How To: Replace plugs/cap/rotor on 3.3L Pathfinder / QX4 (VG33E engine)
Disclaimer: I am not responsible for any damage caused to your vehicle. This write-up is only meant to assist you in the process but is not a know-it-all guide. It is best to seek a professional mechanic for assistance or just have a mechanic perform the job.
I used the following tools/parts to complete the job:
– 3/8″ ratchet
– various 3/8″ extensions (I had a few so I just used them as needed)
– 3/8″ universal joint
– 5/8″ spark plug socket
– Pathfinder spark plug tool kit (optional, I didn’t use these but took a pic of one being used)
– Dielectric grease and anti-seize
– Phillips screwdriver
– Distributor cap (BWD – Distributor Cap Part # C980)
– Rotor (BWD – Distributor Rotor Part # D746)
– OEM NGK plugs (6) (FR5AP-10)
– Air compressor (to help blow out the dust/dirt in the spark plug wells)
The tube on the right is anti-seize
I first started by disconnecting the negative battery cable just to be safe
I then removed the wires from each plug and blew out the area with compressed air. I didn’t take pics of me blowing out each each location but you get the idea.
Here’s a pic of (2) extensions coupled together with the 5/8″ spark plug socket at the end
The following are pics of a few plugs being removed using the extensions and one using the nissan spark plug tool (I used the longer tool for this shot)
All the plugs came out with relative ease, luckily the last person to change these used anti-seize
The following pics show the removal of the dreaded spark plug located near the firewall. It was sort of a pain, the nissan tool was a bit short so I decided to use an extension with a universal joint to get it out. Once it was loose enough I just removed the ratchet head and unscrewed it out slowly using the end of the extension.
I didn’t take pictures of the installation of new plugs because it’s pretty much the same as taking them out however here are a few important notes when installing new plugs:
-Put a thin layer of anti-seize to coat the threads of the plugs and don’t get any on the electrode, this will help future removal of the plugs to prevent possible seizing. In addition, put a thin coat of dielectric grease on the tip of the plug that goes into the spark plug wire boot.
-When threading in the new plugs put the plug in the spark plug socket attached to an extension an hand thread the plugs carefully to avoid cross threading (trust me, you do not want that headache).
-There’s really nothing special when threading in the last plug, just take your time because you don’t want to damage the electrode trying to find the hole(lol!!) and make sure the plug is securely seated in the socket because you don’t want it to inadvertently fall out and get damaged.
-When tightening the plugs I believe the haynes manual said 14-22 ft/lb of torque. You don’t want to overtighten these guys!!!
OK now for the distributor cap/rotor. This is the easy part, probably took me no more than a few minutes.
Luckily the wires that were on the car were numbered per cylinder as was the distributor cap so it’s pretty much foolproof when matching the correct wire to the cap.
First, remove the two screws that hold down the distributor cap
Once the distributor is removed you can see the rotor. The rotor is held on with a screw that you might not be able to see depending on the position of the rotor. If this is the case don’t worry because it happened to me, all you need to do is re-connect the negative battery cable, put the key into the ignition and give a few quick cranks until the rotor turns enough so that the screw is accessible.
[b]Important!![/b] After this, remember to disconnect the negative cable before proceeding!!
Once the rotor is removed you’ll see the hole where you tighten the screw
Here’s a pic of the old rotor
I didn’t take pics of the installation but it’s super simple. I put a very thin coat of dielectric grease on the new rotor blade basically the same spot where you see the burnt like spots on the above picture. Put the rotor on the distributor and screw it on hand tight. Put on the new cap, it only goes on one way and tightened the supplied screws that came with the cap (If your kit didn’t include screws you should be able to use the old ones. Lastly, securely attach the wires to the corresponding numbered posts on the cap, re-attached the negative battery cable and start her up to make sure everything is good. You’ll have to reset your radio stations/clock after doing this, duh.
I hope this helps!!!!!!
If you have questions or comments, here’s a discussion of this article! How To: Replace plugs/cap/rotor on 1999.5 3.3L Pathfinder