I swapped the plugs on my GT86 yesterday and I though it would be worth noting down what I learnt. With any luck it might help you out?
This is less of a guide and more of a 'Debrief'. If you'd like to see an actual guide, this video by "Photomikes Garage" is brilliant! It covers almost everything you need to know.
His car however, is RHD and I wasn't sure if/how my car being LHD would affect the process, in the end it didn’t seem to matter so that’s a win.
In short, as our engine is a boxer meaning the pistons are horizontal rather than vertical. This means the spark plugs sit on the left and right and sides of the engine, rather than on top like on a 'traditional' inline engine.
For those wanting to know more this video did a good job helping me explain this to a friend.
What you might not know, is the service manual from Toyota recommends unbolting the engine and raising it up a couple of inches for clearance. This means (at the time of writing) you'll be paying £600 for the "Full Plus" service, which includes swapping out the plugs. This is compared to £365 for standard "Full" service and £205 for an "Intermediate" service.
Why Do This Yourself
Apart from wanting to save a lot of money. I don't like the idea of my local dealer doing this and I love a challenge.
Originally the FA20 come with "Denso ZXE27HBR8" plugs. These have now been superseded by the "VXEBH27" and were the ones I ordered.
From what I can tell, the Toyota Part Code is: "SU003-00416" and these are apparently just a re-boxed "VXEBH27". Interestingly, I was quoted £85, £95 and £115 for x4 plugs by three different dealerships? If you really want a box with the Toyota logo on, these guys seem to be the cheapest https://www.toyotadirectparts.co.uk/...6/spark-plugs/
Not caring about what box they came in, I picked up a set from eBay as I had a £10 voucher. This worked out as £52.56 with postage. I had considered HKS plugs but as I was doing this myself, I wanted to limit how much arguing I may need to potentially do in the future over a warren claim.
Coil Pack Connectors
These were hard to disconnect on my car, as the plugs are such a tight fit on the coils socket. This way even harder on the coil closest to the passenger foot well. This in general is the hardest area to work on.
I'd not expected any trouble with them, as they aren't really mention anywhere and about the only think not covered in the video. When I did try to track down some info, I only found throw away lines like "just pull them off". For me at least, sadly, this wasn't the case. In the picture attached you can see three things:
- Green Arrow: The little 'release tab' you need to push toward the engine block.
- Red Circle: This is a small 'locking tab' that is freed when pushing on the 'release tab’.
- Blue Line: The point where the coil pack meets the connector.
After a solid 20 minutes of trying to get the first connector off I gave in and moved on the others, hoping to learn something on the way. What I found is you need a good grip on the plug to pull it off.
In the end, having completed the other 3 plugs, I came back to this one and spent another 20 minutes trying to get the connector off. Reluctantly, I used the handle of a pair of pliers to push on the 'release tab' and a flat blade screw driver to release the plug. I was worried about damaging the wires but space in this area is at such a premium!
Extensions, Sockets, Magnets and Grabbers
You honestly don't need any ‘special’ tools to do this. Just a normal socket set/extensions plus a sparkplug socket. The trick is to have a range of thing to see what works best.
For example, I had an extension where the locking tab was so strong, I struggled to separate it from the socket when it was buried in the spark plug well.
The socket I used in the end was this one and it worked a treat, thanks Draper
One important thing to note however, is you must remove the rubber insert. It's a good thing in normal situations as it holds the spark plug in the socket. In the this use case however, it makes separating the plug and the socket hard to do. This is a big issue as on some of the plug wells, as you must pull the socket and plug out separately. There just isn't room to do both together.
Removing The Plugs
One massive advantage of the spark plug socket I used was the fact it's a 12 point. As there is precious little room to work with, I was limited as to how much torque I could apply with my ratchet. I had to use a 3/8" breaker bar to crack the plugs loose. It took several turns of the breaker bar 'resetting' the position a small amount each time, before the plug was loose enough to use the ratchet.
Before the plug had backed out enough to block removal of the ratchet, I had to take the ratchet off and back the plug out by hand. Then once it felt like the plug was free, I had to separate the socket and extension, remove each one at a time and then remove the plug.
This is where a grabber, or magnet comes in handy. Something along the lines of this…
Flexible Pick-Up Tool
Was it worth it? Yes. I've saved a fortune and despite my hands being ripped to shreds I really enjoyed the challenge.
If any one has any questions please ask away