The pros remove the windshield washer assembly. You do that by removing the windshield wiper arms. Then you remove the screws that hold in the cowling. Then you remove the bolts that hold the wiper tub assembly in place. Disconnect the electrical connector and remove the tub. That gives you access to the entire rear part of the engine. You won't have to break knuckles or cuss. It takes about 20 minutes to remove the tub, but it's worth it. Going in from the bottom is the hard way to do this job.
I'm a retired ASE Master/L-1 Technician. I still keep current with the latest automotive technology. Visit my blog for cool articles and TSB's: http://free-auto-repair-advice.blogspot.com/
Hey Linda==It is extremely hard to get to these plugs. With an assortment of u-joints and extensions it is possible. Don't copmplain the next time you get a high bill for changing the plugs. GoodluckJoe
The 3 spark plugs located on the front (radiator side of the engine are relatively easy to get at and should be able to be removed & replaced in about 15 minutes. A standard 3/8" rachet & plug socket work just fine. If the metal heat shields (round tubes) that cover the plugs are difficult to remove - (over time they bind to the head) the socket can be placed inside the tube after removing the plug wire.
The 3 plugs on the back side of the engine can be accessed from the back under the vehicle. I drove the van on ramps and reached up. There is room to see & get the wrench on the plugs. In my case all the plugs came out easy.
The most difficult part of the job, for me, was removing the heat shields which really didn't have to come off.
NEW: As a weekend, driveway mechanic and armed with this useful info, I changed my 95 T&C van plugs on 4/29/06, and it went much easier then expected. Need to do this with a cold engine so I parked the van the night before on drive-up ramps. This is important because plugs should be installed with a cold engine and the rear three plugs are best accessed from below and you want the exhaust pipes cold because you will be working around them. Front three plugs are easy with socket extension, I used 6" for leverage, no need to remove heat shield. Also used a $5.00 spark plug wire puller wrench for better leverage and after some slight twisting at the boot to losen from plug, plug wires backed off with little effort.
Two rear plugs nearest drivers side have good access space from below. Rear plug nearest passenger side, more difficult to access but I removed the lower generator support brace which is directly in front of this plug and now had good access to remove the plug wire. Losen and remove two nuts, back brace off block and generator and job becomes much easier. Short socket wrench extension was used to gain necessary clearance and leverage to losen the old plugs and tighten the new with torque wrench. 1 and 1/2" and 3" extensions worked well. Rear plug wires need some twisting by hand first at the boot, not the wire, before you can back off the plug. This took some time because of the angle you are working at, but they do back off. Good light makes job easier because some of this work on the rear plugs is done by feel and seeing only the top half of the old plug and the angle which they are seated in the block will make install of new plugs easier.
I looked at trying to change the plugs from the top and found it easier and far less complicated by going from the bottom up using my creeper and a pillow for additional neck support and back lift. The angle you are working at and the length of time spent in this position will cause certain muscles to react. Wear eye protection to block out dust and falling dirt and an old shirt with long sleves because this protects your arms from being cut as you manipulate your tools. I put a small amount of anti-sieze compound on new plug thread before each install and added a small amount of dielectric grease into wire boot for good plug connection and to help with backing boot off the next time. all who are looking at this project as a weekend mechanic.
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