I broke 2 spark plugs in my Buick lesabre 3800. The plug is broken at the top of the nut. The porcelain is all broken off in the socket. Took it to a mechanic and was told he would have to take the entire engine out in order to extract them. Right or wrong? Btw it's plug number 2 and 4 on the back end.

  • Welcome to the site. Cheers! Commented Jun 3, 2016 at 18:41
  • 2
    The GM 3800 motor has very accessible spark plugs and pretty much everything else. You may as well pull the engine to get at the oil dipstick.
    – user4896
    Commented Jun 3, 2016 at 21:48
  • If the plug comes out without issue, and the new ones go in the same, find yourself a new mechanic. In fact, even if there is a more serious problem, the mechanic should have spelled out EXACTLY why he needed to pull the motor to fix it. You did the right thing questioning them in the first place, I'd be very hesitant about ever going back. Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 16:42

2 Answers 2


Sounds to me like the plug is still in the head as normal, just with the porcelain and electrode snapped on the top end (where the ignition line attaches). If that's the case, it should be really easy to handle, you just need the exact right tool.

You may need to take the manifold off to open up your workspace, but you should be able to access it with a proper spark plug socket or if the nut's damaged (stripped) you could use an easy-out type socket (Irwin makes some).

Regardless of the case, it's extremely unlikely that you ever need to pull a motor to get the plug out. If you could post a pic it'd be much easier to give a perfect answer, but I'd never pay a mechanic that wants to pull the motor for that?

  • 2
    I'm inclined to agree, but with two notes. First, I'd use compressed air to force out whatever broken ceramic (or dirt) might be lurking there so it doesn't fall into the hole when the plug is removed. Second, it may depend on why the plugs were broken on removal. If it's because they were cross-threaded at installation and/or grossly overtorqued, this might become a major job.
    – Edward
    Commented Jun 3, 2016 at 21:22
  • @Edward I absolutely agree! :) Commented Jun 3, 2016 at 21:32

If the electrode pulled out of the plug you may be able to use an epoxy to pull out the rest of the porcelain. If not you'd have to smash it and get it out of the ground strap. Then you may be able to use an extractor kit on the ground strap.

I'm pretty sure you don't have to pull the engine to remove the head. But the lower intake etc... would have to come off.

Either way it's time consuming and all straight up labor.

  • Yeah, that's a major PITA, without a doubt. Commented Jun 3, 2016 at 18:41
  • Thanks guys. I wish I could upload a picture but I was barley able to reach around with the ratchet lol I didn't think I had to have the motor pulled out.I guess it's just a mechanic being a mechanic
    – Byron
    Commented Jun 4, 2016 at 21:30

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