Did you know that the average auto shop will charge you up to $200 or more for replacing the factory plugs for the 5.7-lit Hemi engine? And that only covers the labor cost, not the actual plugs. So, if you manage to do it yourself, that will save you a lot of money! Now, even the most advanced and durable spark plugs for Dodge Ram 1500 5.7 Hemi wear out over time – that’s just how it is.
The average lifespan is 100K miles, give or take. Leaking fluids, harsh weather conditions, and lack of maintenance will make them go out even sooner. Alright, with the basics out of the way, let’s talk about how to actually replace plugs in your garage, with a set of basic tools and no extra help from a buddy or a mechanic.
What you’ll need for the Job
Here’s a shortlist of what you’ll need to replace the plugs:
- A 5/8 deep socket
- A 5/8 spark-plug socket
- A pair of 3-inch extensions
- One 1.5-inch extension
- A pair of gloves
- A really old (and thick) blanket
- A gap tool
- Dielectric grease (of any sort)
Removing Old Spark Plugs: Step-By-Step Guide
First of all, don’t do this if the engine’s hot. As a matter of fact, let the car sit overnight so that you know it’s as cold as it gets. And start by giving the engine a good blow. Trust me: the last thing you want is dirt, pollen, and debris finding their way into the combustion chamber. Unless you’ve got your own routine, I recommend starting with the back cylinders.
To do this, you’ll have to use a layover creeper to reach the far end of the motor. Or, if you don’t want any extra expenses, use the blanket, and you’ll be fine. Just be careful not to break anything (especially the tiny plastic things). Next, get to the coils. They usually come off easily, without any resistance. This is mostly thanks to the dielectric grease that they apply during manufacturing.
The plugs, in contrast, will be a bit harder to remove. Plus, they tend to make an unpleasant sound when you’re trying to unplug them. Don’t rush yourself, and handle one cylinder at a time to make sure you’re protecting the engine from dirt and whatnot. Remember the 5/8 spark-plug socket I mentioned earlier? Well, get it, and use it to remove the plugs. That’s pretty much it!
Installing New Plugs: the Basics
Ok, with the old spark plugs out of the way, it’s time to install the new ones. This is very important: in contrast to most automobile engines out there, a Hemi requires two plugs for each cylinder to work properly. Yes, for the 5.7-lit V8, you’ll need to buy a set of 16, not 8! Remember this when ordering them online. Alright, now let’s get to the installation process.
To do this properly, clean the spark plug holes in each cylinder with a clean cloth. Next, apply a tiny bit of anti-seize on the threats and some dielectric grease on the plugs (apply it on the end that is attached to the coil). That will ensure maximum durability and reliability. A quick note: no grease should be applied to the side or center of the electrodes!
Getting Right to It
Use your hands to put the plugs where they belong. Turn them clockwise at least two turns to make sure they’re relatively steady. This is important: if you do it with the socket first, chances are, you’ll damage the actual plugs or the threats in the spark plug holes, which is even worse. So, yes, hands first, socket(s) later. And when you do grab the socket after doing everything by hand, turn the spark plugs until you meet mild resistance.
Don’t ever over-tighten anything to avoid any cracks. As long as the plugs aren’t vibrating, you’re good. Repeat the same process 16 (!) times, and you’ll be done! But before opening that bottle of “celebration champagne”, don’t forget to use the gap tool. If the spark gap is too wide, you’ll experience problems with the ignition. Skipped firing and premature ignition are the most common side effects of improper gapping.
Now, most new spark plug packages claim they’re pre-gapped, but that’s far from the truth. In reality, they lose the original gap over time, which is why you shouldn’t rely on factory gapping at all. But where do you find the right gapping information for your vehicle? That shouldn’t be a problem: check your car’s manual, or just search for it online.