Foreword: This is a step by step spark plug replacement procedure for the venerable 2000 Dodge Neon. Do not be alarmed by the long wordy steps as a whole. For brevity, I will be using acronyms of essential tools and car parts. Just follow steps #1 to #8 consecutively, without making any shortcuts. I am 100% sure that all your efforts will be paid off. Also you will have peace of mind knowing that your car will run better, to say the least. Good luck and be happy that in the end, you can say that "I did it and I can do it again and again with full confidence." God speed.
1. You will need the following: (a) 4 new original equipment manufactured (OEM) spark plugs (SP), "Champion" Copper Plus brand, catalog #RC9YC. ). (b) At least an 8.5 inch single socket extension (SE) or 2 piece 3/4 inch & 6 inch SE. (c) 5/8 inch spark plug socket (SPS) with a rubber washer (RW), make sure, be very sure that the RW is free of grease or oil. In other words, bone dry as you may realize it below the article when this problem occurs. (d) 3/8 socket (ratchet) wrench (SW). The SE/s and SPS will be joined together to form (in my term), the spark plug removal unit or SPRU. (e) spark plug gap tool. (f) Dielectric grease (DG).
2. (a) Remove the two plastic clamps holding the ignition wires or cables(if you have them) 1&2 on the left (LJ) and 3&4 on the right (R), (if you're facing the front of the car) corresponding to SP's 1,2,3 & 4 respectively. (b) Dust off or clean the cables including the perimeter of the plug cover, with damp soft cloth. Or better yet lightly spray the area with a kitchen cleaner like Formula 409, wait for a few minutes then wipe off the dirt with a paper towel or dry cloth. Do it again until the mentioned parts and areas are immaculately clean. (c) You must do this, to make sure that no foreign material will go inside the SP hole or worse inside the combustion chamber of any cylinder.
3. (a) Start 1 plug at a time, starting with cable/SP #1. Do it from the L to R consecutively, no exception. (b) Wiggle the plug cover (PC) to and pro about 1/4 inch to the L (L=counterclockwise) and to the R (R=clockwise). (b) The PC connects to a cylindrical (silicone) rubber, no more than 3/4 inch in radius and about 4 inch long. The whole part is shaped like the letter T and culminates with a connection to the top of the SP. Once the whole unit is loose, pull it out, straight up. (c) Warning! I repeat, do not force the PC out. There is a metal inside the end of the cable, which is linked to the top of the SP. Before you disconnect the bottom end of the cable, make sure you can feel that the "T" from top to bottom, is moving left and right . If not you might break the unit in half & it would be a pain pulling out the other part below. (d) Note: per manufacturer's guideline, which is wise, every 60,000 miles replace the whole cable with OEM equivalent brand new set, from a name brand (not made in China) or generic as long as it is made in Canada, USA and last Mexico,
4. (a) You will now grab the SPRU , first make sure that the RW is secured inside the SPS. (b) Lower the SPRU gently vertically down into the SP hole. Turn the SPRU L or R to fully engage the SPS of the SPRU to the SP. Now connect the SW to the top of the SPRU. (c) Turn the SW handle to the "L" counterclockwise. It might be hard at first to unscrew the SP, so you need to use a little bit of muscle. You will hear a click once the SP disengages from the cylinder head (CH). (d) Turn the SW 1 full turn to the L. Take off the SW and turn the top of the SPRU to the L. Continue turning the SPRU until you are able to pull out the SP from the CH. (e) Remove the old SP from the SP hole straight up and out. (e) Remove the old SP out of the SP socket . (e) Clean the lower part of the ignition cable inside and out.
5. (a) Pregap the 4 new spark plugs to 0.035 inch with the (SP) gap tool. (b) Apply a generous layer of DG inside the bottom end of the cable which is made of metal. (c) Grab the SPRU then push the top end of the SP into the SPS. Make sure that the top of the SP is fully seated inside the SPS. (d) You will know if it is engaged, when you hold the SPRU straight right side up and the SP does not fall down.
6. (a) Slowly lower the SPRU with the SP vertically inside the plug hole all the way down. (b) Turn the SPRU to the R or clockwise. Make sure you do not meet resistance while you're threading the SP to the CH. If it does, turn it to the L, disengage and put back the bottom part of the SP straight down again. (c) When you no longer meet resistance, turn the SP all the way to the R until you can no longer turn the SPRU. (d) Put the SW securely to the top of the SPRU. Tighten the SP to the R, 1/2 turn or 180 degrees. (e) At this point, pull out the SPRU straight up real slow. Feel that the rubber is also coming out, If not, push the SPRU back down to be able to retrieve the RW. Be real patient in pulling the the whole chicken caboodle vertically up.
7. (a) Re-place the PC starting with the lower end, back into the SP hole. (b) Push it down until you hear a click. (c) At this point you are done with SP #1.
8. (a) Do the same steps from #2 to #7 for SP's #2 to #4. (b) Final check, slightly turn and push down the top of PC from SP#1 up to SP#4, if you hear a click, then you botched up the last step. But do not worry. You have done the job. Re-place the clamp for cables #1 & #2 and the other on cables #3 & #4. (c) Congratulations, at last you are done.
I hope I have answered your query. For further/follow-up questions, e-mail me (Tele) at firstname.lastname@example.org
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