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Discussion Starter #1
Quick summary before my novel for those that have limited time.

I drive a 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTL with approximately 175,000 miles on it.
A spark plug apparently exploded causing engine trouble.
One of my ignition coils was stuck; we dug it out and vacuumed the debris out.
Remains of the spark plug came out in my vacuum tube.

{pictures here}
http://imgur.com/a/eAnn6#0
http://imgur.com/a/eAnn6#1
http://imgur.com/a/eAnn6#2
http://imgur.com/a/eAnn6#4
http://imgur.com/a/eAnn6#6
http://imgur.com/a/eAnn6#7

How freaked out do we need to be about having destroyed the engine?
The plan is to clean into the chamber as best we can, fix threads with TimeSert, and install a new spark plug and a new ignition coil.


Comments? Suggestions? Warnings?



{Full sob story below}

Last Thursday I noticed a strange, light rumbling feeling from my seat while the engine was running. My truck didn’t feel like it was driving any differently but there was definitely a vibration occurring that wasn’t there before. The next morning, while on the interstate the rumbling continued and in a short amount of time it increased to a considerable amount of shaking, almost as though I had just gotten a flat tire. However, I never felt any loss of power from my engine. My Check Engine light started flashing and my VTM-4 light came on. I went to the nearest Autozone, which was approximately six minutes away from my location and I had them pull the codes for me. Let me also state that I am a girl, with no mechanical experience/knowledge; I was by myself when all this happened and as soon as the guys at Autozone asked me what I needed help with, I started crying like a little baby. One of the workers came outside, ran the codes and told me that I had a misfire on cylinder 1, a misfire on cylinder 4 and then said all the cylinders were misfiring. He said I should replace all six cylinders and get new spark plugs as well. I wrote down what he recommended. I should have asked him specifically what the codes were and wrote those down too, in order, but I wasn’t thinking clearly enough to get that from him.

I couldn’t reach anyone by phone to come get me so I risked driving a few miles to my home. The symptoms continued but I maintained power the whole way home.

I later told my boyfriend everything that happened. He knows a little [and only a little] about engines. We did research and put together a plan. We took out the ignition coils one by one to inspect them. The last one we got to (front, left - I don’t know the official cylinder numbers) is immediately a problem to remove. I mean, IT IS STUCK. We put tape over the electrical port on the coil and put P.B. Blaster on it where we could. After a while of fighting with it, it eventually came out... Well, most of it. The bottom part of the ignition coil was gone. Burned to ashes. We vacuumed and dug the bits and debris out of it as much we could and then a large piece of something got stuck in our vacuum tube... Upon removing that we realize we now have what remains of the spark plug in our hands.

So... My boyfriend used a spark plug from another cylinder to assess the thread damage. He thinks my threads are messed up and after more research wants to try to use a Time-Insert. I have read on here that people are using a Borescope to look inside to see if there are any pieces in the combustion chamber. He doesn’t think we need to do that, he just wants to vacuum and clean it out the best we can and then fix the threads, try a new spark plug and get a new ignition coil.

My vehicle is way past warranty and I don’t have the $$$ to get it towed to a dealership for a royal run-around. Any suggestions or advice here? Any insight would be so greatly appreciated!!
 

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Ok, I looked at your pictures and from what I see it looks like all of the damage is external to the cylinder. It appears that the electrode portion of the spark plug, what goes inside of the engine didn't come apart.

You should be able to put in the thread insert, new plugs and coil and be fine. After putting in the thread insert, vacuum it out just like you did. Great heads up vacuuming all of that out before taking the spark plug out.
 

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Question, did you have to remove the broken spark plug with a socket, or did it just come out with the vacuum?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you so much for your response! The spark plug came out in the vacuum. My picture doesn't show it (sorry, I should've snapped it from the other side) but there is some thread damage on the back of that broken plug. My boyfriend changed his mind about the Time-Insert and wants to use Heli-Coil now. What do you suggest?
 

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For basically not being sure what to do from the start, you took the time to make good decisions and not jump into anything that could further damage the engine.

Wish I could give better advice on how to repair, I think it largely depends on the extent of damage, but heli-coils are easier to work in tight places. On the other hand, Time serts are more robust. I would defer to Outfarm and his experience.
 

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Your welcome, Welcome to the club...

I have never used TimeSerts but I just read up on them and they sound great too. I have used Helicoil sets for spark plugs on both Aluminium heads and cast iron with not further problems, they work great. You should be fine with which ever you chose as long as you follow the instructions.
BTW, replace all of the plugs while your at it.
 

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The Timeserts do sound better.

Before doing all of that you may want to do a compression test first. This will rule out bent valves.
 

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Great advice, take care of all the plugs now, and forget about them over the next 100k miles.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you, rollinhonda, for your help too! :)

Can we do a compression test with damaged threads? My boyfriend seemed to think we wouldn't be able to.
 

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Your boyfriend is right, you can't do a compression test if the threads are bad. The tool has to be threaded in with a tight fit.
Not completely true. There are compression guages with rubber ends that you can hold into the spark plug hole that work very well. I have one at work similar to this one.
 

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Thank you, Oakville Ridge!!

So our plan for tomorrow is to do the thread repair, then do a compression test. Hopefully that all goes well ::fingers crossed::

As for the spark plugs, the guy at Autozone priced me plugs at $1.99 each (Autolite Copper), to go with the six new cylinders (Duralast Ignition Coil) he said I should get.

We're obviously going to need one new coil - I don't think we need to purchase the other five at this time, but we WILL change out all six spark plugs. I want quality spark plugs, as affordable as we can get them... So what kind should I get?
 

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You can check your local auto parts stores and some times they can loan or rent you a compression gauge. You can go either way, repair the thread first or test with the rubber adapter.

As far as the plugs, you will need to go with the Iridium plugs, if not it will not run right.
 

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I agree with Ourfarm, get ngk iridium, autolites are for domestic cars, Ford, Chevy etc. I learned from experience, I put Bosch german plugs in a Ford, they failed ran rough, and it was a PITA to change 6 plugs on a Ford.

If you want no issues just use the plugs the manufacturer wants or risk the extra expense or major failure and have to do it all over again with the right parts.
 

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Absolutely. Get the NGK iridium plugs. Not platinum. The dealer will charge a fortune for them. You can get them from Amazon.com or Rock Auto for about $10/ea. Best price I have seen.

This is from my 2008 OM, but I think it's the same spec for the 2006-2008 engine. I think it changed for 2009.





Rock Auto:


Sorry to hear of your difficulty and hope this works out well for you.
At 175k miles, I think it's reasonable to assume the plugs have been replaced once. Are they the NGK or Denso plugs? Are you the original owner? What's the maintenance history on your RL?

I'm also curious how the other plugs looked. Do you have any pics of them? Especially the electrode area?
 

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Hello Ridgeline girl,

I am new to the website. I looked at the photo of the spark plug and feel you do not need to install an insert. All you need is what's called a thread chaser. Put heavy grease on the thread chaser to catch metal that will come off. Then just thread it in there very carefully remove it and vacuum out. This will work and you should be good to go. Put anti-seize on the threads. Then torque the spark plug 16 ft. pounds. The reason you had the problem is because the plug was not tight enough and backed out. I've seen this before on other Hondas. Good luck.

James Riddle
 

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Shame on me, I did not look at the pics yesterday. Today I did,

Just in case a vacuum does not get all that rust and pieces out of there, you can insert a long straw or similar with grease to make some particles stick to it and make sure you take out as much as you can.

I would also try to clean that rust on that thread as much as possible to see if the damage merits an insert or a thread chaser.

The thread could be slightly damaged but once you put the plug in it could be fine, or you can test it with an old plug first without really forcing it in too much as long as it turns smooth with some grease as mentioned.

Pics are good but real visibility is important to have a good judgement on the issue.
 

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Your main concern, of course, is that there might be debris in the cylinder. I had a similar problem with my BMW a couple of years ago. One spark plug was not screwed in completely and the tip melted and fell into the cylinder. The BMW dealership had a fiberoptic scope device that was placed through the spark hole hole and viewed the interior of the cylinder. They found the piece from the spark plug there, and fished it out with the scope. It wasn't even very expensive, believe it or not.

I had two conclusions with this: 1) a small amount of debris will likely not cause much harm in the short run, though obviously it must be removed, and 2) what would seem like a small disaster to a layman is not too unusual for a big service department.

In a situation like this, maybe a trip to the dealership service department might be necessary. This is assuming, of course, that a non-dealer service company would not have this scope, and that may not be the case. If you can find a service facility that has such a device, then your problems might be solved pretty easily.
 
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