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Old 08-01-2009, 11:55 AM   #1
cschmidt1956
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Default Spark Plug Change for Astra

With the recent Spark plug changes I decided to do a quick overview for Spark Plug R+R for our Astras. This will assume that you have some mechanical experience and just need a slight helping hand as to the how-to of all of this. It is really simple and requires a few things but most of us will have these tools.

Here is the listing of the tools and extras that I used:
Torx T-40 driver
3/8 Drive Ratchet
3/8 Drive 8 inch long extension
3/8 Drive Spark plug socket (5/8)
4 Spark Plugs
Dielectric Grease
Anti-Seize


This is my Astra, we need to remove the Valley Cover. It snaps on and off , just give it a tug starting from the right side and pull.


This picture shows the valley cover removed, but also shows one of two Torx T-40 screws that need to be removed. Also on the far right is a connector that feeds the signals to the Spark Plug distribution block. This needs to be disconnected before you pull the distribution block from the valley.


This photo shows the distribution block removed and the clear access to the spark plugs in the head. They are deep in there and I had to use an 8 inch long extension on my 3/8" drive socket to reach them.

I used Autolite Iridium XP Spark Plugs number XP-5224. The plug gap for these as per the Owners manual is .035. The plugs were gapped at .045 out of the box so I had to gap each plug. These plugs use a flat washer and as such require a 1/4 to a full 1/2 turn to properly seat and torque the plugs. I recommend using anti-seize on these plugs and you only need a little. I always wipe off the excess with a clean paper towel.

Before installing the distribution block back onto the plugs, coat the inner surface of each plug boot with a little dielectric grease. I use a Q-Tip to smear the inside of the boot on just the first 1/4 or so of the boot. This aids in installation and later remove of the distribution block at the next spark plug change.

Ensure that you connect the electrical connector back onto the distribution block and then install the two Torx T-40 bolts. I also used anti-seize on the first few threads on these bolts to aid in later removal of these bolts. I used a nut driver style Torx so I do not have a torque spec for these two bolts. I snugged them down well. Snap the valley cover back on and you are now complete.

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Old 08-01-2009, 01:23 PM   #2
Nightwalker
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Default Re: Spark Plug Change for Astra

Nice, I was going to do one myself, but now I don't have to.

Just wanted to add that the electrical connector is released by lifting the tab on top of the connector from the LEFT side. Older Saturn connectors under the hood have tabs on the right side (near the wires).

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Old 08-01-2009, 03:18 PM   #3
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Default Re: Spark Plug Change for Astra

Still looks NEW! Very clean spark plug wells.

Any pictures of the plugs after 30k miles? The plugs on my SC showed physical wear after 30k miles.

The proper torque of the bolts would be critical because of all the plastic parts. You wouldn't want them too tight or too loose...

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Old 08-01-2009, 07:47 PM   #4
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Default Re: Spark Plug Change for Astra

I changed out the plugs on mine at the recommended 25k miles. There was minimal wear on the outer electrode, unlike others where the outer electrode was 30-50% smaller (arced away).

I used the Saturn replacement plugs, which aren't cheap ~$9US. I'd be interested to get a report on how well the Autolite plugs fare.

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Old 08-02-2009, 07:28 AM   #5
cschmidt1956
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Default Re: Spark Plug Change for Astra

Quote:
Originally Posted by BobbyP View Post
Still looks NEW! Very clean spark plug wells.
Yep. Bought it back last June (2008) and was able to keep it in the Garage most of the Winter. Our winters in New York State take a toll on the cars. I have rarely driven on rainy days also. Trying to keep it as nice as I can. Lost my Job back in December, had one job since and left there. Going back for training in the next few months to see if I can get into a new career.

Just want to keep the Astra as nice as I can until I have to sell it or it is paid off.

Chris

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Old 08-16-2009, 09:21 PM   #6
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Default Re: Spark Plug Change for Astra

Copper anti-sieze is a great product. Ideal for alloy heads (dissimilar metals) and electrical connects too. I'll probally go w/NGK Ir-Fusion.

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Old 09-03-2009, 09:13 AM   #7
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Default Re: Spark Plug Change for Astra

I'm taking my Astra in to replace that tensioner on tuesday, but I was asking my service guy how much they charge to replace the spark plugs at 25,000 Mi. as the owner's manual recommends. He checked with the tech and came back and said that the Astra has 100k spark plugs in it and that there is no need to change them. Has anyone else heard this?

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Old 09-03-2009, 10:37 AM   #8
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Default Re: Spark Plug Change for Astra

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaturnRaycer View Post
I changed out the plugs on mine at the recommended 25k miles.
Did you have any problems with the plugs seizing in the head upon removal?

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Old 09-09-2009, 10:42 AM   #9
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Default Re: Spark Plug Change for Astra

Quote:
Originally Posted by sccannon View Post
I'm taking my Astra in to replace that tensioner on tuesday, but I was asking my service guy how much they charge to replace the spark plugs at 25,000 Mi. as the owner's manual recommends. He checked with the tech and came back and said that the Astra has 100k spark plugs in it and that there is no need to change them. Has anyone else heard this?
When I took my Astra in for new plugs, they kept asking why I wanted them changed so soon. I told them because the book says so. They had to look in the manual for confirmation. They said they rarely get customers who read the manual.

I'm sure they are just used to all the other Saturn which have much longer plug change intervals.

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Old 09-09-2009, 06:46 PM   #10
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Default Re: Spark Plug Change for Astra

Quote:
Originally Posted by unkle bik View Post
Did you have any problems with the plugs seizing in the head upon removal?
None at all. Apparently some wise tech writer put the step,"Apply a small amount of anti-seize compound to the threads" into the assembly manual. I applied anti seize to the new ones to make sure they behave at 50k too.

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Old 09-11-2009, 02:45 PM   #11
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Default Re: Spark Plug Change for Astra

What make are the OE plugs?

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Old 11-13-2009, 05:53 PM   #12
ironwill8282
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Default Re: Spark Plug Change for Astra

My plugs were Bosch and they were toast at 30k.

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Old 11-21-2009, 02:06 PM   #13
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Default Re: Spark Plug Change for Astra

At 40KM, got the Autolite 5224 copper, set of 4 is around CDN$12 tax included.
The original is Bosch R6:
FOR8LEU2 That is what's written around the metal part.
Have not driven it yet but idling seems to be smooth.

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Old 11-29-2009, 07:35 AM   #14
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Default Re: Spark Plug Change for Astra

Hey thanks man, I was looking for this because I was having this problem. This one really helped me a lot.

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Old 11-29-2009, 10:55 AM   #15
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Default Re: Spark Plug Change for Astra

Thanks cschmidt1956. How long should the Autolite Iridium XP Spark Plugs number XP-5224 last?

..and where can we get exact torque specs for everything?

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Old 11-30-2009, 12:29 AM   #16
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Default Re: Spark Plug Change for Astra

Just did the first spark plug change on Saturday (24000 mi). Thank You for the great tutorial.

-Jess

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Old 01-21-2010, 01:19 AM   #17
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Default Re: Spark Plug Change for Astra

I ordered the iridium Autolite 5224s, but found it odd the two stores I frequent both only showed the Autolite line for our engines. I went ahead and dug up the cross reference info and got this:

http://www.globaldenso.com/en/produc...ion/index.html


It looks like the Denso K20 and others fit the same AND these stores carry the other brand's parts. The K20s are like $8.99, with a coupon the Autolitle "ir" are about $21 for all 4. Still dunno if I want the Autolite or what. The BOSCH FR7lcx and FR8lcx...but they are different heat ranges. Not sure which is ideal.

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Old 01-21-2010, 01:54 AM   #18
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Default Re: Spark Plug Change for Astra

This is a better cross-reference chart...

http://www.autolitecatalog.com/PartD...?b=A&pn=XP5224



Competitors

BOSCH 4312
BOSCH 4419
BOSCH 4512
BOSCH FGR9DDP
BOSCH FGR9DPQ
BOSCH FGR9DQI
BOSCH FR7KPP332
CHAMPION 9002
CHAMPION 9202
CHAMPION 9203
DENSO 3377
DENSO 3396
DENSO SK20DR-M11
DENSO SK22PR-M11S
DENSO SKJ16CR-L11
DENSO SKJ16DR-M11
DENSO SKJ20BR-M11
DENSO SKJ20DR-M11
DENSO SKJ20DR-M11S
DENSO SKJ20DR-M13
NGK 2477
NGK 3657
NGK 4080
NGK 4095
NGK 4757
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NGK 5887
NGK 5899
NGK 6441
NGK 6737
NGK 6994
NGK 7743
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NGK IFR7G-11K
NGK IFR7G-11KS
NGK IFR7L11
NGK IZFR5B
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NGK PZFR5Q-11
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Old 01-21-2010, 06:01 PM   #19
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Default Re: Spark Plug Change for Astra

Here's the thread I have going at Bob's...

http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums...7&#Post1750067

I'm sticking with the Autolites.

Application chart from sparkplugs.com

http://www.sparkplugs.com/results_ap...1&AAIA=1442051

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Old 02-11-2010, 05:04 PM   #20
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Default Re: Spark Plug Change for Astra

Great write up, Now I can change them.

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