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LLBUGRR
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Discussion Starter #1
]First off we are referring to my brides year 2000 1.8 turbo
I am having one heck of a time trying to get the plugs out.
The car is throwing misfire codes and running like crap, so I believe the plugs do need to be changed out.
While attepting removal they will twist one or two turns counterclockwise then they get tight. I certainly do not want to break the plugs while attempting to remove them.
Has anyone here ever had this situation arise and if so.....what did you do to alleviate the problem and finally remove them?
 

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plugs

never heard of that happening before , perhaps they were burned to the point the heads of the electrode melted and is keeping the plug from unscrewing, just a thought.
 

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While attepting removal they will twist one or two turns counterclockwise then they get tight.
That sounds like the threads galling. You need to be real careful not to strip the threads. Not sure what can be done at this point...

Was the engine cold when you started?
 

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plugs

That sounds like the threads galling. You need to be real careful not to strip the threads. Not sure what can be done at this point...

Was the engine cold when you started?
if that is the case than it seems like whoever put them in didn't check for dirt in the well or didn't clean the well area real good before installing. Dirt is your worst enemy once it get's in the threads. I vacuum out the sand & dirt around the plug even before removing it, then vacuum out the well again before installing the new one back in. "To avoid problems like this" Some folks even go as far as putting anti-seize on the threads.
 

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Dirt is not the problem. It is the dissimilar metals, the steel spark plug and the aluminum head. Anti-seize compound or not letting the plugs go more than 4 years or so are the defenses. 100,000 miles on a set of plugs might be OK if you do it in under 4 years, but I won't let mine go any longer than 4 years because of the potential for galling.
 

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It should be done with the engine cold. If the threads have started to gall, I'm not sure what can be done to save it. Maybe someone else has a suggestion...

Galling can happen when two dissimilar metals are in close contact. Over time the metals bond together at a molecular level. When they are moved the softer metal starts to roll up into balls rather than slide over the harder metal. When it happens with threads, as the part is turned eventually the balls get large enough to bind the threads.

Anti-seize compound or the special coatings used on some spark plugs will delay the bonding process.
 

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squirreljuice
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To me, it sounds like someone cross threaded the spark plug/head, caused by someone not getting the plug lined up in the hole correctly and screwing it in. The head is probably ruined. You may be able to have it drilled out and have new threads cut in it and go up in spark plug size, but I'm not sure. All I've known is that when the head gets cross threaded, its pretty much game over for the head.
 

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Clean the plug wells really well, Work on a stone cold motor and work carefully. Loosen the plug a little and then tighten a little, loosen until it seems to get tight then tighten back up some keep working it until you can work them out totally.
They can develop carbon on the ends and not want to come out.
 

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4 years 100k

Dirt is not the problem. It is the dissimilar metals, the steel spark plug and the aluminum head. Anti-seize compound or not letting the plugs go more than 4 years or so are the defenses. 100,000 miles on a set of plugs might be OK if you do it in under 4 years, but I won't let mine go any longer than 4 years because of the potential for galling.
four years and or 100k miles, :calvin: There is the problem, Normally you replace plugs by the mileage and it sure isn't 100k miles. I replace mine every year and at around 35-40k miles. Was this car parked at the salvage yard for 4 years???:D
 

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four years and or 100k miles, There is the problem
I wasn't talking about VWs in particular. Some manufacturers recommend a spark plug change interval of more than 100,000 miles and the newest plug designs are capable of it in an (otherwise!) well maintained engine. I never get close to that many miles in 4 years, so I change mine based on time alone.
 

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Anti-sieze

Just for learning information and first hand experience folks; We have used Anti-siezed on instrumentation screws that is sitting out in the elements year round and the screws come out easy even after being out there 8-10 years. I wouldnt' have believe it if not see it first hand. Stainless steel screws on aluminum frames, two dissimilar metals. Just fyi :)
 

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LLBUGRR
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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
:)

Success !!!!

I was able to remove the plugs !!AND....NO DAMAGE to the threads.
What I did was this........during the time I was recieving replies through this thread, I went to a local mechanic and explained to him what I was up against. He told me that although he had never been working on a Beetle with this problem, it was a problem which he had encounterd with other makes of autos in the past. His secret ?.....Deep Penetrating SEAFOAM........I purchased some of this product from a local parts distributor and immediatly went to work. After removing the ignition coils, SEAFOAM was sprayed down into the coil pac tunnels.Then I tried to "crack" the plugs and was able to just slightly move them. After waiting a few hours in order to allow the Seafoam to work, I began to move the plugs counterclockwise and clockwise a bit at a time. At any time there was resistance, I would turn them in the opposite direction.
I spent approx. 45 minutes per spark plug, gingerly moving them back and forth, spraying more seafoam from time to time . This stuff is amazing. It seems to have been able to creep into and past the threads and then softening up any carbon residue at the plug ends which must have been the root problem in the plug removal.
I checked the threads on the plugs and there was no aluminum pickup on them from the head, so I wiped one down and tried to install this plug back into the threaded hole. Each threaded hole accepted the spark plug easily by hand and I was able to torque it to specs which told me the threads were good.
BTW......these plugs were installed by me about 4 years ago and the threads had copper based "Never-Sieze" on them. This I believe saved the threaded holes from galling up. What I should have done during the past four years, is to remove them for inspection and replacement if needed,but, life got in the way.Another life lesson learned.

FWIW..........I did this job on a cold engine ( Thanks Red99).....and it's 33*F here were I reside so the cold part was easy to attain, thank goodness for garages.

All in all.....a good day so far......off to aquire new plugs from the stealership tommorrow.
Thanks to all who contributed to this thread.....I continue to learn from others.....
 

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Whew! So good to hear it wasn't galling!

I think it is odd that the head would be designed so that the threads on the spark plugs extend into the combustion chamber so far. Maybe there are differences between spark plug types for the threaded length even though all cross-reference to that engine.
 

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plugs

:goodjob: Good to hear you got them out. Lessons learned alright, don't leave the plugs in there for four years & put anti-sieze(gray stuff) next time....LOL :p
 

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What I do in this situation is start with a cold engine. If the plugs are difficult to remove. I start the engine and let it run for 30 seconds or so, then wait a few minutes and try to remove the plugs again. If still hard to remove, I will start the engine again and let it run another 30-45 seconds.

Usually you will find some level of adding heat to the engine that will allow the plugs to come loose and be able to remove them. You may even need to use something like a penetrating oil as well, but patience is a must as brute force will not solve the problem.
 

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My German mechanic ran into similar situation on a new beetle one Friday at the shop. He saturated them with something (maybe WD-40? IDK). When he came back to work Monday they came right out. Guess that's a plus to a 5 day work week. If it were me and Iggy I'd be so frustrated having to wait that long :)

Glad all worked out for you. Many happy miles now ;)


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