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Coil Pack and Spark Plug Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Coil Pack and Spark Plug Replacement

Jared Fenton

Time:

3 hour3 hr

Tab:

$40 to $350

Talent:

***

Tools:

T30, T40, E10, E12 Torx drivers, 12mm triple square, 16mm socket, 5.8 thin walled spark plug socket, 5mm Allen

Applicable Models:

Porsche 955 Cayenne (2004-10)
Porsche 955 Cayenne GTS (2008-10)
Porsche 955 Cayenne S (2003-10)

Parts Required:

Coil Packs, Spark Plugs

Hot Tip:

Always change the plugs with the engine cool.

Performance Gain:

Smoother running engine, better MPG.

Complementary Modification:

Replace upper torque strut

One basic tune-up procedure for just about any car on the road is the replacement of your spark plugs and coil packs (if needed). I recommend inspecting your spark plugs once a year or every 60,000 miles, which ever comes first. In reality, you can probably go longer than that, however, you never really quite know how long the plugs are going to last, or you may forget to replace them if you don't setup a yearly schedule. In practice though, the plugs in the Cayenne last a very long time. The coil packs are usually more of a problem. If you notice a slight roughness when the car accelerates sometimes along with a check engine light, you may want to investigate further.

On the Cayenne V8 models, there are eight coil packs that sit on top of each spark plug. The coil packs can fail with no warning and cause the check engine light to illuminate. If it does, there is an easy way to determine which coil pack has a fault. By using a code reader or a diagnostic computer package such as Durametric, you can view if any diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) are stored in the car's memory. Additionally, most auto parts stores will typically be able to run your car's codes for free.

If you have a faulty coil pack, you will usually see one or more of the following DTCs

P0300 Multiple cylinder misfire

P0301 Cylinder no. 1 misfire

P0302 Cylinder no. 2 misfire

P0303 Cylinder no. 3 misfire

P0304 Cylinder no. 4 misfire

P0305 Cylinder no. 5 misfire

P0306 Cylinder no. 6 misfire.

P0307 Cylinder no. 7 misfire.

P0308 Cylinder no. 8 misfire.

As you can see, the misfire code corresponds with each cylinder on the car so you can isolate the faulty coil pack. (Note: In this article, the right/left orientation is from looking at the engine from the front of the car).

The left side of the engine is numbered 1-4, starting from the cylinder closest to the oil filler cap to the rear of the engine. The right side of the engine is numbered 5-8 starting at the front of the engine. So, if you check the fault codes and get a P0306, you'd want to check the coil pack on cylinder number 6. This would be the second cylinder from the front on the right side of the engine.

It's a good idea to let the engine cool for a bit before removing the plugs. If you try to remove or install spark plugs in a hot engine, you may encounter problems with the spark plugs gumming up or damaging the relatively delicate threads in the aluminum cylinder head. Make sure that the car is cold, or at the bare minimum, only slightly warm to the touch.

Begin by removing the engine covers around the perimeter of the engine. (Please see our article on Removing Engine Covers for more info). It is possible to change the plugs without removing them, but it does make the job a bit easier with them removed. You'll then need to move the two secondary air pumps located above each cylinder head. Both pumps are held in place with three T40 Torx screws. Once the screws are removed, position the air pumps up and out of the way of the coil pack covers below.

Each coil pack cover is held in place with four T30 Torx screws. Once removed, you can carefully remove the right side coil cover, taking care with the "finger" that sits under the secondary air pump bracket. The left side coil cover requires you to also remove the torque strut and bracket attached to the cylinder head.

To remove the torque strut, you'll need a 12mm triple square socket and a regular 16mm socket. At the engine end of the torque strut, place the triple square socket in the front of the bolt while counter holding the 16mm nut at the rear. Once the nut is removed, push the bolt out from the strut and mounting bracket. Now remove the 16mm bolt holding the strut to the chassis. Carefully inspect the rubber inside the torque strut for any cracks or tears. If so, you'll need to replace it.

With the torque strut removed, you can now remove the mounting bracket on the cylinder head. Begin by carefully lifting the coil pack cover up slightly. This will allow you to access the two upper E12 Torx bolts underneath. Also loosen the lower E10 Torx bolts as well. Don't forget to also remove the 5mm Allen bolt holding the ground strap to the bracket. The electrical connector to the coil underneath runs over the mounting bracket. Press the locking tab on the harness and pull it off the coil. Now you can remove the bracket from the cylinder head.

Now you will be able to remove the coil pack cover from the engine, but take care along the rear "finger" of the cover. It's very easy to break due to the clearance under the air pump bracket.

For each coil, remove the E12 Torx nut that attaches it to the cylinder head. Unplug the coil wire harness by pressing the small tab on the front and pulling the connector off.

Now simply pull the coil pack up and out of the cylinder head. All of the coils are the same, so it doesn't matter which cylinder bank it came off of - unless you are specifically trying to troubleshoot a bad coil fault code that was displayed by the main computer. You can even use the main computer to definitively isolate a bad coil pack by swapping it with another coil pack. If the fault code now presents itself on the cylinder you moved the suspected coil pack to, you know it is bad.

To remove the spark plugs, you'll need to use either a thin wall 5/8" spark plug socket or a deep 16mm socket and then use a telescoping magnet to lift the plug out once loose. You may find that it is difficult to reach the plug in cylinder number 4. You'll need to move some of the hoses slightly back to fit the tool down inside the cylinder head.

It's wise to check the condition of each plug before installing the new ones. The color of the plug is a good indicator of how the engine is running. Ideally, you want to see a slightly tan looking plug. This typically means that the engine is running well.

Install your new plugs using a torque wrench to measure the amount of torque applied to the plug. This is very important, as it is easy to over or under-tighten spark plugs. Make sure that the plug is firmly seated in your spark plug socket as it is very easy to insert the plug into the head and have it cross-thread. This means that the threads of the spark plug don't mesh properly with the ones in the head, instead choosing to "cut their own path." This damages the threads on the head, and in extreme cases, may destroy the threads in the cylinder head entirely. Trust me - you do not want this to happen. Proceed carefully and cautiously here.

Install each spark plug into the cylinder heads without using any anti-seize compound. Torque the spark plugs to 30 Nm (22 ft-lbs). Porsche published a bulletin indicating that it doesn't recommend using anti-seize compound on spark plugs for any of their engines (Porsche Technical Bulletin 9102, Group 2 identifier 2870). The bulletin applies retroactively to all models and the theory is that the anti-seize tends to act as an electrical insulator between the plug and the cylinder head. This could have detrimental effect on the firing of the spark due to the loss of a good, consistent ground connection.

With the new plugs installed and tightened to the correct torque, you can replace the coils and reattach the coil connectors. Now reattach the coil pack covers, secondary air pumps and engine covers and you're good to go.

Begin by removing the six T40 Torx screws (green arrows) that hold the secondary air pumps to the brackets mounted above the cylinder heads.
Figure 1

Begin by removing the six T40 Torx screws (green arrows) that hold the secondary air pumps to the brackets mounted above the cylinder heads. Once the bolts are removed carefully move both air pumps up above the "Porsche" scripted coil pack covers. You just need to get them out of the way so the covers can be removed.

In this article, we will first focus on the right side of the engine.
Figure 2

In this article, we will first focus on the right side of the engine. Remove the four T30 Torx screws that hold the "fingers" of the coil pack cover to the cylinder head. Once removed, carefully pull the cover up. You will have to carefully maneuver the cover up and out of the way of the air pump bracket.

Once the coil pack cover is removed, you can see all four coil packs (green arrows) on the right side of the engine.
Figure 3

Once the coil pack cover is removed, you can see all four coil packs (green arrows) on the right side of the engine.

On each coil pack, press the locking tab (green arrow) in and pull the electrical connector up and off the coil pack.
Figure 4

On each coil pack, press the locking tab (green arrow) in and pull the electrical connector up and off the coil pack. You'll also need to loosen and remove the E12 Torx retaining nut (yellow arrow) on each.

Carefully pull the coil pack up and out of the cylinder head (green arrow).
Figure 5

Carefully pull the coil pack up and out of the cylinder head (green arrow). You may find it a bit difficult to pull it out at first. The rubber seal around the outside of the coil may be holding a vacuum. You can take a small screw driver and carefully work it around the seal. Once the coil packs are removed, you'll have access to the spark plugs underneath.

It's a bit more complex to gain access to the coil packs and spark plugs on the left side of the engine.
Figure 6

It's a bit more complex to gain access to the coil packs and spark plugs on the left side of the engine. You'll need to remove the torque strut and mounting bracket between the engine and the chassis. Hold the bolt on the engine side (yellow arrow) by using a 12mm triple square socket while removing the 16mm nut on the back (green arrow). Once the nut is removed, pull the bolt out from the front.

The other side of the torque strut attaches to a bracket on the chassis.
Figure 7

The other side of the torque strut attaches to a bracket on the chassis. In thisPicture, you can just see the threads of the bolt extending past the bracket. Use a 16mm socket as shown here to remove the bolt. Now remove the torque strut.

Shown here is the torque strut removed from the car.
Figure 8

Shown here is the torque strut removed from the car. It's a good idea to inspect it when you change coil packs or spark plugs. Check to see if there are any cracks or tears in the rubber sections (green arrows) if you find any, the strut should be replaced.

You'll now need to remove the mounting bracket.
Figure 9

You'll now need to remove the mounting bracket. Begin by removing the two E10 Torx bolts (green arrows) holding the bracket at the bottom. Also remove all four of the T30 Torx screws holding the coil pack covers to the cylinder head.

Pull the coil pack cover slightly upward enough to access the two upper E12 Torx bolts (green arrows).
Figure 10

Pull the coil pack cover slightly upward enough to access the two upper E12 Torx bolts (green arrows). Remove these bolts and also the 5mm Allen head screw holding the ground connection to the bracket (yellow arrow). The electrical connector to the coil pack underneath runs over the mounting bracket. Press the locking tab on the harness and pull it off the coil. Now you can remove the bracket from the cylinder head.

Take care when removing the coil pack cover from the left side of the engine.
Figure 11

Take care when removing the coil pack cover from the passenger side of the engine. There is very little clearance to remove the farthest "finger" from under the air pump bracket. In this instance, you can see where this cover has been cracked during removal in the past (green arrow).

To remove the spark plugs, you'll need to use either a thin wall 5/8” spark plug socket or a deep 16mm socket and then use a telescoping magnet to lift the plug out once loose.
Figure 12

To remove the spark plugs, you'll need to use either a thin wall 5/8" spark plug socket or a deep 16mm socket and then use a telescoping magnet to lift the plug out once loose. You may find that it is difficult to reach the plug in cylinder number 4. You'll need to move some of the hoses slightly back to fit the tool down inside the cylinder head.

Take a note of which spark plug came out of each cylinder.
Figure 13

Take a note of which spark plug came out of each cylinder. This is an easy way to diagnose potential problems with your engine. ThisPicture shows one of the spark plugs removed with normal wear. You'll want to see a slightly tan/brown appearance on each spark plug.

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Comments and Suggestions:
bpcofny Comments: I have Cayenne 2009 Base with 30K miles. I want to replace the spark plug because of its age. Do I replace both the plu and the ignition coil at the same time? When I charge the price on the individual parts, they add up to about $500 for 6 sets, but my dealer is quoting $1500 for the job. Can I buy the spark plug and go to a third party to replace them?
September 25, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Just the plugs. The coils only need to be replaced if they fail. Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
DUCS Comments: I HAVE FAULT CODES PO 441 PURGE VALVE-GAS CAP?
P1525 -02 SENSOR? FRONT OR REAR?
PO 354 COIL?

CAN YOU HELP ME DIAGNOSE THESE CODES?
tKS dRAKE
August 21, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Start by checking the purge valve circuit and function. P1525 is a camshaft code. P0354 is a coil circuit code, check the engine wiring, if damaged it could cause all of these.- Nick at Pelican Parts  
Doug Comments: On a 08-11 CTT the engine brace is two 16mm bolts. If you dont have two 16mm sockets, a 5/8" will also work. There are no airpumps to deal with, just a small wire loom to disconnect from the dirver side rear of the engine. This little 1/4" torx driver ratchet wrench made the job 2x faster!
August 14, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for sharing your installation process and experience. These type of comments add so much to the Pelican tech community.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Bob Comments: I have a 2006 Cayenne with 3.2 engine. How do you release the coil pack connectors from the coil pack? Thanks.
July 14, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: See step 4. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Tom Comments: Attn Nick!
My 2010 cayenne s 50,000 mi has thrown a code indicating 1 coil needed replacing last month and a new one this week. Strange for low miles? Also, when the coil is bad, I can turn off the engine and restart, this usually gives me another 25 miles or so before it runs rough again. Does this indicate bad coils only or is there another issue creeping up?
June 16, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Could be a bad coil, failing due to heat. I would replace it, then change your engine oil in the case it is is diluted. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
BOOSTTT Comments: Is there a way to ohm test the coil on an 04 Cayenne Turbo? Values? Thanks
February 25, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: There is no spec I know of, plus you want to test coils when they are working, the load makes the problem show up. Test the primary signal when the engine is running. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
87 Carrera, 06 Cayenne S Comments: Great write up, I love to know what I'm in for before kicking off even a small project. A few questions below that would be very helpful.

1 with 116K on the clock, would you recommend replacing all coil packs and plugs proactively?

2 Are there any other critical torque requirements for the reinstall besides the spark plugs? Of specific concern are the E12 torx on the coil packs and anything for the the torque strut, either the bracket or strut itself?

Thanks again for help in all my fun Porsche projects.
February 11, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: 1. Not a bad idea if it is in your budget. It can help avoid and unwanted failure.

2. Yes, I don’t have that info.
I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799.- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Brian Comments: thanks for reply,I have P0308 Cylinder no. 8 misfire on Cayenne v8 2004; do I just need to change sparks plug and ignition coil or it can be other problem too/ or what elese it can be?
Also Regarding the positioning of the cylinder: P0308 Cylinder no. 8 misfire; means the one on the driver side of the car toward the rear of the car needs to be chage? according to this article
thanks again for your awesome site
Brian,
November 29, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It could be a coil or a cylinder issue. Only way to know is to check spark, fuel and compression on all cylinders.

- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Mike Comments: On the 04 turbo I also had to remove the vacuum pump to get at the tire side of the torque arm. Don't drop any bolts! spent hours fishing out the torque arm bolt.
Now that I got my misfire fixed, I need a new belt and that dang brake booster faulty repaired.
Thanks for the write up!
November 26, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Brian Comments: hi, thanks for your great article, I've a Porsche Cayenne S 2004, and I was wondering if this articles cover all the steps I need to do for my car, also if you can post a video tutorial on all these steps, it would be wonderful.
Great website again
November 19, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: This does cover 2004 models. If we get a chance to make a video, we will. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Popey620 Comments: Any differences for a Turbo or Turbo S 06?
September 18, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The engine covers are different, but the procedure is similar. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
wg Comments: any information on removing the engine cover on the 6Cl 3.6 engina
July 22, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: What vehicle do you have? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Mil Comments: Good article and I always check with your tech articles before starting any work on mine. But there is an error
in figure 11, you call it "left side of the engine". In actual fact that is the passenger side and that is always considered the right side of the vehicle. Left and right is determined by the drivers position inside the vehicle when sitting behind the steering wheel.
May 4, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes that is correct. Thank you for pointing that out. I will put in the change ASAP. - Casey at Pelican Parts  
Marco Comments: Great site for DIY.Change spark plug myself with your help and saved over $400 for Porsche dealer.thanks
March 25, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
05 Cayenne turbo Comments: Thank you for the great article!
Could you please add the gap information?
I always like to double check the factory gap just to make sure that it's okay.
March 18, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: These plugs are preset and multi-electrode, you do not check or adjust gap, so no spec is available. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Mark Comments: Excellent web site and DIY guidance: I plan to but all my parts from you guys since your web site supports home mechanics.I don't care if the prices happen to be slightly more, which yours are very fair.
Thanks, Mark
2008 cayenne turbo
October 23, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Looking forward to helping you anyway we can! - Nick at Pelican Parts  
tcooper Comments: another great how to on the Cayenne. Tool list spot on. Word of caution on the E10 torx. I purchased a small set from a local A/P store. Brand name Lisle. They make all kinds of neat tools including a set of the triple square sockets. Anyway, is has to go down in the a mount a good way and this one was a bit too fat for the hole. Figure 9 green arrows A quick trip to my local NAPA got me a slightly skinnier E10 that works great. napa p/n S38E10 NAPA also has the 12mm triple square.

Keep of the great articles they are spot-on.
July 12, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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