How to Change the Spark Plugs on a 2002 Ford Windstar Van

Ford equipped the 2002 Windstar's 3.8-liter V-6 engine with platinum enhanced spark plugs for longer life. When looking in the engine compartment, three of the Windstar's six spark plugs are in the lower front of the engine behind the radiator. The other three plugs are found in the lower rear side of the engine. Replace the spark plugs at 100,000-mile intervals to meet Ford's maintenance schedule for your 2002 Windstar.

Gap the new spark plugs with the spark plug gauge to .052 to .056 inch or 1.3 to 1.4 mm.

Wipe dirt away from the area around the spark plug wire boots with a shop rag. Grasp the plug wire boot with the spark plug wire remover. Twist the boot back and forth a few times, then continue to twist while pulling the boot off the end of the spark plug.

Remove the spark plug with the spark plug socket, ratchet and ratchet extension. Do not allow dirt to enter the spark plug hole.

Thread a new spark plug into the hole by hand until it is snug. Torque the spark plug to 11 foot-pounds with foot-pound torque wrench, spark plug socket and ratchet extension.

Apply silicone grease to the inside of the plug wire boot, then press the boot onto the end of the spark plug until it snaps into place.

Repeat steps 2 through 6 for each of the other five spark plugs. Replace each spark plug individually to avoid getting the firing order confused.

Items you will need: New spark plugs (Ford part number AWSF-42EE or equivalent), Spark plug gauge, Shop rags, Spark Plug Wire Remover (Ford tool number T74P-6666-A or equivalent), Spark plug socket, Ratchet, Ratchet extension, Foot-pound torque wrench, Silicone brake caliper grease and dielectric compound (Ford part number D7AZ-19A331-A or equivalent meeting Ford specification ESE-M1C171-A)

Tips: The three front plugs are accessible, but the rear plugs can be a challenge. If your hands are large or your forearms are thick, you may have difficulty reaching the rear plugs. Remove the wiper cowl -- which is the black plastic hood between the engine and the windshield -- or jack up the Windstar, put it on jack stands and reach the plugs from underneath. A universal joint attached to the ratchet may help in reaching those rear plugs.

Warnings: If you drop a new spark plug or bump the end of it while inserting it into the spark plug hole, recheck the gap. Impact on the spark plug's electrode can bend it out of position and distort the gap. If you are reusing the spark plugs instead of replacing them, remove the plugs one at a time. Clean and gap each plug, then reinstall it before removing the next plug. It is important to reinstall the plug into the cylinder from which you removed it. Do not add any anti-seize or thread lock coating to the spark plug threads.

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