View Full Version : how to remove destroyed plug wires from a 5sfe

02-25-2008, 05:08 AM
This thread is intended to tell you how to remove the spark plug wires from a 5sfe if they are melted or otherwise stuck inside the engine. This should work for any year 5sfe, but I have only attempted it on a 1990 5sfe. You should only use this if you have tried every other method of removing the wires short of disassembling the head. this does not require removing the head from the engine.

I wrote this because I had this problem and no one could give me a straight answer on how to remove the wires.

I take no responsibility what so ever for anything you do with this information.

Be sure to read ALL steps CAREFULLY BEFORE attempting to do ANYTHING I say here.

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cut the remaining spark plug wire(s).

remove the valve cover bolts and grommets (keeping them in correct order to help ensure they seal correctly).

remove the valve cover.

place some rags or something around the spark plug tubes to prevent any pieces you may have broken off your spark plugs or wires from falling into the engine.

using a pipe wrench rotate the spark plug tube(s) to the left, and remove.

now using needle nose pliers or any other tool you prefer remove the remaining pieces of wire(s) (it may be necessary to destroy any remaining pieces of the wire(s) or the spark plug(s) if they are stuck).

HINT: it may be possible to remove the spark plug(s) with the wires still attached if you have vice grips.

be sure to remove ALL loose pieces of the wire(s) and the spark plug(s) before you remove the bottom of the spark plug(s). If you dont and a piece falls into the motor you may regret it if you are unable to get it back out.

remove the spark plug(s) (or whatever is left of the spark plug{s**)

put high temp sealant for valve cover gaskets ect. on the threads of one side of the spark plug tube(s)

Using a pipe wrench tighten the spark plug tube(s). Follow the instructions on the high temp sealant when tightening the spark plug tube(s).

Examine the valve cover gasket. If cracked replace it (or if you just want to avoid doing it in the future).

put some high temp sealant (same stuff from earlier) in the groove on the valve cover, then slide in the gasket (make sure there is enough so the gasket and cover seal well). then lightly coat the smooth side of the gasket with sealant.

place valve cover back on engine.

replace grommets and valve cover bolts (be sure to torque correctly)

replace spark plugs and wires.

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If you have any corrections or suggestions feel free to send me a PM

02-25-2008, 05:27 AM
Very good writeup. I may actually need to do this. I have a stuck connector on one of my spark plugs, and various leaks coming from the valve cover gasket anyway. I didnt know how to approach the problem, now I do thanks alot!

02-25-2008, 05:30 AM
your welcome. I had the same problems a while back and just got around to doing a write-up. Just be careful not to allow anything to fall into your engine. I ended up using a hammer and a screwdriver to break off the last pieces of a melted wire because I couldn't remove the wire, or the plug (with the wire still attached).

02-25-2008, 06:04 AM
pretty good info, I could imagine it being a pain if they get melted in the chamber, luckily I removed mine a while back and didnt have that problem. As for examining the valve cover gasket, ususally they say if a gasket has been torqued in its bad, I'd always recommend replacing it whenever removing the cover, they arent that expensive. Also remember the gaskets for the spark plug chambers!

02-25-2008, 07:17 AM
had no idea you could remove the tubes, thanks!

02-25-2008, 06:23 PM
Just for clarification, the spark plug tubes are indeed threaded? And they turn left as in clockwise?

Also I remember your old thread when you said the plug melted onto your spark plug. That may have happened to me also, because when I pull out the wire, the long attachement is still there, but the "nub" on the end is stuck around the spark plug. Might be melted like yours was. In the end what was your problem? BHG? Or just overheating?

02-25-2008, 07:10 PM
it was simply overheating due to a stuck thermostat and a crushed lower hose when the previous owner had the car. I caught on to both problems and promptly fixed both.

now I have a minor problem that if I haul ass on the interstate 75mph+ I have to give the motor some cool down time (as soon as the fan shuts off it overheats).

The spark plug tubes are indeed threaded. No one could tell me so I gave it a shot.

I am pretty sure you rotate the plug tubes counter clockwise to remove, or clockwise to install. I may have it backwards because its been a good 4-5 months since I did this.

if I had a spare head I could show you step by step with pictures.

02-25-2008, 07:13 PM
I may get a 3sge head in the near future, will let ya know if it is the same on that engine.

02-26-2008, 02:58 AM

02-27-2008, 01:21 AM
Has anyone seen this link? Maybe its a better way to take off the spark plug tubes than tape and a pipe wrench.

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_would_cause_oil_to_leak_into_the_spark_plug_t ubes_on_a_Toyota_Camry_with_a_5S-FE_engine_after_changing_the_valve_cover_gasket_an d_seals_around_the_valve_cover

02-28-2008, 04:43 AM
that would work however I had bad luck and I couldnt find a wrench that wouldnt try to strip them. even with a 15" long pipe wrench the tubes felt like they were cemented on (because they use some serious sealant on the bottom threads + the cars are pretty damn old now).

honestly unless someone removes the valve cover they will not see the marks left from the pipe wrench gripping the tubes...