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Old 04-22-2016, 03:38 PM   #1
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Replacing spark plugs 460 Ford powered 1989 E350 chassis

This morning I attempted to change the spark plugs and wires on a 1989 460 Ford powered Class C built on a Ford E350 van chassis. I realized early on that replacing plug numbers 1, 2, & 5 was going to be hard but I can’t figure out how to even get to them. There’s not enough room between the firewall and the engine going at them from the engines rear. Up front, after removing the air cleaner I faced a pile of environmental clutter that was mind-boggling. I crawled underneath only to find no room between the engine and frame. My last hope was through the fender wells, and though I did find a small amount of access using a long extension and universal joint I couldn’t get my hand in to pull the spark plug boot off the plug.

What am I missing here? Is there a secret way known only to a small cadre of sociopathic Ford engineers? I’ve seen my share of inconsiderate engineering, but this E350 takes it to a new level. Or am I just missing the obvious? Even knowing the best of a number of poor options would be a starting point.


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Old 04-22-2016, 03:49 PM   #2
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Did you remove the tire? You may need to to get in there. I remember it being quite a trick.

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Old 04-23-2016, 08:32 AM   #3
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Yes, I removed the tire and could actually see the #1 plug through a narrow opening between the fender and frame. I suppose I could purchase a long handled pliers to remove the boot (if it hasn't glued itself too firmly to the plug). My fear is that I'll break the plug without actually getting it out. The engine runs but with 61K on it it's running a little ragged. Once I get all the old plugs out I'll want to install new plug wires. Not sure how I'll do that either. As for the environmental clutter, it's all bolted to the top of the engine with hard to access nuts and even after I remove it I'm not certain I'll have the access space I need.

I've often said that before an automotive engineer gets his license they make it mandatory that he spend at least a year working as a automotive mechanic (like a doctor does). At least if nothing else he might develop a little empathy for the people who have to service and repair his creations.

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Old 05-16-2016, 07:43 AM   #4
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I did as you said and used long handle needle nose pliers to pull the boot off then I used a socket with a hex head on top to get the plug out by reaching around the steering box from the front. I t wasn't easy but at least my plug wasn't too tight. I made sure to put anti seize on the new plug so it wouldn't be too hard the next time.
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Old 01-02-2018, 09:51 AM   #5
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In mine I removed the battery (right side) and duct for the air cleaner and #1 plug was much easier to access.
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Old 01-02-2018, 10:17 PM   #6
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It’s not only Ford. You won’t believe what Chevy does with some of their trucks. And I’m a Chevy guy in case you wonder. It’s amazing what some engine designers do.
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Old 01-02-2018, 10:29 PM   #7
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Replacing spark plugs 460 Ford powered 1989 E350 chassis

Originally Posted by JONWisconsin View Post
Itís not only Ford. You wonít believe what Chevy does with some of their trucks. And Iím a Chevy guy in case you wonder. Itís amazing what some engine designers do.

They design them to assemble fast...service really doesn't factor in. (Not brand specific...)

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chassis, ford, power

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