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Old 04-02-2009, 11:07 PM   #1
2002SaturnMan
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2002 SL1
Default Considering replacing spark plugs and spark plug wires - Need advice

Hello!

I have a 2002 SL1 SOHC (VIN=8). 109,000 miles

I've replace the plugs before with the NGK ones that are advised here (purchased from Advanced Auto Parts) - but it's been quite a few years and they are WAY over due I'm sure! I've never replaced the wires.

I'm at Advance Auto Parts website trying to figure out which wires to purchase (I really need to watch the prices). Can anyone suggest which to get? The closest Saturn dealer is too far away to try to get OEM wires.
ACDelco Spark Plug Wires - Standard (Part No. 764B) $38.99
Autolite Spark Plug Wires - Standard (Part No. 96034) $31.29
Xact Spark Plug Wires - Standard (Part No. 2909) $18.29

I've never done wires before and I'm wondering how hard this is to do correctly? I'm a novice. I found 14 threads in the S-Series Tech that have the subject "Spark Plugs" and I'm reading through most of them.

I found richpin's video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gq5hRTjll3E "Tune-Up Saturn S-series Spark Plug Wire Removal" and have a few questions -
1. Why is he wearing the black gloves? Is this so he doesn't get electrocuted?
2. Do I need to remove the battery terminal cables first so I don't get a shock?
3. What's the tool he's using to pull off the boot, and do I need one (where to find one)? http://i202.photobucket.com/albums/a...ireremover.jpg
4. He says the vehicle has a "retainer" but this appears to only be on 2 of the 4 wires. Do the other 2 wires have one of these as well?
5. He says if you see white corrosion on the tower you need to clean it off, but he doesn't say how.
6. Dialetic grease??? Is that what I would ask for at the auto store?
7. It appears from one of the threads that they have to be installed in a certain order. I wonder if they are numbered so that I could install them properly?
8. Any other videos that will show this in more detail??? I'd wish he would have got all 4 wires off, and then shown how to put the new ones on.

Overall how hard is this for someone to do that is scared to death to touch anything under the hood for fear that the car will never start again, or will get really messed up?

Thanks a lot for all your help. I'm sorry for being such a chicken, but in these economic times I just can't afford to take my car to a garage to do some of this stuff that I "might" be able to do myself.

Thanks again!
...
2002 SL1, manual, SOHC (VIN 8) with 179,300 miles sold 8/29/14 (great car!).
Former - 1994 SL 212,000 miles (great car!)
.....
Step daughter HAD 1998 SL1, Wife HAD 1999 DOHC (VIN 7) SL2

Last edited by 2002SaturnMan; 04-02-2009 at 11:14 PM.
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Old 04-03-2009, 12:00 AM   #2
Kaervak
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Default Re: Considering replacing spark plugs and spark plug wires - Need advice

The cheap wires will do just fine. You don't need any fancy high performance wireset or any nonsense like that.

1) Nope, they're just standard mechanics gloves to keep your hands clean and not beat up. If you don't mind getting dirty, they're not necessary.

2) Nope, I've never disconnected the battery. It's not necessary from what I've seen.

3) It's a plug boot puller. Again, not necessary but it makes getting the boots off slightly easier.

4) Yep, all four wires have the retainer on them. Each one is held on with an 8MM bolt. Chances are the bolts will be a bit corroded and might be difficult to get out. If they're heavily corroded, replace them.

5) Use either a scotchbrite pad or even a stiff bristle toothbrush will work. Clean the areas where the bolts make contact too.

6) Look for this on the shelf. It will be in a blister pack. http://fsjeep.homestead.com/files/TF...ric_grease.jpg You don't need a lot either, maybe the size of a marble at the most.

7) Yes, the firing order of the plugs is on the support brace under the hood. It's in the same area and the serp belt routing diagram. Just incase you can't find it it's 4-1-2-3. The shortest wire goes to the plug farthest to the right and connects to the coil tower farthest to the left, the longest goes to the plug farthest to the left and connects to the second coil tower and then the next shortest to the second plug, third coil tower and then finally the third plug and fourth coil tower. If I'm wrong on that, someone correct me.

8) None that I know of, but it's fairly straight forward. Take a picture before you take them off and then you'll have a proper reference of how they go on.
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Old 04-03-2009, 12:28 AM   #3
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Default Re: Considering replacing spark plugs and spark plug wires - Need advice

+1^^^^Thats the answer. I will add this though. You can remove all of the mechanical hold downs and then change one plug and wire at a time. That way you will not foul up the firing order. Match the old and new wire lengths. You have changed plugs before so you should be set on how to do that part of the task. Just grab the boot on the coil tower right at its base and twist and pull straight up. At the plug just grab it as close to the plug connector inside as you can and pull. It does not make any difference if the old ones come apart when you remove them as they are very likely shot and need to go to the trash.
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Old 04-03-2009, 09:04 AM   #4
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Default Re: Considering replacing spark plugs and spark plug wires - Need advice

Quote:
Overall how hard is this for someone to do that is scared to death to touch anything under the hood for fear that the car will never start again, or will get really messed up?
Not difficult. If you have change plugs, that is 75% of the job. If concerned, take notes and photos as you go each step so you can reverse the process. if you have to.

If the engine is not running and key is off, no risk of a shock (unless you have pacemaker leads hanging out that contact the battery terminals), and no need to disconnect the battery, but you can if it really makes you feel better.

As to black gloves, that maybe a fashion statement. I prefer a nice tan color my self. If your hands are soft and tender from too much desk work (as mine tend to get), gloves may protect your hands a bit from the usual case of Saturday-mechanic's barked knuckles.
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Old 04-03-2009, 10:21 AM   #5
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Default Re: Considering replacing spark plugs and spark plug wires - Need advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
I will add this though. You can remove all of the mechanical hold downs and then change one plug and wire at a time. That way you will not foul up the firing order. Match the old and new wire lengths. You have changed plugs before so you should be set on how to do that part of the task. Just grab the boot on the coil tower right at its base and twist and pull straight up. At the plug just grab it as close to the plug connector inside as you can and pull. It does not make any difference if the old ones come apart when you remove them as they are very likely shot and need to go to the trash.
+1 that is some of best advice I have seen given related to doing plugs and wires. It's a simple concept but a lot of people mess it up. The the plugs, I do not recommend using dielectric grease. Secondly, when you take the wire off of the coil; take a rag/paper towel and clean off the coil tower that the plug snaps onto.

Plugs and wires are one of the easiest things you can do. Take your time with it. Make sure you have the wrench straight and the socket is all the way on the spark plug. Get a spark plug sucket. They have a rubber grommet inside so you don't just drop the plug into the well and damage the plug or mess up the gapping.

Becareful when tightening them down. Keep it straight and don't gorilla that thing down and strip the head. Just make them snug.

MAKE SURE YOU HAND THREAD THEM FIRST... to avoid cross threading the head too.
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Last edited by OnDaGround; 04-03-2009 at 10:28 AM.
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Old 05-03-2009, 09:09 AM   #6
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2002 SL2
Default Re: Considering replacing spark plugs and spark plug wires - Need advice

I'm looking at doing this on my 2002 SL2 Stickshift, it seems straight forward.
First, does anyone know the spark plug gap?
Second, is there a computer or anything that needs to be changed or does the different length of wire do that?

Thanks
Skeed.
...
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Old 05-03-2009, 09:36 AM   #7
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Default Re: Considering replacing spark plugs and spark plug wires - Need advice

The plugs come out of the box gapped at .040 and that is the proper gap. You can check them and if they all check the same they are fine. You may measure .038 to .043 or so and that is OK.

Use the NGK plugs for the best results and NGK BKR5ESA-11 is the correct plug for your engine. Do Not Buy any platinum plugs.

The recommendations on the posts above are valid for the job you want to do.
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Old 05-03-2009, 09:59 AM   #8
2002SaturnMan
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Default Re: Considering replacing spark plugs and spark plug wires - Need advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
The plugs come out of the box gapped at .040 and that is the proper gap. You can check them and if they all check the same they are fine. You may measure .038 to .043 or so and that is OK.

Use the NGK plugs for the best results and NGK BKR5ESA-11 is the correct plug for your engine. Do Not Buy any platinum plugs.

The recommendations on the posts above are valid for the job you want to do.

Thank you! I will do exactly that. I've just been really busy and haven't had the time to do this yet.

Thank you!
...
2002 SL1, manual, SOHC (VIN 8) with 179,300 miles sold 8/29/14 (great car!).
Former - 1994 SL 212,000 miles (great car!)
.....
Step daughter HAD 1998 SL1, Wife HAD 1999 DOHC (VIN 7) SL2
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Old 05-03-2009, 10:47 AM   #9
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Default Re: Considering replacing spark plugs and spark plug wires - Need advice

I've always been extremely meticulous when it comes to doing Spark Plugs and Wires. I do each one of them at a time. I check the gap out of the box...even though they are supposed to be factory gapped at .040

I know it may take me a bit longer to do, but then I know that it has been done right.

Don't do the change on a hot engine. Cold engine change only. The risk you run if you do this on a warm or hot engine is the threads on the spark plugs themselves may get damaged.

The best reason to do each wire and plug individually is that if you remove all 4 wires from the igniton coil tower packs at the same time...you run the risk of putting new wires in the car and messing up where they are supposed to go. Saturns have a specific firing order and if you mess up placement of just one wire, the car will misfire and run bad.
...
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Old 05-03-2009, 02:01 PM   #10
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Default Re: Considering replacing spark plugs and spark plug wires - Need advice

For what it's worth, I bought my Denso replacement wires (for my original OEM ones) from RockAuto.com for $18. These are rather unfancy black ones, but they fit very well and came with a small tube of dialectric grease.

No complaints, and the price was right.
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Old 05-03-2009, 04:08 PM   #11
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Default Re: Considering replacing spark plugs and spark plug wires - Need advice

I recently replaced the plugs and wires. Went with NGK plugs and the cheap Duralast wires from AZ.
...
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Old 05-29-2009, 08:32 PM   #12
2002SaturnMan
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Default Re: Considering replacing spark plugs and spark plug wires - Need advice

Ok, today I FINALLY got around to changing the plugs and wires. It really wasn't that hard. I did one wire at a time as suggested.

I do have a couple questions....

1. I forgot to use the anti-seeze on the spark plugs before I put them in. How important is this? Should I pull them and put it on, or is it too late?

2. How do I remove the retainer clip (see attached picture) from the old wires so that I can use it on the new wires? I just cannot figure out how to pop it open.

I purchased the inexpensive wires (Xact Spark Plug Wires - Standard
Part No. 2909) from Advanced Auto parts. They were $18.29 for the set
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...
2002 SL1, manual, SOHC (VIN 8) with 179,300 miles sold 8/29/14 (great car!).
Former - 1994 SL 212,000 miles (great car!)
.....
Step daughter HAD 1998 SL1, Wife HAD 1999 DOHC (VIN 7) SL2
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Old 05-29-2009, 08:53 PM   #13
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Default Re: Considering replacing spark plugs and spark plug wires - Need advice

I did use the dielectric grease on the tower of the ignition coil just as Richipn did in his video.

I had to remove the air box to get at the 8mm bolts holding the retainer clips with my socket. This was sort of a pain in the rear.

Now my next trick is going to be changing the plugs in my wifes 1999 SL2 DOHC. I watched Richpin's video for the spark plugs and it doesn't look very easy since they are way down in the holes. Any suggestions on how to do the plugs and wires easily???

Thank you.
...
2002 SL1, manual, SOHC (VIN 8) with 179,300 miles sold 8/29/14 (great car!).
Former - 1994 SL 212,000 miles (great car!)
.....
Step daughter HAD 1998 SL1, Wife HAD 1999 DOHC (VIN 7) SL2
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Old 05-29-2009, 11:19 PM   #14
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Default Re: Considering replacing spark plugs and spark plug wires - Need advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2002SaturnMan View Post
I did use the dielectric grease on the tower of the ignition coil just as Richipn did in his video.

I had to remove the air box to get at the 8mm bolts holding the retainer clips with my socket. This was sort of a pain in the rear.

Now my next trick is going to be changing the plugs in my wifes 1999 SL2 DOHC. I watched Richpin's video for the spark plugs and it doesn't look very easy since they are way down in the holes. Any suggestions on how to do the plugs and wires easily???

Thank you.
Pretty much the same. One thing I do on the DOHC is use the plug wire once the spark plug is unthreaded all the way, to pop back on the top of the spark plug, and just pull it out with the plug wire itself. Makes things much easier. This method has never failed me..
...
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Old 05-30-2009, 12:45 AM   #15
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Default Re: Considering replacing spark plugs and spark plug wires - Need advice

Get one of those spark plug holders that has a rubber tip... getting a plug out of the top of the engine is a lot easier with something that will hold on to it when you are lifting it out.
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Old 05-30-2009, 07:16 AM   #16
2002SaturnMan
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Default Re: Considering replacing spark plugs and spark plug wires - Need advice

After having nightmares all night about my car being ruined, I got up this morning and pulled the plugs and put the anti-seize on the threads (after I cleand them off).

:-)
...
2002 SL1, manual, SOHC (VIN 8) with 179,300 miles sold 8/29/14 (great car!).
Former - 1994 SL 212,000 miles (great car!)
.....
Step daughter HAD 1998 SL1, Wife HAD 1999 DOHC (VIN 7) SL2
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Old 09-24-2009, 07:37 AM   #17
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Default Re: Considering replacing spark plugs and spark plug wires - Need advice

Two of the spark plug wires go through a bracket that is very hare to get to.
Please advise how to best do so.
There is a hose like thing that runs above them.
Can i just remove that?
Please help.
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Old 09-24-2009, 08:10 AM   #18
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Default Re: Considering replacing spark plugs and spark plug wires - Need advice

I also purchased cheap Duralast wires from AZ. They have a lifetime warranty so you can take them back every 50K miles or so for a no questions asked replacement.
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Old 09-24-2009, 04:12 PM   #19
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Default Re: Considering replacing spark plugs and spark plug wires - Need advice

There is a big plastic piece near the radiator.
It is held on by its shape and a small plastic thumbtack shaped 'pin'.
Remove pin with flat bladed screwdriver, remove plastic, and the spark plug wire harness is easy to get to. I am using a 7mm socket.

Sean
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Old 04-30-2013, 05:06 PM   #20
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Default Re: Considering replacing spark plugs and spark plug wires - Need advice

I'm preparing my 1997 SL1 for a California smog test and next on my list is changing the plugs & wires. Used to always just pay somebody but lately I have a little free time but less money so I've been motivated to do more myself. Stuff like cleaning the EGR valve to clear a fault code wasn't bad at all, and this weekend I replaced the ECTS and thermostat with little trouble.

Thanks of course to richpin videos and threads like this. This forum is great, I've started poking around some and learned a lot but feel like I've only scratched the surface.

So thanks for all the info here, will be back after I've had the chance to try this.
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