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Nissan Frontier 4.0L V6 Engine Spark Plugs Replacement Guide
How to check or change the spark plugs in a 2nd generation 2005 to 2016 Nissan Frontier with the VQ40DE 4.0L V6 motor.

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2016 Frontier 4.0L V6
Right (Driver) Side of Engine
Left (Passenger) Side
This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the second generation "D40 Series" (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 & 2016) Nissan Frontier pickup truck with the VQ40DE 4.0 liter V6 engine in checking or changing the spark plugs.

Owners of other Nissan or Infiniti vehicles such as the Navara, Versa, Maxima, Juke, Rogue, Altima, Xterra, Pathfinder, Murano, Cube, Armada, Leaf, Quest, Sentra, Teana, 370Z, GT-R, Titan, G25, G37, M35, QX56, QX60 and M37 may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

The OEM spark plugs in this '16 Nissan Frontier SV were the NGK DILFR5A11 Laser Iridium.

The tools and other items needed to complete this procedure include a 10mm socket with a 1/4 drive ratcheting wrench, a 10mm wrench, a 5/8" spark plug socket, extension bars, a universal swivel joint, a 3/8" drive ratchet and a tube of dielectric grease.


A few other compatible replacement spark plugs with their part numbers include the following: NGK (4469) LFR5AIX-11, Denso (4703) IKH16TT, Autolite APP5325, Pulstar (dg1h10) and Denso (3450) FK16HR-11.
Ignition Coils On Right
Below Manifold Assembly
Front Left Ignition Coil
The three ignition coils and spark plugs on the right (driver) side of the engine are easily accessible.

To replace the spark plugs on the left (passenger) side of the engine, you'll need a 10mm wrench, wobble extension bars and a universal swivel joint.

Some Frontier owners prefer to remove the intake manifold for better access to the passenger side ignition coils. But that is not required if you have the tools mentioned above.

The rubber boots on the ignition coil housings are relatively flexible, which makes it possible to remove them through the opening in the intake manifold.

Driver Side Ignition Coils
Extension Bars & Swivel Joint
Front Driver Side Coil
For this tutorial, I started with the front driver side spark plug.

If you have access to a wet/dry shop vacuum or compressed air, thoroughly clean off the top of the engine to help prevent from having debris fall down in to the cylinder head.

I'd recommend only checking or changing one spark plug at a time to further reduce the risk of having something fall down in to the cylinder well.

Press Release Tab
Disconnect Power Plug
Loosen Counterclockwise
Press in the tab on the electrical connector to release it.

Slide the power plug straight off the ignition coil assembly.

Loosen the single bolt that secures the ignition coil to the engine by turning it counterclockwise with a 10mm socket and a 1/4" drive ratcheting wrench.

(For the passenger side of the engine, you may need to instead use a regular 10mm wrench.)

10mm Bolt Removed
Rotate Ignition Coil
Lift Out Ignition Coil Housing
Spin out the 10mm bolt and set it aside in a safe place.

Rotate the ignition coil back and forth a few times to make sure that the rubber dust boot is not stuck or "frozen" to the top of the old spark plug.

Lift the ignition coil housing straight out of the spark plug well and set it aside in a safe place.

Rubber Coil Boot Can Bend
5/8" Spark Plug Socket
Loosen Counterclockwise
Once you have the first ignition coil out of the engine, take a moment to examine how the rubber boot is somewhat flexible so you'll know how far you can bend the coils on the passenger side to get them through the opening in the intake manifold.

Attach the 5/8" spark plug socket to a 6" extension bar and the 3/8" drive ratcheting wrench.

Lower the socket in to the well and attach it to the top of the old spark plug.

Carefully loosen the old spark plug by turning the wrench in the counterclockwise direction.

Try to avoid using excessive force to loosen the old spark plug to prevent from cracking the ceramic portion of the plug.

If you have trouble loosening the old spark plug, spray a small amount of penetrating oil such as PB Blaster, Liquid Wrench or Kano Kroil and wait at least 15-30 minutes before attempting to loosen it again. If you don't have any penetrating oil, try spraying some WD-40 or warm up the engine for a few minutes to help expand the metal engine block.


Detach Wrench - Spin Out
Lift Out Old Spark Plug
Inspect OEM Spark Plug

Once the old spark plug is loose, detach the ratcheting wrench and spin it out the rest of the way by hand with the extension bar.

Lift the old spark plug out of the well and detach it from the socket.

Inspect the old spark plug.

If the electrode end of the old spark plug looks ashy white, the plugs may have been exposed to high temperatures due to engine overheating or they may be the incorrect heat range for your driving conditions or environment.

On the other hand, if the old spark plug is grey or covered in dark black soot, the engine may be burning oil and should be examined by a professional mechanic.

(An optional step is to apply some anti-seize grease to the threads on the spark plug. Most spark plug manufacturers recommend that you should not use anti-seize lubricant grease since it can lead to over tightening. Some mechanics believe that using anti-seize grease on the spark plugs will help prevent them from becoming stuck or "frozen" in to the cylinder head if they are not removed again for 100,000 miles.)

If you have a spark plug gap gauge, check that the new spark plugs are gapped to the manufacturer's specification listed on the side of the box. They should be pre-set from the factory, so don't worry if you don't have a gap gauge.

Lower In New Spark Plug
Spin In Clockwise
Tighten Clockwise
The OEM (original equipment manufacturer) spark plugs in this 2016 Nissan Frontier SV were the NGK DILFR5A11 "Laser Iridium" which should be good for 100,000 miles.

Push the new spark plug in to the socket. Your spark plug socket should have a rubber insert or a strong magnet to securely hold the new plug in place.

Carefully lower the new spark plug down in to the well.

Spin in the new spark plug by hand in the clockwise direction until it makes contact with the top of the cylinder head.

Attach the 3/8" drive ratcheting wrench to the 6" extension bar and continue tightening the new spark plug in the clockwise direction.

If you are re-installing the old spark plug, tighten it to just a very small fraction of a turn past hand tight.

If you are installing a brand new spark plug, tighten it to just past the point when you feel the new crush washer collapse.

Do not over tighten the spark plug to prevent from cracking the ceramic body or stripping the aluminum threads.

Double check that the new spark plug is tight before moving on to the next steps.

Apply Dielectric Grease
Lower In Ignition Coil
Rotate Back & Forth
Apply a small amount of dielectric grease to the opening in the rubber dust boot at the bottom of the ignition coil.

The dielectric grease will help keep out any moisture or dust and prevent corrosion (rust) from forming.

Lower the ignition coil down in to the spark plug well and over the top of the new spark plug.

Rotate the ignition coil back and forth a few times to help spread the dielectric grease.

Spin In 10mm Bolt
Tighten Clockwise
Electrical Connector
Spin in the 10mm bolt a few turns by hand in the clockwise direction to secure the ignition coil in place.

Continue tightening the bolt with the 10mm socket and ratcheting wrench to just past hand tight.

Try to avoid over tightening the bolt to prevent from cracking the ignition coil housing.

Push On Power Plug
Rubber Hose In Way
Extension Bar & Swivel Joint
Push the electrical connector straight on to the ignition coil until you hear or feel it "click" securely in to place.

To access the spark plugs on the passenger side, you'll need to get creative with your wobble extension bars and a universal swivel joint.

Coil Under Intake Manifold
10mm Wrench
Passenger Side Coils
To remove the 10mm bolts on the passenger side ignition coils, use a standard 10mm hand wrench.

Once you are done checking or changing the spark plugs, start the engine and listen closely for any strange noises or sounds that might indicate a problem such as a loose spark plug or a disconnected electrical connector.

For more, check out my other Nissan Frontier DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides.

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