How to Replace the Spark Plugs in a 2001 Chevrolet Suburban

By Justin Cupler , last updated March 13, 2012
As of 2012, the Suburban is the longest-produced model in General Motors’ lineup, as it debuted in the 1936 model year as a modified panel truck. In the 2000 model year, Chevrolet redesigned the Suburban for the 10th time in its illustrious production life, slightly shortening the full-size SUV and giving it a more aerodynamic appearance. The 2001 Suburban came standard with a 285-horsepower, 5.3-liter V-8 engine. Replacing the spark plugs on this engine is a relatively simple process.
  1. Check the gap on all eight new Denso PTJ16R15 or equivalent spark plugs using a spark plug gap tool. The required gap for the Suburban’s 5.3-liter engine is 0.058 to 0.062 inches. Exchange any incorrectly gapped plugs for new ones as you cannot adjust the gap on the platinum plugs recommended for the Suburban.
  2. Open the hood and find the eight coil packs, four bolted to the top of each valve cover, and notice the wires running from the coil packs to the side of the engine; these are the spark plug wires.
  3. Trace one spark plug wire from the coil pack toward the side of the engine until you reach the rubber boot on the end of the wire. Firmly grip the rubber boot, twist it a half turn and pull it away from the engine, exposing the spark plug.
  4. Remove the spark plug using a ratchet and spark plug socket. Pull the old plug from the spark plug socket, as a rubber insert secures it.
  5. Hand-thread a new spark plug into the engine and feel for resistance as you thread it. If you feel resistance, immediately remove the spark plug and reinstall it. Tighten the spark plug to 15 foot-pounds with a torque wrench and spark plug socket.
  6. Inspect the removed spark plug wire for any defects, including peeling, cracking, splits, burns or other signs of excessive aging. If any defects exist, replace all eight spark plug wires one by one.
  7. Place a dab of dielectric grease into the boot on the end of the spark plug wire and spread it around with a flat-head screwdriver.
  8. Align the spark plug wire’s boot with the top of the spark plug and press it onto the spark plug until you feel it click into place.
  9. Repeat steps 3 through 8 to replace the remaining seven spark plugs.
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