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2002 Toyota Echo

How to perform a Spark Plug Change

Estimated time to complete: 30 minutes

The following article describes the necessary tools, equipment and process to perform a spark plug replacement on a Toyota Echo.

Items Needed Tools Required
4 Spark Plugs
(We use Bosch 4301 Platinum +2 because we're too lazy to gap the plugs)
Antiseize Lubricant
10 mm Socket or spanner
Spark Plug socket
7" or 10" socket Extension
Plastic Cleaner (we used Windex)
Shop Towels
Nitrile Gloves

Step 1: The Echo has a protective plastic cover over the top of the engine. It's held in place by four cap nuts. Remove those with the 10mm socket or spanner. Set the cover aside. Either reattach the nuts to the studs, or put them in a coffee can type item to ensure that you don't lose them.
Step 2: Now, this is the first time I've worked on a modern car that no longer has spark plug wires. When we were buying new plugs for the car, I asked about plug wires and was very confused when they told me the car doesn't have any. So the modern model is to have a specific ignition coil for each spark plug and directly connect them to the spark plug. I thought this was very cool. One less item to have to maintain and replace. The coil is held down by a 10mm bolt. Remove the bolt with the socket wrench / spanner and pull up on the coil. It'll pop off the end of the plug. Lay the coil across the top of the block.
Step 3: Use the socket extension and the spark plug socket to reach down into the block and remove the original spark plug. Generally speaking it should be tight for the first turn or so, and then you should be able to spin the plug out by hand. If it isn't, then you may have problems with the threads in the block.

Step 4: Here you can see the spark plug we pulled from the engine block. This spark plug shows normal wear. There's slight discoloration and the electrode is worn down. Always check each plug you remove as each cylinder may be in different shape. Keep an eye out for damage, oil, carbon deposits and anything that doesn't look like this as it's indicative of a problem in the engine. Spark plugs serve the role of a "Canary in Coal Mine" for many types of engine problems.
Step 5:  Here you can see the new package of spark plugs. As menioned earlier, we're using Bosch Platinum +2 plugs. The main reason is that you don't have to gap the plugs. Additionally they are higher quality than the original plugs. On the right hand side there's a bottle of anti-sieze, on the left a foil packet.

Step 6: Here you can see the new plug prepped for placement into the block. It's a bit hard to see in the picture, but the threads of the spark plug have been treated with anti-sieze. Always treat the plugs with Anti-Sieze before installing them. The installation steps are the reverse of the removal. Screw in the spark plug, push on the coil an dbolt it back down. 
Step 7: Is really a repeat step. Repeat the spark plug removal and replacement process for each cylinder (in our case, 4 times). A great trick for getting spark plugs to thread correctly is to spin the plug backwards half a turn before threading it in. It'll help the plug find the threads correctly. You'll note in this picture we also took a few minutes to clean off the engine cover. It'll be one less greasy grimy mess to deal with next time we're under the hood!

You're done! double check your work and take the car for a test drive.

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Contents copyright 2008, 2009 - Jody F. Kerr

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