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Honda Pilot Spark Plugs Replacement Guide
How to check or change the spark plugs in the 3.5L VTEC V6 engine of a 1st generation 2003 to 2008 Honda Pilot.

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2006 Pilot VTEC 3.5L V6
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1/4 Turn Counterclockwise
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Three 1/4 Turn Fasteners

This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the first generation (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008) Honda Pilot SUV in checking or changing the spark plugs in the 3.5 liter VTEC V6 engine.

Owners of other Honda or Acura vehicles such as the Accord, Civic, Crosstour, CR-V, CR-Z, Fit, Insight, Odyssey, Pilot, Ridgeline, ILX, TSX, TLX, TL, RLX, RDX, NSX and MDX may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

The OEM iridium tipped spark plugs in this 2006 Honda Pilot were part number Denso 3422 SKJ16DR-M11.

A few other compatible replacement spark plugs with their part numbers are as follows: NGK (3657) IZFR5K-11, Autolite XP5224, Denso (4701) IK16TT and Bosch (9604) FR7LII33X.

The tools needed to replace the spark plugs include a 6mm hex head socket or a 6mm Allen wrench, a 5/8" spark plug socket, extension bars, a universal joint, a 3/8" drive ratchet and a tube of dielectric grease.

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Remove Engine Cover
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Front Three Ignition Coils
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Spark Plug Ignition Coil
To remove the plastic engine cover, rotate the three black knobs at the front lower edge of the cover 1/4 turn counterclockwise.

Then gently lift the front edge of the engine cover and pull it off.

Set the engine cover aside in a safe place.

The three spark plugs on the front of the engine are fairly easy to access.

Replacing the three spark plugs on the rear of the engine requires a bit more effort. I recommend placing a thick towel or an old mat over the engine. Then you can lay on top of the engine to more comfortably access them.

Thoroughly clean off the top of the engine with compressed air or a vacuum cleaner.

I recommend only checking or changing one spark plug at a time to help reduce the risk of having debris fall down in to the cylinder.

The ignition coils are held in place to the engine by a single 6mm hex head bolt.

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Disconnect Power Plug
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Electrical Connector Removed
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Loosen Counterclockwise
Push in the release tab on the electrical connector before sliding it straight off the ignition coil.

Loosen the ignition coil bolt by turning it counterclockwise with a 6mm hex socket and a 1/4" or 3/8" drive ratchet. You can also use a 6mm Allen Key wrench.

Once the bolt has been loosened, spin it out the rest of the way by hand to prevent it from falling down in to the engine bay.

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Ignition Coil Bolt Removed
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6mm Hex Head Bolt
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Pull Out Ignition Coil
Set the ignition coil bolt aside in a safe place.

Gently rotate the ignition coil back and forth a few times to make sure that the rubber dust boot is not stuck or "frozen" to the top of the old spark plug.

Pull the ignition coil housing straight out of the spark plug socket and set it aside in a safe place.

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Spark Plug Well
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Universal Joint, Extension Bars
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Loosen Counterclockwise
In order to easily remove any of the spark plugs on the Honda 3.5L VTEC V6 engine, I have an assortment of wobble extension bars to choose from and a universal swivel joint.

I recommend using a bit of painter's tape or any other tape to secure the 5/8" spark plug socket to the extension bar. This will help prevent from having the socket become stuck in the spark plug well.

Attach the spark plug socket to the extension bar and the 3/8" drive ratchet.

Loosen the old spark plug by turning it counterclockwise.

Try to avoid using excessive force to loosen the old spark plug to prevent from cracking the ceramic portion of the plug.

If you have trouble loosening the old spark plug, spray a small amount of penetrating oil such as PB Blaster, Liquid Wrench or Kano Kroil and wait at least 15-30 minutes before attempting to loosen it again. If you don't have any penetrating oil, try spraying some WD-40 or warm up the engine for a few minutes to help expand the metal engine block.



 

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Remove Old Spark Plug
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Inspect Old Spark Plugs
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Spin In New Spark Plug
Lift the old spark plug out of the well and detach it from the socket.

Inspect both ends of the old spark plug.

If the electrode end of the old spark plug appears to be ashy white, the plugs might have been exposed to high temperatures such as overheating or they may be the incorrect heat range for your driving conditions or environment.

If the electrode tip of the old spark plug is grey or covered in dark black soot, the engine might be burning oil and should be inspected by a professional mechanic.

I bought the OEM iridium spark plugs which are part number Denso 3422 (also known as Denso SKJ16DR-M11). They have excellent reviews on Amazon and should last us another 100,000 miles.

(An optional step is to apply some anti-seize grease to the threads on the spark plug. Most spark plug manufacturers recommend that you should not use anti-seize lubricant grease since it can lead to over tightening. Although some mechanics believe that using anti-seize grease on the spark plugs will help prevent them from becoming stuck or "frozen" in the cylinder head if they are not removed again for another 100,000 miles.)

If you have a spark plug gap gauge, check that the new spark plugs are gapped to the manufacturer's specification listed on the box. They should be pre-set from the factory, so don't worry if you don't have a gap gauge.

Push the new spark plug in to the 5/8" socket. Your socket should have a rubber insert or a strong magnet to hold it in place.

Spin in the new spark plug by hand a few turns in the clockwise direction to prevent it from becoming cross threaded.

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Tighten Clockwise
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Apply Dielectric Grease
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Re-Install Ignition Coil
Attach the 3/8" drive ratchet to the extension bar and tighten the spark plug in the clockwise direction.

If you are re-installing the old spark plug, tighten it to just a fraction of a turn past hand tight.

If you are installing a new spark plug, tighten the spark plug until you feel the new crush washer collapse, which should be about 1/8 to 1/4 of a turn past when it first makes contact with the cylinder head.

Try to avoid over tightening the spark plugs to prevent from cracking the plug or damaging the threads.

Double check that the new spark plug is tight before moving on to the next step.

Apply a small amount of dielectric grease to the opening at the bottom of the rubber dust boot on the ignition coil housing.

The dielectric grease will help keep out any moisture or debris to ensure a reliable electrical connection.

Slide the ignition coil back in to the spark plug well and rotate it back and forth a few times to help spread the dielectric grease.

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6mm Hex Head Bolt
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Spin In By Hand
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Tighten Clockwise
Spin in the ignition coil bolt a few turns in the clockwise direction to prevent it from becoming cross threaded.

Tighten the 6mm hex head bolt to just past hand tight or about 8.7 lb-ft of torque.

Avoid over tightening the bolt to prevent from cracking the plastic ignition coil housing.

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Push On Power Plug
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Rear Three Spark Plugs
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Lower Plastic Engine Cover
Push the power plug straight on to the ignition coil until it clicks securely in to place.

The process is the same for the three spark plugs on the rear of the engine. It is just a bit more difficult to see what you are doing and there is a coolant hose somewhat in the way.

Lower the plastic cover straight down on top of the engine.

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1/4 Turn Clockwise - Lock
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Three Plastic Fasteners
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Spark Plugs Replaced
Push down the front edge and rotate the three fasteners 1/4 turn in the clockwise direction to lock them in place.

Double check that the engine cover is securely attached.

Start the engine and listen closely for any strange noises that might indicate a disconnected electrical connector or a loose spark plug.

Be sure to record the spark plug change in your vehicle's service records.

For more, check out all of my 2003-2008 Honda Pilot DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides.
 

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