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Engine misfire, spark plug tubes tons of oil and moistures, plugs stuck #5225131 09/29/19 02:52 AM
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PandaBear Offline OP
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97 Integra, around 265k miles. Head gasket rebuild about 5 years 20k miles ago. It was running fine since the rebuild but was losing coolant about 2 years ago, I brought it in to a local shop recommended by people here, and the mechanic found a bypass hose leaking a lot of coolant and he replaced it. The car is burning / leaking oil. About 3 weeks ago I noticed engine misfires and CEL turns on during commute. I parked it when I got home and started driving another car instead.

Today I pulled the spark plug wires and tried to pull the plugs out to see what it looks like. It was stuck real bad, to a point that my AllTrade (Kragen house brand) spark plug T wrench is bent when I try to remove it. When I pull the wrench out the tip is full of oil. I've never seen this in my life. This happens on 3 of the 4 cylinders closer to the timing belt.

I suspect the spark plug tubs seals are bad, but why would it push so much oils out? Would it be PCV going bad? Would it be bad rings -> too much blow by?

How do I clean the oil off and what should I use to dislodge the plugs? Brake cleaner? Which spark plug wrench do you recommend?


"You keep asking questions PandaBear and you'll end up a vegetarian like my wife" - Camu Mahubah
Re: Engine misfire, spark plug tubes tons of oil and moistures, plugs stuck [Re: PandaBear] #5225206 09/29/19 07:13 AM
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Snagglefoot Offline
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JMO but I’m thinking the oil is not coming from the combustion chamber but instead is coming from a leaking valve cover gasket or seal. I would suggest using a spray can of WD40 with a plastic straw (or any can of lubricant with a straw.) Place some paper towels over the sparkplug recess and placing the straw in the recess, blow out the oil onto the paper towel.

Next, use a proper sparkplug socket ( usually part of a wrench kit). Use a crossover from the 1/4 inch to 3/8 size and use a 3/8 inch ratchet wrench to apply the necessary left hand torque. Keep the socket properly centred over the spark plug so you don’t break the insulator. Give it left hand torque. It might squeal a bit. Once you unseat the plug spray some penetrating oil into the recess and let it soak for an hour. Come back and unscrew the plugs.

Last edited by Snagglefoot; 09/29/19 07:15 AM.

If you want the job done right......do it yourself.
Re: Engine misfire, spark plug tubes tons of oil and moistures, plugs stuck [Re: PandaBear] #5225231 09/29/19 07:49 AM
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eljefino Offline
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Get some 1/4" aquarium tubing and duct tape it to a shop vac or whatever and slurp as much oil out as you can. When/ if you get the spark plugs out the rest of the oil will fall into the cylinder. Crank it to blow it out (and not hydro-lock) then change your valve cover gasket and tube seals.

With the valve cover off, you'll see how the spark plug tubes are tunnels "underwater" eg below most of the top of the cylinder head and oil return holes.

Re: Engine misfire, spark plug tubes tons of oil and moistures, plugs stuck [Re: PandaBear] #5225248 09/29/19 08:09 AM
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andyd Offline
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Get the plug to move. Tighten, loosen, is unimportant. "Rock" the plug back and forth in increasing arcs, the oil in the tubes will provide lube. This is a 22yr car with 265k on it. I wouldn't worry too much about a little dirty oil. Yes you need to replace VC and tube gaskets.


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Thick oil is better grin2
Re: Engine misfire, spark plug tubes tons of oil and moistures, plugs stuck [Re: PandaBear] #5225276 09/29/19 08:38 AM
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vwmaniaman Offline
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I have a hand held brake bleeder with a cup that holds bled brake fluid. I imagine that is what I would use since it won't be so messy that way.


Don't waste your time on a slipshod repair.
Re: Engine misfire, spark plug tubes tons of oil and moistures, plugs stuck [Re: PandaBear] #5225320 09/29/19 09:17 AM
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mightymousetech Offline
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Just sounds like your spark plug tube seals on your valve cover are leaking. Pretty easy job to replace.


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Re: Engine misfire, spark plug tubes tons of oil and moistures, plugs stuck [Re: PandaBear] #5225558 09/29/19 01:30 PM
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PandaBear Offline OP
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I tried the "spark plug socket" that came with my $10 wrench set 24 years ago and it doesn't reach the spark plug (probably never worked). Since I was always using the T spark plug wrench with swivel, I never really bother researching which socket should I get until now.

Would a normal deep socket be sufficient if I have a way to pick the plug out? or do I really need a specific spark plug socket? It is only for my cars and I think they are all standard size plugs for Toyota / Honda / Mazda.


"You keep asking questions PandaBear and you'll end up a vegetarian like my wife" - Camu Mahubah
Re: Engine misfire, spark plug tubes tons of oil and moistures, plugs stuck [Re: PandaBear] #5226046 09/30/19 02:42 AM
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The Critic Offline
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If the engine was rebuilt 20k ago I am very surprised that the valve cover gasket and tube seals are already bad. Did your mechanic not replace all gaskets that were disturbed?

The Integra's plug should be a standard 5/8" head. A standard 5/8" six-point deep socket should work, but it needs to be a chrome socket and you will need a magnet to remove and reinstall the plug. Just get the proper socket, it is not expensive.

Also, your Prius takes a 14mm spark plug socket. Not 5/8", so that car will need a different one.

Last edited by The Critic; 09/30/19 02:42 AM.

2011 Toyota Prius 1.8L - 198K - Pennzoil Platinum 0W-20
2007 Honda Accord 2.4L - 139K - Valvoline Premium Blue Restore 10W-30
Re: Engine misfire, spark plug tubes tons of oil and moistures, plugs stuck [Re: PandaBear] #5226167 09/30/19 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by PandaBear
I tried the "spark plug socket" that came with my $10 wrench set 24 years ago and it doesn't reach the spark plug (probably never worked). Since I was always using the T spark plug wrench with swivel, I never really bother researching which socket should I get until now.

Would a normal deep socket be sufficient if I have a way to pick the plug out? or do I really need a specific spark plug socket? It is only for my cars and I think they are all standard size plugs for Toyota / Honda / Mazda.



Yes a deep socket that fits the plug will work fine.

Re: Engine misfire, spark plug tubes tons of oil and moistures, plugs stuck [Re: PandaBear] #5234935 10/09/19 01:43 PM
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PandaBear Offline OP
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Turns out I have an "exploded" spark plug wire. I used some PB blaster to help remove the plugs and some of it dripped into the cylinder. The old plugs look pretty dark on the insulators probably due to ignition issues -> increase fuel -> carbon deposit. Replacing them with new plugs, cap, wires. Took a few crank to start up but the misfire is gone.

Will take the new plugs out after a few hundred miles for inspection, and replace the valve cover gasket + spark plug tube seals + oil change.


"You keep asking questions PandaBear and you'll end up a vegetarian like my wife" - Camu Mahubah
Re: Engine misfire, spark plug tubes tons of oil and moistures, plugs stuck [Re: PandaBear] #5234936 10/09/19 01:51 PM
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nthach Offline
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I've had that happen to me - a "premium" Denso wire had an insulation defect and shorted out a coil wire.

The car might run fine now, but if fuel wasn't cut during the misfire event, there's a good chance your cat is covered in carbon or burned up and you might bomb a smog check.

Re: Engine misfire, spark plug tubes tons of oil and moistures, plugs stuck [Re: nthach] #5234938 10/09/19 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by nthach
I've had that happen to me - a "premium" Denso wire had an insulation defect and shorted out a coil wire.

The car might run fine now, but if fuel wasn't cut during the misfire event, there's a good chance your cat is covered in carbon or burned up and you might bomb a smog check.


We'll see in 2 years. It is a 22 yr old car with 265kM and marginally passing smog. If it fail I can't blame it on 1 day of misfiring (that lasted about 5 mins).

Last edited by PandaBear; 10/09/19 01:54 PM.

"You keep asking questions PandaBear and you'll end up a vegetarian like my wife" - Camu Mahubah
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