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How to Change Spark Plugs on 2.6/3.2 V6

Discussion in 'Omega How to and FAQ's' started by markjay, Apr 1, 2006.

  1. markjay

    markjay Dakota

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    This post describes how I changed the spark plugs on my 2.6 V6. I used Danuk excellent How2 for the 3.0 V6 as a guide, but since the newer 2.6/3.2 engines use separate coil packs per cylinder instead of the DIS module, I felt that it should be supplemented by 2.6/3.2 specific info.

    There are two main differences between the 2.5/3.0 and the 2.6/3.2 – the first is that because the coil packs are incorporated into the spark plug holder, there is not DIS module and there are no HT leads. Instead, there is a plastic cover on top of the spark plug and (between the rocker covers) that needs to be removed.

    The second is that being ‘Fly-by-Wire’ (FBW), there is basically nothing at all blocking access to the drivers-side spark plugs cover, e.g. throttle linkage and EGR valve, and there is no Idle Speed Adjuster Valve on the passenger-side, making it very easy to work on and much less bits to remove.


    Pic 1 – Working on the drivers side first, move to one side the two coolant hoses and remove supporting bracket B by undoing screw A. The screw has very limited access, but can be undone by a small 1/4” drive ratchet. My Torx socket set is 3/8” drive and I had no 3/8” to 1/4” adapter, so I used a normal (non-Torx) 1/4” socket on the screw, which can be done but requires care.

    Pic 2&3 – Remove coil pack cover screws A and B, and remove the coil pack cover itself. This is a bit tricky, you need to prise it very carefully to get it loose, but be careful not to damage the rubber seal – you don’t want water or humidity getting into the coil packs (let alone oil from leaky rocker cover gaskets). Then pull it up using fingers power only, no tools. The tricky bit is that – as can be seen in Pic 3 – the whole thing needs to move upwards in one go and the rubber around the spark plug necks has quite a long reach. The good news is that rubber is flexible so the whole thing can be manoeuvred out.

    Pic 4 – The driver’s side is ready for spark plug removal. The spark plugs wells are clean and shiny, so no need to remove dust and dirt before removing the spark plugs. This is thanks to the coil pack cover and rubber seal, and it also demonstrates why they should be kept intact.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. markjay

    markjay Dakota

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    Pic 5 – Passenger side – at the front of the engine, remove support bracket screw A. Open clip B and move the coolant hose out of the way (there is another clip in the rear of the engine that needs to be removed as well in order to free up the hose completely). Disconnect plugs C and D. Remove screw E (picture shown with screw already removed) and remove the bracket holding the air-condition pipe. Move the air-condition pipe as far away from the engine as possible - I found that sticking it behind the dipstick did the trick.

    Pic 6 – Lift the tab at the base of the oil filler cap and remove the oil filler cap by turning it quarter-turn anti-clockwise. This is a good opportunity to check the condition of the cams and gear – assuming that the bit you can see is indicative of the whole system – and mine is clean and shiny.

    Pic 7&8 – Remove the brake servo vacuum joint by using two spanners, a 17mm on the bit that is screwed into the plenum and a 19mm on the outer unit. You need to keep the 17mm spanner steady and work only the 19mm, to make sure that you do not loosen the bit the goes into the plenum. Once removed, move the vacuum pipe out of the way.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. markjay

    markjay Dakota

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    Pic 9 – At the rear of the engine, remove support bracket screw A. Just behind the bracket, in the same red circle, there is a connector plug that needs to be un-plugged (it plugs into the Inlet Manifold Switchover Valve Solenoid - also known as the Rear Multi-Ram Valve). This has a very tricky spring holding it in place, if it falls-off behind the engine it may not be recovered in a hurry…

    Pic 10 – The disconnected plug is shown in A, while the spring is shown in B. I actually broke a bit of plastic off the plug while trying to prise-off the spring (the spring should move backwards toward the passenger’s compartment), but when refitting it seem to stay securely in place in spite of the broken bit.

    *** EDIT : Note Finlay's remark below:
    *** END OF EDIT

    Pic 11&12 – The plastic cover that holds the electrical cabling loom needs to be prised-open and removed – both parts, top and bottom. This is time consuming, and again I managed to break a few of the plastic clips (of which there are quite a few), so be patient and work slowly.

    Pic 13 – The two plastic cover - both parts – shown removed on top of the plenum. Now we can finally prise-off the passenger side coil pack cover in the same way as we did on the driver’s side (Pics 2&3).

    Pic 14 – Coil packs lifted from spark plugs wells, driver’s side is ready for spark plug change…

    [​IMG]
     
  4. markjay

    markjay Dakota

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    Pic 15&16 – The infamous rear passenger side spark plug presented no problem whatsoever – it seems that on the new engines access is good, as long as you have the exact right length of extension. The pictures show that both a standard ratchet and a torque wrench can easily fit.

    Pic 17 – Interestingly, the spark plugs removed from the engine were branded Bosch, not Vauxhall or GM. The replacement ones are GM-branded, but both have the same number stamped on the metal part so the old plugs and the new plugs are identical.

    Looking at the old plugs, they did 40k and they seemed fine (the old plug in the picture seems a bit blackish but this is not the case – they did look right). I don’t really think there was a need to replace them, and it seems that for once Vauxhall’s 80k spec is not unreasonable – but it is down to the individual owner. At any rate I do not expect any significant improvement in performance or fuel economy as result of the spark plugs change.

    Pic 18 – The plugs removed from the engine clearly had copper grease applied to the threads, and since these would be the original factory-fitted ones (unless a Vauxhall dealer replaced them under warranty during routing service and told me nothing about it … unlikely) I decided to follow suit with a thin smear of copper grease. There have been other opinions on these forums, i.e. that the spark plugs should be fitted dry, so make up tour own mind which is best for you. As I said, I chose the old-fashioned method and had the plug threads copper-greased.

    Fitting the new plugs – good practice is to use a rubber hose to get the thread started in order not to cross-thread the spark plugs sockets. I didn’t use one – though I don’t advise doing this – I screwed the spark plugs in by hand with a long extension, using VERY VERY little force, no more than what you can muster between your thumb and forefinger, and backing-up at the slight sign of resistance. With extreme care and a steady hand this can be done, but again this is not the recommend way.

    The driver’s side plugs were torqued with a torque wrench to 25NM. I also noticed that the wrench ‘broke’ exactly after 1/4 turn from pressure applying point – which is what it should do. However, on the passenger side where access is limited I had to move the torque wrench in several small steps.

    This is where I had a problem – the torque wrench kept tightening and wouldn’t break. Now I know that I should rely on the equipment and that it worked perfectly well on the other side, but the amount of turning did not seem right. So at some point I decided to stop tightening the spark plugs even though the torque wrench didn’t break yet. I don’t know why it didn’t break – perhaps it is because on this side I was using a very long extension which alters the torque calculations (any mechanical engineers that can comment on this?), or maybe the copper grease made a difference – I don’t know – but as I said I decided not to tighten the spark plugs any further.

    I was considering whether I should release the plugs and try retightening to torque again – but eventually decided to rely on instinct and experience (from 20 years ago…) and that the spark plugs were tightened enough if not over-tightened. They may have cross-threaded the head, in which case I’d rather know about it in 40k (or 80k, if you follow Vx specifications) than now… On the other hand if they are under-tightened, they may work loose, cause a misfire and foul the Cats. But on balance I think that neither will happen and they will be fine.

    Pic 19 – refitting is basically just a matter of putting everything back as it was. As for the coil packs cover screws, I have no torque figures for them, and the only indication is that they were quite tight on removal. But the whole thing is made of plastic, and over-tightening the screw may fracture it and allow water in. So I tightened it as hard as I could using only a 3/8” screw-driver handle and a socket (instead of a wrench).

    Pic 20 – All done… I started the engine, it ticks-over fine and no Engine Management lights on (meaning that all wires and plugs were in the right places). I didn’t take the car for a proper test run, will do this tomorrow, but I expect it will be fine…

    [​IMG]
     
  5. 2.2CDX

    2.2CDX Another grumpy old man!

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    How to Change Spark Plugs on 2.6/3.2 V6 ...

    Nice layout Issac, :cool:

    At this level of detail perhaps you should write up the missing Haynes manual for the Omega B! :eh

    Finlay has recently covered front wishbone replacement etc. ... the breathing and leaky top end bits :ROFLMAO: ... the cam belt kit / water pump, which should be similair on the facelift 2.6 / 3.2 model :cool:

    Well done guys another excellent How2 addition for the Omega.

    Although I still have the 2003 2.2 CDX 4 pot auto .....

    Against my better judgement I am looking for a late model low mileage 2.6 / 3.2 Elite auto estate.

    All the effort by you guys in sharing your knowledge and the time taking pics during the actual work carried out ... writing up etc. is very much appreciated.

    I wonder if Finlay will manage to pick up another Omega for his collection in the next few days? :eh

    Maybe that Burgandy '53 plate 2.2 CDX lpg auto estate that Dave (Taxi Driver) didn't fancy the colour of? :mmmm

    Nice one Issac.

    Ray.
     
  6. markjay

    markjay Dakota

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    Thanks Ray.

    Most tasks on the V6 are somewhat labour-intensive, but it is only expensive to run if maintained by main dealers. I was quoted £105 for this job by my regular Vx dealer (though to be fair I was later quoted £89 by another dealer), in the end it cost me around £25 in parts for six spark plugs, and this Vx retail so it could be had for even less.

    But the important thing is that it has been quite some time since I did any mechanics work, and what encouraged me to just go out and get this done myself was this forum. I was inspired by the determination and good spirit of people such as Finlay and James (Jseaman), who tackled far greater projects than this and never gave up until they got the job done. Not to mention the rest of the usual helpful lot....
     
  7. Auto Addict

    Auto Addict Vauxhall Owner since 1956

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    Well done Isaac[​IMG]
     
  8. Excellent write up mate and good pics. I would add that to make access to that first bolt easier you should remove the scuttle, but in fairness you can just about manage without.

    The clip for the rear multi ram that broke whilst trying to prise the spring off.... Why were you trying to prise the spring off? Normally you squeeze the spring both sides and just pull the clip off.

    And Ray, yes I might! I am always looking for another car - as long as there is a profit there somewhere.(y)
     
  9. markjay

    markjay Dakota

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    I didn't know that :( ...thanks.

    I inserted your remark into the text in the relevant place to make sure others follow your advice.
     
  10. markjay

    markjay Dakota

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    It's your turn now :) :) :)
     

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