Spark Plug Removal

Hi there everyone!!!

I recently got my hands on a 1984 VF1000 F, and my plan is to do a ground up restoration. Bike belonged to my father-in-law, who has accepted to let me have it, after me pesting him for a long while about the bike. Bike has been sitting in a shed for years now, and has been quite neglected, and as far as I know, it hasn’t been started for over 10 years now…

I’ve got other bikes, and I’m not afraid to tackle most things bike related, even though I’m definitely not a mechanic. This however is for sure the biggest “project” that I’ve ever faced and one that for sure will take a long, long time.

I’m confident that with a fair bit of patience, and the help of other well versed riders here, I will get the bike back to her past glory.

Which brings me to my first speed bump;

I’m trying to get all spark plugs out, so that I can have a bit of a look. The ones on cylinder 1 and 3 (the rear ones) came out fine. The other ones though, for the life of me, I can’t work out how to pull them out. Can’t get an 18mm socket in there (I tried and now it is stuck in there), and with a spark plug socket I can’t get enough angle to undo the plug… Funny thing is that I can drop the 18mm socket in the rear cylinders, but for some reason, can’t do it in the front cylinders…

So my silly question is;

Do I need to pull out the radiator to get the plugs off, or do I simply need some other special socket to get in there? I probably need to do this anyway, because it is stuck in there…

PS: I much rather ask the silly question than to do something stupid because I didn’t ask…

You should get the plugs out, but this is more difficult with mounted radiatior.

If the bike wasn’t started for 10 years I would recommend at least the following:

Change all the fluids: oil, coolant, brake fluid

Inspect valve clearance → here you have to disassemnle the radiator :wink:

Rework the brakes

new tires

try turn the engine manually (do not use the starter) Some put diesel, WD40, or other mixtures into the cylinders before.

If it was stored with fuel inside the carbs you will need to do some carb cleaning.

I guess we will read some more questions the next time …


You shouldn’t need to remove the rad to get the front plugs out, they are awkward, honda does a special plug socket that you turn with a separate spanner supplied in the bikes tool kit, sadly these are nearly always missing… I use a box spanner and turn it with a cranked ring spanner, I’ll add a couple of pics when I get home tonight.

Hi there,

Thank you for your help. Really appreciate it.

All the stuff you noted, is definitely on the cards, and what I want to do before I get stuck into those (and many more) is to try to get the engine ticking over.

I’ve turned the crank by hand (pulled the side cover off and turned it with a wrench) to try to get a feel for the engine compression. I know that’s a really wrong way to check this, but was trying to get a feel for it. I’ve got a ZX9R and when I did my valve clearances on that bike, I could easily and really noticeably feel that compression at each cylinder. The VF, “felt” very different… Anyway, I proceeded to inspecting plugs and I am now in this position…

I’ll still try to get to the plugs without draining the rad, but if that fails, I’ll just do fluids now, and that’s that.


What do you mean turn the engine (on?) manually, and not with the starter? Sorry, but have no idea how I’d go about this… It doesn’t have a kick starter does it??

PS: Tank is not in a good shape, so it’s actually off the bike at the moment… so push starting is not something I can do.

As for more questions, yes of course they’ll keep coming :crazy_face: for sure

Hi there,

I got an 18mm deep socket from our trusty Bunnings which I was convinced would do the trick… What blows me away is that this socked fits in the hole on cylinder 1 and 3 (the rear ones) but is too tight on cylinders 2 and 4 (the front ones)… Can’t understand why on earth this “hole / chamber” would have a different internal diameter for the different cylinders… :man_shrugging:

I’ll try to get a few pics and put here in the coming days.

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Here’s what I use.

Genuine honda plug spanner, or box spanner and ring spanner…



There it is… Nicely stuck :man_facepalming:

Yep, hmm, it looks too wide to me, I would have thought it would come out with a few taps side to side… if it’s stuck fast drill a small hole near top of scocket, put a nail punch/ old screwdriver in and tap it upwards…

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The only silly question is the one you didn’t ask.

The members on this site are exceptionally knowledgeable and experienced (with the notable exception of me); they’re always happy to share their knowledge.


Hi JonyB, it’s been about a year now, how are you getting on with getting your VF going?
I’m assuming you are somewhere in Oz as you mentioned Bunnings?

Ah, Bunnings. Oh how I miss the Sunday sausage sizzle!

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Yeah Chris,
Crap snags always got me in on a Saturday morning if I shopped there. Fantastic cash cow fundraiser for the volunteer organisations that take turns in running them!
You must have moved to UK during the first run of Covid?

I’ve always lived in the UK (yeah, I know, I’m a Pom). My good lady wife is a fair dinkum Aussie though.

Pre pandemic we used to go to Oz twice a year to release her back into her natural habitat; this inevitably meant barbies, sausage sizzles and numerous vineyard trips into the Hunter Valley.

We’ve not been back since the covid restrictions started. That will all change next year, though. We’ll be doing the partial grey nomad thing then.

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Bring lots of money with you. Snags at Bunnings in my area are now $3.50.:smile::smile:

Hi Chris,
If next year is anything like this year, and they say it is quite probable, you may need a boat to take with you. 3 big floods already this year for some in NSW and other big ones moving down the Murray as we speak. They say it is going to continue to rain over summer too. One good thing is the farmers are not complaining about the drought anymore. It seems like the world has turned upside down with the weather you guys have been getting. If you get to Adelaide, give us a call. Enjoy the sunshine while you can. You are right the Ausie girls need to be treated a little differently. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: :joy: They certainly are unique (in a good way). :+1:
anyway, Stay safe.