Went to replace my spark plugs and got a surprise (2005 prius)

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by dhanson865, Jun 28, 2014.

  1. dhanson865

    dhanson865 Expert and Devil's advocate

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    So I got this car used with 74,000 or so miles on it. It's a 2005 and now as it is approaching 10 years old I've hit 115,000 miles.

    I've changed tires twice since I bought it, the prior owner went through two sets of tires in the first 74,000 miles (I think I was in the 80s when I replaced the second set left over by the prior owner)

    I took a K&N air filter out and replaced it with a disposable one.

    I replaced cabin air filters, wiper blades, nothing too expensive.

    Recently I decided to give the car a bigger refresh and when it got the 4th set of tires right around 110,000 miles I went ahead and replaced the rear shocks.

    I went in to rotate the tires at 115,000 miles and thought this might be a good day to replace the spark plugs and pcv valve. So I get a call from the shop doing the plugs and they ask me if I wanted the plugs replaced. Huh? They asked if I had replaced the plugs previously and I explain that I wasn't the original owner and assumed the factory NGK plugs from 115,000 miles ago were still in. They informed me that the plugs in the car are E3 spark plugs. OK at this point I'm googling E3 spark plugs.

    Apparently E3 spark plugs are worse than the NGK iridium plugs Toyota puts in. They claim 20% improved MPG over other spark plugs on www-e3sparkplugs-stuff* but I've got to say I'm not impressed. I did look up the part number and at least according to the PDF from their web site the prior owner put in the correct replacement part. It just bugs me that he tossed away perfectly good iridium plugs at what 60,000 miles? There is no way if they helped the car get better horsepower and MPG that he would have sold the car to me just a few thousand miles later.

    * I didn't want this to be a clickable link, the forum keeps trying to auto correct it in to a proper URL.

    So I've been driving on these stupid E3 plugs for the last 63,000 miles or so. I now have the presumably higher quality NGK plugs in, I'll let you know if I see a change in MPG.
     
  2. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

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    If he bought E3 plugs and a K&N air filter, you may have had STP oil treatment until your first oil change. Look for Monster Cable speaker wire, or ground straps everywhere on your engine.
     
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  3. dhanson865

    dhanson865 Expert and Devil's advocate

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    If I remember correctly he said he was an aircraft mechanic. :confused::eek:
     
  4. Mike500

    Mike500 Senior Member

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    Means nothing. Like any profession, there are good and NOT so good ones.
     
  5. Former Member 68813

    Former Member 68813 Senior Member

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    Funny that you mentioned that. When I bought used Yaris for my kid with 60,000 miles, I decided to check how spark plugs are wearing in their midlife. I was shocked that previous owner replaced the high quality long life OEM NGK or Denso iridium plugs with garbage Bosch +4 platinums. I swapped them as soon as I could. The engine felt smoother after that, but it was probably in my head.

    Young people are easily swayed by marketing propaganda. I remember I bought Slick50 once when I was young.
     
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  6. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    Maybe check out the wiring too, hopefully no "improvements" there.
     
  7. dhanson865

    dhanson865 Expert and Devil's advocate

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    the dealer records show they took it to the original Toyota dealer for tires and some other work, it also had a Walmart oil change sticker on the windshield when I got it.

    It was a married couple, maybe he did the K&N filter/E3 plugs and she went to the dealer and Walmart?

    Either way I haven't found anything else goofy and I've driven the car for almost as many miles as they did. I've got two pips left on the gas so it'll take a few days before I refill the tank and a couple of weeks for me to do a 500 mile tank (assuming it gets better MPG now).

    My last tank was doing about 57 mpg displayed before I swapped the plugs. Give me a few weeks and I'll let you know if there is a noticeable improvement.
     
  8. El Dobro

    El Dobro A Member

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    Yea, but a car's a lot closer to the ground. :p
     
  9. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    a lot of people like to fiddle with aftermarket products. there are many here and many different threads. i don't find this surprising at all.
     
  10. Jon Hagen

    Jon Hagen Active Member

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    I do not share your dislike of the E3 spark plugs. I have used them in small lawn / garden equipment engines where hard starting or plug fouling was a problem. They have performed better than any OEM plug in those applications.

    One rider mower with a 17 HP Briggs engine was hard starting and would misfire at full load, new magneto and new plugs (several sets and brands) produced no better results. I put in a set of E3 plugs and the hard starting and full load misfire disappeared. The E3's have been in that mower for 6 years, still work great.
    Had a little 2 cycle Ryobi string trimmer that tended to foul the plug after a few hours use. Various brand plugs of the recommended heat range did not help the situation, I bought my first E3 plug for that tool because of their (at the time) claim never to not foul. It worked as advertized, no fouling, that plug was in that trimmer for 8-10 ? years until the thing wore out.
    I have not tried that brand in anything automotive, but in L&G equipment , they are excellent performers.
     
  11. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    The E3 website is not very friendly. Maybe I gave up too soon, but got the impression their plug longevity is not a big selling point. I would not want a plug that needs to be changed semi-frequently, considering the insane amount of disassembly required to get at the Prius plugs.
     
    #11 Mendel Leisk, Jun 29, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2014
  12. El Dobro

    El Dobro A Member

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    I have a power washer that's always been tough on a restart. Maybe I'll give an E3 plug a try in it.
     
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  13. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i like a 60,000 mile plug, before they have a chance to freeze up.
     
  14. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

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    ...today I finally changed out my plugs at 135k miles. They were not frozen, but grundged up pretty bad. I had no problem getting them turning, but they kept being fairly hard to turn the whole way out almost. All the videos looks like they loosen by fingers once you pop it loose. No way.
     
  15. dhanson865

    dhanson865 Expert and Devil's advocate

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    I just wish the guy had put a sticker in the owners manual or under the hood or somehow let me know he had put short life plugs in there. I assumed I had oem plugs still since I got the car before the 75,000 mile mark and the plugs are good for 100,000 to 120,000.
     
  16. graham hendren

    graham hendren Geeman .. taximan

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    hey you know wat the toque settings are on the plugs??
     
  17. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    13 ft.-lb or 18 N-m
     
  18. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i don't think many (any?) people document their mods for future users. can't argue it would be nice.
     
  19. Daves09prius

    Daves09prius Active Member

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    A lot of Prius owners try and change items to improve fuel economy or performance (just check out the mods section of Priuschat). Apparently this person didn't know that the OEM spark-plugs are some of the best long-life / most efficient plugs available. I've tried NGK IX performance plugs and they didn't last very long. I'm sticking with the OEM equivalent Denso iridium plugs from now on.

    P.S. I do love my K&N drop in filter, I can't believe you took it out and replaced it with paper... We'll just have to agree to disagree on that one...
     
  20. dhanson865

    dhanson865 Expert and Devil's advocate

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    I'm willing to believe the K&N filter could be a good idea but I priced filters locally and online, then priced the oil that I'm supposed to buy to maintain the K&N and it was more expensive than the disposable filter (even the better disposable filters) and required manual labor. I just wasn't willing to pay both prices (dollars, and the combination of (time, effort, mess, consumable management)

    It may be an inaccurate analogy but it reminds me of the convenience of a laser printer vs inkjet printer. Toner in a single cartridge that I can slam in quickly and ignore for thousands or tens of thousands of pages vs ink cartridges that evaporate/dry up/foul/have to be purged/cleaned/aligned/use a more expensive liquid consumable.
     
    #20 dhanson865, Jun 30, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2014
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