Toyota Tundra Spark Plugs | Iridium Spark Plugs Replacement

Updated on March 21, 2016

Introduction

This guide is specific to 2004-2006 model year Toyota Tundra V8 engines but can also serve as a general guide to how to change spark plugs in most vehicles. The tips, tricks, and pitfalls to avoid apply to just about any vehicle. I've tried to make this as basic as possible so that someone who has never changed spark plugs can use it as a guide.

Changing your spark plugs is something that can easily be done on a Tundra with minimal tools necessary and should save you quite a bit of money over a shop or dealer install. It should only take about an hour or less depending on how fast you work.

Service Interval And Plugs

The 2004 and earlier Tundras typically use a standard tip spark plug that has a 30,000 mile life span [lookup owners manual type recommendation].

The 2005 and forward models typically use a iridium tip plug that has a service interval of 100,000 miles. I replaced the original OE "regular" plugs on my 2004 Tundra with nicer iridium plugs since it's relatively inexpensive upgrade over the normal non-iridium spark plugs (8 plugs costs less that a tank of gas).

Precautions

Change spark plugs ONLY when your engine is completely cool

  • The threads in the cylinder heads expand and contract at different rates from those on the spark plugs. This can cause problems extracting/inserting the plugs.

Always use a small bit of anti-seize on the threads of the spark plugs

  • This will help to avoid the plugs ever becoming fused in the cylinder heads.

When inserting spark plugs, thread them in by hand

  • (or by hand with a ratchet extension bar) Tighten carefully according the spec from the spark plug manufacturer or your engine spec. Do NOT use an air ratchet or other automatic tool.

Make sure no dirt falls into your cylinders through the spark plug hole

  • When removing the old spark plugs, be careful not to let any loose dirt or debris fall into the holes once the spark plug is removed.

The tools, from left to right: bottle of anti-seize lubricant, a 10mm socket, a 5/8 inch spark plug socket, a 3/8 drive ratchet with a 5 inch extension bar, and a spark plug gap tool coin.
The tools, from left to right: bottle of anti-seize lubricant, a 10mm socket, a 5/8 inch spark plug socket, a 3/8 drive ratchet with a 5 inch extension bar, and a spark plug gap tool coin.
Head on look at a spark plug socket.  Notice the rubber insert inside that grips the plug to extract it and lower it back in without the plug falling into the plug tube.
Head on look at a spark plug socket. Notice the rubber insert inside that grips the plug to extract it and lower it back in without the plug falling into the plug tube.
A bottle of anti-seize lubricant.  Adding this to the spark plug threads will ensure your plugs can be easily removed the next time you change plugs and you don't strip your engine block threads.
A bottle of anti-seize lubricant. Adding this to the spark plug threads will ensure your plugs can be easily removed the next time you change plugs and you don't strip your engine block threads.
View of the passenger side engine block.  The 4 black caps are the spark plug coils.
View of the passenger side engine block. The 4 black caps are the spark plug coils.
View of the driver side engine block, 4 more black cap covered plug coils.  A bit more crowded on this side with some hoses and the oil cap creating some clutter.
View of the driver side engine block, 4 more black cap covered plug coils. A bit more crowded on this side with some hoses and the oil cap creating some clutter.
Close up of the plug coils.
Close up of the plug coils.
Use the 10mm socket to remove the hex nut holding on one of the plug coils.  Turn toward the left to loosen.
Use the 10mm socket to remove the hex nut holding on one of the plug coils. Turn toward the left to loosen.
The long spark plug coil removed.  They are quite long which is why you need a 5 or 6" ratchet extension to get all the way to the plug.
The long spark plug coil removed. They are quite long which is why you need a 5 or 6" ratchet extension to get all the way to the plug.
Looking into the plug tube ... the spark plug is all the way down in there.
Looking into the plug tube ... the spark plug is all the way down in there.
Now with a 5" extension bar and the 5/8" spark plug socket, fit the socket over the plug and turn left to loosen.  Continue loosening until the plug is free, it should be stuck in the socket and easily removable.
Now with a 5" extension bar and the 5/8" spark plug socket, fit the socket over the plug and turn left to loosen. Continue loosening until the plug is free, it should be stuck in the socket and easily removable.
Checking the gap on the plug with the gap coin tool.
Checking the gap on the plug with the gap coin tool.
Reading the gap measurement on the plug.  The gap should be .032 inches.  Check your owners manual for your exact gap spec.
Reading the gap measurement on the plug. The gap should be .032 inches. Check your owners manual for your exact gap spec.
Prepping the plug to go back in, notice the silver anti seize lubricant applied to the threads.  Do not use too much, a little goes a long way.  Apply to the threads ONLY ... make sure not to get any on the electrode.
Prepping the plug to go back in, notice the silver anti seize lubricant applied to the threads. Do not use too much, a little goes a long way. Apply to the threads ONLY ... make sure not to get any on the electrode.
With the plug back in the socket, re-insert the plug into the tube and gently re-thread it into the block by hand.  Do not use the ratchet initially, just run it in by hand so you don't damage the threads.
With the plug back in the socket, re-insert the plug into the tube and gently re-thread it into the block by hand. Do not use the ratchet initially, just run it in by hand so you don't damage the threads.
Thread the spark plug in by hand until hand tight.  Use the ratchet to torque the plug in by turning 1/2 a turn past hand tight.  If using a torque wrench torque to 13 ft lbs.
Thread the spark plug in by hand until hand tight. Use the ratchet to torque the plug in by turning 1/2 a turn past hand tight. If using a torque wrench torque to 13 ft lbs.

Tools

Typically all you will need is a 3/8" drive ratchet, a 5" ratchet extension bar, a 10mm socket, and a 5/8 inch spark plug socket. See the photos at right for more details.

Procedure

Since a picture is worth 1000 words just follow along with the photos and captions at right, the process is the same for each cylinder but essentially the process is:

  1. Check and adjust the gap on your new spark plugs
  2. Apply a small amount of anti-seize to the threads (only) of the new plugs.
  3. Use the 10mm socket to remove the hex nut from the spark plug coil and remove the coil.
  4. Using the ratchet, extension bar, and 5/8" spark plug socket turn the spark plug to the left to loosen and remove the old spark plug (again take care to clean any dirt that might fall into the cylinder head BEFORE doing this).
  5. Insert the new plug tightly into the 5/8" socket so that it will not fall out, insert the plug back into the cylinder head thread using only the extension bar and hand tighten.
  6. Once hand tight, use the ratchet to to about 1/2 turn further or 13 ft lbs of torque if using a torque wrench to fully tighten the spark plug.
  7. Re-insert the ignition coil and tighten the 10mm hex bolt securely.
  8. Repeat for each cylinder until finished!

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