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Well, You do not have to remove the Intake Manifold (at least not on my 90 Ranger), but it is very difficult to get at two of the plugs that are under the manifold. I usually end up using a Universal joint between the Spark Plug Socket and the 10" extension that is attached to the ratchet. Some Spark Plug Sockets have a Universal Joint Attached to them (I like these better).
Anyhow, If it is like mine you may need a pair of long Needlenose pliers (maybe 12" length) to reach in and remove the wires from the plugs. Be careful and try to rotate the wire on the plug to break it free, then carefully pull on the wire as you rotate it (that reminds me to buy a good spark plug wire removal tool). I also remove the alternator; this allows me to access the front plug and gives me a bit more room to see what I'm doing.
Using the ratchet & socket, I reach in between the Intake Manifold runners to remove one of the difficult plugs (3rd one back from the front). To reach the furthest plug I remove the pipe that connects the EGR Valve to the Exhaust; I do this at the Exhaust because I cannot get a wrench to turn at the EGR Valve End of things.
Then I unplug anything that is in the way of the EGR Valve and I remove both EGR Valve Bolts and the valve from the engine. This allows me a little space between the engine & firewall so that I can get the back plug out. This all takes me alot of time (I usually spend 3-4 hours changing plugs & sometimes wires too), one of my problems is that I have fat fingers (about size 16 ring).
You may need to attach a short piece of vacuum hose to end of the new plug before installing. This allows you to more easily feed the plug into the hole. Rotate the vacuum hose to start the plug into the hole and avoid crossthreading.
It is pretty difficult for me to change plugs, but I always manage to get it done.
Perhaps some better suggestions or advice can be obtained from others on this excellent website.
Yep those right side plugs are difficult. I used a piece of twine and made a slip knot and worked around the rubber plug boots and then gave it a pull to get the boots off of the plugs. I did this several times while both changing plugs and wires. ALso used the u-joint type of extensions with two other long extensions to get to the plug socket around the plug.
Don't forget to blow out the area around the plugs with compressed air first to remove gravel and dirt etc before taking out the plugs. You don't want that nasty stuff going down the plug hole.
I've always brushed a little hi-temp anti seize compond on the threads of the new plugs before re-inserting them. I stripped the threads out of an aluminum head years back so I've done that ever since.
My buddy and I just changed his(plugs and wires) on his 90' ranger a few hours ago. It took about 2.5 hours and that included and oil change. We used 2 6" extensions, 2 2" extensions, a universal plug socket, a regular plug socket, and a 5/8 deep well with no grommet. Had to remove the alternator and the egr cover (3 5/16 nuts). take your time and be in no hurry.
I did mine not two hours ago. Big pain in the @$$. Again, all you need is some patience and the extensions and swivel (u-joint) i mentioned above. And they fo on opposite ends, not poopsite. My bad. I felt a little rough that night.
Drive it until the wheels fall off...Then put new wheels on it.
To save the hassle of working around everything, I just take it out of the way.
It very simple to do and then you have all the room you need.
The first time I tried to change them on my 92 I tried the ways posted above and it was more of a hassle than takeing the intake out of the way
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