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Insane Network Engineer
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5,965 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So many threads have gotten started asking how to change the #3 plug because the intermediate shaft is in the way. "Typically" people say to wedge the socket on, use a wobble, this that an the other thing. They end up fighting with something they don't have to.

So I've decided to show the "EASIEST" way to change the #3 spark plug, (It is by no means the only way). My how-to can be done in about 5 minutes.

Tools needed.
11mm socket
Socket Wrench
2 or 3 Extensions
Flathead screw driver (or prybar if rusty)


Step 1: Turn your wheels straight and leave the ignition key forward enough to keep the steering wheel unlocked.

Step 2: Open the rag joint cover at the base of the intermediate steering shaft.

Step 3: Remove the 11mm bolt at the base of the intermeiate

Here in the picture we see the plastic rag joint cover. The red arrow points to the circled 11mm bolt that has to be removed.



Here is a pic of the bolt removed



Step 4: Use a large flat head screw driver at the base and pry outwards. The steering shaft will start telescoping in on itself. (If your intermediate shaft is a bit rusty, simply spray the shaft with wd40 or similar and use a prybar instead of the screwdriver. Don't worry about prying to hard, the shaft can take a lot. )



Step 5: Lift Steering shaft out of the way (don't worry, the top is fairly mobile)



Do not worry about how you put the shaft back on. The shaft and the splines on the steering box are keyed. (Meaning it only goes on one way) Avoid spinning your steering wheel all the way around though. You don't want to bust the clock spring in the steering wheel.



Here we now see the # 3 plug fully accesable. Simply use a couple of extensions and a spark plug socket to remove.



When putting in new spark plugs, even if you are told they are pre-gapped, take no chances. Check your gap with a gap tool. It's a .25 cent tool, get one! Also you can spread anti-seize on the threads of the sparkplug so you don't have difficulty later. Also use dialectric grease inside the plug boots. This way you won't have a prob when you need to pull them off later and it will create a better contact between the wire and the plug.

Here is a shot of the AC-Delco Rapidfires that I installed. Note the gold tone, that is the anti-seize.



Total time to change all 6 plugs was 20 minutes. This includes collapsing and reinstalling the intermediate shaft. This way you don't have to worry about trying to work other tools in there.
 

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I still watch cartoons!
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996 Posts
Re: How-to change the PITA #3 spark plug

not tryin to say this way isn't a good solution but, why not just do it an easier way..? Put the plug socket on and use a wrench on the end of the socket to loosen/tighten it? worked for me just fine.
 

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Insane Network Engineer
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5,965 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Re: How-to change the PITA #3 spark plug

zoideraserb said:
not tryin to say this way isn't a good solution but, why not just do it an easier way..? Put the plug socket on and use a wrench on the end of the socket to loosen/tighten it? worked for me just fine.
A lot of the time that can't be done. The positioning doesn't allow you to even get it on top of there. Your solution works if you're one of the lucky ones, but if you're like mine there isn't a way to do that. My solution works for everyone and it's quick.
 

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#2 Post Whore
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8,266 Posts
Re: How-to change the PITA #3 spark plug

the socket and wrench did NOT work for me. I change my plugs the same way as was demonstrated except it takes me much longer since i have to put the truck up on stands, remove y-pipe, remove headers, and then remove plugs.
 

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Insane Network Engineer
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5,965 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Re: How-to change the PITA #3 spark plug

Bennelton said:
the socket and wrench did NOT work for me. I change my plugs the same way as was demonstrated except it takes me much longer since i have to put the truck up on stands, remove y-pipe, remove headers, and then remove plugs.
Even with the Edlebrocks I've never had to do that, wtf do you have in there? :(
 

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Blazer Rebel 63
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695 Posts
Re: How-to change the PITA #3 spark plug

Yeh but it depends though doesnt it if your first gen second gen. I noticed the guys with the socket and wrench are first gens where rlith you got a 95 which is alot tighter than a first gen.
 

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Insane Network Engineer
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5,965 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Re: How-to change the PITA #3 spark plug

s10blazerman4x4 said:
Yeh but it depends though doesnt it if your first gen second gen. I noticed the guys with the socket and wrench are first gens where rlith you got a 95 which is alot tighter than a first gen.
Hmm, didn't think of that...:) So let us say this is better served for the 95 and up... :p
 

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#2 Post Whore
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8,266 Posts
Re: How-to change the PITA #3 spark plug

rlith said:
Weird, shape wise they're not that much different than the edlebrocks... Can't see why you would need to disassemble all that...Any pics?
not right now but i'll see if i can get some for ya in the next few days
 

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Dangerous
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5,658 Posts
Re: How-to change the PITA #3 spark plug

zoideraserb said:
not tryin to say this way isn't a good solution but, why not just do it an easier way..? Put the plug socket on and use a wrench on the end of the socket to loosen/tighten it? worked for me just fine.
wErd. Works perfect everytime.
 

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"factory freak"...
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8,601 Posts
Re: How-to change the PITA #3 spark plug

good write up rlith, maybe this will help convince some people that moving the steering shaft out of the way isnt hard at all.....

and for those who say: "just put a socktet on and turn it with a wrench", understand that on some trucks you can get away with this.... and some you simply CAN NOT do it. there just isnt enough space to get a socket on #3 with the shaft in the way. like my truck.
 

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Damn right I'm a maniac.
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9,571 Posts
Re: How-to change the PITA #3 spark plug

Damn, wish I woulda known it was that easy to get the steering shaft off last time I changed my plugs. I had to fsck with the damn thing for an hour before I got that plug out. I ended up putting the socket on the plug, tying a piece of rope to the box end of a 3/4" wrench, dropping the wrench down there from the top side, getting my wife to position the wrench on the socket, and then pulling the rope from the top side to get it loose!
 

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loco hombre
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3,461 Posts
Re: How-to change the PITA #3 spark plug

Crew Cab Sonoma said:
good write up rlith, maybe this will help convince some people that moving the steering shaft out of the way isnt hard at all.....

and for those who say: "just put a socktet on and turn it with a wrench", understand that on some trucks you can get away with this.... and some you simply CAN NOT do it. there just isnt enough space to get a socket on #3 with the shaft in the way. like my truck.
Exactly. All of the "socket and wrench works fine on all trucks" people have obviously never worked on one that it really doesn't work on. Mine's included on that list, too.
 

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Bagged
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2,209 Posts
Re: How-to change the PITA #3 spark plug

On a 98 blazer I changed plugs in I had to move the shaft no was I could get in there with a socket I could hardly get it on the plug. Good Write up.
 

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Registered
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179 Posts
Re: How-to change the PITA #3 spark plug

On my dads 95 blazer, All I did was slap the spark plug socket on there, and use a real short 3/4 wrenched on the end of it, to break it loose. Any normal 3/4 wrench WILL hit the firewall and prevent it from working, but I found one in my garage that was about a quarter inch shorter and worked like a charm.
 

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2UP1DOWN
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694 Posts
Re: How-to change the PITA #3 spark plug

As a mechanic....I never knew this was even an issue...but I guess right tools for the right job....anytime I do an s10 I put it up on the rack and remove the front tires....then I lift the wheel well skirts and do them through there...I do most v6 and v8 chevy trucks and vans that way...I have a spark plug socket built onto an extension that has a swivel on it that moves a long ways...I paid 7.99 for it at harbor freight and it works great for a lot of cars!! Just a thought!
 
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