Automotive Head Scratcher

So a bunch of us semi-graybeards are talking about crappy cars in light of the recent recalls.

I mentioned a vehicle (GM IIRC) that required that you remove the engine block slightly in order to replace the last spark plug.

I can’t remember what it was.

Can my grease monkey Dopers help out?


No. This was one was from the 70s or 80s.

The Corvair had its own issues, as Ralph Nader pointed out in “Unsafe at Any Speed”.

Some F-bodies (Camaros and Firebirds) with V8’s were tricky to remove the spark plugs on. Various ways that I’ve heard were to remove the smog pump, crawl under the car, or install long tube headers. None of these made it easy, just easier.

We are getting closer, but IIRC you had to pull the block out slightly to change the last plug.

It sounds like something GM would do.

Maybe they hit us all with neuralyzers so we would forget this ever happened.

My 197? MG Midget was a bitch to get the last plug out . I would end up with scraped knuckles every time and plugs were only good for a few trips around the block.:wink:

One time I had some extra cash and I took the car to a garage for a tune up. The next time I changed the plugs myself, and found that the fourth plug had not been changed. :frowning:

I think it was the Chevette. It was a Chevy, I’m pretty sure.

Chevrolet Monza V-8. Had to loosen a motor mount and raise the engine a bit to access one of the spark plugs.

Gold Star for Gary T!
The Monza…such a memorable name…

Thank you!!!

Spark plugs were reasonably accessible in the Chevette, but if it had A/C it was necessary to remove the compressor to get to the distributor cap. Turned what was a quick simple job on most cars into quite a production.

I heard this with respect to the Nissan 300ZX (the Z32 variant). Don’t know whether it’s true.

Of course, this sort of nonsense continues today. I can’t even see the rear-most plugs on the left side of my truck’s engine. (5.7 liter V8 in a Dodge Ram 1500) It’s theoretically possible to swap them without removing the brake booster, but I can’t visualize how. Typical labor to change the plugs on this model is 1.5 - 2 hours, and that’s by someone who’s done it before.

For comparison, when changing the plugs on my old Subaru, if it took more than 10 minutes, I was either asleep or loafing.

I’ve read stories of people removing the cab on 04-08 F-150’s to change the spark plugs.

On a 1998 VW Golf 2L engine, replacing the starter motor will require you to lift the motor a wee bit… once it drops after you remove the last bolt holding the starter motor to the engine, which also acts as the front motor mount.

I didn’t know this in advance, and was a bit concerned when the engine shifted downwards at my face as I removed the last bolt. :eek: A floor jack, and a stout block of wood under the front transmission lifted it up nicely. :cool:

No mention yet of the Pontiac Fiero? Specifically? I heard from a mechanic that the 6-cylinder version was an unholy terror to change plugs and that you had to essentially remove the engine to get it done…

Some old mid 80s and on front wheel drive V6 GM cars had a trick to doing this, you loosened the motor mounts in the front and rocked the engine towards you, it would spin, then you would stick a rod or screwdriver into the holes as they lined up and it would give you access to the left side of the motor completely, making plug/wire/etc changes really simple.

I have a vague recollection of a Sunbird? Probably wrong.

I have many MGs, including a V-8 model.

I can think of nothing easier to work on than a 70’s Midget. All 4 plugs are easily accessible!
[Cousin Vinny] “You sure about that answer?” [/Cousin Vinny]

Hmmmm. Alzheimers? I remember I had to use spray starter if the temperature was below 60. And I could swear it was my MG Midget with the plug situation, but I had a number of small cars around that time, so maybe not. And I’m pretty sure about the year, although it could been a 68-69, would that change things?

Moved Cafe Society --> GQ.