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Old 09-09-2017, 04:18 PM   #61
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Default Re: Spark plug ceramic tip broken in engine

Just got some codes on the dash-----------
PO300= Random/Multiple cylinder misfire detected
PO303= Cylinder 3 misfire detected
PO340= Camshaft Position Sensor Circuit malfunction

I also noted that with this short trip on the road, after stopping and shutting the engine off, my radiator fan kept on running for a while and the temperature gauge on the dash was reading hotter than usual. I'm wondering if my #3 cylinder is firing at all now??

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Old 09-09-2017, 04:50 PM   #62
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Default Re: Spark plug ceramic tip broken in engine

sounds like #4 may be acting up also along with #3. For some reason you are getting hot enough to kep the fan running. Take a look in the reservoir and see if you have a solid stream of coolant returning into the reservoir from the small hose at the right rear corner.

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Old 09-09-2017, 05:47 PM   #63
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Default Re: Spark plug ceramic tip broken in engine

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sounds like #4 may be acting up also along with #3. For some reason you are getting hot enough to kep the fan running. Take a look in the reservoir and see if you have a solid stream of coolant returning into the reservoir from the small hose at the right rear corner.
You mean, after the car has cooled down enough to remove the coolant res. cap, start the car up again and see if there's a stream of coolant returning to the res?? (By-the-way, the coolant is at proper level) I did removed the cap while the car was running but couldn't tell if there was an "active stream" returning to the reservoir. (It appears that my hose is in the upper left-hand corner.)
And I pulled the #3 plug, thinking it may be all choked up with crud but it looks no different from the photos I attached yesterday.
I don't think I have a "Camshaft" sensor on my car and that the Crankshaft sensor has nothing to do with the error code so I don't know how that's involved.

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Old 09-09-2017, 06:10 PM   #64
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Default Re: Spark plug ceramic tip broken in engine

Actually, the car has never run, performance wise, any better! Acceleration is great, no missing, etc.? Don't understand. You'd think the way the car ran would be greatly affected but not so, so far.

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Old 09-09-2017, 06:28 PM   #65
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Default Re: Spark plug ceramic tip broken in engine

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You mean, after the car has cooled down enough to remove the coolant res. cap, start the car up again and see if there's a stream of coolant returning to the res?? (By-the-way, the coolant is at proper level) I did removed the cap while the car was running but couldn't tell if there was an "active stream" returning to the reservoir. (It appears that my hose is in the upper left-hand corner.)
And I pulled the #3 plug, thinking it may be all choked up with crud but it looks no different from the photos I attached yesterday.
I don't think I have a "Camshaft" sensor on my car and that the Crankshaft sensor has nothing to do with the error code so I don't know how that's involved.
Should I temporarily disconnect that small return line to the reservoir to see if coolant is flowing while the car is running?

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Old 09-09-2017, 06:34 PM   #66
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Default Re: Spark plug ceramic tip broken in engine

After it has cooled off take off the reservoir cap and look through the small square port in that front to back divider wall just to the right of the fill opening. You can see back into the corner from there.

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Old 09-09-2017, 07:03 PM   #67
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Default Re: Spark plug ceramic tip broken in engine

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After it has cooled off take off the reservoir cap and look through the small square port in that front to back divider wall just to the right of the fill opening. You can see back into the corner from there.
Might have a better time seeing it at night. Couldn't tell if there was coolant coming out of that hose, even with a flashlight so I took off the reservoir hose and yes, there is a small stream of coolant going through that hose. And I made sure the connecting "stem" from the coolant reservoir was not plugged. Seems okay.

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Old 09-09-2017, 08:37 PM   #68
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Default Re: Spark plug ceramic tip broken in engine

That little hose prevents the head from becoming steam bound and really overheating. It must function.

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Old 09-10-2017, 06:35 AM   #69
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Default Re: Spark plug ceramic tip broken in engine

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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??
For a short period of time used, that shows that a lot of oil is being tossed at that #3 plug. You can see in that photo that the oil is being burned to the ceramic, and unless it's much wetter than it appears in the photo, this is a good indication that the heat is sufficient. I would suspect that the plug will continue to bake on oil until it reaches a point where heat transfer is affected, and the oil begins to bake on less and less over time, but instead stays in a more wet state.

Based on those photos, I wouldn't think about going to a hotter plug. If you need to, keep the "old" good plugs out of the other cylinders and toss them in #3 on a regular basis, keeping the fouling from getting too far out of hand until you run your compression test and such.


As for the wires, the right type of wire pliers can help. In my experience the problem is often that the long boot section is crap silicone and allows too much twisting of the boot section without the actual end twisting. Dielectric helps some, but the removal/install pliers can get the pressure more where needed.

If you've mangled some up, keep the old non mangles ones as emergency spare wires.

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Old 09-10-2017, 08:02 AM   #70
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Default Re: Spark plug ceramic tip broken in engine

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For a short period of time used, that shows that a lot of oil is being tossed at that #3 plug. You can see in that photo that the oil is being burned to the ceramic, and unless it's much wetter than it appears in the photo, this is a good indication that the heat is sufficient. I would suspect that the plug will continue to bake on oil until it reaches a point where heat transfer is affected, and the oil begins to bake on less and less over time, but instead stays in a more wet state.

Based on those photos, I wouldn't think about going to a hotter plug. If you need to, keep the "old" good plugs out of the other cylinders and toss them in #3 on a regular basis, keeping the fouling from getting too far out of hand until you run your compression test and such.


As for the wires, the right type of wire pliers can help. In my experience the problem is often that the long boot section is crap silicone and allows too much twisting of the boot section without the actual end twisting. Dielectric helps some, but the removal/install pliers can get the pressure more where needed.

If you've mangled some up, keep the old non mangles ones as emergency spare wires.
A lot of oil being tossed and yes, now that I think of it, I've been having to keep the oil level up lately, not driving that much to use as much as has been "disappearing". That's a good idea---to rotate the good plugs from the other cylinders to #3 until my compression kit gets here. I will pull the plugs every couple of days and check to make sure the deposits aren't too bad. When bad, then I'll rotate. Now I'm glad I bought extra plugs this time around. And yesterday, I took all the plugs out to check them and before putting the wires back on, I stopped at OReilly's and bought some extra grease for the plugs. I really greased up the white, ceramic body of the plugs, to make for easier removal without munching up the wires. I threw out my old spark plug wire "removal" tool because it just did not allow me the room or force to grip that extra long silicone plug cover, to get it out in one piece. Anyone out there who has bought a good one they can recommend?? And even though I did mangle three of the old wires I took off the last time, I was able to save one, for emergency purposes. I'm anxious to get the compression tester in the mail now. Hey, when doing the test, I see it's recommended that the car be warmed up and the throttle body be in the "open" position. But can I just pull the PCM-B fuse and none other, to perform the test?? Thanks. Oh, still don't know why the car is literally, running so well? Smooth acceleration, fast, good response, etc.?

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Old 09-10-2017, 08:16 AM   #71
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Default Re: Spark plug ceramic tip broken in engine

You can use quite a bit of oil and have the car still run well. As for oil use, a few trips made me realize that most likely much of my oil consumption is from the valve guide seals, not through the cylinders. The car will consume much more oil on the short trips of daily life vs running at higher revs for longer periods on the highway for trips.

If you aren't using the car as much, it might be falling prey to the same problem. But in any case, changing out that plug before it gets too severely fouled should keep the car running better.


As for a really good plug tool for the single cammer.... I haven't found one. I just hook some curved needle nose pliers under the end of the boot taking them off, after twisting low on the boot to get the tip and connector moving. Not having the ribs on the NGK's made them stick more than the others I've used, but not really a big issue. For pulling them off there are cheap "hook" style removers that should help.

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Old 09-10-2017, 08:26 AM   #72
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Default Re: Spark plug ceramic tip broken in engine

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You can use quite a bit of oil and have the car still run well. As for oil use, a few trips made me realize that most likely much of my oil consumption is from the valve guide seals, not through the cylinders. The car will consume much more oil on the short trips of daily life vs running at higher revs for longer periods on the highway for trips.

If you aren't using the car as much, it might be falling prey to the same problem. But in any case, changing out that plug before it gets too severely fouled should keep the car running better.


As for a really good plug tool for the single cammer.... I haven't found one. I just hook some curved needle nose pliers under the end of the boot taking them off, after twisting low on the boot to get the tip and connector moving. Not having the ribs on the NGK's made them stick more than the others I've used, but not really a big issue. For pulling them off there are cheap "hook" style removers that should help.
So far, because the wires are new and now that I have lots of grease on the shaft of each plug, I can simply pull them off with my fingers. But over time, I guess that grease burns off, making it near impossible to get the wires off in one piece. Shouldn't be a problem, while rotating the plugs as suggested. But with the last rebuild, I did have new valve guide, seal put in. Thanks.

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Old 09-10-2017, 01:27 PM   #73
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Default Re: Spark plug ceramic tip broken in engine

Jerry,

Alot is happening in Florida but I took a minute out from that horror to consider your spark plug wires. Man, you have been given a boatload of good advise.

See my post on 8/01/16 for what rockAuto calls "O.E. recommended" ignition wires, and their not AC Delco.
The mfg. says their specially reinforced to resist your problem. I have a couple of well maintained high mileage cars that use either Denso or NGK ignition parts for a total of 630,000 miles without failures.

I'm always grateful for all the knowledgable people who contribute to this forum, and especially for their patience.I wish more people paid attention.

End of subject, and back to the Horror.

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Old 09-10-2017, 04:09 PM   #74
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Default Re: Spark plug ceramic tip broken in engine

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Jerry,

Alot is happening in Florida but I took a minute out from that horror to consider your spark plug wires. Man, you have been given a boatload of good advise.

See my post on 8/01/16 for what rockAuto calls "O.E. recommended" ignition wires, and their not AC Delco.
The mfg. says their specially reinforced to resist your problem. I have a couple of well maintained high mileage cars that use either Denso or NGK ignition parts for a total of 630,000 miles without failures.

I'm always grateful for all the knowledgable people who contribute to this forum, and especially for their patience.I wish more people paid attention.

End of subject, and back to the Horror.
Lots of prayers going your way and I hope you all make it through, along with what is most important to you, your family.
Yes, a awfully lot of good advice from great people on this board! This board is the only thing that has gotten me through all these miles on my Saturn. When I bought my spark plug wires I noticed a "heart" alongside those wires listed in Rockauto so I assumed they were one of other buyer's favorites. But I will surely get the reinforced ones now! Thanks for the tip. Stay safe!

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Old 09-13-2017, 08:38 PM   #75
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Default Re: Spark plug ceramic tip broken in engine

Got the compression kit in the mail today---early! To do the test on a warm engine, can I just pull the PCM-B fuse, keep the throttle body in the open position then test each cylinder for, maybe 5-7 cycles? And when testing, do I have to make sure all 4 plugs are removed through the whole test? Very anxious to get the results tomorrow. Hoping for the best too. Thanks!

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Old 09-13-2017, 09:50 PM   #76
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Default Re: Spark plug ceramic tip broken in engine

Crank that engine until the gauge quits increasing and count the pulses! You will get nothing but a failed engine with a 5-7 count.

This is how to do it.
To prevent washing the cylinders down with fuel remove the PCM B fuse to shut off the fuel pump, injectors, and ignition before starting the test. Remove all spark plugs and block the throttle open. Use a low charge rate battery charger to fully charge the battery before conducting the test.

Crank the engine until the gauge quits increasing and compare both the final pressure and number of compression strokes to reach the max pressure, cylinder to cylinder. You can do this test either cold or hot or warm just mention it when stating results.

For example if you find all cylinders produce a final reading of 200psi but the compression cycles are as follows: 1-8, 2-6, 3-8, 4-14 then it should be obvious that cylinder #4 has a serious problem with leakage past either the valves or compression rings.

FSM states the MINIMUM number of compression cycles is 10 and a Fully charged battery is required to obtain the full 250RPM cranking speed.

Nominal compression for a high mileage good condition DOHC is 190-220psi and SOHC is 175-205psi.


Warm, hot, or cold makes no difference just note the condition along with the results.

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Old 09-13-2017, 10:05 PM   #77
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Default Re: Spark plug ceramic tip broken in engine

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Crank that engine until the gauge quits increasing and count the pulses! You will get nothing but a failed engine with a 5-7 count.

This is how to do it.
To prevent washing the cylinders down with fuel remove the PCM B fuse to shut off the fuel pump, injectors, and ignition before starting the test. Remove all spark plugs and block the throttle open. Use a low charge rate battery charger to fully charge the battery before conducting the test.

Crank the engine until the gauge quits increasing and compare both the final pressure and number of compression strokes to reach the max pressure, cylinder to cylinder. You can do this test either cold or hot or warm just mention it when stating results.

For example if you find all cylinders produce a final reading of 200psi but the compression cycles are as follows: 1-8, 2-6, 3-8, 4-14 then it should be obvious that cylinder #4 has a serious problem with leakage past either the valves or compression rings.

FSM states the MINIMUM number of compression cycles is 10 and a Fully charged battery is required to obtain the full 250RPM cranking speed.

Nominal compression for a high mileage good condition DOHC is 190-220psi and SOHC is 175-205psi.


Warm, hot, or cold makes no difference just note the condition along with the results.
Okay, and thank you, OldNuc. I will have to get some help with this because I can't watch the gauge and crank at the same time. And I may have to do the test in two stages because of battery power. I may do two cylinders first, drive around for a few minutes, let the engine cool again, then do the other two. I see what you mean when counting the cycles! Eventually, even a poor performing engine may bring itself up to specs, huh. May take me a bit to find an "assistant".

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Old 09-13-2017, 10:12 PM   #78
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Default Re: Spark plug ceramic tip broken in engine

Use a battery maintainer or small charger overnight, that will be adequate and cold is also fine. If no battery charger then go for a 1/2 hr drive with everything off and then let it cool to a touchable level and run complete 4 cylinder test. Any abnormalities can be addressed from there. You are looking for gross failures and just about any temperature will work OK. Starting and driving is not a great way to charge up a battery for this type of test.

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Old 09-13-2017, 10:16 PM   #79
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Default Re: Spark plug ceramic tip broken in engine

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Use a battery maintainer or small charger overnight, that will be adequate and cold is also fine. If no battery charger then go for a 1/2 hr drive with everything off and then let it cool to a touchable level and run complete 4 cylinder test. Any abnormalities can be addressed from there. You are looking for gross failures and just about any temperature will work OK. Starting and driving is not a great way to charge up a battery for this type of test.
Okay, will do. I'll run some errands for a half hour and make sure all is off. I usually have the fan, A/C and C.D. player going but will rough it for the sake of the test. Thanks for the great advice.

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Old 09-13-2017, 10:27 PM   #80
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