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Nissan Pathfinder Spark Plugs Replacement Guide
How to change the spark plugs in a 4th generation 2013 to 2016 Nissan Pathfinder with the VQ35DE 3.5L V6 engine.

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2016 Pathfinder 3.5L V6
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Loosen Engine Cover Bolt
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Top Left Bolt Removed

This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the fourth generation (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and perhaps also the face lifted 2017 model year) Nissan Pathfinder SUV in checking or changing the engine spark plugs in the VQ35DE 3.5 liter V6 motor.

Owners of other Nissan or Infiniti vehicles such as the Versa, Maxima, Juke, Rogue, Altima, Xterra, Sentra, Murano, Cube, Armada, Leaf, Quest, Frontier, Teana, 370Z, GT-R, Titan, G25, G37, M35, QX56, QX60 and M37 may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

The OEM iridium spark plugs in this 2016 Pathfinder SV are Denso part number FXE22HR-11 (3442) or FXE22HR11.

A few other compatible replacement spark plugs with their part numbers are as follows: Autolite XP5683, NGK DILKAR7B11, Denso (4712) IXEH22TT, Champion 9412 and MSD 3730.

The tools and other items needed to complete this procedure include a 10mm socket with a 1/4" drive ratchet, a 9/16" spark plug socket, a 6" extension bar, a 3/8" drive ratchet, a tube of dielectric grease and a spark plug gap gauge.

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Loosen Counterclockwise
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Top Right Bolt Removed
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Bottom Left Bolt
The first step is to open the hood.

Then locate the four bolts that secure the plastic engine cover in place.

There are two bolts on the top of the cover and another two on the lower front edge.

The bottom right (driver side) bolt is hidden by the air intake assembly but still easily accessible with out removing anything.

Remove the two bolts on the top of the engine cover by turning them counterclockwise with a 10mm socket and a 1/4" drive ratchet.

Set the two bolts aside in a safe place.

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Loosen Lower Left Bolt
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Lower Right Side Bolt
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Loosen Bottom Right Bolt
Loosen the lower left 10mm bolt by turning it counterclockwise.

Then reach in and loosen the lower right side bolt by turning it counterclockwise.

The two lower bolts will remain attached to the engine cover.

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Reaching In To Last Bolt
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Lift Off Engine Cover
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Bottom Bolts Still Attached
Carefully lift off the plastic engine cover and set it aside in a safe place.

If you have access to compressed air or a wet/dry shop vacuum.

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Front Three Spark Plugs
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Rear Three Ignition Coils
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Push In Release Tab
I recommend replacing the front three spark plugs first so that you become familiar with the procedure.

The three spark plugs on the rear side of the engine can be a bit more challenging to reach but the process becomes easier once you get a feel for the steps.

I also advise you to only check or change one spark plug at a time to reduce the risk of having debris fall down in to the engine.

Push the release tab on the grey plastic electrical connector before sliding it straight off the ignition coil.

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Pull Off Power Plug
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Loosen Ignition Coil Bolt
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10mm Bolt Removed
Loosen the single bolt that secures the ignition coil in place by turning it counterclockwise with a 10mm socket and a 1/4" drive ratchet.

Set the ignition coil bolt aside in a safe place.

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Lift Out Ignition Coil Housing
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Spark Plug Well
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9/16" Spark Plug Socket
Rotate the ignition coil back and forth a few times to make sure that the rubber dust boot at the bottom of the ignition coil is not stuck or "frozen" to the top of the old spark plug.

Lift the ignition coil out of the spark plug well and set it aside in a safe place.

Attach the 9/16" spark plug socket to the 6" extension bar and the 3/8" drive ratchet.



 

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Loosen Counterclockwise
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Lift Out Old Spark Plug
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Inspect Old Spark Plug
Lower the spark plug socket in to the well and attach it to the top of the old spark plug.

Carefully loosen the old spark plug by rotating 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 to 30 minutes before trying to loosen it again. If you don't have any penetrating oil, try spraying some WD-40 or warm up the engine for about 10 to 15 minutes to expand the metal engine block.

Once the old spark plug is loose, detach the ratcheting wrench from the extension bar and spin it out the rest of the way by hand.

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 looks ashy white, the plugs may have been exposed to high temperatures such as overheating or they could be the incorrect heat range for your driving conditions or local climate.

On the other hand, if the old spark plug is dark grey or coated in black soot, the engine might be burning oil and should be examined by a professional mechanic.

An optional step is to apply some anti-seize lubricant grease to the threads on the new spark plug. Most spark plug manufacturers recommend that you should not use anti-seize since it can lead to over tightening.

I recommend buying the OEM iridium tipped spark plugs which are the Denso (3442) FXE22HR-11.

If you have a spark plug gap gauge, verify that the gap on the new spark plugs match the manufacturer's specifications on the box. (The OEM Denso FXE22HR11 spark plugs should be gapped to .043".)

Push the new spark plug in to the 9/16" socket attached to the extension bar.

Your spark plug socket should have a rubber insert or a strong magnet to hold it securely in place.

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Spin In New Spark Plug
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Tighten Clockwise
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Apply Dielectric Grease

Gently lower the spark plug in to the well.

Spin in the new spark plug by hand in the clockwise direction until it makes contact with the cylinder head. Spinning it in by hand will help prevent the new spark plug from becoming cross threaded.

Attach the 3/8" drive ratcheting wrench to the 6" extension bar and continue tightening the new spark plug in the clockwise direction.

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

If you are installing a brand new spark plug, tighten it to just past the point when you feel the new crush washer collapse.

Do not over tighten the spark plug to prevent from cracking the ceramic body or stripping the aluminum threads.

If you used anti-seize grease lubricant, be extra careful to not over tighten the spark plug.

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

Apply some dielectric grease to the opening in the rubber dust boot at the bottom of the ignition coil housing.

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

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Lower In Ignition Coil
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Rotate Back & Forth
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Spin In 10mm Bolt
Lower the ignition coil in to the spark plug well and and rotate it back and forth a few times to spread the dielectric grease.

Line up the bolt hole in the ignition coil with the corresponding bolt hole on the top of the engine.

Spin in the 10mm bolt by hand a few turns in the clockwise direction to help prevent it from becoming cross threaded.

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Tighten 10mm Clockwise
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Push On Electrical Connector
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Ignition Coil Replaced
Tighten the 10mm bolt in the clockwise direction until it is snug.

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

Push the electrical connector straight on to the ignition coil until it clicks securely in to place.

Double check that the power plugs and ignition coil bolts are securely in place before moving on to the next steps.

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Lower Engine Cover
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Replace Top Bolts
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Tighten 10mm Clockwise
Line up the plastic engine cover and lower it back in to place.

Replace the two top bolts and tighten them in the clockwise direction with the 10mm socket and a 1/4" drive ratchet until they are snug.

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Tighten Bottom Left Bolt
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Tighten Bottom Right Bolt
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Plastic Cover Replaced
Tighten the two bolts on the front lower edge of the engine cover by turning them in the clockwise direction.

Try to avoid over tightening the bolts to prevent from cracking the plastic engine cover.

Start the engine and listen for any strange sounds that might indicate a problem such as a loose spark plug or a disconnected ignition coil power plug.

If you replaced the spark plugs, record the change in your SUV's service records.

For more, check out all of my 2013-2016 Nissan Pathfinder DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides.
 

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