Spark Plugs


Not all my Jeep adventures happen in the dirt. My latest adventure didn't even take me out of the neighborhood.


Twice, maybe three times, in the last year or so, the ole Jeep didn't fire right up when I turned the key. When that happens, it sucks air up the AEM intake and blows it out the Gibson exhaust. It sounds like a big jeep fart. It's kind of embarrassing. It's got over 70,000 miles on it now. I figure I'll just put some new spark plugs in there and it will perk right up. I looked under the hood back then when it first started misbehaving, and didn't spot any spark plug wires , or even the spark plugs. I knew right then I would have to dig out my service manual. Digging out that service manual added 8 months to the job.


Well isn't that the craziest thing you've ever seen? The spark plugs are hidden under a rail that has the boots attached and is wired to the computer. I bet some Mechanical Engineer got a wooden plaque with his name on it for thinking up that "Better Mousetrap" idea. So now that I figured out where I can find the old spark plugs, I only have to figure out how to get to them. That's at least a 2 month delay right there! So when the planets all got aligned, and my horoscope said it was a good day to change my spark plugs...(or something like that)'s how it went down;


I went to Wal-Mart to get some Nesquik and coffee creamer, and Slow Churned ice cream, so I figured I'd check out spark plugs. I looked up which ones are for the 2001 Wrangler, and found Superior, Premium, Best, Better, and Good categories. Superior Bosch plugs were over $8 each, but.....I want the best I can get! Oh Crap! Out of stock on the Superior group. There were 6 left of the $8 Premium Platinum's group though. Sold!


I had no idea what I was about to tackle. My AEM Intake was in the way. The cool air dam for it was in the way. The AC hoses were kind of in the way. Even the oil dip stick was in the way. Then my hood didn't go out of my way enough because of my hydraulic hood lifts. Then it was find a 13mm, 10mm, short extension, long extension with adaptor and flex knuckle, box end, sockets, wire ties to hold stuff out of the way.....oh my God! I just want to change the spark plugs!


Well I finally got that spark plug rail twisted out of the way and could see the shiny end of 6 spark plugs. So with just the right amount of craftiness and above average IQ, I was able to direct my 5/8'" spark plug socket through a maze of hoses and wires and angles that must have had a mathematical equation involving Pi. The last person to put a wrench on those spark plugs was the Hulk. I know this because I needed a cheater bar to break those suckers loose. It had to have been the Hulk that torqued those puppies down that tight.


Now, with the band aids holding back the blood from my skinned knuckles, I swap them by one; Almost dreading the final one, and the thoughts of having to put everything back together. Fortunately I have a telescoping magnet rod. These club like fingers can't hold a nut from falling, worth beans. Did you know that if you drop a nut above an engine, nine times out of ten it won't go all the way to the floor?


It wasn't real easy, but I got it done. Six of the 2nd to the best spark plugs money can buy. The package says I should be able to do wheelies in 1st and 2nd gear now. Well, I'm paraphrasing that a little...


The test drive was a success. It started right up, revved nicely, and blasted down the street to the corner like a brand new engine. I have no idea why the check engine light would come on after a performance like that. Guess I better do some Code Busting. On, off, ,on, off, on with the ignition key. Looks like I’ve got me a P1281 and a P0456. My service manual says that's an Evap leak, and too cold of an engine. I don't see any Evap leaks, and too cold of an engine sounds like a good thing to me! But what do I know. I better check the internet. They can't lie on the internet you know.


That's funny. It seems other people have tried these spark plugs and got the same response on their check engine codes. I know I screwed up for sure. Some guy on the internet called me stupid for not using the spark plugs listed on the tag under the hood. The RS12ECC spark plugs. Do you think you're smarter than a Jeep Design Engineer? I guess it's true. They can't lie on the internet. I'm really stupid. Now I have to go get the correct spark plugs and start all over again. Crap!


So there's another fine Jeep adventure...and I hardly left the garage.