The five-cylinder engine used in the Volvo S60 has a spark plug and ignition coil for each cylinder. Failing plugs or coils will produce a weakened spark at best, resulting in poor ignition of the fuel/air mixture in the cylinder. Without the spark, the engine will make significantly less power while sounding and feeling poor. Volvo’s five-cylinder engine will throw a P0300-P0305 code when the engine computer determines a fault with a specific cylinder’s spark.
Even though the spark plugs and ignition coils play a critical role in how an engine performs, they are easily accessible and require a few hand tools to be replaced. The cost of parts is relatively cheap, and valuable wrench-turning experience is gained in completing it on your own.
Volvo models and years applicable:
This DIY applies to the Volvo P3 platform:
Symptoms of worn spark plugs or ignition coil failure on a P3 Volvo S60:
- Misfiring of engine
- Reduced engine performance
- Trouble starting the vehicle
- Reduced fuel economy
- Engine backfiring
- Check engine codes
Any lack of spark can also leave raw fuel in the cylinder. The unburnt fuel can clean the cylinder walls of the thin layer of lubricating oil, potentially causing the piston rings to scratch the cylinder bores. Scored cylinder walls will lead to an excess in oil consumption and will cost exponentially more to fix than servicing the ignition system.
To ensure that your ignition components are performing as they should, replace them every 100,00 miles or so. If you are pushing more power through your engine from any modifications, cut the service interval in half.
What will it cost to change the spark plugs and ignition coils on a P3 Volvo S60 ?
The total parts cost for this job will be roughly $310. Our Volvo spark plug kit comes with everything you’ll need for this job. Both the plugs and coils are OE spec and will fit the same as the original Volvo parts.
However, some tools will make the job a bit easier. CTA offers the correct sized 16mm spark plug socket with a swivel extension to make the spark plug removal and installation easier. They also provide flexible nut drivers to make loosening hose clamps much easier. All of the tools are listed below.
How long will it take to change the spark plugs and ignition coils on a P3 Volvo S60?
This job shouldn’t take more than an hour and a half with all of the tools and parts at your disposal. The plugs and coils sit atop the engine and require only a few items to be removed to reach them. The old spark plugs may put up resistance while you remove them, so be gentle.
Parts required to change the spark plugs and ignition coils on a P3 Volvo S60:
Tools required to change the spark plugs and ignition coils on a P3 Volvo S60:
- CTA Spark Plug Socket
- 7mm Nut Driver
- Extra-deep 10mm Socket
- Light-duty Torque Wrench
- Feeler Gauge
- T30 Bit Socket or Wrench
- Dielectric Grease (Included in kit)
Steps required to change the spark plugs and ignition coils on a P3 Volvo S60:
Step 1: Expose the spark plugs and ignition coils
The first thing that needs removing is the intake pipe. Use a 7mm socket or nut driver to loosen the clamps on either end of the pipe. Then use a 10mm socket to remove the two bolts that secure the pipe to the engine.
Next, use the T30 bit to loosen the six engine cover fasteners so that you can remove the cover.
Then, head to the front of the engine to remove the top of the timing cover. Use an 8mm socket to remove the bolt next to the oil filler and a T30 bit to remove the two fasteners on either side of the center of the cover.
After you remove the bolts, use a flathead screwdriver to unclip the timing cover from its lower section. Unclip it on either side and then remove it from the engine. Removing the oil cap will ease the removal too.
Step 2: Replace the spark plugs and ignition coils
Next, unplug the ignition harness from the ignition coils. Press down on the grey tab and pull the plug away from the coil to unplug it. Repeat this for all five coils.
Then, use an 8mm socket to remove the mounting bolt from each ignition coil. With the bolts removed, pull the coils out of the cylinder head.
Now take the CTA spark plug socket and seat it onto the first spark plug. Use the ratchet and spark plug socket to remove the plug like a bolt. If the plug starts to bind while you remove it, thread it back in a half-turn, then back it out again.
There is rubber inside of the socket to grab ahold of the spark plug while you remove it, so you don’t have to fish down into the cylinder head to remove it. Inspect the tip of the spark plug when you remove it. If there is lots of oil residue on the tip, there could be a larger engine problem.
Step 3: Check the gaps and replace the plugs and coils
Each manufacturer has a specific requirement for the electrode gap. Use the feeler gauge or a spark plug gapping tool to check the new spark plugs’ gap. Volvo’s specifications require the gaps to be thirty-thousandths (.030) of an inch.
Use the .030” blade on the feeler gauge and run it between the spark plug’s electrodes. The gap should be enough for a snug fit of the feeler blade. If it is a loose fit, lightly tap the plug’s tip on a hard surface to close the gap.
Go through and check all of the gaps on the plugs. Make adjustments as necessary. Then, use the spark plug socket to reinstall the plugs into the cylinder head. Thread them all in without the ratchet, then use the torque wrench to torque the plugs to 22Nm.
Next, place some dielectric grease on the new coil’s tip, then place the new ignition coils into the spark plug tubes. Thread in their mounting bolts by hand before using an 8mm socket to tighten them. Volvo specifies a 10Nm torque spec for the mounting bolts, but it won’t hurt just to snug them up with the ratchet.
Once you’ve mounted the ignition coils, plug them all in.
Step 4: Refit the engine cover and intake
First, refit the timing cover. Start by making sure that the two clips are engaged on either side of the cover. Then, tighten the two T30 fasteners and the 8mm bolt.
Then, refit the ignition coil cover. Use a T30 bit to tighten the six fasteners.
Finally, reinstall the intake tube. Get both ends of the tube fitted into their respective connections. Then, secure the tube to the engine with its two mounting bolts before tightening the hose clamps on either end of the tube. Use a 10mm socket for the mounting bolts and a 7mm socket or nut driver to tighten the hose clamps.
Now your Volvo is back to full health, and you can get back to driving without any worries. If you’re interested in more DIYs for your Volvo, you can visit fcpeuro.com and subscribe to our YouTube channel.
Owner of a flat-six swapped 1998 Impreza 2.5RS and a 1973 Porsche 914. Horizontally opposed views, only.