how you change spark plugs in a 1999 dodge caravan

Asked by May 01, 2007 at 04:19 PM about the 1999 Dodge Caravan 4 Dr SE Passenger Van

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

11 Answers


Hi jasso! Those back three plugs are simply a bear and most will tell you that you have to get your Caravan on a lift and do it from underneath. I did find some alternate theories for various caravan model years however. Here's the text from what I found, hopefully something will be of help to you. Good luck! " Answer This is the easiest way--Really! From the top. Remove the windshield wiper "tub." It's not as imposing as you might think. First, you have to remove the wiper arms. Lift up the plastic cover at the end of the wiper arm and remove the nut. Then, use a battery terminal puller to remove the arm from the stud. Once the arms are off, use a torx screwdriver to remove the torx screws holding the plastic cowling to the wiper "tub". Also remove the nuts at the front of the cowling. With the cowling off, remove the 14mm bolts holding the tub in place to the firewall. Disconnect the electrical connection to the wiper motor. Remove the brackets holding the tub to the upper firewall and then lift the entire tub out of the vehicle. You can easily reach the rear plugs and wires now. I can do the whole tub removal in 20 mins now. It will probably take you 1 hour the first time you do it. But it's a heck of a lot easier than removing the upper intake manifold (there are fasteners on the rear of the manifold that are very difficult to remove), and you won't bruise yourself like you will if you go in from the bottom. New Answer Headline I recently performed a tune-up on my 2000 Dodge Grand Caravan and found an easier "trick" with the help of an old and wise mechanic. He instructed me to 1) DISCONNECT THE BATTERY (a very important yet often overlooked task); 2)Remove the coil pack from the engine placing a piece of visible tape on the top corner as a marker (The holes will fit even if you accidently try to install it upside down -- this will cause tremendous havoc on your system); 3) Take apart the windshield washer assembly (a headache) and make sure you have a way of keeping track of what nuts and bolts go where; 4) You should be able to reach behind the engine block from there, but if not then you may have to take off the valve cover on the top side of the engine block. Answer With great difficulty. I have changed 5 of 6 total, the back 3 are truly a bear. After doing this myself, the only thing I can think of that could give a dealer or pro mechanic an edge would be a very small air rachet to overcome the difficulty of turning a manual one once you have actually gotten a socket on a plug. First, give up trying to do this from the topside. You have to get the car up, on jackstands was enough for me. I then put a flex joint on the spark plug socket (this is important). Laying under the vehicle (supported fully by 4 jackstands) I reached up with my right arm and with great difficultly removed just the spark plug boot. I had to use a combination of a short, medium, and flex extenders on my 3/8" drive (in different combinations for each plug). Movement is minimal once you finally get a combo that works; you have to do this a few degrees at a time. The plugs coming out were rusted, overheated, and in one case, obviously not seated 100% (OEM install at that!). The center back plug requires a very thin socket and preferably one with a good taper at the end. If not, you will have problems extracting the socket once the plug is seated - it will bind at the tip. I looked into removal of the heat shield (which is of course in the way), and other impediments to access, but the only one that may help at all would be the complete removal of the alternator and trying this from up top. With great perserverance I managed to get the plugs and wires changed, I would love to know how anyone could do this more easily, as even on a lift the only edge I can see is removal of a lot of parts that just does not seem practical. That said, it can be done - it's just very, very difficult with the average home shop toolset and no lift. Answer After about 2 hours of frustrations, scratches, and cuts I found that the only "easy" way of doing this is to remove the intake manifold. The manifold doesn't come all the way out, but moves enough to allow access to all the rear plugs. Answer You can find somebody with a ferret with really big forearms. Or I just did this from the top of the car. First slack the serpentine belt by taking a 15mm wrench to the tensioner and pulling the belt off the idler. The alternator has this two part bracket. Take the top part off (3 bolts) and the top alternator bolt. Loosen the bottom alternator bold and shove the alternator all the way back. Then remove the ignition coil thing from the passenger's side of the intake manifold (4 10mm bolts). You don't need to disconnect the plug wires. Just move it out of the way. Now you can get to the 1 plug. After you do the 1 plug don't put all that stuff back; you will need the room for the rest of the job. Then remove the intake manifold resonator (that thing in the front that says "remove me to get to the air cleaner") by removing two bolts (10 mm) and loosening up two air duct strap clamps. Take out of the car. The air duct to the throttle body comes out two. Disconnect the throttle cables by pulling the throttle all the way wide open and then flipping the cable back and sliding it out. Then remove the bracket from the side of the throttle body (2 10mm bolts). There's also two of the four vacuum hoses on this 'tree' on the side of the intake manifold; take off the ones that point toward the front (remember which one's which). Finally, I removed (didn't just loosen) that little strut that goes from the head to the frame. Once you have it loosened, it is trivial to get it off. So just remove it. Now you have it opened up. This is where the unique hints are: 1) don't bother with shorty ratchets. You can't get enough torque working like that. 2) cylinder 1 is pretty easy once you have the alternator out of the way. Cylinder 3 I used a 1 1/2" extension and I had the ratchet behind the engine compartment and sort of pointing downward and I unfortunately had to push. 3) (big hint) Cylinder 5 I could bring the ratchet across the head to the passenger's side and reach in from both sides (hug the intake manifold with your head on the windshield) and then you can pull the ratchet. I used a very short extension with this one. Or you can take it to the dealer. Answer I think it easier to do from beneath unless you have thick arms. You should have a fair amount of experience because you must work by touch. It is impossible to see what you are doing. My most important suggestion is to buy really good long life replacement plug. You won't want to do this again. You will need a good selection of extensions and universal joints. Various combination will be needed. The van must be cool as you will be putting your hand and arm on the exhaust manifold. Put the van on stands just high enough to get under and flex your arm. Two of the three rear plugs require you to reach up and around. Replace one plug at a time. Take a good look at where your arm is while removing so that you can fing the hole again with your finger when inserting the new plug. As others have mentioned, you will get just one click on the ratchet. Think calm blue ocean to maintain your composer. "

13 people found this helpful.

This was the best advice ive ever gotten from a help forum. I was able to fully change the plugs on my 2002 Caravan Sport in under 1 hour. Taking the wiper assembly apart is by far the best option. It gave plenty of clearance and mobility to do all the work you needed to. Thank you so much. Without this tip, I would still be under the hood today trying to get those plugs out. And to think, i was gonna take it to a shop because I thought it was going to be too difficult to get to.

6 people found this helpful.

I've had my 96 gr caravan w/3.8 for 12 years. I'm here to tell ya that it is MUCH easier from underneath...except for that damn #1 plug. I just did the other 2 in about half an hour without jacking it up! Sort of. I found a curb that I could drive straight onto (i.e., perpendicular to van). I used a couple of 2x4 pieces to drive onto first so I didn't tear off the ground effects (bumper cover). Once on the curb, I got underneath and easily did #3 and #5. You should disconnect the battery just so you don't accidentally hit something hot down there. I forgot and didn't even open the hood. Bonus, the curb acts as a nice headrest! Plus, you can see the bottom of the plugs (those 2) so you can visually see if you are crossthreading. TIP: you need a small extension, about 1 to 1.5 inches...a standard 3" extension that comes in a tool kit is too long, trust me. Now getting to number 1...I don't know. I've read you need to lie on your RIGHT side and use your left hand to get to it. I will try it, but was using my right hand for the other 2 and needed to stop the bleeding, so gave up. No, really, it is quite easy. I've removed that damn wiper motor assembly too many times before and you still can't even see the back plugs. Screw that, get under it.

3 people found this helpful.

Take it to a dealer, just before you head to Hawaii for a couple of weeks and tell them to tune the van up completely, change the oil, change the air filter, flush the coolant and flush the air conditioning system and, the most crucial, give the dealer the number to your credit card.

2 people found this helpful.

I have a 1997 Dodge Grand Caravan, 3.0 L. The best way to change the spark plugs is to remove the windshield wiper tub, this is for the 3 behind. It takes no effort to take it out actually, it takes me about 10-15 minutes now. I won't go into details how to remove it but LouB has a good description how to remove it. It's just few nuts and screws, that's all. It looks pretty intimidating but after you have done it its very easy process. It will take you a bit longer the first time but it will be easy for the second time around. The #1, #3 and #5 are quite accessible once you have removed the tub. #1 is a bit of a pain in the butt, but if you have the right length of extensions you will have no problem taking them out and putting in the new ones. Like i said, don't be intimated, its a fairly easy process. If any questions just email me at Would be happy to help and I have received lot of tips from the net from other people or various topics. I hope my two bits will help someone.

3 people found this helpful.

98 Grand Voyager, pulled the wiper tub and I agree - probably the easiest, considering the labor involved with pulling the instale manifold off. The back passenger side is the absolute worst. I found that extensions totalling 4.5 inches are your best bet. My conductor broke off so some bent tip needle nose also are a handy tool to have just in case also. That plug alone took me about 2.5 hours to remove and another 40 minutes to put in. The entire rest of the job, only about an hour. While I was in there I swapped the front o2 sensor also since it's right there and didn't want to deal with that noise again.

1 people found this helpful.

I bought a double wobble flex socket to get to that nasty #1 plug. Snap-on sells em......ya, under the vehc. for the other two. 2001 was the first yr. for plastic intake, if I remember correctly. These are simple compaired to the earlier ones.

1 people found this helpful.

I just changed the plugs like normal.The ones on the back? I found a small area at the end of the drivers side of the engine and just put my arm through the small hole, by a bracket. Yes this is a tight fit. And just turned the plugs in by hand a bit and then used my ratchet. I don't get what all this taking the van apart stuff is about. I did the whole van in about half an hour. Mine is a 2003 with a 3.3 You do have to do this on the back without seeing what you are doing. It is all by feel,It isn't rocket science.Be careful not to knock any dirt in the hole and very carefully guide the plug in and turn by hand, being careful not to cross thread.Tighten just enough at the end.Common sense. I have been reading various articles about everyone taking the van apart and think it is crazy.

3 people found this helpful.

As per above, removing wiper arms and then wiper grill (6 easy access torx screws and two plastic 1/4 turn fasteners,, and then wiper tub module (4 easy access nuts and 4 easy access bolts) in my 2002 TOWN & COUNTRY 3.8l made changing the rear bank spark plugs extremely easy. The blades and grill and tub absolutely can be removed in a half an hour once you have done it the first time. The wiper motor and mechanisms are all fixed to the tub itself and none of it needs to be disassembled or removed from the tub. Very simple. Once removed, all of the plugs are extremely easily accessed with room to first get a blow gun in there to blow out grit etc. Also a great way to easily access an O2 sensor and top of the struts and many other items if ever needed to work on them. I feared having to do this job for years but now look forward to doing it next time. Are several you tube videos that walk you thru the process of removing the tub etc. Important to have wiper blades in seated position before removal and marked adjoining pieces with white out for help when reassembly. Service manual says to torque wiper blade nuts to 26 foot points of torque when reassemble. The battery terminal puller worked perfectly to lift the wiper arms off. Thank you LouB for sharing all of this information!!


I just put my right arm through the slot at the end of the valve cover to the right as you are facing the van and changed the plugs. I did have to gently screw them in by hand so i wouldn't cross thread them,After a few turns i used my socket and ratchet. No problem and it took me about 20 minutes to do the back side.I didn't remove anything. My arms are not small either.Of course the front is easy. My 2003 Caravan Sport. 3.3 that uses no oil between changes.


about to be doing this on a 98 caravan 3.0L should be MUCH easier after reading many tips posted here. i am going to be taking the wiper tub removal method and knock on wood it goes smoothly. thanks all for the tips and tricks!! :)

1 people found this helpful.

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