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(Post Link) post #1 of 5 Old 16-08-11 Thread Starter
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Help! Broken spark plug

Changing the plugs, one of them broke and a piece of the white porcelain on the plug has fallen through the hole where the plug sits into the combustion chamber. It's about half an inch long by a quarter of an inch wide and I can see it on the top of the piston.

I really do not want to have to remove the head and am looking for ideas.

I am considering turning the crankshaft manually (does anyone know whether a standard 19mm socket will fit it?) to raise the piston and hopefully get a thin hoover extension in the plug hole to suck out the offending piece of debris. The hole is that of the larger plug on the cylinder nearest the driverís side. Is that number 1 cylinder? Would turning the crank to the Top Dead Centre marking on the crank wheel raise the piston on this cylinder to maximum height?

Any other ideas? Thanks
robbo400 is offline  
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A piece of wire. Form a loop at the end and encase in blu-tak ( the loop ensures the blu-tak remains stuck to the wire and won't fall off ). Put wire through hole, ceramic sparkplug debris sticks to blu-tak. Withdraw.

EDIT : Match ceramic you've retrieved to the remains of the spark plug to ensure you have all the bits and there isn't anymore lurking out of sight in the cylinder.
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yea turn the engine until you can see the plug fragment. use a thin tube connected to the hoover to pick the fragment up and hopefully get it out, then using the thin tube hoover any debris out.. good luck..
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(Post Link) post #4 of 5 Old 30-08-11 Thread Starter
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After 3 hours of strategising and swearing, I got the offending piece of plug out of the combustion chamber on Sunday - phew!

In case this happens to anyone else, you might find the following useful:

1. The blu-tak idea suggested by pkr is definitely the best place to start. It would have worked great except that the piece to be pulled out was wider than the hole. So, the blu-tak on wire grabbed hold of it but could get it through the plug hole.

2. I got it out by hoover. You need to put a piece of plastic tubing on the end of the extension and slice it with a knife at an angle so the the opening is as wise as possible.

3. Put in the other spark plug on the cylinder as the vacuum created increases the suction power of the hoover.

4. You need to raise the piston but not to maximum height as this restricts access and movement of the hoover tube.

5. I could not find a socket to turn the cambelt from the bottom pulley. It seems to be somewhere between 18mm and 19mm. Instead, I turned it clockwise from inside the cambelt cover on the cog nearest the front of the car. So taking the wheel and the inner guard may have been a waste of time but it served as a good check seeing where I was compared to TDC marking.

Overall, what a complete waste of time caused by me not being careful enough when I took out the plug. Still, I consider myself lucky that I didn't have to take off the head.
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Well done and thanks for the tips! Hope this doesn't happen to me.

Dropped a bolt down the crack next to the macpherson strut the other day... fell into the rats nest of wires/pipes and I never saw it again
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