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2002 Sentra GXE Owner
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Discussion Starter #1

Okay, I just crossed the 105,000 mile threshold with my '02 GXE. So far, so good; but I know that I now need to replace the spark plugs (OEM ones are in there).

I saw a diagram in my owner's guide that has them down "inside" the engine on the end of long stalks. Apparently, they bolt into the end of the stalks and the stalks then go down inside the engine. It doesn't look very difficult, but I am leery of navigating these uncharted waters. I have replaced spark plugs on traditional 'domestic' V8 engines (Ford 302, Cadillac 429, etc.) before, but that was a long time ago.

Do they need to be gapped? Are there better brands (NGK, Champion, Autolite, Denso, etc.) than others? What is a good price to pay for a nice (mid-level or above) platinum or iridium plug that will work in the Sentra? I am more concerned with fuel economy than with power {it is a Sentra, ya know} - but would not mind sacrificing 1 or 2 mpg if I could get a little more scoot with it.

A local repair shop charges $79 to replace them (OEM type plugs), but that seems a tad on the high side if the labor is easily done by myself with no special tools other than a socket set. I change my oil & filter and stuff like that.......but I am not exactly Mr. Goodwrench by any stretch of the imagination.
;)


P.S. Thanks for taking the time to read this & I appreciate any replies.
 

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1. Stick with OEM Nissan or NGK, which I believe are the same things.2
2. You'll need a spark plug wrench or adapter that drops down into the holes.
3. They 'should' not need to be gapped, BUT it's worth the $1 tool to check for good measure.
4. Make sure the car is cold, or at least not hot. Don't want to crack one.
5. A dab of motor oil on the threads goes a long way. Don't bother with that diaelectric crap.
 

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2002 Sentra GXE Owner
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508 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Spark Plugs

1. Stick with OEM Nissan or NGK, which I believe are the same things.

Okay....I will keep that in mind. I thought maybe I could get something better in an 'aftermarket' plug; but perhaps not.


2. You'll need a spark plug wrench or adapter that drops down into the holes.

I have an extender that is about six inches or so. Will that work?



3. They 'should' not need to be gapped, BUT it's worth the $1 tool to check for good measure.

I have a gapper, which I suppose will come in handy if they need to be set differently than they come out of the box.



4. Make sure the car is cold, or at least not hot. Don't want to crack one.

Will do!



5. A dab of motor oil on the threads goes a long way. Don't bother with that diaelectric crap.

I don't know what "dialectric" is, but I figured some 3-in-1 oil would suffice.


P.S. Thanks!
 

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1. I still suggest sticking with the OEM plugs. If you want to go big, get the platinums which IIRC come stock in the spec.

2. That extender should work. The 'special' spark plug sockets have a rubber washer built in to grab the plug. You could CAREFULLY drop them in and grab them back out with a pair of deep needle nose pliars. Up to you, but it's worth having the proper socket.

5. The racks at the checkout counter will probably have packets of dielectric grease to help keep the plugs from siezing in place. Don't bother. 3 in 1 would probably work just fine.

Another pointer on tightening, read the box they come in. You get the plugs finger tight, then turn the socket either 1/8 or 1/4 of a turn beyond that. It should be on the box.

Be VERY careful when removing the plugs. You are probably going to want to use a breaker bar, make sure the socket is seated properly, and you're not turning at a funky angle. Also, you will hear a sickening 'TING' sound as they break loose. It's ok. Don't have a heart attack until you get the socket out and see that it is intact : P
 

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Al, The Ignorant Fcuk
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The dielectic is put on the rubber boot where it touches the porcelain...use it. NGK's are really good. Pretty much what MarcAtArkon. There are some good posts here on changing plugs. A torque wrench would be good. If you don't have one don't tighten beyond 3/4 turn after hand tight (not wrendh). Make sure you run the plug all the way in with just your extension.. I am not sure a 6" extension will be long enough.
 

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2002 Sentra GXE Owner
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508 Posts
Discussion Starter #6

Thanks again! I shall consider doing this in the coming two weeks or so; and I am still 50/50 about doing it myself or hiring a 'professional' to do it.
:)


P.S. I expect to keep this car until it becomes a "clunker" - which I hope is not very soon.
 

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yeah, the dielectric grease isnt for the threads. Its a electricly conductive grease that keeps the boot terminal from seizing onto the spark plug terminal and damaging the plug boot or coil next time they're removed. its worth doing yourself... All it takes is a spark plug socket and a 1$ packet of dielectric gease and you've saved yourself alot of money.

when you put the plugs back in, remove the extension from the wrench and just turn the extension by hand until the spark plug is seated. then use the wrench to torque them 1/4-1/2 turn or so. overtightening them might damage the threads or snap the plug. they dont have to be super tight, you just want to crush the washer down.

I reccomend the original NGK platnum plugs, part # PLFR5A-11.. gap should be .043
 

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Al, The Ignorant Fcuk
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yeah, the dielectric grease isnt for the threads. Its a electricly conductive grease that keeps the boot terminal from seizing onto the spark plug terminal and damaging the plug boot or coil next time they're removed.
It does that but also (theoretically) prevents arcing around the porcelain. Probably not an issue though beins its located in a protected area. But yea...easier to get the boot off.
 

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for the threads use anti-seize use just a little bit on each plug, im a mechanic and have seen multiple times where someone put new spark plugs into a aluminume head and they seize, and when you finally get the plug busted loose the threads in the head come with the plug.... then you got a bigger problem lol honestly the b15 tune up is really easy, i believe it is a 10mm to unbolt the coils from the valve cover, the coils and boots lift straight up, set them aside, you may have to unplug each coil to get them completely out of the hole, the plugs are 5/8 to loosen them use a spark plug socket, most come with a little rubber insert that holds the porcelin so when the plug is unthreaded all the way the plug comes out with the socket, you will also need a 6" extention and a ratchet fo course.... grab your 4 new plugs, check gap to nissan specs i cannot think off the top of my head but your owners manual will tell, usually new plugs do not need gapped but i check anyways, put just a touch of anti seize on the plug threads and put them in by hand before you put the ratchet on them, once you feel a little pressure give them another 90 degree turn then install your coils, plug them in and bolt them down. i gotta say my b15 is one of the easies i have ever done! good luck and feel free ot ask any more questions!
 

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I have a feeling you already changed them by now, but just for info for anyone else interested, my sentra is my learning car. Not my first car, but the first one that I've been doing my own maintenance on. Knowing that, I did the spark plugs about 3 weeks ago and it was very simple.

So if you're leery about it, read up on it, watch videos (doesn't necessarily have to be sentra specific) and go for it. It took about 20 minutes and cost less than half of what the OP was quoted.
 

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2002 Sentra GXE Owner
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508 Posts
Discussion Starter #14

Had 'em done about a year ago, I guess. So far, so good. I am just about to turn 116k on this car, and it is running just fine.
:)
 
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