spark plug broke off while driving, fell in head
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Thread: spark plug broke off while driving, fell in head

  1. #1
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    Angry spark plug broke off while driving, fell in head

    I am traveling to Flordia from Toronto Canada.. Got to West Verginia and broke down. Spark plug broke off in head while driving. Dealer says bottom of plug fell in head. I'm SOL aren't I???? Dealer wants $400 to take head off, says it will take 5 hours at $80 per/hour. Says it could cost from $700 to $1500 to the moon to fix. What should I expect for damage? I am thinking of buying a truck and towing it back, 10hrs... I have a mechanic I trust and I know we will get the whole engine done if need be...
    2005 Touring Depaxed

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  3. #2
    Registered User sinbad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rustybusiness View Post
    I have a mechanic I trust and I know we will get the whole engine done if need be... :not happy:
    I believe that this question has answered itself!

    Seriously, when the plug went, how long did you keep driving? Did the motor seize up? What were your symptoms?

    Worst case scenario: The plug debris bounced around in the cylinder, scouring the walls, breaking the rings, banging against and damaging the valves, melting and putting a hole in the piston, damaging con rod and crank journal, etc. It might be possible to inspect the cylinder via the spark plug hole without removing anything, just to get some idea of the damage -- and I would give this inspection a shot.

    Best case scenario: the debris blew out the exhaust.

    Please keep us advised of your progress.
    2002 EX-TW ; Weathertechs; Splash; 4X Pioneer 1695's w/ Blaupunkt Casablanca head unit; Hella Supertone Horns; Hitch w/ Transmission & Power Steering Coolers; 2001 Five-spoke Alloy Wheels, California Flames, K&N Air Filter; FilterMag magnetic oil filter; Galaxy DX-959 mobile CB w/ Wilson 1,000 mag mount antenna;Valentine One; Schrader Nickle Plated Brass Valve Stem Caps; Odyssey 1200MJT mil-spec battery.

  4. #3
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    Seriously, when the plug went, how long did you keep driving? Did the motor seize up?

    Heard a bang, smelt smoke, engine light blinking, got off the road within 30seconds... Shout down right away. Restarted as we were in a bad spot, drove for 100ft, turned off and sat on the side of hiway. She still runs, engine light blinks... $250 tow, $80 dealer scan, $300 car rental for the week plus miles after 1500, we will go over 300 miles just to get there and back... I'm thinking I need to purchase a truck and tow home.
    2005 Touring Depaxed

  5. #4
    Registered User sinbad's Avatar
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    Sounds pretty bad. I would *TOW* the ODY home to your trusted mechanic, where you can have control.

    If he has a bore-scope, then he can do an endoscopy thru the spark plug hole -- but the head is probably going to have to come off. The valves are probably damaged -- at a minimum.

    From there you will just have to survey the damage and decide whether to repair or replace the engine.

    Jasper Gas Engines
    Last edited by sinbad; 03-13-2011 at 07:44 AM.
    2002 EX-TW ; Weathertechs; Splash; 4X Pioneer 1695's w/ Blaupunkt Casablanca head unit; Hella Supertone Horns; Hitch w/ Transmission & Power Steering Coolers; 2001 Five-spoke Alloy Wheels, California Flames, K&N Air Filter; FilterMag magnetic oil filter; Galaxy DX-959 mobile CB w/ Wilson 1,000 mag mount antenna;Valentine One; Schrader Nickle Plated Brass Valve Stem Caps; Odyssey 1200MJT mil-spec battery.

  6. #5
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    Smile Sounds pretty bad. I would *TOW* the ODY home to your trusted mechanic, where you can

    Went to Florida for the week.. Had a good time when I was not working on a solution on how to get van home. Had to get a buddy to bring his Dodge 2500 down as my 1500 was to light to pull it. $600 in fuel round trip for the truck. Any ways we are home safe.. Going to take it to the mechanic today.
    2005 Touring Depaxed

  7. #6
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    Spark plugs, especially the iridium plugs we run, dont just break and fall INTO the combustion chamber. Something else or more occured. May be it blew out? Took some threads with it? Who knows...but something falling off a plug and into the combustion chamber is extremely rare.

    And your engine is not trashed if plug related. Worst case is only your cylinder head needs rework or replacement. I would watch the work closely and ask to see the damage. Make sure the plug didnt just break off leaving the threaded portion in the head (no real damage).

  8. #7
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    I was going to say the same few days earlier but held my thoughts.

    If the plug had fallen in to the combustion chamber, I don't think you could have restarted the vehicle to move it! (besides, NGK don't just self-destruct; now if you had E3 or some other off-brand plugs :-)

    I hope your mechanic is honest, trustworthy and good. I do not know if you are of the type to run your own diagnosis before handing it over to the mechanic. But if you are, I am sure there are people on this forum who are smarter and experienced than I am and will give you advice on how to proceed.

    - Vikas

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    Retapped the head

    So one of my customers told me about a guy who could use a heli-coil to fix my head. I paid him $240 plug cost of a new plug and coil. He retapped the head... and blow out any garbage in the head. The van started and ran well for 15 to 30 seconds but then began to run ruff. Check engine light came on. I drove the van around a bit but it does not have much power. I'm going to take it to the mechanic tomorrow to check the pressure in the cylinder. Not looking good.
    2005 Touring Depaxed

  10. #9
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    2005 and some other years Odysseys and Pilots seem to have this problem. Hope your fix is cheap. I am happy nobody called you a troll. That is the usual response on some Honda forums whenver someone reports a problem. I believe you. Best of luck. If you subscribe to Consumer Reports or True Delta, please report this failure so that we get a true picture of reliability. Some fellow broken spark plug owners linked below.

    Anyone ever hear of spark plugs backing out? - Honda Pilot - Honda Pilot Forums
    Melted Ignition Coil - Honda Pilot - Honda Pilot Forums
    Spark Plug Exploded
    One of my sparkplugs is gone!
    Last edited by baseball; 03-22-2011 at 09:20 PM.

  11. #10
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    I am happy nobody called you a troll

    Thanks for the response. Never have heard of the term "A Troll" until now. I love my Honda, was a real GM man before my first Acura. Have owned two Acura's and two Honda's over the last 10 years. I have never really had a problem with a Honda product, maybe a dealer but that is pretty much all dealers. After working out this problem though, I am finding that some of the Honda products do have this problem... I do have 120 miles or 200 km's on the van, but I expect more out of a Honda, that's why I'm a Honda man and not a GM. I love the van but am having second thoughts...
    2005 Touring Depaxed

  12. #11
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    You need to find somebody who can actually do a diagnosis. I am sorry to say that your mechanic who did the heli coil should have ran the compression and leak down tests. Somebody who is a talented mechanic would have determined if the piston/ring is shot or not even without installing the heli-coil.

    $250 labor for installing heli-coil? Isn't that excessive??

    - Vikas

  13. #12
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    You need to find somebody who can actually do a diagnosis.

    Ya, I'm thinking the same thing. Hindsight is 20/20... I'm thinking I did it backwards....
    2005 Touring Depaxed

  14. #13
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    I'm still trying to figure out how a spark plug can break from the inside and somehow end up in your cylinder but that's just me.

    Unless somehow the electrode itself (which would be extremely odd), or the ceramic insulator on the inside of the plug destructed (which probably would have broken into small bits and not done a lot of damage) and that fell into the cylinder everything else in the spark plug at the business end is metal and threaded into the cylinder head.

    Good luck.
    2011 AWD LTD.

    Had a 2005 Cdn Silver Touring. They were super hot when they first came out but I managed exactly 14 days from purchase to shipment to dealership. Picked up Monday Dec 6,2004. Newmarket Honda told me no earlier than late january and they were floored when I showed up with it for service late Dec.

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  15. #14
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    What are you planning to do? Get the compression and leak down test done. You can do the compression yourself. For leak down, you need shop air. Get the code pulled out (it is going to be P0300 and/or P030x) via visiting your local Autozone or Advanced Auto Parts store (I don't think you are of the type to own your own scanner but please feel free to prove me wrong :-). It is likely that the ignition coil on that cylinder is burnt out after the "incident". Get a new coil and new NGK Laser Platinum plug while at the auto parts store.

    Or hand the van to somebody and write them a blank check.

    - Vikas

  16. #15
    Registered User sinbad's Avatar
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    BoreScope.

    2002 EX-TW ; Weathertechs; Splash; 4X Pioneer 1695's w/ Blaupunkt Casablanca head unit; Hella Supertone Horns; Hitch w/ Transmission & Power Steering Coolers; 2001 Five-spoke Alloy Wheels, California Flames, K&N Air Filter; FilterMag magnetic oil filter; Galaxy DX-959 mobile CB w/ Wilson 1,000 mag mount antenna;Valentine One; Schrader Nickle Plated Brass Valve Stem Caps; Odyssey 1200MJT mil-spec battery.

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