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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Apparently it's insanely easy to strip your spark plug threads! I've always installed my plugs by finger tightening them 1st, then following the 1/4 tighten turn rule for new plugs. Today, I pulled a plug to check/clean it and upon trying to finger tighten, it simply would not thread in after numerous tries. I looked carefully at the plug threads and all were perfect and the plug came out easy when I pulled it. It made no sense to me why it wasn't doing it usual 'behavior' of catching on a thread and allowing finger tightening.

I finally got the plug to 'grab' and start threading, but it was giving more resistance than finger threading would work. I backed it out and tried again. Same deal. Checked plug, no damage, rinse, wash, repeat. Finally, I thought it might just be hitting a rough spot, so I gently torqued it with the socket/wrench about 1/8 a turn and it felt like I may have crossed some threads (it got harder to tighten, not easier). I backed it out and now am faced with probably stripped threads at the top of the plug hole.

Fortunately, it seems there is a possible easy fix to this nightmare, (I've always worried about this scenario) so I'll share what I learned for anyone else who isn't aware of what to do in this event.

First of all watch this video, then check out where to buy the repair tool (I had no idea these even existed).



Where to buy the tool:
Amazon.com: KD 3691 Back-Tap 10 & 12mm Int Spark Plug Rethread Tool : Automotive


Here is a related/similar thread on the topic:
Spark plug hole cross threaded

Anyone with any experience using this tool your tips will be greatly appreciated.
 
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Hate to hear it. I’ve been lucky so far myself, but I just “inherited” an abandoned and vandalized old F150 that might be prone to such problems. The early aluminum heads and plugs on Triton V8s supposedly have problems with sticking plugs and stripped threads. Perhaps I will get lucky, but the first barrier to solve is the anti-theft circuit that has got the fuel pump blocked. I will tackle plugs once that hurdle is cleared. Sorry for hijack.
 

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The first time I pulled my plugs 15 or so years ago, the right rear plug didn't feel right, but it did come out. When I tried to re-install them it still felt off. I suspect it happened when the dealer tech did my 600 mile service. No one else had ever touched the bike. I did the backtap procedure just like the guy in the video and it turned out fine. Grease the tool up well and dont get it too tight the first pass. Clean it off, re-grease, tighten it up a little more and back it out. Should be good. Dab on a little never-seize.
 

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Good one HOP. As someone with all the mechanical skills of a house plant I have wisely chosen someone else to do my bike work. However there is probably someone on here who now need not go through the self anger and anxiety of feeling they have f**ked something up good and proper. I always think tradesman are so skilled because they know about these specialist tools.
 

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Been there. Done that.
 

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Not speaking to anyone in particular here, just a general statement...

1/4 turn on a gasket type plug is a guideline or approximation for how much to tighten a plug after the gasket has begun to seat.

I go by feel rather than trusting a torque wrench or pre-determined amount of distance of 1/4 turn. One way to insure a safe install is to use a 2-step method on gasket type plugs. Finger tighten (i use a extra piece of rubber tubing to extend my reach with the plug). Tighten down until the gasket begins to seat, then loosen the plug and retorque until plug is fully seated (2 steps).
No need to go super tight, just snug+ using the 2-step method.
If you are super nervous about tightening the plug you can always use the tools from the bikes OEM toolkit to tighten the plug. Hard to strip with those tools.

If you're using a 3/8" ratchet, You could try not using the knurled normal grab area on the wrench, go one hand width in or in some on the handle.
 

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I've actually had it where the thread on the plug was wrong. The other plugs threaded fine into that hole, but that one plug would not start.
 

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I've actually had it where the thread on the plug was wrong. The other plugs threaded fine into that hoke, but that one plug would not start.
All the more reason to never use a wrench to get the threads started.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Example of tubing being used on plug to finger tighten. Never use ratchet to start the threads.
View attachment 193702
The photo really helps those who aren't clear on what people mean when they write, "use a gas line, or rubber hose on the plug to start the threading". The hose is especially handy for those plugs that are hard to reach.
(y)
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Were you at some awkward angle?
More than likely you were not lined up correctly.
if you cannot get it to thread by hand walk away.
Walk away? LOL, and then what? Leave my bike missing a plug and unable to ride? :unsure:

I think it goes without saying I must have been off angle, as I think that is what is 'required' for a plug to strip, but I could be wrong....
I've been doing my own plugs for 30 years on 11 different bikes and never once stripped a plug or had one 'behave' like this one did. It simply would not finger tighten in and no visible damage to the threads could be seen. The plug felt like it had started but was tougher to turn than 'normal' and my mistake was to think it just needed a little more pressure to get past a tough spot. As soon as I turned it with the wrench, (after finger tighten) and it got harder, not easier to turn I backed it out. I think only a few threads at the lip are damaged, but that is enough to be the SHOW STOPPER. :(:mad:
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I've actually had it where the thread on the plug was wrong. The other plugs threaded fine into that hoke, but that one plug would not start.
I had this happened with a car I was changing plugs on. Brand new plug and all the others went in like butter, but the one didn't.
:confused:
 

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Also, after removing the outer covers and pulling off the spark plug boot, blow compressed air in the spark plug area to get rid of any debris that's collected in the valley before you remove the plug. Basic stuff people should know.
 
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I had this happened with a car I was changing plugs on. Brand new plug and all the others went in like butter, but the one didn't.
:confused:
Same experience here. I was just a kid, my sister's Volkswagon Rabbit. Aluminum everything, just like our bikes. I could get it to bite by hand, but nothing more. A different plug went in, as you say, like butter.

I see your reasoning though, and have made that mistake on other threaded fittings. It does suck big time. So you are left with chasing the threads, hoping that's enough, or a helicoil, or similar repair kit. Good luck with it, I totally hate it when something so simple really messes up a perfectly good bike. Good news is that it is, by far, not the end of it. Lots and lots of options for fixing those, because it is so common.
 

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Lots and lots of options for fixing those, because it is so common.
 

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:cool:
 

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Walk away? LOL, and then what? Leave my bike missing a plug and unable to ride? :unsure:
Sometimes walking away can help. Walk away, take a break, get away from it, and get it out of your head. Come back with a fresh head and sometimes like magic the problem is obvious. Frustration makes cloudy vision.
 
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