Changing the Spark Plugs - Chrysler Sebring '96 LXi (2.5l V6)

My '96 Sebring, in Vancouver, BC, Canada. July 1999.

February, 2001

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for the consequences of actions taken based on information presented in this site and I make no guarantees regarding validity or applicability of the information presented herein. After all, I am not a mechanic.

Changing the spark plugs used to be a simple operation: unplug the wires, take the old plugs out, put the new plugs in, put the wires back (hopefully in the right order). With my (relatively) new Chrysler Sebring '96 (2.5l V6 engine) this is not the case anymore. 
You know what they say: when everything else fails, read the instruction manual. Which is exactly what I did: I bought a Chilton repair manual for the Sebring (the book is really hard to find). At pages 1-38 to 1-43, there is a very detailed theory about plugs, wires, heat range, gapping, and even four completely useless images of how to change the three spark plugs located in the frontal part of the engine. If you need a book to change those three plugs, you're probably much better off paying $350 at a Chrysler dealership for the job!
The difficult part is to remove the intake manifold plenum to gain access to the other three spark plugs. And this is what this web page is all about.

  • Disconnect the battery cables. Remember: safety first! By the way, I had a serious problem with this battery (installed by a Chrysler dealership): the positive terminal was so high, it pushed and rubbed against the hood liner. I had to cut a piece of the terminal and to add additional isolation on top of the terminal to avoid a dangerous short circuit (see Fig.5).
  • There are seven bolts in the front part of the plenum (see Fig.1). All bolts have different lengths, so you'd better remember their position. Watch for the fuel lines! They are under pressure! There is no need to remove the bolts that hold them, and releasing the pressure is always a good and safe idea.
  • Remember the position of the plug wires. If you are not certain, look on the distributor cap (see Fig. 2) or read the manual.
  • There are two lateral bolts in the front. Easy access, no problems. Disconnect the sensors (see Fig. 3) on your left side and the PCV valve.
  • You also have to disconnect some hoses and sensors on your right side (near the battery). That's in Fig. 6. No need to disassemble the throttle body assembly. I did it, but it proved a waste of time. You might want to start with the air cleaner assembly
  • The difficult part is to find and to remove the bolts in the back of the manifold plenum. You have to remove the power brake vacuum hose and a bolt holding a bracket below it (see close-up in Fig. 7, lower right part of the image). Also remove some thin vacuum hoses.
  • On the left side of the plenum, there is a metallic hose that is fixed to the plenum with two bolts (Fig. 4). Probably some exhaust re-circulation hose. Remove the bolts and take good care of the gasket. You'll need it again when you'll put everything back together. You can also see the (disassembled) hose in Fig.10, in the upper left part of the image.
  • Before you lift the manifold plenum, remember that there is a manifold gasket between the plenum and the engine. In case you do not have a spare one, remove the plenum _very_ carefully (Fig. 8). There were some mysterious light area on the inside of the plenum. I wonder what they are? (see Fig. 8) They look like scratches to me, but there was no way the manifold plenum could have been scratches on the inside like that. It's a good idea to stick some cloths in the intake manifold, so that nothing can fall in there.
  • Now, you should see something like in Fig. 9. It's time to change the plugs and put back everything together. It's also a good time to check the wires. The plugs last for 60,000 miles or more and you don't want to go through all this again just because of some leaky wire... I used Bosch Platimum+4 spark plugs, model 4418. They're a bit more expensive, but I trust them. No gapping required.
Sebring_01 Sebring_02 Sebring_03 Sebring_04 Sebring_05 Sebring_06
Fig. 1 Fig. 2 Fig. 3 Fig. 4 Fig. 5 Fig. 6
Sebring_07 Sebring_08 Sebring_09 Sebring_10
Fig. 7 Fig. 8 Fig. 9 Fig.10
  • To assemble the manifold plenum, just do all operations described above in reverse order. Expect 3-4 hours of hard work, if it's your first time and if you have all the necessary tools. If in doubt, just go and have your car serviced at a specialized shop. Good luck! 
  • PS: Use some silicone dielectric compound on the spark plug terminals and wires. It really reduces leaks.