How to Change the Spark Plugs in a 2003 Ford Taurus 24V Engine

by Don BowmanUpdated November 07, 2017

Items you will need

  • Ratchet

  • Set of sockets

  • 6-inch extension

  • 3-inch extension

  • Universal joint

  • 5/8-inch spark plug socket

  • Set of wrenches

  • 8 Autolite Iridium XP103 plugs

  • Spark plug gapping tool

  • Screwdriver

Changing the spark plugs on a 2003 Ford Taurus is a somewhat demanding job, especially when it comes to the rear spark plugs, and is better left to a person with some mechanical aptitude. The upper intake manifold and exhaust gas recirculation valve must be removed to gain access to the rear plugs. Autolite XP103 Iridiums are the standard plug for this vehicle; if most of your driving is done in the city and pinging occurs from spark knock, ask for a one-step cooler plug.

Change one spark plug at a time and reinstall the spark plug wire. Start with the front spark plugs nearest the radiator. Pull the spark plug wire off the plug with a twisting motion. Remove the spark plugs with a 5/8-inch spark plug socket, a 3-inch extension and a ratchet.

Gap the spark plugs to .045 of an inch with the gapping tool. Install the spark plug, by hand, and tighten it with a spark plug socket and ratchet to 15 foot-pounds of torque. Install the spark plug wire.

Remove the air duct to the intake manifold, using a screwdriver to loosen the clamp. Remove the three 8 mm bolts in the exhaust gas recirculation valve base, using a socket. Move the EGR valve just enough to allow removal of the upper intake manifold.

Remove the 8 mm bolts from the upper intake manifold. Lift the manifold carefully and move it toward the driver’s side, just enough to gain access to the rear plugs. Suspend the manifold with a suitable piece of wire.

Remove the spark plug wires and spark plugs in the same manner as the front ones, with one change: The rear plugs are difficult to grab with the fingers, so use the piece of vacuum hose on the tip of the plug to turn the plug out and to start the new plug in the head. Once started, the socket can be used to finish tightening the plug.

Install the intake manifold by first making sure the rubber seal on the bottom is in place. Check the vacuum line under the throttle body running toward the rear of the manifold -- it is hard to see and often missed, and it will cause problems if not installed. Tighten the intake bolts to 40 inch-pounds of torque.

Install the EGR valve and tighten the three bolts to 15 foot-pounds of torque. Install the air duct and tighten the clamp.

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