Author Topic: How do I change the spark plug on 2013 Bullet 500?  (Read 2355 times)

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The spark plug is on the left side of the engine and it's very difficult to remove. Is there a special tool to use? There's also a chrome cover that was hard to remove from the spark plug and now I'm afraid I don't know how to put that back on. Thanks in advance for your help!


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Reply #1 on: May 25, 2015, 06:31:03 pm
To change (or check) the spark plug you'll need a screw driver and a 13/16 (or 21mm) deep socket wrench and driver. 
If your motorcycle has its complete too kit, a suitable tubular socket wrench should be included.  It looks like a sheet metal tube with a hexagon opening on each end.
One end will fit the sparkplug and the other end should fit your motorcycles axle nut. 
This rather poor wrench is turned by inserting a rod (or screw driver shank) thru the holes on the outside of it.

Your tool kit should also have a suitable screw driver with a reversible blade.  One end is a motorcycle version of a Phillips screw driver and the other end is for straight screws (and removing the spark plug cap).

The metal cap on the top of the spark plug is a shield that protects and insulates the spark plug.  It also shields the radio waves that are produced by the high voltage passing thru it.
This spark plug cap needs to be used with a spark plug with bare threads sticking out of the top of the ceramic insulator.  It will NOT WORK with the spark plug's that have a smooth metal connector cap at the top of the insulator.  Some spark plugs have a removable connector at the top.  If your new spark plug has this cap (connector), unscrew and remove it before sliding the spark plug wire connector back in place.
To remove the spark plug cap you can either pull it off with  pliers or position the end of a straight blade screw driver under one of the small metal protrusions and pry upwards.
Remove it gently by sliding it up off of the spark plug insulator.
(The cap is retained by a small spring that engages the threads on the top of the spark plug.)

Once the cap is loose, gently fold the wire so the cap is back out of the way.  Don't pull hard on the cap or you might pull it off of the spark plug wire.

With the wire and cap out of the way, slide the socket wrench (or hollow motorcycle wrench) down over the spark plug until it stops against the cylinder head. 
Use either the socket break over bar or ratchet wrench handle to turn the socket counterclockwise. 
If your using the hollow motorcycle version of the wrench, insert a steel rod (or screw driver blade) thru the side holes and rotate the tool counterclockwise.

The spark plug should be fairly tight so you will probably have to apply quite a bit of pressure to the wrench handle to "break it loose".
Once it starts to turn you should be able to unscrew it with finger pressure on the socket.

When you want to install the old or new sparkplug, it is best to have some anti-seize thread lubrication.  This is available from all Auto Supply, Hardware Stores or good motorcycle shops.  It comes in a very small tube and you will only need one small drop so don't buy a large size container of it.
This anti-seize will prevent the spark plug from becoming stuck in the cylinder head so the next time you want to remove it, you will be able to.
(Apply the anti-seize only to the spark plug threads, not to the shoulder or washer at the end of the threads.  The shoulder and washer need to be clean and dry so they conduct electricity freely.  Anti-seize sometimes acts as an electrical insulator.)
I don't recommend using regular oil to lubricate these spark  plug threads.
Regular oils will turn to hard carbon at temperatures over 500°F and the body of a spark plug can get hotter than that.

To install the spark plug, make sure the area around the spark plug hole in the cylinder head is clean.  If it isn't, wipe off any oil/dirt that may be on the flat surface.
Now,  study the location and angle of the spark plug hole in the cylinder head and then align the spark plug with it.
Start the spark plug threads into the threaded hole USING ONLY YOUR FINGERS to turn it.
Never try to insert the spark plug using the socket wrench to start it into the cylinder head threads.
If you use a wrench to start the sparkplug into the hole it can "start" with the threads mis-aligned ("cross threaded").   Tightening a cross threaded spark plug can totally ruin the threads in the cylinder head.

The spark plug should turn freely in for at least 4 turns before any resistance is felt.
Once resistance is felt, use the socket or tubular wrench to tighten it.
It should be tightened to 20 lb/ft of torque.
If you don't have a torque wrench, 20 pounds/ft is about like trying to push a 20 pound (9 kg) force against the wrench handle.

(Actually it is a bit more but a good 20 pound (9kg) force will do the job of tightening it up nicely.)

Have fun. :)
« Last Edit: May 25, 2015, 06:42:28 pm by Arizoni »
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Reply #2 on: May 25, 2015, 06:49:12 pm
Wow, Jim - I think even I could change a plug now!

Does using anti-seize on the threads require reducing the torque when tightening?


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Reply #3 on: May 25, 2015, 07:17:45 pm
Now that you ask, it does if there is very much on the threads.

Typically, torque values are given for dry threaded assemblies and using a thread lube, thread locking fluid or anti-seize will temporary lubricate the threads.

Typically the torque for lubricated threads should be about 30 to 33 percent less than the dry torque value.
This will produce a compressive load under (and in) the lubricated threads that is close to the "dry" torque value.

The anti sieze coated threads should be torqued to about 15 lb/ft (20.3 N/M).
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Reply #4 on: October 26, 2016, 08:13:59 pm
I have a little trick learned in a past life for pulling off the spark plug lead. Take a tie-wrap or piece of string rt something similar and loop it in under the metal lead. This gives you something to grab onto so you can pull the lead off.

Great write up by that there Arizoni kid.  ;D
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Reply #5 on: April 07, 2017, 09:41:47 am
Arizoni - what a great and detailed answer ...
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