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Discussion Starter #1
I spent the day trying to do a simple spark plug change on my 2014 Promaster 2500 159 gas van.

After 5 hours of trying to get the top cover of the engine off, I gave up.

I'm getting rid of this van and going back to a Sprinter. This is the last straw after two engines, 186k miles, several repairs, continuous bulb failures, and a radiator that still leaks after being replaced.

This top cover's only purpose is to route air from the throttle plate into the cylinders, and there is no reason I can see as to why they designed it to cover the entire top of the engine.

Let me warn you that there are 12 bolts and screws holding this on, not including the hoses and wires that have to be unplugged and moved. There are double brackets in front by the radiator and in back down by the engine block where you can't see. One of the bolts on the front is blocked by a metal hose and brace. The rear bracket will not come off even after no screws and attempts to pry it off.

This layout is a classic example of engineering and design taking priority over maintenance and repair. And the van is downright ugly in the front.

The engine compartment is too small. This top cover was designed too big for the space, and I couldn't get it off. Maybe someone has.

I have had to work on a lot of my vehicles over the years, and I've seen stupid designs that make repairs harder. A simple spark plug change should never be this hard.
 

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....I'm getting rid of this van and going back to a Sprinter. This is the last straw after two engines, 186k miles, several repairs, continuous bulb failures, and a radiator that still leaks after being replaced.
I would have ditched it after the first bulb failure! I guess they ain't makin' 'em like they used to!
 

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Sometimes a shop manual is a must have. This is Chryslers main engine that is used in almost every car they make and with the parts reductions there isn't much difference in any application. I was wondering how hard it would be to change the spark plugs. There must be a trick to it or some simple procedures. I have read that the spark plug tubes are very thin and you need to be careful when removing and installing them. This might be one procedure that I leave for the RAM mechanics.

I would rather pay Chryslers techs wages than Mercedes techs wages.
 

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I drive my PM and the company's 2010 Sprinter 3500 (99,xxx miles currently) almost every day. If Sprinter is the answer, it was a dumb question. Sprinters may shine on the interstate, but they don't hold up to city van use. This weeks ailment on the Sprinter is a failed u-joint in the three piece drive shaft. Simple fix, $50 part and 2 shop hours right? Not on a Sprinter. U-joints are peened into the ends of the shaft and not held in with cir-clips. So the options are; send the shaft out to a local custom shop to re-machine the shaft to accept one standard Spicer u-joint. (Likely to cost a week of downtime, and how long will it be until one of the other three u-joints or two center bearings fail?) Or option #2 , order a complete new, serviceable, U.S. made replacement drive shaft for a little over $1000 plus shipping and installation. I didn't say they were good options, but at least we have options.
 
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I was wondering when serviceability would come up as a criticism.

I assume that when Fiat designed the 2006 Ducato, they were NOT considering putting in a V6 engine (or even a gasoline engine). And when Mercedes/Chrysler designed the Pentastar engine, they weren't thinking of putting it in the Ducato (maybe in the Sprinter?). Fast forward a few bankruptcies and mergers later, and now we have FCA who decided to put the two together and call it a ProMaster.

I'm not saying this is an excuse for poor serviceability, but it is a reason.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I finally put the van back together today, after letting it sit overnight and loosening some additional brackets that should have loosened the brackets holding the front of the top engine cover. Nope, didn't work.

So my engine still has a miss, even though I don't have a check engine light.

I agree with the serviceability comments. Even if I was able to get the top cover off the engine, the rear plugs were back in a narrow space, another challenge.

The first quote I got on changing plugs on the first engine, back at 100,000 miles, was $500, due to labor. Then my local dealer quoted me $350, but the engine ended up being replaced.

This is definitely an engine compartment for a four cylinder engine, not a six.
 

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To be fair, I had a similar reaction the first time I changed the plugs on my 2004 E Series van. Why the #$%$? What the $#$%?

I found some videos online with some tricks and tips on changing them out and finished the job. I'm close to Detroit, so with luck some of the Ford engineers overheard me calling them and their mothers horrible names that day. >:D
 

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I was wondering when serviceability would come up as a criticism.

I assume that when Fiat designed the 2006 Ducato, they were NOT considering putting in a V6 engine (or even a gasoline engine). And when Mercedes/Chrysler designed the Pentastar engine, they weren't thinking of putting it in the Ducato (maybe in the Sprinter?). Fast forward a few bankruptcies and mergers later, and now we have FCA who decided to put the two together and call it a ProMaster.

I'm not saying this is an excuse for poor serviceability, but it is a reason.
I agree; any transverse V6 in a FWD vehicle will make for tougher service at some point.

An inline engine, whether 4-, 5-, or 6-cylinder, would be much easier to work on.

As wide as a PM is, an inline 6 may fit easily, but Chrysler doesn't have such a beast. And they aren't going to develop one just for the PM. The next best thing may be a heavy duty turbo 4-cylinder.
 

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This design is NOT uncommon. Our 2010 Nissan requires removing the air intake to access the plugs. With plug changes at 100K, is that a big deal...
 

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The V6 in my son's former Caravan was a bear when you needed to work on it. He was told the rear bank of spark plugs would need to have the engine dropped to change the plugs. We did them with a bunch of special sockets, adaptors, knuckles, and such but there was much swearing, some lost blood, and mirrors. I don't remember the details just the frustration. Thank goodness for 100K plugs.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I finally got those spark plugs changed myself, along with a coil on the #2 cylinder. Truck is still throwing a check engine light for a #2 cylinder misfire.

I suspect a faulty fuel injector, wiring harness or PCM, but it has to wait for now.

The trick to getting the top cover off the engine is the two 10mm bolts holding the cover to the front brackets, and the bolts holding the cover to the bracket in the back of the engine. It's 2 10mm bolts, 1 13mm bolt on the bottom of the bracket that is not visible, and the 13mm bolt screw that the first 13mm bolt screws onto. When you pull off the first 13mm bolt, this releases a combo bracket/hose. Lift it to get to the second bolt/screw combo. Remove it and the rear bracket comes off once the two 10mm bolts are removed up top.

Then take out seven bolt screws on top, disconnect the hoses from the air filter to the throttle body, unplug the hoses and wires in the top cover, and it's loose. Lift it up, and as you bring it out, turn the throttle body side toward the front.

I also removed the air intakes that go to the air filter.
 

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I would have ditched it after the first bulb failure! I guess they ain't makin' 'em like they used to!
i just went to the same thing. you need Holesaw to cut around the 2 center bolt however you need to take out all the other screws first including the 2 knots from front of the intake and another one on rear left side. drill with the Holesaw left one of the center screw first and have some one to constantly pry up pressure till yo feel it move than go to next with same and blow away saw dust. you will also nead to take out the cabin air filter housing. the car designers went to Bahamas in middle of the projects and the pennies wise CEO put the 2 Brass or stainless steel screw saving in his bonus
 

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It is an hour job after you have done it once. I chased a misfire that ended up being my transmission. Lol
 

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Whoever got in the engine before me, remove some of the bracket bolts already(the ones that is hard to deal with). So all i had to do is remove the upper manifold and air filter to access the plugs. No issue with the engine even without those bracket attach to the engine.
 

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2014, 138WB, High Roof, Gas, SW MT
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I used to do all the maintenance on my cars - right to an engine overhaul in one case on a 60's Chevy.

It seems to me this has become near impossible with modern cars.
I looked at replacing the spark plugs on my PM, but after looking at a few Youtube videos, decided to let the dealer do it. I think it was $350 well spent, and considering it does not have to be done until 100K miles, the price seems OK to me.

This is not a PM unique thing -- I'd not attempt doing any serious work on the Honda or on the Toyota we own.

There is a tradeoff - modern cars are much harder to work on, but on the other hand they are generally much more reliable and need less service. For me, if there is a criticism to be made its that the PM is not as reliable as the best brands today - but, that's also true of the Transit and Sprinter.

Gary
 
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