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Spark Plug Change

Thanks to Al Primm

This is a reprint of an email that predates the V8 List. I am resending it on request. A duplicate with photo's is on my home page http://www/geocities.com/firesho for them what is interested.

Best regards,

Al Primm
97 Toreador Red
Sorta near Boston.


This week end I figured I would attempt to change out the spark plugs on my 97 SHO. So before I picked up a tool, I read the instructions.. Several times in the Helms manual. Donít expect the Local FORD dealer to just whip this one out. If they have never had the plugs in stock, they have never done this one either!


You will probably need every metric wrench and socket in your bag. And a few. Leave the hammer in the tool box. 8mm to 17mm hand wrenches 6-14mm sockets. 1/4 and 3/8 drive 5/8' spark plug wrench Special tool: 5.5mm or 7/32 socket. Screwdriver, standard 6 inch crescent wrench mechanics fingers or magnetic pick up tool for when you drop a bolt and you will!

Now, back to the chase.

The HELMS manual simply says:

1) Disconnect battery

2) Remove Engine appearance cover

3) Remove Right side Cowl Vent screen.

4) Remove Throttle Body

5) Disconnect emission vacuum supply lines to Surge Tank, and EGR valve.

6) Disconnect Vacuum tube from intake manifold vacuum union.

7) Remove the two retaining bolts from the transducer-mounting bracket.

8) Remove the two intake manifold supports from Surge tank and Cylinder head.

9) Remove EGR valve.

10) Remove retaining stays from the front of the surge tank.(2)

11) Remove Crankcase ventilation tube from Surge tank.

12) Disconnect vacuum tube to fuel regulator.

13) Loosen air connector hose clamps, remove surge tank from engine.

14) Disconnect engine control sensor wiring connector from coil per plug units.

15) Remove coil per plug unit retaining bolts and remove coil per plug units.

16) Loosen plug 1/4 turn, then using pressurized air blow debris out of the well.

17) Removed plug from head using 5/8" plug socket. In lieu of a spark plug socket, a regular deep well socket and a set of needle nosed pliers may work. That well is really deep!

The Front plugs are much easier to access and replacement is simpler.

OK, well here is the way it really worked.

First after disconnecting the battery, I removed the air filter box, MAF and air connection tube to the Throttle Body. You are supposed to just KNOW this I guess.

Step 3) It forgets to mention removing the top AND the bottom parts of the vent. This requires a 5.5 mm socket. Or a 7/32" in my case. Very close match. Also if you read the HELMs manual it says to pull the right side wiper arm off. Waste of time, not needed skip this one.

Step 4) Helms says pull the Throttle body as per description. Wrong. Don't pull the TB off, you will just have to buy a gasket to put it back on. When you remove the Front Surge tank stay on the driverís side (left) you remove two nuts, It so happens that the rest of that studded bolt holds on the TB bracket. Pull the bolts. Disconnect at the air tube into the Surge tank, position out of the way.

While we are here, STEP 9) says remove the EGR valve. Disconnect this from the exhaust tube, using a crescent wrench, or some metric larger than a 17mm. It isnít in that tight. THEN remove the two 8mm bolts attaching the EGR to the Surge tank. A little metal gasket will drop out. Don't lose it.

Step 7 and 8 are where the next hour will be spent. The transducer bracket is on the back of the Surge Tank. THIS is why you pulled the Vent cowling. Two bolts, 8mm, will drop back a little. When disconnecting the two rear intake manifold supports or braces or stays (pick a term) you have to reach over and under the surge tank to reach them. The top right side is easy. The bottom right side has a nut (12mm I think) that attaches a grounding strap.


I had to use a crescent wrench again here to disconnect the bolt. I recommend here that you do not remove the stay. Loosen it and let it drop to the side. It wonít go anywhere. During the installation, you will thank me for this!. The left hand side (DRIVERS) is hard to reach. Hopefully you have skinny arms and small hands. I don't. Again, remove the top bolt, loosen the bottom one, allow the stay to slop to the side. Now, if you have disconnected all the little hoses and such you are ready to pull the surge tank off. Assuming you did step 13) you are going to rock and pull and shake on the surge tank and it isnít going to move one whit! Those little black connector tubes are not rubber, but moderately hard plastic. If you kneel down in front of the car and push gently on the two back corners of the surge tank, it will pop right off. But it wont come out yet. Remove the four front connectors, first, this gives some room to play with and then you can remove the four back ones. All of this gives enough play to slip the surge tank housing out over the engine.

Pull the surge tank out set it aside. You may want to paint it, clean it, de-gunk it while its out. also, put a towel over the eight little intake tubes while you work here, so that you don't drop any nasty things in on top of the valves..

Installation of the Tank is easy, and took me about 45 minutes to accomplish.

With changing out the 8 spark plugs, and what I now know, this job which took about 4.5 hours will only be 2.5 hours tops, next time around.


On a 1-5 wrench scale. This is definitely 4.5 to 5 wrencher.

This job is not technically difficult, but it is confusing, and a lot of bolts come of, and vacuum lines and hoses. If you are not confident with this sort of thing I recommend that you pay a dealer to do it. Let HIM get all scratched up. I am guessing that at 3 hours labor at 65$ plus 54$ of parts, plus miscellaneous things this is a 250$ job at a dealer.

What's YOUR time worth?


I remain,

Al Primm

97 Toreador Red

Bloody but not beaten yet.

Near Boston

I think the plug change is due at 100,000 miles, at the same time the valves are to be adjusted. We need a write up on how to adjust the valves too! 


#8 is the fun one since they neglect to tell you to remove the lower windshield cowling from the passenger side first, just the screen.

 '97 Black Satin - Grey Int
 86k and Whiiinnneing

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