Alright well I'll start off by stating I'm a complete newb when it comes to car maintenance, with that said heres my question. I recently decided to change my spark plugs, bought all the necessary tools, socket wrench, socket extension, spark plugs etc... Here is my problem I own a 97 Nissan Altima special edition, now I can't seem to figure out what is the correct socket to use in order to remove the spark plugs. I bought a set of sockets that were specifically labeled "Spark Plug Sockets", only one of the sockets would even fit down into the plug hole and it wasn't the right size. That socket was a 5/8". I've tried about 4 different sizes, 14mm, 15mm, etc... So if anyone has information about which socket size corresponds to the spark plugs in my car please respond. Something else i noticed when trying to remove my plugs was that when I removed the boots that snap onto the plugs, the hole was filled with oil and the boots were soaked in it, is this normal?
your using the wrong sockets, in your kit there is a 5/8 socket that looks different from allthe others and is usally located in a separate place within your kit. it is a deep socket that has a 6 sided nut shaped head on the rachet connector end. inside the socket there is a piece of rubber that is afixed at the back, without this the only thing you will do is loosen the spark plug. that rubber piece holds onto the end of the spark plug so that it can be pulled out.
I don't have a kit, just the three sockets that came with the set I purchased labeled "Spark Plug Sockets" and none of them fit. Only one out of the three was narrow enough to even fit down the hole to reach the plug and it wasn't the right size.
The easiest thing to do is go to your local auto store, ask them for a spark plug for you Altima and just buy a socket for the spark plug and see if it fits. The plug socket I used is 5/8th but maybe yours is to short or something.
As far as the oil goes, you need to change your valve cover gasket and it comes with a gasket for the spark plugs. It is really easy to fix and takes about 30 mins.
Just stopped by my local auto parts store and was informed that the 5/8" is the correct socket size, so not sure why I couldn't get the plug out. I'll try again tomorrow with a better quality socket, the set I originally purchased was from wal-mart. As for replacing the valve cover gasket I've been watching a few instructional videos, bought a kit and will go ahead trying to repair that. Just concerned about what the possible negative effects are for driving with such a leaky valve cover gasket, my plugs were drenched in oil.
The plugs could be bad from the oil, give them a good clean and see how they look but better yet how the car feels. If needed, just change them, there only about $10. A good investment is the Haynes manual book. Shows you step by step with pictures too.
it might be tht you need too push down on the socket wrench too get the rubber bung too suck onto the socket. i know first hand i had tht problem when i purchased some new sockets for my box.
and as far as your boots for your plugs. i had this prob when i first recieved my car from my g-pa.. its a valve cover gasket.. wouldnt recommend doing this. i could now since i have the knowledge but back then i was like you... a "newb" soo its not recommended.
but to start you gotta press on the socket. if it makes it easier take tht rubber bung out for the spark plugs
Last edited by rtkskater44; 02-03-2009 at 03:28 AM.
Hi, i'm new to the forum having recently purchased a 97 Altima GXE. I'm having the EXACT same problem with removing the spark plugs. I have the correct socket, a fairly decent magnetic one from Advance Auto Parts, size is 5/8 6-sides shape. It fits the replacements spark plugs i bought for the 97 GXE. However when i try to engage the socket onto the current plugs it just does not engage. I thought maybe there is some kind of 'non fouler' or something that's stopping me from engaging the plug, or a 'tube liner' thing? I've just replaced the entire distributor and am in the process of cleaning the throttle body, i don't want to get stuck on a simple spark plug replacement! Anyone with any more ideas?
For those having difficulty getting the socket on the plug you need to make sure the lower rubber seal on the plug wire came out with the rest of it. If it didn't this seal is blocking the socket from going over the plug all the way.
To remove this seal you will need a hook or a 90* pick or even a pair of hemostats to get ahold of it and pull it out.
Thanks guys, i've just had another look and indeed there is a rubber ring at the bottom of the spark plug socket, i'm having difficulty pushing past the thick ring and engaging the socket onto the spark plug nut. So you say i can firstly remove the rubber ring on it's own before removing the spark plug? OK i'll try that.
Last edited by dkenj; 03-06-2009 at 07:31 PM.
Reason: pictures added
You may have already sorted it out by now, but for the benefit of anyone else, i've solved the same problem you had.
I didn't realise that the spark plug wires had rubber rings at the very end, because whenever I took my wires off the spark plugs, it was leaving the rubber ring down the cylinder around the plug itself! So when i tried to remove the plug, i could not get the 5/8 socket onto the spark plug nut (the rubber ring was in the way). So i improvised 2 metal sticks with hooks at either end (i pulled the metal strips out of one of those green 'hanging files' you use in a filing drawer) and managed to hook/pull the rings out. One of the rings (in cylinder 1) had mostly melted away, as you can see in the picture
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