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Old 12-27-2010, 01:35 PM   #1
rboineau
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Default How to remove spark plug wires?

I cannot get any of my plug wires off the spark plugs. The round metal heat shield is in the way, and I cannot break "stiction" by manipulating the part of the boot that sticks up above the shield. I have all the boot pullers, including the angle-adjustable one, but none can get enough purchase on the boot to turn it and break stiction.

Yes, I could destroy or damage the metal shields and do the job, but as I understand it those shields do not come with new GM wires and are not available otherwise either. I'd also like to re-use the wires as the car is low mileage so don't want to destroy them in the process either.

Now don't bug me with messages such as "Why are you changing plugs on a low-mile car?" or some such. The car is eight years old and I'd like to get the plugs out and make sure they don't stick in the heads due to insufficient anti-seize from the factory, as it could be decades before the car hits mileage high enough to actually NEED new plugs.

I've thought that the best way to break the stiction would be to get some sort of tool down between the head and the boot end and pry up enough to loosen. But the boots are tight against the head and the access down there is poor.

Any ideas from those of you who have been there? Thanks.
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Old 12-27-2010, 01:56 PM   #2
TUF-NUF
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I use the same method as pulling weeds.... "squeeze hard-pull slowly" ( as directed by my grandmother when i was about 11 years old.) It'll work... GL
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Old 12-27-2010, 02:36 PM   #3
rclason
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Default removing plug wires

I just finished changing my wires and plugs on my 98. My recomendation to you is to get some new MSD wires and NGK TR-55's from CC Performance (spend the $70) and just pull off those old GM wires. Even though you have low mileage wires age and break down.The metal heat shields are not needed if you use the MSD replacement wiires anyway so you can tug on them with a pliers if necessary.

I had 58K mile on my 98 and the orginal wires were all reading 330 to 350 ohms so they needed to go anyway. The only real problem that I had getting my heat shields and wires off was with number 7. I ended up breaking the plug wire trying to pull it off.

If you twist the ends of the plug wires and wire shields, that may help break the plug wire boots loose. I also used an aligator grip pliers to grab the wire heat shilds and twist/tug them and that helped on a coulple of them.

Roy in Phoenix
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Old 12-27-2010, 03:20 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rboineau View Post
I cannot get any of my plug wires off the spark plugs. The round metal heat shield is in the way, and I cannot break "stiction" by manipulating the part of the boot that sticks up above the shield. I have all the boot pullers, including the angle-adjustable one, but none can get enough purchase on the boot to turn it and break stiction.

Yes, I could destroy or damage the metal shields and do the job, but as I understand it those shields do not come with new GM wires and are not available otherwise either. I'd also like to re-use the wires as the car is low mileage so don't want to destroy them in the process either.

Now don't bug me with messages such as "Why are you changing plugs on a low-mile car?" or some such. The car is eight years old and I'd like to get the plugs out and make sure they don't stick in the heads due to insufficient anti-seize from the factory, as it could be decades before the car hits mileage high enough to actually NEED new plugs.

I've thought that the best way to break the stiction would be to get some sort of tool down between the head and the boot end and pry up enough to loosen. But the boots are tight against the head and the access down there is poor.

Any ideas from those of you who have been there? Thanks.
Sorry, when the wires have been on there for 8 years, you have to budget to replace them as well.
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Old 12-27-2010, 03:52 PM   #5
The Wrench
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You could try warming the engine up a bit, that sometimes helps.
But, you'll pull at least one apart, so might as well have new ones ready.

DG
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Old 12-27-2010, 07:08 PM   #6
rebelheart
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I think the OP is trying to preserve the originality of his car,but at this point I don't think it is an option as he will destroy or at least damage the heat shields.
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Old 12-27-2010, 07:18 PM   #7
C5FORFUN2
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For the stuck ones, I pulled on the heat shields with needle nose plyers. It worked and the shields were fine.
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Old 12-27-2010, 08:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rboineau View Post
The car is eight years old
Change the wires and plugs.
There is a reason the wires are hard to pull off, and if you figure out why that is then you will understand why you should change the wires along with the plugs.
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Old 12-27-2010, 08:48 PM   #9
dmarkshark
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I had new wires so I pulled the old ones off, and twisted the metal caps, as I did that they all seemed to pop and then pulled right off. I don't think you will be able to keep the old wires, but you might try getting in there and see if you can get a good grip and twist them, you will feel them pop when they come loose. Anyway, thats my story.
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Old 12-28-2010, 08:03 AM   #10
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Your going to destroy at least one wire getting them off, may as well go animal on them to get them off, the metal cans will come off and can be reused.
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Old 12-28-2010, 09:33 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dougbfresh View Post
Your going to destroy at least one wire getting them off, .
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Old 12-28-2010, 01:58 PM   #12
rboineau
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So no one has managed to get wires off without destroying them and damaging the heat shields as well? Using pliers on the heat shields will sure as hell mar them and that's not what I'm looking for. And at 8000 miles on a garage-kept car I don't think I should have to destroy perfectly good wires in this process, even if new ones are fairly cheap, especially as I plan to re-use the plugs if intact after applying more anti-seize to the threads.

I cannot believe everyone is so willing to mar up or destroy the heat shields and ruin good plug wires. What a ****-poor design and situation.
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Old 12-28-2010, 02:10 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rboineau View Post
So no one has managed to get wires off without destroying them and damaging the heat shields as well? Using pliers on the heat shields will sure as hell mar them and that's not what I'm looking for. And at 8000 miles on a garage-kept car I don't think I should have to destroy perfectly good wires in this process, even if new ones are fairly cheap, especially as I plan to re-use the plugs if intact after applying more anti-seize to the threads.

I cannot believe everyone is so willing to mar up or destroy the heat shields and ruin good plug wires. What a ****-poor design and situation.
Mine are always hard to get off, even on my 402 Silverado. They have to be muscled off by squeezing hard, twist and pull side to side quickly. I haven't broke one yet. Once you get one off, you will be more confident on the rest. If you do pull one apart, just get the replacement wires from GM and keep them as backup.

Pitt
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Old 12-28-2010, 02:12 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rboineau View Post
So no one has managed to get wires off without destroying them and damaging the heat shields as well? Using pliers on the heat shields will sure as hell mar them and that's not what I'm looking for. And at 8000 miles on a garage-kept car I don't think I should have to destroy perfectly good wires in this process, even if new ones are fairly cheap, especially as I plan to re-use the plugs if intact after applying more anti-seize to the threads.

I cannot believe everyone is so willing to mar up or destroy the heat shields and ruin good plug wires. What a ****-poor design and situation.
I've never put a tool on my heat shields, and there is no reason to. I have pulled apart plug wires on LS motors, and small block Chevys. Sometimes those buggers just don't want to come off. Big freakin deal. Do I want to destroy the wires....no, but I'm certainly not going to belly ache about it, especially when the damn things are 8 years old.

Who knows, maybe your plug wires will come off without damage....the fact that you can't do it, may speak more to your abilities.....as opposed to a "**** poor" design.

Good luck with this horrible delimma.
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Old 12-28-2010, 02:23 PM   #15
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I did mine after 13 years - they are hard to get off. The method of twisting them is a good one. Try to rotate them on the plug, so to speak. Rock them from side to side. Get that bond loosened up. I ended up pulling one of them apart anyway (it was clamped so hard to the plug that the wire gave up before the connector did).

It's a catch-22. If they didn't grab the plugs so well, people would complain that they came loose all the time. Think of the vibration that this connection is subject to. I'd rather they were too tight than too loose. At the end of the day, a new set of wires is what, like $50? Pocket change for lasting 13 years!

Dope

Last edited by Dope; 12-28-2010 at 02:26 PM.
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Old 12-28-2010, 03:09 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucky131969 View Post
Sometimes those buggers just don't want to come off. Big freakin deal. Do I want to destroy the wires....no, but I'm certainly not going to belly ache about it, especially when the damn things are 8 years old.

Who knows, maybe your plug wires will come off without damage....the fact that you can't do it, may speak more to your abilities.....as opposed to a "**** poor" design.

Good luck with this horrible delimma.


I can understand the basic goal, but given the age, cost, and effort involved, just replace them and move on. If, however, the wires do not suffer damage, reuse them.

I just hope it's not a money issue. Parts are cheap and it's a Corvette, treat her right.
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Old 12-28-2010, 03:23 PM   #17
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The boots will harden over time and arc-just change them. Why are you emotionally attached to spark plug wires? JEEZ, get a life. I got a few of mine off OK, kept them for spares, the NAPA wires had even lower resistance than the GM wires.
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Old 12-28-2010, 07:04 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dougbfresh View Post
The boots will harden over time and arc-just change them. Why are you emotionally attached to spark plug wires? JEEZ, get a life. I got a few of mine off OK, kept them for spares, the NAPA wires had even lower resistance than the GM wires.
He likes a "numbers matching" car....
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Old 12-28-2010, 07:17 PM   #19
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He likes a "numbers matching" car....
The '1', '2', '3', etc are not what is meant by numbers matching

I wonder if he has removed the fuel filter and reinstalled it just to make sure it will be possible when he is actually ready to change it? There is a retaining bolt on the bracket that could use some anti-seize
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Old 12-28-2010, 08:33 PM   #20
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He likes a "numbers matching" car....
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Old 12-28-2010, 08:33 PM
 
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