993 VarioRam Spark Plug Wire R&R DIY
(In the scale level of 1-10 10
Information contributed by Bruce
Bruce: "I have done plug wires a few times now on 993's, and I always buy
the wires made by STI. They are a premium wire, and best of all, they come
with all of the brackets and grommets pre-installed. It's a huge timesaver
since you don't have to transfer the brackets, grommets, etc. They look
exactly like the factory wires. Also, I don't usually remove the "gizmo".
Rather I just snake the wires out around behind it". -Bruce
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Tools you'll need:
- Phillips screwdrivers: Stubby, regular,
and ideally a LONG one too
- A ratcheting screwdriver ()
or a 1/4" wrench, a Phillips screw tip, and some duct tape. NOTE: the
angle of the wrench 'handle' relative to the screwtip. You don't want
the handle angling up, but rather down.
- Single-edged razor blade
- Some way of labeling each plug wire -
pen & tape, label maker, whatever. So long as they won't fall off! I
used a Dymo label maker, and stapled the labels tight after folding them
around each wire
- Usual assortment of metric sockets,
DIY on changing the spark plugs; this simply leverages off that
information. In particular, I followed Robin's plug instructions
completely, especially w. respect to the removal of the right muffler &
engine shroud/clutch tube, before starting on the wires on the right
bank of the engine.
Preface: the engine cylinders are
numbered starting from the driver's side, rear of the car, 1-2-3 up the
left (driver's side) bank, from rear bumper towards the front, and then
4-5-6 are right (passenger's) side, again rear towards the front. The
factory has a separate part number for each plug wire for good reason -
each one is a different length. I used the same labeling scheme for the
existing wires as the factory part numbers: 01 - 06 for the intake side
(top) wires, and 11 - 16 for the exhaust (bottom) wires. You'll want to
label *both* the existing wires, and the new ones immediately upon
removing each one out of its plastic bag.
Preface #2: This whole procedure
will be a lot easier on your back if you jack the rear (and only the rear)
of the car up, even when you're only working on the top of the motor.
Remove the entire air intake box on the
right side - not just the cover, but the intake air filter & the housing
it lives in. The cover is only retained by the two snaps on the front;
getting the rest of the airbox housing off is easy once you know the
trick. The back of the airbox has a couple of 'hook' shapes cast into the
back, around the opening that the air flow sensor (AFS) pokes through. The
AFS has corresponding projections that'll rotate into those hooks --
basically, a bayonet-style connection. Since the airbox doesn't have room
to rotate, you have to loosen the AFS' hose clamp on its inboard side so
that *it* can do the rotating to disengage that bayonet connection.
(From Mike Juzenas:)
- Undo the top bolt on the front of the air
- Squeeze your hand over the top of the
manifold, between the ISV and the airbox, and unscrew/unplug the wires
plugged into the air flow sensor
- Loosen the clamp on the inboard side of the
air sensor. This takes a very long Phillips screwdriver (10" shaft or
longer) and good eyesight but you should be able to see it over the top of
the Varioram body. Thankfully, this is one hose clamp where the screw is
oriented in a usable direction. A flashlight is a big help here. Loosen it
just enough to rotate the air mass sensor
- Squeeze your hand back in there between the
top of the manifold and the sound insulation, grab the air sensor and
rotate the top towards the front of the car. You need to rotate it until
the air box comes loose.
There is a ~1.5" diameter black rubber hose
that connects to the back side of the airbox, between the #4 and #5 intake
runners; disconnect it at * both* ends & remove it.
Remove all the black plastic HVAC plumbing
on the left side of the engine - it's only about four bolts & a hose clamp
or two. You do need to remove the circular black heater fan & connected
ductwork - it's only secured by two bolts on the left side, easily
accessible. You'll have tons o' room on both sides of the intake manifold
when you get all this stuff out of the way. As an aside, this is a great
time to replace the shocks that hold up the engine lid. I recommend using
needle nose visegrips to remove & replace the clips that hold the pins in;
less chance of losing the clips by accident.
There is a small black gizmo clipped to
a cross-brace between the intake runners for cylinders 1 & 2, with an
electrical plug on top & some vacuum lines below. Unplug the wires from
the top, slide the assembly up & off the cross-brace, and tuck it out of
the way. I didn't disconnect any of the vacuum lines from it. It's hard
to see in the picture below, but you can see the location of my hand;
also note the labeling of the plug wires. This is before I noticed them
losing adhesion & falling off; I went back & popped a staple through
each one to make sure they didn't come off again. The '1A' label is
attached to the wires that came off the assembly I'm removing here. Why
'1A'? Didn't know what else to call it... gizmo?
Okay, to actually remove the old wires
your hands & wrists can't be too big, and it helps if you don't have any
claustrophobic tendencies :-) There are two clamps, four screws total,
securing the wires to the back of the fan shroud. Snake your left hand
between the #1 & 2 intake runners, then hand yourself the stubby
phillips screwdriver. There will be enough room to use it on this side,
so enjoy it while you can. Thankfully, the screws aren't super tight so
you don't need a lot of leverage/muscle. I call this the Vario-Reach:
Extricate yourself & massage your hand
for a bit.
Now, snake your right hand between the
#5 & 6 intake runners on the right side of the engine. Hand yourself the
ratcheting screwdriver, or the cobbled-together masterpiece described
above. The only room you really have for your right hand is to hold the
tool in place on the screw. I would orient the tool pointing the handle
towards myself, and poke my left fingers through the gap between fan
shroud & intake to rotate the screwdriver 90 degrees. Patience is the
key here; just keep repeating to yourself, "I don't have to remove the
intake, I don't have to remove the intake, life is good..."
central idea here is that because all three intake plug wires are
connected together with clamps to keep them organized, (and ditto for
the three exhaust plug wires), you need to remove all three wires from
the engine as a set, *clamps intake*, then transfer the new wires into
the same set of clamps, CAREFULLY maintaining the spacing between each
connector. Below is the old wire/connector set for the right-side
exhaust plugs. There are four clamps keeping the wires parallel, plus a
soft rubber guide for where the wires pass through the engine shroud.
Note that the old wires are labeled; the three new wires are still in
bags & haven't been labeled yet.
Now the new wires are labeled, and the
four clamps transferred onto them. Note that the distance between clamps
is NOT the same for each wire! They are different between some of the
clamps because of the curved path that the harness takes around the back
of the fan shroud. You want to really take your time with this, and get
the clamps spaced exactly right, wire by wire. Fishing the assembly in &
out of the engine is not something you want to do over & over again till
you get the spacing just right. The soft rubber guide has to be cut off
the old wires & slid onto the new ones - a nice new, sharp single edge
razor blade goes through it 'like buddah'
Additional note added
March 28,2003 from chris byles
Regarding the re-installation of the large rubber grommet that is on the
bottom wires which does NOT have to be cut to be installed on the new
wires. You can actually unscrew the plug boots from the plug wires. When
this is done you can slide the wires through the grommet, then
reinstall the wires. The allows for a cleaner install and keeps the
integrity of grommet
That's the highlights. You get extra
points for not having any pieces left over after reassembly.
to buy parts for this project?
Click here to order!