I have been trying to replace the spark plugs on my talbot express 1989, I have been having some trouble with getting the 21mm spark plug tool to fit into the spark plug hole, however after shaving down some of the metal on the outside of it, it fits quite comfortably. Having managed to get it into the hole and making contact with the spark plug I have then tried to remove the spark plug, but the entire metal cylinder holding the spark plug has started turning instead (I am struggling to work out what the metal tube is called!). I think I need to just shave more metal off the spark plug tool so its making less friction against the tube, but will the engine be damaged from it having spun round?

It is the metal tube in the picture that appears to have some sort of filler around it.

Picture of the cylinder the spark plug is in

  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! Commented Jul 17, 2023 at 19:50

1 Answer 1


You aren't damaging the vehicle by this spinning, however, it could pose a problem with leakage where this tube locates at the cylinder head. The purpose of the tube is to keep engine oil away from the spark plug. It spinning may or may not have affected the seal at the bottom depending on how the seal works. As far as I know, this tube is called ... wait for it ... a spark plug tube. Hmmm, wonder where I heard that before. Nonetheless, it really depends on how the engineers designed the tube to seal. Newer vehicles use either a seal this presses against to keep the oil out or a regular seal with a circular spring to hold the seal against the wall of the tube. It could be by you turning the tube, you've broken that seal and it might start leaking. Since I'm unfamiliar with your vehicle and its engine, I can't tell you for sure if this is something you'll need to worry about. If you don't want to risk it by taking it apart to check the seal, you'll at a minimum need to check it after startup to see if it is leaking. If it is, then you really have no choice but to replace the seals. If you don't, you'll be fouling spark plugs.

  • Think the seals might need replacing either way - the tubes are full of oil!
    – Bren
    Commented Jul 18, 2023 at 12:48
  • @Bren - That'd be good maintenance to get them changed out. Commented Jul 18, 2023 at 13:05

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