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Old 02-03-2009, 08:39 PM   #1 (permalink)
DAVe3283
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LB7 Glow Plug Tip Broke off

I had two bad glow plugs, so I bought two new ones ($46 out the door from the stealer dealer). I parked the truck, and pulled the fender splash cover things between the tire and engine. I also had to pull off the tube from the turbo to the intercooler to access one of the glow plugs. By this time, the engine wasn't hot, but hadn't cooled completely either (coolant was at/below the lowest temp on the gauge). It was still warm to the touch, but cool enough I could hold my hand on it and work without burning myself on anything.

When I pulled the first glow plug out, it appeared that the tip had broken off at some point in the past. It came out easily with a 12mm wrench and turning by hand.

Thinking this was strange, I proceeded to remove the other bad plug, which turned smoothly and easily, then suddenly made a "pop" noise and had no resistance at all. I spun it out with my fingers, and noticed it too was broken off at the tip. I looked in the glow plug hole, and as feared, the tip of the glow plug was there, somehow stuck in place.

I haven't done anything since then, since I don't know how to get the tips out. I did stuff rags in all open holes to keep out debris/animals. From reading on here and everywhere else I can find, it appears that the only real solution is to take the head off. But, since the front two glow plugs were bad (weird, huh?), I would have to take BOTH heads off! The solutions I found so far are:
  1. Spray WD-40 or some penetrating stuff in the hole, then crank the engine, theoretically shooting the tip back out. This seems to actually work on the chevy 6.2L diesel, but I don't want to risk damaging my otherwise perfectly healthy engine. What would the risk of this going badly be?
  2. Pull an injector and try and push the tip back out. Perhaps I could even grab it out. This would be better than pulling the heads, IMO, but not much.
  3. Pull the heads off and pry the glow plug tip out. I believe that if I do this, I should replace the head gaskets, which are expensive. Also, I have to do this in the parking lot outside my appartment, since I can't (well, won't) start the truck in this condition. If necessary, I will do this, since I think that buying what tools I don't have would still be cheaper than having the dealership do it.
The glow plugs were replaced less than 3 months ago, so I figured I wouldn't need to soak them or anything. I guess I may be wrong, although I suspect this couldn't have penetrated all the way up to the tip where the stick was anyway, but I am not sure. The main threads were perfectly clean (I was going to use never-seize when I put the new ones in), but came out easily (easier than loosening the nut holding the wire on).

So, what should I do to get the tips of the glow plugs out? I don't want to risk damaging my engine, and I would like to spend as little money as possible. I can use my motorcycle to get around for now, but I need my truck to be running ASAP. Any suggestions are welcome and appreciated!
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Old 02-03-2009, 09:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
Corndog510
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Just a warning. got a friend with a powerjoke 7.3 and he had a tip breakoff in the engine and completly destroyed that cylinder/ piston / valves. now its in a million pieces in his and my garage. BE CAREFUL. !!!!!!!!!!( now he's pulling the cup and getting new heads/ valves/ pistons etc)


one more thing the duramax is much more complicated than the older PSD
duramax=4 valves per cylinder= more work = more $$$$$$$$$$
PSD(7.3) = 2 valves per cylinder= less work = less $$$$$$$

but you get what you pay for
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Old 02-03-2009, 10:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I don't know the clearance between the piston at TDC and the head. If the GP tip is bigger than the clearance.....ouch. Maybe a bent rod, damaged piston, etc.

You are scaring me as I know I have bad GP's just waiting to do this to me too. (Shudder)

jb
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Old 02-03-2009, 10:26 PM   #4 (permalink)
DAVe3283
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corndog510 View Post
Just a warning. got a friend with a powerjoke 7.3 and he had a tip breakoff in the engine and completly destroyed that cylinder/ piston / valves. now its in a million pieces in his and my garage. BE CAREFUL. !!!!!!!!!!(
I am NOT going to start it until I am 100% sure that I got both tips completely out, and that there is no metal left. I don't want to ruin my Duramax, I love it too much. Thanks for the heads up!

I may try putting some solvent down the glow plug hole and rotating the engine slowly by hand, hoping that the compression will blow it out the hole. If it does fall into the cylinder, since I am rotating it slowly by hand, it won't do any damage (not that I can think of at least). If it comes out, I just saved a ton of time and money. If not, I will have to pull the head.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cougar GT-E View Post
I don't know the clearance between the piston at TDC and the head. If the GP tip is bigger than the clearance.....ouch. Maybe a bent rod, damaged piston, etc.
You are scaring me as I know I have bad GP's just waiting to do this to me too. (Shudder)
Thank God, but the engine wasn't running when the tip broke off. I was actually just unscrewing the glow plug, and when that happened, I just stopped what I was doing. No damage has been done yet, and hopefully I can get the tip out without any problems.

I am not going to do anything for at least a day or two until I have decided the best way to approach this.

Any suggestions guys?
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2003 GMC Sierra 2500HD LB7 Duramax 4x4 Crew Cab SB
295k miles, injectors at 206k; 7,980 lbs empty...
16.3 MPG average over the last 60,000 miles
EFILive and many random mods in the garage

1982 Chevy C10 Silverado 6.2L Diesel Single Cab LB

115k miles; 2nd set of injectors, 3rd injection pump, built 700R4 automatic, 4.11 gears

Cheap bastage -- guilty as charged.
~~ TheBac
If you try Pee in the urea tank, Ur ine for big problems. ~~ heymccall

Last edited by DAVe3283; 02-03-2009 at 10:28 PM.
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Old 02-04-2009, 12:37 AM   #5 (permalink)
Diesel Dragon
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If you can still see the tips how about trying to fish it out with a thin pencil type magnet.

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Old 02-04-2009, 09:05 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Go by one of those flex cables with the really strong small magnet on the end, fish it down there & see if you can loc on & pull it out. If the magnet is too big, take a dremel to it & make it smaller. I would try that first, it's cheap. If the tip is stuck in there, i don't see why you couldn't drill a small hole in it & use am ez-out or similar using a shop vac at the same time to keep the filings out of the cylinder. Short of pulling th head, that's all i got........

RD
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Old 02-04-2009, 12:30 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Spray you some "KROIL" in there. I work in the Chemical plants and deal with a lot of stuck items. That stuff works wonders..
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Old 02-04-2009, 01:16 PM   #8 (permalink)
DAVe3283
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diesel Dragon View Post
If you can still see the tips how about trying to fish it out with a thin pencil type magnet.
I tried sticking a magnet in the hole this morning, but the tip it is stuck to the head somehow. I looked in and I can't really tell what is causing it to stick (poor visibility). I am afraid to just stick a punch in there and pop it loose for fear that I may not be able to pull it out, but what choice do I have?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Motor7 View Post
Go by one of those flex cables with the really strong small magnet on the end, fish it down there & see if you can loc on & pull it out. If the magnet is too big, take a dremel to it & make it smaller. I would try that first, it's cheap. If the tip is stuck in there, i don't see why you couldn't drill a small hole in it & use am ez-out or similar using a shop vac at the same time to keep the filings out of the cylinder. Short of pulling th head, that's all i got........
I don't have a drill bit long enough to reach to the end, and I would like to avoid the possibility of getting filings everywhere. I am thinking that everyone is right about just getting it loose and pulling it out with a magnet, since that is the cheapest and probably easiest way.
Quote:
Originally Posted by cdeankr View Post
Spray you some "KROIL" in there. I work in the Chemical plants and deal with a lot of stuck items. That stuff works wonders..
I'll see if anyone near here sells it, because I would like to get it out. If I am lucky, it will get loose enough that a magnet will be able to suck it out without having it fall into the combustion chamber (no fishing!).

I suppose that if it does fall into the combustion chamber, I can try and get at it though an exhaust valve if I needed, or just fish through the glow plug hole.

I would like to thank everyone for the suggestions (keep em coming if you've got more) and support, and I will let everyone know as I progress.
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2003 GMC Sierra 2500HD LB7 Duramax 4x4 Crew Cab SB
295k miles, injectors at 206k; 7,980 lbs empty...
16.3 MPG average over the last 60,000 miles
EFILive and many random mods in the garage

1982 Chevy C10 Silverado 6.2L Diesel Single Cab LB

115k miles; 2nd set of injectors, 3rd injection pump, built 700R4 automatic, 4.11 gears

Cheap bastage -- guilty as charged.
~~ TheBac
If you try Pee in the urea tank, Ur ine for big problems. ~~ heymccall
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Old 02-04-2009, 03:01 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Dave, we all are just glad it ain't us posting this. I have heard good things about Kroil, but haven't tried it. PB Blaster is my pick for frozen bolts & such. If it is stuck in there, you are kinda screwed because once you push it into the cylinder i don't see how to orient the thing to get it back out of a small hole. Good luck....your gonna need it..........

RD
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Old 02-04-2009, 03:07 PM   #10 (permalink)
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2x on the PB blaster
good luck!!!
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