How do you reach rear spark plugs on a 3.8liter Chrysler VAN?

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by cotton, Sep 1, 2004.

  1. cotton

    cotton Guest

    Can anyone help? What do I need to remove to reach rear plugs. I don't
    what Chrysler engineers were thinking on this one! Thanks
    cotton, Sep 1, 2004
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  2. cotton

    jdoe Guest

    THere are 2 methods. 1. go from the bottom, 2. r&r the intake plenum. (keep
    in mind if you go that route do the VC gaskets at the same time). On the #1
    method if you have a 96-2000 with rear a/c you have to move the alternator
    too. I've done both and prefer to r&r th plenum.
    jdoe, Sep 1, 2004
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  3. cotton

    Bob Shuman Guest

    I've gotten to them on my 1999 3.8L without taking off the intake plenum. I
    won't say it was easy, but it can be done if you have the patience. 4 of
    the plus are pretty easy. The last two are a PITA. One of the rear can be
    gotten by removing only the alternator bracket (you do not need to take off
    the alternator off - I say this from experience on a vehicle that was
    equipped with rear A/C). The last one was from under the vehicle and took
    about an hour for that one alone. Given the difficulty and the fact that
    you are likely to rip the connector off the wires, you should plan on
    replacing the wires as well. I used a variety of tools to get at them
    including 3/8 ratchet, spark plug socket, various length extenders and a
    universal swivel.

    Good luck!

    Bob Shuman, Sep 1, 2004
  4. cotton

    jdoe Guest

    You gotta have some right skinny arms there. And loooooong too. ;-) Getting
    the plenum off is really very easy. Lots easier than trying to snake around
    all over the back of the motor etc. BTW Alt. doesn't need to come "off" just
    moved back is all (if you don't r&r the plenum. Besides by the time you rack
    up 100k plus it's probably not a bad idea to get the vc gaskets anyway.
    jdoe, Sep 2, 2004
  5. cotton

    RPhillips47 Guest

    There are actually 3 - and I chose #3!

    RPhillips47, Sep 2, 2004
  6. cotton

    Bob Shuman Guest

    As to having skinny arms, I don't think they are "large" or "heavy", but I'd
    like to think they are about average/normal for a middle aged male! (I'm
    5'11" tall and weigh about 185 pounds).

    I think that because I jack up and support the frame of the vehicle and not
    lift from the wheels/axle/engine, that the spacing at the rear exhaust area
    opens up quite a bit. As I recall, the driver side plug was extremely easy
    to access using a simple ratchet, extension, and socket. The other two
    rears were the problem. As I said, I got at the one from the top by
    removing the upper alternator bracket (2 easily accessible bolts IIRC).
    Since the alternator is secured by a bottom mount bolt, it did not move and
    I did not even remove the alternator belt. The plug was accessible from the
    top with the bracket removed.

    As to only needing to do this at 100K miles intervals, I was not so lucky.
    My 1999 3.8L T&C Limited developed a rough idle at about 45K miles. Since I
    was a previous owner of a 3.3L Grand Caravan, I first tried using a bottle
    of Techron in the tank, followed by replacing the fuel filter, air filter,
    and cleaning the throttle body, but none of these solved the problem. As a
    last resort, I changed the plugs and wires and it smoothed right out and we
    haven't seen the problem in the nearly 18K miles we've driven it since then.
    I don't know if the problem was the plugs or the wires and frankly I don't
    care since the effort involved to do either dictates doing both in my book.

    I hope this helps explain how I was able to get to the rear plugs so others
    may benefit from my experience.

    Bob Shuman, Sep 2, 2004
  7. cotton

    cotton Guest

    Four down, two to go. The front three plugs and wires took about ten
    minutes. The driver side rear plug about an hour. THe other two are going
    to be hell I know it, especially the rear middle. I'll have to up my life
    insurance to get to the middle one! I thought about bringing it to
    Chrysler but after spending six bills last week for my Durango, I don't
    think so! Can anyone tell me the best way to get at the middle rear plug
    without taking off the plenum and risking life and limb underneath?
    I gave up being a contortionist in my late teens!
    cotton, Sep 3, 2004
  8. cotton

    Dax1295 Guest

    It's a tight squeeze however all except #1 can be reached fom the top. #1
    (pass.side ) needs to have the alternator out of the way. Dissconnect battery,
    drop 2 bolts on alternator and leave the alternator wired.
    Dax1295, Sep 7, 2004
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