Spark Plug Terminal (screw-on tips removed)

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Nils Levine
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Spark Plug Terminal (screw-on tips removed)

#1 Post by Nils Levine » Fri Jun 07, 2019 12:10 pm

I'm removing the spark plugs from my newly-rebuilt engine for the first time and my spark plug socket is not holding the plug after loosening. Luckily I have a telescoping tool with a magnet on the end of it so I was able to retrieve the wayward plug that got lost inside the engine tin. The spark plug wires appear to be designed to connect to the plug without the screw-on terminal tips (proper term?). Is there a special socket designed for grabbing a plug without its screw-on terminal tip (or a helpful hack)? I'm not going to go anywhere near the plugs for cylinders 3 and 1 (the two towards the front of the car I believe) until I solve this unexpected setback.
- Nils
'62 T6 Coupe

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Norm Miller
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Re: Spark Plug Terminal (screw-on tips removed)

#2 Post by Norm Miller » Fri Jun 07, 2019 12:26 pm

Most spark plug sockets have a rubber insert to grip the plug, better socket uses an internal magnet.
Neither grip the threaded stud or nut.
VW & Porsche wire sets do not use the nut.
You are not the first to lose a plug into the dark hole by far.
Just call it an experience!
 

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Mike Wilson
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Re: Spark Plug Terminal (screw-on tips removed)

#3 Post by Mike Wilson » Fri Jun 07, 2019 12:29 pm

Your spark plug socket should have a rubber insert that holds the body of the spark plug. The plug tips have the screw terminal which is gripped by the spark plug connector.

Mike
Mike Wilson
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'63 B coupe

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Bruce Hagopian
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Re: Spark Plug Terminal (screw-on tips removed)

#4 Post by Bruce Hagopian » Fri Jun 07, 2019 12:31 pm

Spark plug sockets usually have a rubber insert that holds the plug around the ceramic part, below the threaded tip. Sometimes the rubber looses it's shape or size and doesn't grip like it should.

Another way that is actually better for starting plugs, and removing, in tight areas is to use a short piece of small diameter rubber or plastic tubing. Find one that is small enough to be a tight fit over the ceramic part of the plug. Use your socket to get the plug loose, then push the tubing down on the plug and use the tubing to un-thread the rest of the way and remove. This works great for getting plugs started in blind holes where access with a plug socket is difficult.
Bruce Hagopian

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Nils Levine
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Re: Spark Plug Terminal (screw-on tips removed)

#5 Post by Nils Levine » Fri Jun 07, 2019 1:41 pm

Thanks! Will give these recommendations a try and will report back.
- Nils
'62 T6 Coupe

Geoff Fleming
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Re: Spark Plug Terminal (screw-on tips removed)

#6 Post by Geoff Fleming » Fri Jun 07, 2019 3:51 pm

Nils,
Even if you couldn't fish the wayward plug from beneath the sheet metal, it would not cause any harm but simply lay atop the cylinders until a future rebuilder finds it. I've found a few in engines I've worked on.
Bruce's suggestion is a good one...using a rubber hose length to start the plugs into their holes .Never force a sparkplug into place until you are sure it is threading correctly.

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David Grubbs
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Re: Spark Plug Terminal (screw-on tips removed)

#7 Post by David Grubbs » Fri Jun 07, 2019 4:05 pm

Nils,
Bruce has the solution. Two inches of ~ 3/8 in ID tubing, reinforced at one end and stiffened with an inch of 1/4 inch tubing and a broken pencil. Easier to aim and turn if it's stiff and straight.
Dave
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Phil Planck
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Re: Spark Plug Terminal (screw-on tips removed)

#8 Post by Phil Planck » Fri Jun 07, 2019 8:09 pm

There is a plug socket on the market that relies on the screw on tip for retention. Could be the one sold by Harbor Freight.
Phil Planck

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Mike Wilson
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Re: Spark Plug Terminal (screw-on tips removed)

#9 Post by Mike Wilson » Fri Jun 07, 2019 9:49 pm

I literally found (in the street) a spark plug connector from some type of car that is long enough and somewhat flexible to start a spark plug. It grips a good portion of the plug.

Mike
Mike Wilson
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Nils Levine
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Re: Spark Plug Terminal (screw-on tips removed)

#10 Post by Nils Levine » Wed Jul 03, 2019 6:11 pm

I ended up buying a magnetic spark plug socket from O'Reilly's (Power Torque 13/16 Inch Magnetic Spark Plug Socket - 3/8 Inch Drive, 6 Point). It did the job. I successfully removed and reinstalled the spark plugs. Thanks all for your responses and encouragement.

I'm hoping there'll be more individuals considering this operation for the first time, and that this thread helps in some way!
- Nils
'62 T6 Coupe

Mike Horton
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Re: Spark Plug Terminal (screw-on tips removed)

#11 Post by Mike Horton » Thu Jul 04, 2019 6:05 pm

I've been changing plugs on the 616 engines since '64, and about 4 years ago, I lost the #3 plug, the hardest to reach, inside the shroud, my first. The rubber grommet which holds the Plug into the plug socket, had hardened, and had become too loose, to firmly grip the plug. After a 2 hr. "fishing expedition", I held my breath, while extracting the errant plug. I next ordered the Gearwrench part number 80547, 13/16" swivel magnetic socket, with built in extension. This magic tool was discovered by a Houston 912 owner, who shared it on the 912 Registry BBS forum, and I give him full credit. I never leave home without it. As it comes, it is perfect for the #2 & #4, and paired with my shortest 3/8" extension, and well worn flex head ratchet, is great for #1, & #3.

I highly endorse this product, and add this information, for others. I ordered mine on Amazon prime, but it is surely available from other tool sellers. Nils and I have learned of a better "mousetrap"
Mike

James Learmonth
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Re: Spark Plug Terminal (screw-on tips removed)

#12 Post by James Learmonth » Fri Jul 05, 2019 1:12 pm

Mike
I also discovered the Gearwrench 80547 several years ago and believe that it is the tool made for us. I have been looking for an outlet for this tool and come up empty handed.
Gearwrench doesn't show any outlet for the tool although they do show a picture of it.

Jim Learmonth

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Doug McDonnell
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Re: Spark Plug Terminal (screw-on tips removed)

#13 Post by Doug McDonnell » Fri Jul 05, 2019 1:31 pm

1965 356C There is never enough time to do it right, but always enough time to do it over.

Mike Horton
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Re: Spark Plug Terminal (screw-on tips removed)

#14 Post by Mike Horton » Sat Jul 06, 2019 7:26 pm

James Learmonth wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 1:12 pm
Mike
I also discovered the Gearwrench 80547 several years ago and believe that it is the tool made for us. I have been looking for an outlet for this tool and come up empty handed.
Gearwrench doesn't show any outlet for the tool although they do show a picture of it.

Jim Learmonth
Jim, yes, a purpose made for us tool, who'd have guessed. Like Doug, I found it on Amazon, and ordered not only the 13/16" version, but the 9/16", and 5/8" copies, as well, for use on my daily drivers. Don't forget that short 3/8" drive extension, for #1 & #3, it makes life easier. I added a few of those brass sparkplug screw on tips to my travel kit, in case we need them somewhere.

Happy Trails, tell the Houston crew I said "Howdy"!
Mike

Jeff McDonald
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Re: Spark Plug Terminal (screw-on tips removed)

#15 Post by Jeff McDonald » Tue Jul 09, 2019 2:10 pm

Evening everyone, a new guy here.

Jim, I purchased one at Advanced Auto Parts in Tomball this morning, $14.99.

Jeff McDonald
Magnolia, Texas

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