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DIY: How to Replace Your Diesel Glow Plugs
Diesel engines do not have spark plugs or ignition system of any kind. So it is up to the glow plugs to get it going when the engine is cold or it's cold out.
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Before You Start:

  • Follow these instructions carefully. Read and be sure you understand them before you begin.
  • Gather together all of your tools and supplies before you begin. Allow plenty of time to do the job so you don't have to hurry.
  • Remember that these are general instructions. For more detailed instructions pertaining to your specific vehicle, consult an appropriate repair manual.
  • Safety is important whenever you're working around machinery. Beware of hot objects, sharp instruments and hazardous materials.
  • Don't substitute tools unless you're sure you won't compromise either your safety or the performance of your vehicle.
  • Since there may be fuel and fuel vapors present, do not smoke or allow open flames or sparks in the work area. It would be a really good idea to have a fire extinguisher rated for gasoline fires handy as well.
  • Never work on a vehicle that is only supported by a jack. Use jack stands to support the vehicle while you work. Work on a solid, level surface. Never jack a car up on dirt or grass.

Okay, lets do it!

  1. Remove the valve cover (Ford or if required).
  2. Remove what's needed to gain access to the glow plugs.
  3. Disconnect the electrical connector and remove the intake manifold glow plug from the cylinder head.
  4. Using a deep socket or combination wrench, remove the glow plug from the cylinder head.
  5. Screw the glow plug reamer into the glow plug opening all the way in then out.
  6. Install the new glow plug.
  7. Reconnect the connector to the glow plug terminal.
  8. Replace the valve cover with a new gasket (if required).
  9. Reinstall anything removed for glow plug access.

That's it! It is as simple as replacing a spark plug. On some engines it will take about an hour, on others it may take up to five hours, depending on what is in the way, or in the case of some Ford diesels, valve cover removal. A good project for a Saturday and you won't have to worry about your diesel not starting when it starts to get cold again.

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Additional information provided courtesy of ALLDATA

© 2003 - 2004 Vincent T. Ciulla

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