How Do I Change the Back Spark Plugs on a 97 Chevy Venture?


In 1997, Chevrolet ended the confusion by ending the Lumina APV minivan, which had virtually no relation to the Lumina sedan, and replacing the Lumina minivan with the Venture. The 1997 Venture featured a 180-horsepower, 3.4-liter V-6 engine, for which Chevrolet recommended changing the spark plugs every 100,000 miles. Chevy shoehorned the 3.4-liter engine into the Venture’s engine compartment, so replacing the rear spark plugs requires you to rotate the engine, using a special General Motors tool, which you can rent from most auto parts stores.

Things You'll Need

  • Spark plug gap tool
  • Ratchet
  • Spark plug socket
  • Torque wrench
  • Spark plug wire
  • Dielectric grease
  • Flat-head screwdriver
  • Socket set
  • Combination wrench
  • GM engine tilt strap (part No. J-41131)

Replacing Front Plugs

  • Check the gap on all six new spark plugs with a spark plug gap tool. The required gap for the 3.4-liter engine is 0.060 inches. Adjust the spark plug gap by widening or narrowing the space between the two electrodes, if needed, using the spark plug gap tool.

  • Trace one spark plug wire toward the front of the engine until you reach the thick rubber boot. Pull upward on the boot while twisting it back and forth until it pops free from the spark plug.

  • Remove the exposed spark plug with a ratchet and spark plug socket.

  • Thread a new spark plug into the engine by hand, feeling for resistance as you thread it. If you feel resistance, immediately remove the plug and attempt to thread it again. Tighten the spark plug to 15 foot-pounds with a torque wrench and spark plug socket.

  • Inspect the disconnected spark plug wire for defects, such as breaks, burns, brittleness or other signs of excessive age. Replace all six spark plug wires one by one if any defects exist.

  • Apply a dab of dielectric grease to the inside of the spark plug wire’s rubber boot, then press the boot onto the spark plug until you feel it click into place.

  • Repeat steps 2 through 6 to replace the remaining two spark plugs on the front of the engine.

Replacing Rear Plugs

  • Release the two clasps on top of the air filter box. Trace the air filter outlet hose until you come to the mass airflow sensor connector, one of two electrical connectors on the hose, and unplug the connector. Continue tracing the hose until you reach the intake air temperature sensor connector, the second electrical connection, and unplug it.

  • Loosen the air filter outlet tube-to-throttle body hose clamp, using a flat-head screwdriver, and pull the air filter outlet hose from the throttle body. Remove the top of the air filter box and air filter outlet hose from the engine compartment as one assembly.

  • Insert the key in the Venture’s ignition and turn it to the “Run” position. Shift the vehicle into neutral, set the parking brake and turn the ignition to the “Off” position.

  • Remove the bolts and nuts securing the engine strut mounts – the mounts on the top front of the engine – to their engine brackets, using a ratchet, socket and combination wrench. Remove the bolts and nuts securing the brackets on the upper radiator support beam. Remove the strut mounts from the engine compartment.

  • Loop a GM engine tilt strap – GM part No. J-41131 – around the driver’s side of the upper radiator support. Guide the hooked end of through the tilt strap through its looped end to lock it on the upper radiator support.

  • Insert the hooked end of the tilt strap through the eyelet on the strut mounts bracket on the driver’s side of the engine. With an assistant’s aid, pull the engine forward with the tilt strap until it stops moving. Pull the slack from the tilt strap by pulling its loose end toward the front of the vehicle to lock the engine in place, providing access to the rear spark plugs and wires.

  • Follow a spark plug wire toward the rear of the engine until you reach the rubber boot at the end of the wire. Pull the wire from the spark plug with a slight twisting motion.

  • Use steps 3 through 6 in the section titled “Replacing Front Plugs” to replace the exposed spark plug and wires, if needed. Repeat this step to replace all three rear spark plugs.

  • Lift upward on the metal clasp on the GM engine tilt strap to allow the loose end of the strap to slowly feed back toward the engine until the engine is in its normal position.

  • Reinstall the passenger’s side engine strut mount and tighten its bolts and nuts to 35 foot-pounds, using a torque wrench, socket and combination wrench. Remove the engine tilt strap. Install the driver’s side engine strut mount, then tighten its bolts and nuts to 35 foot-pounds.

  • Guide the top of the air filter onto its lower half, then press the air filter outlet tube into place on the throttle body inlet. Tighten the air filter outlet hose-to-throttle body hose clamp with a flat-head screwdriver. Plug the IAT and MAF sensors’ wiring harnesses into their respective sensors. Latch the air filter housing’s clasps shut to lock it in place.

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