View Full Version : HCHII Spark Plugs - change interval
07-07-2009, 10:51 AM
Has anyone changed or checked their spark plugs before the maintenance minder?
I'm at 61k miles and was wondering if it was worth checking and cleaning them up to make sure I get the best FE.
Also, my dealer called me and says I should do a 60k mile service. I don't have any maintenance minder alerts and I just had their inspection/oil change/cvt fluid at 58K so I think I should be OK. Could it be that the 60k service was necessary before the newer vehicles w/ maintenance minder?
07-07-2009, 11:21 AM
"Also, my dealer called me and says I should do a 60k mile service"
You should be ok just sticking to the Maintenance Minder. They really shouldn't be doing that, but I guess it's hard to break old habits ;)
So far I've been doing a few maintenance items myself that are superfluous to MM: a yearly change of CVT fluid, and a one-time valve clearance check. That's just my choice. Other than that I more-or-less follow MM, and am getting into do more items myself.
One issue with jumping the MM times is it is hard to reset it. You pretty much have to have the prohibitively expension device they use to hook up to the car's computer, to reset individual MM items.
Regarding the plugs: they are very pricey (and there's 8!), and I believe that their price is reflected in their longevity. You could probably substitute a compatible cheaper plug, and fall back to a more traditional once a year replacement interval. But then you have more labour, more wear-and-tear on the sparplug hole threads, more expense, etc.
I'd be inclined to just stick to MM for this. The less you pull out the plugs the better. If you do pull them out don't attempt to file the center electrode if you opt to re-use, just use something like carb cleaner. There is a coating on the center electrode (iridium?), that can be taken off with rough cleaning. The service manual says a sandblast type plug cleaner can be used, but for no more than 20 seconds. Still, I'd be inclined to stick to a soaking in Carb Cleaner.
BTW: what does your dealer describe for 60k service, or is he cryptic about it?
07-07-2009, 03:55 PM
I have been told that some newer cars with their "long-life" spark plugs will sometimes have them seize after prolonged use.
It is recommended to remove and reinstall the plugs with some anti-seize compound on the threads every couple years.
This gives you the opportunity to check the gap and inspect the electrodes for signs of wear or deposit build up.
I have a low mileage HCH so don't think I need to do this for a while yet. However, at 60,000+ miles (100,000 km.) you are at least at the "half way" point so I would consider checking their condition.
If anyone has done their plugs, I would be interested to know whether there is anything special to deal with the individual high tension coils used on the HCH. As Mendel has said, there are 8 plugs (and coils)!!
07-07-2009, 05:57 PM
"It is recommended to remove and reinstall the plugs with some anti-seize compound on the threads every couple years."
That sounds like a good idea. If you have some compressed air (even a vacuum cleaner with blow function, or hair dryer), it's a good idea to back out the plugs slightly, and then blow into there before taking them right out. They are in a recessed and capped zone, but stuff can get in there.
A little more info for the Service Manual: the gap should be 1.0-1.1mm (0.039-0.043in), and should not be adjusted. Just check gap and replace if too big. The plug spec is:
ILFR6J11K (NGK) or SK20HPR-L11 (DENSO)
Slight application of anti-seize compount to threads is recommended, and then torque to:
I might have a look at ours, we're at 68,000km, and the car's around 3.5 years old. Will post with results.
07-07-2009, 07:56 PM
Ok, had a look at one of the front row plugs. Didn't look too bad, a little bit of carbon crust, that came off with carb cleaner. The gap was near the upper limit, but still ok. I reinstalled with a very thin coat of anti-seize on the threads.
For anyone thinking of doing this, you very likely will need to pull off the black steel cowl and bottom of windshield trim piece, to get at the back row of plugs. Unless you you have some sort of flexible extension. Even then I think it's worthwhile: it would be very difficult to get a torque wrench on with the cowl in place.
So, I've just left it for the weekend. It's almost supper time and I don't want to start something I might not be able to finish tonight. I've posted some info on cowl removal on my valve check thread, here:
The cowl removal is not too difficult, but not something you'd want to do that often. It's also more-or-less manditory for checking the valves, which is one practical reason why the two services are together in the maintenance instructions.
BTW: Regarding the plastic trim piece at bottom of windshield that I'm suggesting to remove, it has 3 push-in fasteners at it's front edge. The first time I removed that piece it literally took me longer to get those fasteners out intact, than the rest of the removal. They're the kind that have expansion tabs that open up on the far side of the hole they're pushed through. They are near impossible to remove without breaking. I ended up leaving them off for a while, and then I replaced them with some comparable diameter black nylon nuts and bolts (license plate bolts) I had on hand.
07-08-2009, 08:01 AM
Mendel - how many miles are on your HCHII?
I will check the service manual tonight and see how they recommend to get to the back plugs
07-08-2009, 10:35 AM
Per above, around 68,000km. the one plug I pulled so far showed:
* flat topped center electrode, no rounding
* modest build up of carbon, tan colour
* gap near upper limit, but ok
* brown discoloration of the ceramic collar, for about the first 1/4" above the metal portion, looked like a little arcing path
All in all, looked good. I just like that thought expressed above re pulling them out for a check every couple of years, and relubing with a little anti-seize.
I have the service manual: there's no description on how to access back row of plugs. Similarly for Valve Check, the description is pretty terse, no mention of cowl removal, but believe me, it's necessity.
I just worked this out, it seems the only practical way to get in there. I found guidance about cowl removal in Honda's Block Heater install instruction, which you can find in the above link. Once you've done this cowl removal once or twice, I'd say inspection of sparkplugs would be a Saturday afternoon project, taking maybe 2~3 hours.
Also, what were they trying to sell you on, for 60,000k service? just curious.
07-08-2009, 12:49 PM
They sent me a letter and left a voice mail stating the 60k service is due, but no details so I will need to call them and ask. I am going there in 2 weeks for an alignment.
I'm guessing its the items on the 2005 HCHII service schedule:
Inspect Tie Rods/Suspension
Inspect / adjust drive belts
CVT Fluid (doesn't apply since I had it done at 58k)
Brake Fluid change (says change every 3 years)
I am doing the block heater mod before this fall, so I may check the plugs when I do that
07-08-2009, 01:06 PM
Sounds like typical dealership behaviour. They're not all bad, but I don't think they like the MM much, cramps their style ;)
The block heater is a very good idea. We use ours year round (in temperate coastal climate) fwiw, mostly on a timer. It's good for the engine, gets the hybrid behaviours happening sooner, etc.
2 hours of block heater seems sufficient, any time of year. The dealer put ours in, and basically chucked the instructions as far as wiring routing, LOL. It's no big deal, though: their install works. If you do it yourself that is another time cowl removal comes in handy.
07-08-2009, 01:44 PM
Excuse the verbal barrage, just a few more thoughts about "60,000k service". We've got our share of similar notifications. I can't think of another industry with this practice. Can you imagine if you got a call or letter saying: "your house is due for it's 5 year service".
Nothing specific, just that the date/mileage rolled around, and well, we think we out to do "something", unspecified, to your car.
I don't think they like the MM. For example, I had to really argue with them, to get them to not change oil filter at Service "A". And I've taken over the fluid changes myself now, got tired of having them put in 4 liters of engine oil, when the spec. is 3.0/3.2 liters, without/with oil filter change.
07-11-2009, 01:42 PM
Ok, got the lower window trim and engine cowl off last night, but the car was warm so let it sit overnight. Things like valve checks and spark plug inspections should be done when the block is below 100F, preferably cold. I would say these trim piece removals are more-or-less manditory, for rear row spark plug access.
Before starting, turn the key to position II (just short of starting the car), turn on the wipers, and turn the key off when the wipers are at the peak. This gets them out of the way of the lower window trim.
I would suggest to replace the 3 push-in fasteners on the lower window trim, they are very difficult to remove. Black nylon license plate nut/bolts are my choice. Once those fasteners are off you can pull off the trim piece just with your hands, just go slow and easy. Before lifting it completely off and away there is a windshield washer tube that needs disconnection.
Then the metal cowl at upper back of engine compartment comes off. It has a mix of 10mm and 12mm bolts. The upper central 10mm bolt is deeply recessed but just reachable. You want to get a socket and a finger tip on it, to avoid dropping it into the engine recesses. This is just doable. Once all the bolts are removed it will likely still feel stuck. There is a neoprene gasket on it's underside that gets tacky: it just needs some gently prying.
So anyway, this morning I pulled the remaining 7 plugs out (did one the other day), checked gaps, cleaned with carburetor cleaner and a clean cloth, applied thin coat of anti-seize compound to the threads, and re-installed with 13 lb/ft torque. All the plugs looked fine, gaps ok, just a bit of build-up.
The only thing untowards I noticed, halfway through the back row I realized I was looking at Denso plugs. The first front row plug I'd checked a few days back was NGK, and I'd assumed they all were. I had taken them all out at once, arrange per initial position, and was putting them back as I cleaned them, so not sure, but I suspect the front row was NGK and the back row Denso. I'd speculate Honda has some agreement to give the two companies equal opportunity?
Anyway, things you would need for this:
* 3/8" drive with: 10mm and 12mm sockets, 3" and 6" drive extensions
* torque wrench, likely 1/2" drive with 1/2" to 3/8" adapter
* 5/8" spark plug socket (long socket with the rubber insert to grip the plug)
* carburetor cleaner
* wire gap gauge
* anti-seize compound
* clean cloths (flannel diapers or old flannel sheets are good)
It 's a good idea to have some way of blowing air. I have an old, beater vacuum that can blow. I gave the whole area a dusting. And then, when each spark plug was half backed out, I put a bulb blower with a straw extension down in there, and tried to blow out what might be lurking.
Caution: do not scrape or file these spark plugs. They have a thin coating that can easily be taken off. Only use Carb Cleaner. Also, do not adjust the gap, just check it. Last but not least, when handling the plugs be careful, maybe work over a chunk of carpet. They're $12~20 each, you don't want to drop them, especially on to unforgiving concrete.
07-11-2009, 09:18 PM
Thanks for such detailed info. Very interesting that they used two types of plugs. It would be interesting to see if all of the HCHII's have both. I will check mine soon.
Also, its good to put dielectric grease where the plug meets the coils/cables. It helps with the connection and future removal
07-12-2009, 12:37 AM
Regarding the dielectric grease: when handling the removed plugs the ceramic felt too slick/smooth, if that makes any sense. Nothing noticeable like dielectric grease, but maybe a thin spray of silicone had been applied.
07-12-2009, 11:15 AM
This is excellent advice and sometimes creates a bigger potential problem. Thanks for the details........
"Caution: do not scrape or file these spark plugs. They have a thin coating that can easily be taken off. Only use Carb Cleaner."
01-11-2010, 10:38 PM
I changed my plugs at 60,000 miles. they had both mfg's plugs (NGK in front, Denso in back). I could not get NGKs, so all are now Denso. I have 112,000 miles now and had not had any particular issues. I asked the dealer if the were of a different heat range or some other quality that would necessitate the identical replacment as per the originals. He said all they know is you can use either.
Removal is not hard. I used 2 - 3" extensions and a plug socket. on the back bank I had the socket and one extension. I put it down the plug well and when it was close to being completely in I added the second extension. when it made contact with the plug I had enough room to connect the ratchet. Removal was just the opposite.
01-12-2010, 02:13 PM
I have 3" and 6" extensions, in 3/8" drive size. I believe I used only the 6" for getting at the plugs.
Interesting that you also had one bank of each brand. Looks like either will do.
01-18-2010, 10:36 AM
I just checked the price for plugs at this site:
I feel the price is very reasonable considerding that I paid over $17.00 per plug a couple of years ago.
01-19-2010, 01:46 PM
When cleaning iridium plugs it is best to use electrical contact cleaner. It does a better job than carb cleaner and does not harm the iridium coating.
01-19-2010, 02:41 PM
Are you saying carb cleaner might harm coatings, or it's just not as good a cleaner?
01-19-2010, 03:13 PM
I'm saying it is a better cleaner for the spark plug and it does not harm the iridium. I do not think the carb cleaner will harm the plug.
09-29-2010, 03:42 PM
Has anyone noticed any differences in construction or performance between the two OEM spark plugs? Denso makes more high-tech claims, but I don't know if they're relevant.
NGK Laser Iridium, PN ILFR6J-11K, plug gap .044", 0.8mm center electrode
Honda PN 12290-RMX-013
Denso Iridium Long Life, PN SK20HPR-L11, plug gap .044", 0.7mm center electrode
Honda PN 12290-RMX-014
08-21-2011, 10:37 AM
I changed all 8 plugs yesterday at 93k miles. They didn't look too bad. I was able to get the back 4 plugs out without removing anything. I just used a socket extension and a 4 way 'swivel' attachment to a socket wrench.
08-21-2011, 12:49 PM
Thanks for the info on not having to remove all that plastic to get at the plugs. H
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