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post #1 of (permalink) Old 02-12-2003, 07:49 PM Thread Starter
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OT-How to remove broken spark plug and easy-out?

My Grandson replaced the head gasket on his girlfriend's 4 cyl Chevy Cavalier around 2 months ago. A heater hose had broken and she ran the engine hot. All has been good until a few days ago when the engine started to run rough. My grandson was changing the plugs and one broke off even with the head. Only the threaded part is left with a hole in the center. He let it sit overnight soaked with liquid wrench. My advice was for him to pull the head and take it to a machine shop to get the remainder of the plug removed, since I have no idea how a plug can be so hard to remove that it breaks. He decided to try an easy-out. You have probably guessed by now what happened. The easy-out is now broke in the center hole. He is probably going to pull the head tomorrow. Does anyone have any idea how to get the remainder of the plug out if he can get the easy-out removed? Are there any ideas on why the plug was so hard to remove in the first place? The other 3 plugs came out normally.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 02-12-2003, 08:52 PM
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Re: OT-How to remove broken spark plug and easy-out?

He got himself into a fix. Oh boy. That plug may have been crossthreaded.
Probally best to remove the head. Keep the metal shavings out of the cylinder. Could try welding a nut to the base of the plug and unscrewing it that way. That could be done if there is enough thread sticking out either side of the head. That could also tend to warp the head. Could drive the easy out on through the plug, drill the plug out and chase the threads with a tap. Its possible to do that by hand, but there is a strong possibility of removing more of the head than wished, then the replacement plug may not seat well.
A vocational school (with a good instructor) is a good alternative to a machine shop. They have the tools to anchor the head at the correct angle and mill the old plug out. But you get what you pay for. A machine shop would probally be the best place to take such a problem. A good machine shop will replace the head if they take on the job, then ruin the head.
Good luck
post #3 of (permalink) Old 02-12-2003, 09:37 PM
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Re: OT-How to remove broken spark plug and easy-out?

Let this be a lesson in the use of anti-sieze on plugs to all who listen
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 02-13-2003, 06:19 AM Thread Starter
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Re: OT-How to remove broken spark plug and easy-out?

Thanks for the replies. Yes, it is a mess. This is the young lady's DD. She works one full time job and one part time job on the weekends and carries a full load of classes at UF. She is one of those really nice, hard working young people that some of us old folks sometimes think don't exist anymore. Otherwise, I wouldn't be concerned enough to ask for opinions about the problem here. She is driving my truck until her car is repaired. My grandson is pulling the head today.
We either use loctite or anti-seize compound, depending on what it is. Unfortunately my grandson didn't put the plugs in. I'm still not sure if the plug was cross threaded or has seized for some reason. Hopefully the problem is the plug just seized and not some problem with the head near that spark plug. I'm leaning towards a problem with the head since it did get hot enough that the head gasket had to be replaced a couple of months ago. I have never heard of a plug seizing so hard that it broke like this one did trying to get it out. I'm certain there are a lot of things that I have never heard of though.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 02-13-2003, 07:57 AM
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Re: OT-How to remove broken spark plug and easy-out?

If you suspect the head itself is a problem, you may be ahead to get a re-built head. That may be quicker and perhaps less expensive than taking the old head to a machine shop. Lots of places already have parts sitting on the shelf ready to ship/sell. A rebuilt head for my Ford cost me 130 bucks. No waiting. Fresh valves, guides, gaskets, and timing belt.
Good luck, Hope you get your truck back soon.
post #6 of (permalink) Old 02-13-2003, 08:02 AM
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Re: OT-How to remove broken spark plug and easy-out?

With the head off, the easy out will be easy to drive back out from the cylinder side. After that, the head should be set up in a milling machine or good drill press, so that the plug can be accurately drilled out and the threads chased. Really not too difficult, but time-consuming.

An easy out is a bad choice for spark plugs as it works by pressing out against the sides of the hole. As thin as the thread portion of spark plug is, that's guaranteed to expand the threads even tighter into the head.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 02-13-2003, 09:50 AM
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Re: OT-How to remove broken spark plug and easy-out?

1. It's good to know there are responsible, hard working young people trying to reach an obtainable goal.
2. If the head is aluminum, then yes, the plug will freeze in place...
3. It's a victum of dissimilar metal corrosion.
4. If it's iron then it's likely rust.
5. There's no good way go get the plug body out but taking off the head...
6. That's what I would have done.
7. No good deed seems to go unpunished!
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