joints grab it by the boot and twist it a few times. The boot will probably give you quite a bit of trouble but keep going till it is off. If the wire comes off don't fear. Just keep working on the boot. Occasionally the boot will come off and leave the electrical connector on the top of the plug, gently pull it straight off the top of the plug at the same angle of the plug.
Supplies required:
  • Spark plugs
  • Wires
  • Spark plug and boot gel
    (from auto store for real cheap)

Once the wire is off, remove the spark plug using your ratchet and spark plug socket. Once it is off inspect the spark plug at the bottom. Most auto guides will give you a chart to inspect by. You can see if there is unhappy things going on in your engine by spark plug inspection.

Here is a photo of how to read your spark plugs:
reading_spark_plugs.jpg
How to read spark plugs

Toss the old plug away so you don't mistake it and put it back in. Take your gapped new spark plug and coat the threads with plug gel; make sure to keep it away from the last two threads. Now carefully by hand place it back in the engine and turn it by hand as much as you can. Now turn it with the torque wrench or ratchet if you don't have it, either to recommended tq or nice and tight, be careful not to over tighten and bust threads or break the plug.

Now add the wire gel to your new ones and connect the upper and lower boots. You should hear a slight click on the spark plug. Repeat this on all the plugs and wires.

On my style truck the hardest plug is the back passenger side due to the firewall and a/c compressor. With the right tools this is not a problem. The top of my craftsman plug socket has a 3/4 threading for a short extension to be made by turning it with a 3/4 socket instead of straight on.
2003 Silverado 1500HD LT 121,100 miles.
Magnaflow dual exhaust. Westin side boards. K&N Drop in. 33in Nitro Terra Grapplers. Mobil 1 High Mileage. AVS bug guard. 3.73 Rear end. Mismatched Tonnue Cover.
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Related Topics  09 GMC Sierra 6.2 Spark Plugs & Wires   Replace plugs?   Spark Plugs   Spark Plugs   E3 spark plugs   E3 spark plugs   Spark Plugs   spark plugs   spark plugs   Spark plugs   spark plugs   Spark plugs   2000 5.3L Spark plugs   Spark plugs recommendation 
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Re: How to replace spark plugs (Pics coming soon)

Postby lzn197 » Oct 24 2010, 2:41pm

ALWAYS stick with as close to original equipment Spark Plugs as you can. Lots of crap and hype out there in the aftermarket world.
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Re: How to replace spark plugs (Pics coming soon)

Postby Hartski » Oct 24 2010, 3:13pm

Don't forget you'll need at least 2 beers.

And what do you mean "coat the threads with plug gel"? Are you talking about anti-sieze?
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Re: How to replace spark plugs (Pics coming soon)

Postby thenutter [OP] » Oct 24 2010, 3:20pm

Yup there you go, it was 530am when I wrote this, can't expect to much.
2003 Silverado 1500HD LT 121,100 miles.
Magnaflow dual exhaust. Westin side boards. K&N Drop in. 33in Nitro Terra Grapplers. Mobil 1 High Mileage. AVS bug guard. 3.73 Rear end. Mismatched Tonnue Cover.
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Re: How to replace spark plugs (Pics coming soon)

Postby Hartski » Oct 24 2010, 3:28pm

Okay, good. Just making sure there wasn't a special product that I didn't know about :D
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Re: How to replace spark plugs (Pics coming soon)

Postby EKinMN » Oct 24 2010, 4:06pm

nutter, that is great advice about screwing the new plug in by hand as far as possible. I cross-threaded a plug and forced it with a socket in an aluminum head once. Had to have the thing re-tapped, and probably got chucks of stuff into the cylinder. Coat 'em with anti-sieze, and screw 'em in gently! Just use the socket or torque wrench to snug them up.
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Re: How to Replace the Spark Plugs on a Silverado/Sierra

Postby thenutter [OP] » Oct 25 2010, 1:50pm

Yeah I was kind of nervous because the manual said use a lenght of tube to put them in to avoid cracking it. So I used a lenght of my hand instead since I was unprepared.
2003 Silverado 1500HD LT 121,100 miles.
Magnaflow dual exhaust. Westin side boards. K&N Drop in. 33in Nitro Terra Grapplers. Mobil 1 High Mileage. AVS bug guard. 3.73 Rear end. Mismatched Tonnue Cover.
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Re: How to Replace the Spark Plugs on a Silverado/Sierra

Postby lzn197 » Jan 11 2011, 12:02am

The "common spark plug problems " chart does not say anything about lost platinum pads on the electrodes. If the gap is MUCH wider than normal, it could be because the platinum pad fell off.
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Re: How to Replace the Spark Plugs on a Silverado/Sierra

Postby jepics » Jan 11 2011, 9:44pm

If that happens, I guess you have to hope the chunk of platinum went cleanly out the exhaust valve before it did too much damage inside the cylinder...
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Re: How to Replace the Spark Plugs on a Silverado/Sierra

Postby lzn197 » Jan 11 2011, 10:12pm

They just fly through the engine, no damage. If you want to take the time and look, you usually find the little pad stuck in the honeycomb of the Catalytic Converter.
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