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Q: Spark plug stuck right in the head, how bad is it?

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I was replacing the spark plugs in my 2007 Ford Explorer when one broke off right there in the cylinder head! I'm glad that I was able to get 136,000 miles out of my truck before having a problem, but am disappointed that this made it through all the checks and inspections at the factory. I am worried that the cylinder head could get damaged removing one of these plugs. What can be done?

The spark plugs in your engine have an extended shield on the tip of each plug. This shield will get a carbon ring build-up over time and if you try to remove the plug, the carbon will bind the treads and possibly break off the lower part of plug in the hole. To remove plugs, you have to loosen each plug about 1/8 turn, then put carbon cleaner in each plug hole and let it sit for a couple of hours to soften the carbon on the plug tip. Then, by hand using constant turning, take out each plug. If one or more break off, you will need the special plug end removal tool, Rotunda 303-1203 or equal, to remove the broken off piece. If the tool cannot remove it, then the head would have to be removed to extract the piece.

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