Socket Stuck in Spark Plug Tube

Discussion in '2005 - 2015 Toyota Tacoma' started by watsino, Jun 30, 2020.

  1. watsino

    watsino New Member

    Never use a 11/16" socket to pull a spark plug. I know, why would you even use one.

    Well, I was removing the plugs for the first time at 80,000 miles after I read the maintenance schedule. Had my truck on a 8 yr warranty so took it to Toyota for all work until then. Realized that they never changed the plugs and decided to do it myself. I changed out my wife's TSX just before with no issues. Got to the Tacoma and the plug came off the seat really easily (didn't think much of it initially). After about 3 turns it got harder and harder. Used a little WD-40, got easier and another 3 turns or so. Then it got really hard. Decided to read up and got some PB Blaster. That made it much easier initially. With having to move the socket between the 3 holes checked my socket set and had a long 11/16" that fit up with a new plug well. I dropped it in the tube and was able to turn the plug, so game on. Kept turning back/forth with resistance but went slowly to not strip the threads. Got 2 of them out but the front passenger got so hard i couldn't turn it and soon realized couldn't get the socket out....

    Decided to punt and have it towed to a nearby shop (Firestone). They seemed confident they could get it out. A week later they call back saying they tried everything and felt uncomfortable going further. Reach out to the dealer and they were zero help. Ask some friends about who a good Toyota person is and take it to their shop (ex Toyota mechanic 20+ years). He spends all day on it, ends up trying to grind it out with no luck...

    He tells me I will need an Engine replacement, gonna be about 4-5K and get a 100+K mile motor from a wreck... Insurance won't cover it because it wasn't an 'accident'. I call around to some work buddies that are machinists and they have a few ideas. Drag it over to their 'shop' and he does some magic with an impact hammer and some snap on tools.

    So, $200 to the first shop for 4 hours because he "felt bad". $700 to the 2nd shop for a 'full days work' and $250 is all the last guy charged me. Probably most expensive spark plug change ever...

    Attached Files:

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  3. TacoKen

    TacoKen Well-Known Member

    That's so crazy but stuff like this happens. Thanks for sharing.
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  4. B.C.

    B.C. Well-Known Member

    That is just wild.
    Did it crack and expand in size?

    I probably would have tried cooling the socket with some dry ice to make it contract a last resort, take the head off and finish unscrewing the spark plug from the bottom, then use a punch and try knocking it out. Replacing the entire engine is an odd suggestion for anyone to say.
    Absolutely last resort for me would be to try and get the socket back down as far as possible and then use a dremel grinding tool on a long shaft and remove a small amount of material where the socket got stuck, and just keep taking a tiny bit off till the socket came out.
    tooter likes this.
  5. OP

    watsino New Member

    The 2nd mechanic tried the dremel tool on a long shaft (that is the large cut you see in the picture. He couldn't get far enough down to the bottom where he thought it was snug.

    I don't think it cracked and expanded. I think there was only ~1/16" clearance and eventually the slight angle of repose pushed against the wall. I made the mistake of getting it stuck where it wouldn't rotate either way. First mechanic free'd it up with a breaker bar but was suprised when it wouldn't come up. I still don't get how it would rotate and not come up... Anyways, just wanted to share my horror story so others wouldn't make the same mistake.

    As for coming from the bottom they claimed that couldn't be done on this 1GRFE engine. I am not a mechanic so was relying on the "experts"
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  6. B.C.

    B.C. Well-Known Member

    Try dry ice if something like this ever happens again. It instantly cools steel, and that causes it to shrink.
    tooter likes this.
  7. TacoKen

    TacoKen Well-Known Member

    or, try heating the head to expand the metal around the socket.
    B.C. and tooter like this.
  8. B.C.

    B.C. Well-Known Member

    Just be really careful doing this.
    tooter likes this.
  9. Scott Wyman

    Scott Wyman Well-Known Member

    That's just freaking crazy.
    B-Man, B.C. and tooter like this.

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