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Panic struck this weekend...

>From: "Woolston Craig" <cwoolsto@ladc.lockheed.com>

>Now for the bad news.  In doing the oil/valves/timing/general maintence 
this weekend and in trying to replace the spark plugs I 
>had a big panic.  When trying to remove the #2 spark plug it was very tight 
and after half a turn almost impossible to turn.  So I 
>stopped and tried #1, this one came out about 3 turns before it did the 
same thing.  So I stopped and attempted to put them back 
>in which was even harder.  Help!?
> Anyway I thought I had heard at one point that VW were notorious for stuck 
plugs and that inserts could be put in (Idiot book I 
>think).  I am very un-familar with this as both cars have re-manufactured 
engines with 40,000 and 60,000 miles on them.  Plus 
>every time I ever put spark plugs in I put anti-seize compound on them and 
have never had a problem.
>The car has not been overheated as the valves hardly needed any adjustment 
at all and I keep a close eye on my cylinder 
>head temperature gauge on #3.  The only thing that has been a problem 
lately is running rich which is why I wanted to change 
>the plugs as they are probably pretty fouled.  Any helpful suggestions 
would be much appreciated.  Thanks...

Oh, &*(&*(, been there, done that, know that feeling in the pit of my 
stomach!  I think Muir mentions that Champions do this most often while 
Bosch never do.  What were yours?  The one I saw was a Champion.

I have several cars with helicoils.  They have never given me any problems.  
I know a shop that would put them in with the engine in the car, but I have 
never done it that way.  They did one for a customer of mine 20 years ago.  
The theory is that the aluminum chips are no problem for the engine, being 
so soft.  You MUST be sure to remove the tang, however.  I have always put 
mine in when I could see both sides of the installation.  At times I have 
shortened the helicoil inserts a bit to insure that nothing sticks out where 
it shouldn't.
I like helicoil inserts.  I believe they are a permanent fix if done correctly.

I strongly dislike solid inserts.  I have one engine that I inherited with a 
solid insert and it comes out with the plug every time.  Then you have to 
break it loose from the plug with pliers, which scars the insert OD thread.  
Then you have to screw the scared insert back into the already damaged head, 
damaging it more.

The one problem that both inserts have is that they require removal of 
material in an area where the heads are already weak.  Dual port heads 
typically crack from valve seat to valve seat and from each valve seat to 
the spark plug hole.  So far, however, mine (stock engine) are doing fine. 

       Melissa Kepner                                    Jim Adney
       jadney@vwtype3.org              jadney@vwtype3.org
                             Laura Kepner-Adney
                             Madison, Wisconsin

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