Can't Reach Spark Plugs

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$100 site donor 2024
Feb 19, 2013
Phoenix, AZ
My mom has an 03' Buick Rendezvous AWD with the 3.4L with 138k miles. What a dumb design, I can't get to the rear spark plugs. A few years ago I started replacing them and only replaced the front 3 spark plugs and the front 3 wires. The rear ones I've tried on several occasions and just can't get them. I've removed the coil pack on top and I can reach the wires (not very well though) and the wires won't come off, I can't even get them to turn. I've pulled and pulled and no luck but I don't want them to break off or have the metal part inside the wire where it clips onto the spark plug to break off either. I can't get to them from the underside either. I've removed the motor mounts on the front and used a ratchet strap to pull the engine as far as I can get it and not much luck. I could probably remove the electric fans and get it farther though. Anybody else have any ideas?

My brother had a 99' Buick Century with the 3.1L and it wasn't super easy but it was do-able, the Rendezvous just has an oddly shaped firewall.

Originally Posted By: Nick1994
I've removed the motor mounts on the front and used a ratchet strap to pull the engine as far as I can get it and not much luck.

HA!! I don't even have that luxury on mine. The front mount is down below bolted to the engine cradle. There's a big metal bracket in the back by the firewall that I take off to give me some extra room to get my arm down in there. I get two of the spark plugs from the top and the third one on the drivers side, I reach around from the left side while standing next to the left front fender. You gotta have eyeballs on your finger tips.
The way they build thing today, (and yes I know it is an 11 or 12 year old vehicle, but to us old timers, that is new stuff), just irks me.. I swear they build engines, and then just shoehorn them into a vehicle without the slightest thought of ever servicing them. Having to 1/2 disassemble an engine to replace spark plugs to me is just silly. Of course, I suppose since they only need to be replaced every 100000 miles, they don't figure it any big deal. In the old days you probably needed to put rings in the engine by then, and that sure needed a lot more work.
Chances are the wires will break and you will need to cut the rubber boot off with and exacto knife. Not an easy job.
IIRC you need to remove the coil pack on the rear of the engine, to get a little more room.
FWD platforms with "v" engines are generally stupid. I wish they weren't made.

That said, there surely is a way, even if it's hoisting the engine out. After all, the maintenance design for the plugs probably aligns to a more rigorous 100 or 105k service where maybe some things are done that facilitate access.
At least Chrysler was smart,with the minivans you remove the wiper tray and have total visibility of the top and back of the engine.
Have you asked the dealer what they charge? Maybe they have a program where you apply for a loan and get 5 years to pay it off.

Or if you're a masochist you can start with the following videos and work your way through the problem. It appears that someone else has suffered through changing all the plugs, too.

I thought so, same as the Venture van. You have have to remove the coil packs.
I never got the rear wires off yet in one piece on these with 100K+ on them, always end up cutting the boot off.

You can remove the alternator to get better access but its still a major pita.
I've gotten to the rear plugs on the wife's Rendezvous from underneath. It's pretty tight but is possible. Just expect to scratch up your forearms.
Originally Posted By: OneEyeJack
At least you can see why some people are happy with their less powerful 4 cylinder engines.
Yeah, my Camry was really easy to change plugs on Lol. Doesn't get much easier than that 2.2L

Luckily on my TDI it'll never need spark plugs, just plenty of other VW related repairs haha.
Originally Posted By: Dallas69
Just take it to a local mechanic and be done with it

My friend who has one was asked by his mechanic after doing a tuneup not to bring it back.

Major suck job.
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