by Steve and Gavin Maloof
The guys at AutoPartsWarehouse asked me to try out the new Autolite Iridium XP spark plugs and I thought it would be a great opportunity to teach my car-crazed grandson, Gavin a new automotive skill.Before starting I did a little research on Autolite and learned that they have produced over 11 Billion spark plugs over their 100 years in business. Combined with their limited lifetime warranty I feel very confident installing Autolite in my truck.
We used basic hand tools for the job; I decided to use the compact driver to remove and replace the (8) fasteners securing the coil packs to the cylinder heads.
Changing spark plugs has changed quite a bit since I’ve been tinkering on cars; rather than chasing the distributor and wire to the plug, most modern vehicles including my 2012 Ford F-150 Lariat 5.0 use a coil on plug system that distributes the spark from the engine management system to the spark plug.
With over 65,000 miles on the original plugs I wanted to try the new Autolite IridiumXP plugs and find out if they can make my truck perform better. Autolite says that the IridiumXP will last longer and offers enhanced ignitability versus other premium plugs.
I showed Gavin how to locate the coil packs and remove them with a 5/16 socket to access the spark plugs. Fortunately,there is plenty of access space in the engine compartment and getting to the coil packs wasn’t too challenging for Gavin and he removed the (8) bolts securing the coil packs quickly.
The trickiest part of the process for a first-timer is disconnecting the coil pack from the ignition system. With a little patience the connectors were disengaged and reconnected without any breakage.
We took a moment to unpack the new Autolite Iridium spark plugs to check the gap on each plug before installation, teaching Gavin another valuable automotive skill-how to use a spark plug gap tool. Upon confirming that all of the new Autolite plugs were set to a .44 gap we were ready to proceed.
Starting with cylinder bank 1 (passenger side) we pulled off cylinder #1 coil pack and boot to remove the old spark plug. Since the spark plugs reside deep in the V8 we used a magnet to pull the old plugs out once they were completely unthreaded from the cylinders heads and reversed the process to place the new Autolite plugs in the cylinder head and started them by hand to ensure we didn’t cross thread them and damage the plug or cylinder heads.
We continued down bank 1 and repeated the process ensuring the new Autolite plugs were threaded properly tightened by hand in the cylinder head, Autolite suggests a torque value between 16-29 ft-lb.
As usual with any install, bank 2 went much quicker and there was a little more room to get to spark plug 8 at the back of the engine next to the fire wall, spark plug 4 was obscured by the AC condenser lines that made it more challenging. With the plugs in, Gavin reinstalled all of the coil pack fasteners.
Start to finish the whole job took 90 minutes including stops for Gavin to text his friends that he was changing spark plugs on Grandpa’s truck. With the old plugs out and the new Autolite IridiumXP plugs in I’ve already noticed a smoother idle and look forward to many trouble free miles and more projects with my Grandson.
If you want to learn more about Autolite IridiumXP spark plugs take a look at: https://www.autolite.com/products/best-spark-plugs.aspx#iridium-xp-spark-plugs