How to Remove the Spark Plugs From a 3.0 Duratecby Susan Revermann
Spark plugs are a valuable part of a vehicle's engine. You need to replace these to get the best fuel efficiency and to ensure that your vehicle idles properly. The 3.0 Duratec engine was first produced in 1996 and is still used today in the Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable. The spark plug replacement for this kind of engine differs from other engines due to the fact that there are front spark plugs and rear spark plugs. The rear plugs take a bit more effort to locate, remove and replace.
Front Spark Plugs
Open the hood of your vehicle and secure it open. Make sure the engine has thoroughly cooled down for at least an hour after driving.
Locate the spark plug wires that run from the distributor cap to the cylinders on the left side of the engine. Use an 8 mm socket to remove the bolt that holds the coil pack on the cylinder, put the bolt in a safe place and pull the coil off. You only want to work on one spark plug at a time so you don't get the wires mixed up.
Insert the 3/8 or 5/16 inch hexagon socket and extension into the spark plug cavity and turn counterclockwise very carefully. Once the spark plug is free, bring it out of the cavity and put it to the side.
Place a new spark plug in the cavity threads pointing up and tighten until snug in a clockwise direction. Repeat for the other two spark plugs in this area.
Rear Spark Plugs
Position yourself so you can see the throttle body. There will be an Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) valve on the front part of the plenum, which is right behind the throttle body.
Use a 10 mm socket to remove the two EGR valve bolts and nuts. Turn these in a counterclockwise direction and put them in a safe place. This will help release the EGR tube. If it does not release the tube, pull the tube to disconnect it.
Grab the gasket that is located between the two bolts, remove it, and put it to the side. Replace the gasket when you put things back together.
Move to the passenger side of the plenum and find the vacuum switch. Pull the hoses off and disconnect the electrical wiring by pulling it away from this area.
Find the eight bolts that hold the upper intake plenum on the back two cylinders and remove them in a counterclockwise direction. Grab the sides of the plenum and rotate up and towards the driver's side of the vehicle. This will give you access to the rear spark plugs. The gasket on the plenum is reusable unless it is damaged.
Use a 3/8 or 5/16 inch socket and extension to remove the spark plugs. Insert the socket and extension into the cavity and rotate in a counterclockwise direction. Be careful while removing and replacing the spark plugs as they are delicate and you don't want them to break, especially while in the spark plug cavity.
Replace with new spark plugs, with the thread side up. Put the plenum back in the reverse order.
- Ken Layne; "Ford Taurus & Mercury Sable 1996 thru 2005 (Hayne's Automotive Repair Manual)"; Haynes Publishing; 2006
- Purchase the spark plugs from your local auto parts dealer. Make sure to indicate the year, make and model of your vehicle to make sure you get the proper spark plugs.
- Use a lubricating spray if the spark plugs do not release easily. Do not spray the lubricating solution on the electrode or porcelain part of the spark plug.
Things You'll Need
- 8 mm socket
- 10 mm socket
- 3/8 or 5/16 inch socket
- Socket extension
- Socket wrench
- Lubricating spray
- 6 replacement spark plugs
- Be very careful when handling the spark plugs. They are delicate and you definitely do not want to break them, especially when they are in the cavity.