Hints to ease #6 sparkplug change
For those with a 4.0 SOHC engine in a later generation Ranger you know what a hassle it is to change the spark plugs on the passenger side of the engine. The following worked well and cut time and hassle out of doing this plug change. Step One - remove the air filter box: Now this is a big pain because the floor of the box is secured to a metal mounting plate bolted to the engine bay. This is done by plastic extrusions at the front of the floor of the box slipping into rubber grommets in the metal plate. The traditional removal technique is to spray WD40 on the grommets and wait 10 minutes for the grommets to soften. Then, pull and twist and grunt and strain, to have the thing suddenly let go and smash your hands against something sharp in the engine bay. To avoid this, take a 3 foot long traditionally shaped wrecking bar and go under the truck. From about a foot back from the radiator, snake the curved, wedge shaped end of the bar into the joint between the metal plate and floor of the air box. Pry and push a bit until you can get the end firmly wedged in place. Then, twist the bar 90 degrees. This will separate the plastic extrusions from the grommets in about a minute or so of work. Go back up top and pull firmly and the separation of the floor will be complete. From there, the backside of the box eases out of the grommets in the side of the engine bay. Took about 7 -10 minutes to remove the air box. Step 2: Unplug the electrical lead to the windshield washer pump. Remove the 2 bolts (10 mm) and two nuts (7/16ths) holding the coolant tank and windshield washer fluid reservoir to the engine bay. Remove these as a single unit from their position and set on top of the intake. This opens up room to get to the numbers 4 and 5 spark plugs. Step 3: remove and replace plugs 4 and 5. Step 4: the dreaded sparkplug number 6. There is no easy way, but there is a less difficult way, to remove and replace this sparkplug. There is a flap attached to the inner fender shield on the passenger side. This flap can be moved a bit, plus there is a square opening where the flap and inner shield meet. This is the most direct access to the plug. If the sparkplug boot was greased with dialectic grease, here is where that pays off, as it is a hassle to get the right angle to pull off the boot. If there is no grease, the boot wants to stay on the plug. The plug angle is such that a ratchet and extension will not have a straight line to the spark plug. If you put a universal joint type piece between the plug socket and the extension, the angle of the bend in the universal will not allow for a 180 degree or more rotation of the extension. Hence, bypass all of that and get a 3-4 inch stubby ratchet. Put a one inch extension on it and attach the spark plug socket. Put the plug in the socket and then come down from the side of the engine and snake the ratchet/socket plug combination down to the spark plug hole. The stubby will be short enough to operate the handle and also fit within the space allowed when being in line with the angle of the spark plug. I recommend anti-seize compound on the plug threads and dialectic grease on the porcelain of the plug so that the next time you change the plug you will not have problems removing the plug. With so little room to work, you don't want anything to seize up. The stubby ratchet is what makes this job easier. Remember to thread the plugs in by hand until they are started, so you don't cross thread them. Step 5 is to re-assemble all that was removed. It took me about 4 hours to change the plugs, and learning by trial and error (and internet research) to come up with this methodology. My garage floor is re-done with two-stage epoxy garage floor paint, with an epoxy clear coat, then wax. I can slide around under the truck without a dolly just cause the floor is slippery. makes it easy to move around under the truck. I hope this helps someone. Learning about the pry bar and the stubby ratchet should take a lot of frustration out of this job.