Lately, my truck has been stalling when I make a stop. It happens more frequently in the mornings, and while I’m on an upward incline, though it doesn’t seem to matter if I let my truck warm up or take off cold. My Brother-in-Law, Charles, recommended that I replace the spark plugs and check the air filter. His simple statement of “Sure, you could do it…” was enough for me to decide I was going to do all 8 (and he did remind me there were 8, thanks for the vote of confidence Chuck :) ).
So, the next day I went to the local auto store. I grabbed an air filter, and then headed to the parts department where I met one of the nicest, if not THE nicest, person behind a counter. His name was Mike, he was older, and he addressed me as “Mr. Carlson” when I left. He quickly got 8 spark plugs for my truck, and he wrote down what size gap I needed for my truck (.04). He then showed me how to adjust the gap, and strongly recommended that I measure and adjust each one. That was very helpful, if I could have just grabbed those spark plugs myself I wouldnt have thought they needed to be adjusted. So, when I got home I waited an hour for my truck to cool off, then Owen and I headed outside to begin working.
It started to rain, hard, and I was outside. I spent almost 40 minutes alone adjusting each spark plug, and gathering the right tools to take everything out. I was able to get the #1 spark plug out, the new one in, and then I decided to start my truck up to check my work. It started just fine, and no check-engine light came on. Cool! However, it was getting late, dark, and very wet. So, I packed everything up and went inside.
The next day, Monday, I pulled Michele’s car out of the garage and pulled half of my truck in. From there I put on some music, let lil’ Bear-Bear run around (until he abused the privilege and ran into the public side walk too many times), and began my work.
I knew the first one I pulled out from the previous night was the easiest, and I had to work for the other 7. It started with me taking out the air filter and intake box, both were blocking the majority of the plugs. There was also what looked like the AC coolant exchange lines running across, obscuring #2 and #3. I couldn’t remove those, so I had to take them out of their harness and worked around then. What was interesting, is one of the clips for the tubes had broken off, and was zip-tied together :) I suppose that happened years ago when Big Mike, Pat and myself had to rebuild the engine. I’m guessing it was Pat, he likes to improvise like that. Anyway, once I got those two spark plugs replaced, re-zip-tied that clip back and it was just like I found it.
4, 5 and 6 were easier, and I we getting the hang of things. I even had the air compressor handy to blow away any debris around the plugs. The last one was tough, since it was all the way in the back, but that was all the trouble I had.
Once they were back in place, I put the air filter and intake back on, started the truck up, and was happy it ran without any issues :) All in all, I was sort of surprised that I did it. What really helped me out is I made a very conscious effort to take my time, and remain organized. It was a fun task, so besides being able to change oil, I’ll have to add changing spark plugs to my short list of “Vehicle Maintenance Tasks I can Do”.