Spark plug electrode broke off inside engine!! Advice needed! - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 19 Old 02-10-2015, 02:27 PM Thread Starter
jtstaggs0811
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Spark plug electrode broke off inside engine!! Advice needed!

Went to change the plugs and coil on my 2000 Jeep Wrangler 6 cyl 4.0 and found that the entire electrode nipple had broken at its base and is in my engine. Halfway through taking the engine apart (just before taking Exhaust/Intake manifold bolts out) I had a conversation with a mechanic of 25 years tell me to stop and just put it back together. He claims that 9/10 times the 1600 degree plus combustion chamber will just disintegrate the piece and harmlessly go out the pipes. Has anyone heard of this? It sounds too good to be true and I'm skeptical but at the same time I'm no expert mechanic and I'd rather not take my cylinder head off if I can help it.

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post #2 of 19 Old 02-10-2015, 03:04 PM
Jeepsr4me
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take a small hose that will fit in the hole and put the shop vac on the other end to suck it up and hold on while you pull it out. could rotate that piston so its closer to the top where you can get at it easier..


Gonna have to figure out how to get a good seal on the hose...
metal bouncing around in a engine is NO GOOD,. DO NOT LISTEN TO THAT advice you got... If the metal gets stuck under the valve t will destroy the seat and may ben the valve..
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post #3 of 19 Old 02-10-2015, 03:05 PM
TJ4Jim
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Was it already broken or did it break while being removed.
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post #4 of 19 Old 02-10-2015, 03:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtstaggs0811 View Post
Went to change the plugs and coil on my 2000 Jeep Wrangler 6 cyl 4.0 and found that the entire electrode nipple had broken at its base and is in my engine. Halfway through taking the engine apart (just before taking Exhaust/Intake manifold bolts out) I had a conversation with a mechanic of 25 years tell me to stop and just put it back together. He claims that 9/10 times the 1600 degree plus combustion chamber will just disintegrate the piece and harmlessly go out the pipes. Has anyone heard of this? It sounds too good to be true and I'm skeptical but at the same time I'm no expert mechanic and I'd rather not take my cylinder head off if I can help it.
If that were true, what keeps the electrode nipple from melting off the spark plug to begin with?

I call that myth busted.
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post #5 of 19 Old 02-10-2015, 03:58 PM
Jerry Bransford
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeepsr4me View Post
take a small hose that will fit in the hole and put the shop vac on the other end to suck it up and hold on while you pull it out. could rotate that piston so its closer to the top where you can get at it easier..


Gonna have to figure out how to get a good seal on the hose...
metal bouncing around in a engine is NO GOOD,. DO NOT LISTEN TO THAT advice you got... If the metal gets stuck under the valve t will destroy the seat and may ben the valve..
X2, just duct tape the hose to the shopvac hose.

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post #6 of 19 Old 02-10-2015, 04:02 PM
BigRodney
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I saw one of those camera probes at Home Depot the other day for a little over $100 as I recall. You might be able to rent one. If you looked in there you would be able to see if there was any of it left in there and also if any damage was done. If it came off a while ago it might be beat and burned to nothing by now.
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post #7 of 19 Old 02-10-2015, 04:44 PM
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I'd need to see the spark plug first, but if it was just the ground electrode that broke off there are options and old mechanic guy is not as stupid as he sounds.

First, of course it is safer to remove it via a magnet or vacuum or engine tear down. I do not question that.

But, I have seen two instances where the ground electrode has broken off and the owner of the vehicle and mechanic have decided to "roll the dice"

What you do is snap the throttle - so you flip the throttle open let the engine come near redline and then let the revs fall, do it three or four times in quick succession.
Both times I have witnessed this it worked and the electrode passed into the exhaust.

For the record, I would not do that to my own vehicle.
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post #8 of 19 Old 02-10-2015, 07:46 PM
2jhanna
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Harbor Freight also have the fiber optic inspection cameras.

And the vacuum trick may work.

I am multi-talented, I can talk and piss you off at the same time.

jhanna
denton county, tx
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post #9 of 19 Old 02-10-2015, 08:14 PM
mrblaine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtstaggs0811 View Post
Went to change the plugs and coil on my 2000 Jeep Wrangler 6 cyl 4.0 and found that the entire electrode nipple had broken at its base and is in my engine. Halfway through taking the engine apart (just before taking Exhaust/Intake manifold bolts out) I had a conversation with a mechanic of 25 years tell me to stop and just put it back together. He claims that 9/10 times the 1600 degree plus combustion chamber will just disintegrate the piece and harmlessly go out the pipes. Has anyone heard of this? It sounds too good to be true and I'm skeptical but at the same time I'm no expert mechanic and I'd rather not take my cylinder head off if I can help it.
No it won't disintegrate but as to the "blip the throttle" gamble and see if it will pass on through, unless you broke it upon removal which will be easy to see, you rolled those dice a long time ago.

The only reason you're taking it apart is to see how many marks are on the piston.

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post #10 of 19 Old 02-16-2015, 07:45 AM Thread Starter
jtstaggs0811
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Thanks guys. My circumstance wasn't going to allow me to take it apart and I could find a shop vac. It was the entire electrode nipple (Bosch Platinum, STAY AWAY) so it wasn't magnetic. It had broke off on its own before removal. Wish I had taken a picture but basically look at the end of a spark plug and you can see how the nipple goes down into the recess of the plug and my piece broke all the way at the base. And obviously these plugs had been in for a very long time. I bought the Jeep a year ago and was told it had been serviced. Lesson learned service your new used car anyways.

So I rolled the dice and let her run for about 30 minutes. It for sure had a couple instances where the piece got lodged somewhere and would kill the engine but in the end I revved it up quite a bit and listened to it roll around in the motor. Sounded no worse than a bad lifter. In the end though it did disintegrate and blow out of the exhaust or possibly a smaller piece made it to the oil pan. I feel like it did break up because the pavement under my tail pipe got sprayed black during the process.

I guess as far as the why the spark plugs ends don't do this you got me. But this did work. However 48 hours later I have a cylinder 5 misfire. Most likely will find that that piece hit my sparkplug. If not I will end up with separate issue.
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post #11 of 19 Old 02-16-2015, 08:48 AM
chris142
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtstaggs0811 View Post
Thanks guys. My circumstance wasn't going to allow me to take it apart and I could find a shop vac. It was the entire electrode nipple (Bosch Platinum, STAY AWAY) so it wasn't magnetic. It had broke off on its own before removal. Wish I had taken a picture but basically look at the end of a spark plug and you can see how the nipple goes down into the recess of the plug and my piece broke all the way at the base. And obviously these plugs had been in for a very long time. I bought the Jeep a year ago and was told it had been serviced. Lesson learned service your new used car anyways.

So I rolled the dice and let her run for about 30 minutes. It for sure had a couple instances where the piece got lodged somewhere and would kill the engine but in the end I revved it up quite a bit and listened to it roll around in the motor. Sounded no worse than a bad lifter. In the end though it did disintegrate and blow out of the exhaust or possibly a smaller piece made it to the oil pan. I feel like it did break up because the pavement under my tail pipe got sprayed black during the process.

I guess as far as the why the spark plugs ends don't do this you got me. But this did work. However 48 hours later I have a cylinder 5 misfire. Most likely will find that that piece hit my sparkplug. If not I will end up with separate issue.
Hopefully thats all it is. More likely it bent the exhaust valve. Could not find a shop vac? Any hardware store, auto parts store, Big lots would have one at a reasonable price.

Id rather spend $40-$80 on a shop vac than $200-$600 to remove the head . After you sucked the parts out of the cyl you could move on to the carpets.
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post #12 of 19 Old 02-16-2015, 10:26 AM
Jerry Bransford
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I would have found/borrowed some sort of a vacuum cleaner somewhere to try to suck that piece out, it didn't need to be a shopvac.

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post #13 of 19 Old 02-16-2015, 10:55 AM
Jeepsr4me
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If its the porcelain part only then you may have got lucky,... its rather fragile and will break up the few times it bounces off the piston at speed.
But its pieces logged right into the catalytic convertors and have started a hot spot that can later start stopping up..

Rather foolish to just do things like this, when a home vac or even a pipe cleaner with some sticky stuff on it could have fished that piece out EASY.... turn the engine by the crank bolt till that piston all the way up top and poke the cleaner in there.

The fact you say the engine shut off is CRAZY,..... Could have even left that spark plug out and let the air blow the piece out that hole before i would have sealed it up and let it rip... Cause as is it may have destroyed the NEW plug you just poked in there...
.
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post #14 of 19 Old 02-17-2015, 08:17 AM
oakmckinley
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I'm confused as to how this happened? In design the electrode runs through the spark plug?



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post #15 of 19 Old 02-17-2015, 11:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtstaggs0811 View Post

So I rolled the dice and let her run for about 30 minutes. It for sure had a couple instances where the piece got lodged somewhere and would kill the engine but in the end I revved it up quite a bit and listened to it roll around in the motor. Sounded no worse than a bad lifter. In the end though it did disintegrate and blow out of the exhaust or possibly a smaller piece made it to the oil pan. I feel like it did break up because the pavement under my tail pipe got sprayed black during the process.

I guess as far as the why the spark plugs ends don't do this you got me. But this did work. However 48 hours later I have a cylinder 5 misfire. Most likely will find that that piece hit my sparkplug. If not I will end up with separate issue.
You need to pull up a schematic of how a internal combustion engine works.

1. If you had been running the engine with a broken plug, you would have a serious miss and probably a CEL.

2. The piece could not make it to the oil pan without knocking a hole in the piston.

3. The piece is not going to migrate to another cylinder, if it made it past the exhaust valve without damaging it, it will be blown out the exhaust or lodged in a cat / muffler.

4. if you were going to run it, your best bet is to take out the plugs and crank the engine over to blow it out the spark plug hole. Less risk of damaging the valves.
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