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Pelican Technical Article:

Spark Plug and Coil Replacement

Steve Vernon

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$20 to $160

Talent:

**

Tools:

5/8th spark plug thin wall socket and extensions

Applicable Models:

VW GTI (2006-09)

Parts Required:

Spark Plugs, coils when necessary

Hot Tip:

Tape the spark plug socket to the extension

Performance Gain:

Better mileage

Complementary Modification:

New air filter

Replacing the spark plugs on your GTI Mark V is recommended routine maintenance. Volkswagen recommends replacing the spark plugs on GTI TFSI models every 60,000 miles. With all the major engine design changes over the years, spark plugs can now last up to three times as long as they did in years past. I suggest replacing your spark plugs every three years regardless of mileage. If the last time they were serviced is unknown, replace them right away. I do NOT recommend putting anti seize on the plugs.

Changing spark plugs is one of those time-honored maintenance tasks that any self-respecting car enthusiast should do themselves. It's usually easy to do and it gives you a chance to feel like a real gear head without having to get all that dirty or spend hours writhing around on the floor of your garage.

Granted, some of today's cars are packaged so tightly that it can be very difficult to reach the plugs, and some modern cars have extremely long recommended service intervals for spark plugs, further decreasing the incentive to DIY.

In the case of the GTI engine, however, it's quite easy to change the spark plugs. That's a good thing, because turbocharged engines tend to be harder on spark plugs, particularly when increasing the boost and/or tinkering with air-fuel ratios after performance upgrades. In addition, if your turbocharged engine isn't running quite right, it is quick and relatively inexpensive to eliminate the spark plugs as a potential source of the problem through a plug change.

The GTI MkV has a coil-on-plug ignition system. All this means for the home mechanic is that the coil must be removed in order to access the spark plugs, rather than a cable running between the coil, or the distributor, and the spark plugs. Removing the coils and/or the spark plugs is necessary for some other projects, such as replacing the valve cover gasket.

One other thing you may want to consider is putting a small amount of dielectric grease on the ends of the coil pack where it attaches to the spark plug. Dielectric grease helps to keep the rubber boots from drying up and cracking. When the rubber boots crack, they can leak voltage out.

It is a very good idea to change the plugs when the engine is cold. If the engine is hot or warm the threads in the head a much more susceptible to damage from stripping or cross threading.

Begin by disconnecting the ground on the battery. Please see our article on battery maintenance and replacement.

If you do not have an aftermarket air induction system that eliminates the engine cover (red arrow) you will need to remove the cover.
Figure 1

If you do not have an aftermarket air induction system that eliminates the engine cover (red arrow) you will need to remove the cover. Please see our article on engine cover removal for additional assistance.

The spark plugs and coils for the GTI Mark V are all located on the top of the engine (red arrows).
Figure 2

The spark plugs and coils for the GTI Mark V are all located on the top of the engine (red arrows).

Begin by separating the four wiring harness connections (red arrow) from the coils (yellow arrows).
Figure 3

Begin by separating the four wiring harness connections (red arrow) from the coils (yellow arrows). Your vehicle may have screws holding the wiring harness in place (green arrows). Our project car did not, if your vehicle does remove them before disconnecting the harness. Note; some people insist on pulling up the coils before disconnecting the harness, they claim it gives you more room to work and not damage the connections. If you are having difficulty disconnecting you can try lifting the coils approximately an inch and half before disconnecting the wiring.

Set the wiring harness (red arrow) back on the heat shield plate.
Figure 4

Set the wiring harness (red arrow) back on the heat shield plate. It is next to impossible due to the nature of the harness to mix up the order, but if it makes you feel better you can number them.

Number the coils.
Figure 5

Number the coils. You do not need to number them in firing order just so that you remember what order they came out in, that way if you find any thing "funky" with the plugs you will to be able to start trouble shooting with the right coil for the plug.

Next pull the coils straight up and out of the valve cover (red arrow) while giving a slight twist.
Figure 6

Next pull the coils straight up and out of the valve cover (red arrow) while giving a slight twist. They will just "pop" out. Volkswagen makes a special coil puller but you should have no problem getting them out by hand.

Inspect each coil for any damage.
Figure 7

Inspect each coil for any damage. If you need to pry or leverage out the coils place what ever you are using to gently pry the coil with under the first ridge on the top of the coil. If you put it under a lower ridge it may deform the ridge.

Use your 5/8 thin walled spark plug socket along with a long extension and remove the plugs (red arrow).
Figure 8

Use your 5/8 thin walled spark plug socket along with a long extension and remove the plugs (red arrow). Note: when reinstalling the plugs it is always best to hand thread the plugs until you are sure they are properly seated.

Examine the plugs to for any issues with the motor.
Figure 9

Examine the plugs to for any issues with the motor. Installation is the reverse of removal.

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Page last updated: Fri 12/9/2016 02:36:38 AM