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Old 09-06-2017, 04:35 PM   #21
fdryer
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: Spark plug ceramic tip broken in engine

The damaged/dented side electrode probably came from the red hot ceramic bit that broke off and bounced around several combustion cycles before leaving the combustion chamber. No telling what other damage may have occurred to the aluminum cylinder head.......

Are you holding back on some info like not revealing late night stoplight racing with nitrous gas?

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Old 09-06-2017, 04:58 PM   #22
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Default Re: Spark plug ceramic tip broken in engine

Quote:
Originally Posted by JerryHughes View Post
Oh man, getting the old wires off was like pulling teeth! The last time I bought and used wires, they were a "medium" grade from NAPA. Cost about $25 or so. This time I went with Rock Auto and got the ACDELCO 9764B, which ran me about the same cost. Should be good enough wires. Even without grease, these should just "pop" off?
They should.

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Old 09-06-2017, 05:54 PM   #23
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Default Re: Spark plug ceramic tip broken in engine

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
The damaged/dented side electrode probably came from the red hot ceramic bit that broke off and bounced around several combustion cycles before leaving the combustion chamber. No telling what other damage may have occurred to the aluminum cylinder head.......

Are you holding back on some info like not revealing late night stoplight racing with nitrous gas?
Okay, fdryer, you got me! Been roddin the heck out of this little four-banger and now, I'm payin the price. Ha. But, she's runnin nice now.

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Old 09-06-2017, 06:10 PM   #24
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Default Re: Spark plug ceramic tip broken in engine

For the 97 Saturn SL, use BKR4ESA-11
or my choice
BK4E-11, 5424, the V-power plugs (improved copper core design)

One heat range colder is BKR5E-11 for the SOHC,

...
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NGK BKR6E-11 spark plugs

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Old 09-06-2017, 06:36 PM   #25
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Default Re: Spark plug ceramic tip broken in engine

BKR3E-11 is the hotter plug you would need to deal with the extreme fouling. Before changing plug heat range fid out if you even need to as you can burn holes in piston tops with the wrong plugs.

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Old 09-06-2017, 07:24 PM   #26
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Default Re: Spark plug ceramic tip broken in engine

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattwithcats View Post
For the 97 Saturn SL, use BKR4ESA-11
or my choice
BK4E-11, 5424, the V-power plugs (improved copper core design)

One heat range colder is BKR5E-11 for the SOHC,
Yup, I'm using the ESA-11 7755's and bought 8 more for the future! Dang, hope I don't have to go hotter, now that I'm all stocked up. Thanks for the info.

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Old 09-06-2017, 07:26 PM   #27
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Default Re: Spark plug ceramic tip broken in engine

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
BKR3E-11 is the hotter plug you would need to deal with the extreme fouling. Before changing plug heat range fid out if you even need to as you can burn holes in piston tops with the wrong plugs.
I will pull one in about a month and post a pic for advice. Thank you!

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Old 09-06-2017, 09:26 PM   #28
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Default Re: Spark plug ceramic tip broken in engine

By-the-way, does anyone else have a hard time getting their wires off their spark plugs?? Mine are so tight, mine are junk by the time I get them off.

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Old 09-06-2017, 09:38 PM   #29
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Default Re: Spark plug ceramic tip broken in engine

Quote:
Originally Posted by JerryHughes View Post
By-the-way, does anyone else have a hard time getting their wires off their spark plugs?? Mine are so tight, mine are junk by the time I get them off.
I do too, I put silicon grease on my plugs so the wires don't stick, I twist the caps a bit to break them loose before pulling the wires but I still break a wire almost every time

...
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Old 09-06-2017, 09:43 PM   #30
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Default Re: Spark plug ceramic tip broken in engine

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ricketts View Post
I do too, I put silicon grease on my plugs so the wires don't stick, I twist the caps a bit to break them loose before pulling the wires but I still break a wire almost every time
I think there are a lot more of us who have this problem too!

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Old 09-07-2017, 06:58 AM   #31
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Default Re: Spark plug ceramic tip broken in engine

The other question I always ask when there is an ignition related question or issue is did you spark test the coils?

A failing coil can cause all kinds of strange things.

Highmile
95 SL1 639k and counting

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Old 09-07-2017, 08:15 AM   #32
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Default Re: Spark plug ceramic tip broken in engine

Quote:
Originally Posted by Highmile View Post
The other question I always ask when there is an ignition related question or issue is did you spark test the coils?

A failing coil can cause all kinds of strange things.

Highmile
95 SL1 639k and counting
Since I found the broken ceramic and with the car running great with the new plugs, I didn't go any further with the problem. Wow, 639k on your 95! Hope I can reach that.

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Old 09-07-2017, 06:40 PM   #33
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Default Re: Spark plug ceramic tip broken in engine

Say----would this be possible without any damage to the engine? If there would still be any bit of that ceramic tip inside the chamber, could I just take out that one spark plug altogether (leaving the other three installed) and crank the engine for about one second, in hopes it would fly out the plug hole???

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Old 09-07-2017, 10:30 PM   #34
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Default Re: Spark plug ceramic tip broken in engine

Sure, why not? The chances of that ceramic piece still bouncing around inside the cylinder is little to none and you have nothing to lose by trying. There will be one example of nothing left in that cylinder - removing the spark plug should reveal a perfectly good plugs without dents similar to the damage one as evidence of nothing left in the cylinder. A blip on the starter to turnover the engine a few seconds should be enough. Remove the EIS fuse powering the ignition coils, pull plug wires or fuel pump fuse to prevent the engine from starting on three cylinders.

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Old 09-07-2017, 10:55 PM   #35
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Default Re: Spark plug ceramic tip broken in engine

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
Sure, why not? The chances of that ceramic piece still bouncing around inside the cylinder is little to none and you have nothing to lose by trying. There will be one example of nothing left in that cylinder - removing the spark plug should reveal a perfectly good plugs without dents similar to the damage one as evidence of nothing left in the cylinder. A blip on the starter to turnover the engine a few seconds should be enough. Remove the EIS fuse powering the ignition coils, pull plug wires or fuel pump fuse to prevent the engine from starting on three cylinders.
Will do then. Not sure where the EIS fuse is but instead of pulling (and destroying) the other plug wires, I'll just pull the fuel pump fuse instead. Thank you fdryer!

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Old 09-08-2017, 05:53 AM   #36
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Default Re: Spark plug ceramic tip broken in engine

We pulled our PCM B fuse to disable the fuel pump and spark. That fuse lives in the box under the hood.

I truly believe that an engine running 3000-5000 or whatever RPM has a much better chance of ejecting that ceramic piece through the exhaust valve than a 200 RPM crank has to eject it through the spark plug hole.

You could adapt a piece of plastic tubing to your shop vac and vacuum out the cylinder.

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Old 09-08-2017, 07:41 AM   #37
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Default Re: Spark plug ceramic tip broken in engine

Removing the PCM B fuse disables EVERYTHING except the starter circuit and the OIL Pressure circuit. The PCM is completely shutdown just as it is when the key is in OFF.

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Old 09-08-2017, 07:44 AM   #38
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Default Re: Spark plug ceramic tip broken in engine

Quote:
Originally Posted by Waiex191 View Post
We pulled our PCM B fuse to disable the fuel pump and spark. That fuse lives in the box under the hood.

I truly believe that an engine running 3000-5000 or whatever RPM has a much better chance of ejecting that ceramic piece through the exhaust valve than a 200 RPM crank has to eject it through the spark plug hole.

You could adapt a piece of plastic tubing to your shop vac and vacuum out the cylinder.
I will try that before I try to eject it by turning the engine over first. I'll make sure the bag for the vac is really clean so if it does come out, I will be able to see it.
And the more I think of it, I think there just might be that small piece of ceramic in there because once-in-a-while the car does make a strange noise that it never made before. If it is still in there I hope it didn't do any damage.
I won't be able to try that for a couple of days or so but I'm anxious to see if it is in there. Not 100% sure it's the third cylinder now but hope so. Thanks for the suggestion.

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Old 09-08-2017, 07:49 AM   #39
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Default Re: Spark plug ceramic tip broken in engine

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
Removing the PCM B fuse disables EVERYTHING except the starter circuit and the OIL Pressure circuit. The PCM is completely shutdown just as it is when the key is in OFF.
Okay, then I'll only pull that fuse before trying to turn the engine. I will try the vac first though. Hey, not being totally sure that the piece of ceramic was in the third cylinder, should I just remove all the plugs at the same time, and then crank the engine for a second or so?

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Old 09-08-2017, 03:56 PM   #40
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Default Re: Spark plug ceramic tip broken in engine

Okay, I tried to vacuum the ceramic piece out of the spark plug hole but I couldn't get down, inside the hole with my vac. attachment. I did get around the opening really well but nothing was in the dirt bag when I was done.
So, I took the plugs out, one by one so there was only one plug out at a time, and took out the PCM B fuse and cranked the engine for a second or two. (Just in case I was wrong about what cylinder the broken ceramic came from) Didn't hear anything fly out, etc. I guess that broken piece is gone forever.
The pictures here are of the brand new plugs that were only run for about a day. I listed them "Test 1, test 2, test 3 and test 4". Number one plug was taken from the furthest to the left, when facing the car, not when sitting in the driver's seat. Then I went from left to right. Test plug #3 is where the ceramic piece was broken off. You can see how oily it is compared to the other plugs! And even test plug #4 has a little oil on it too but not nearly as much as plug #3. Should I go to a hotter burning plug in #3 and possibly even #4??
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Test 1.jpg (172.1 KB, 6 views)
File Type: jpg Test 2.jpg (37.4 KB, 5 views)
File Type: jpg Test 3.jpg (164.1 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg Test 4.jpg (178.7 KB, 6 views)

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