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Title:
SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR INSTALLING SPARK PLUGS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/151980
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A press lever system selectively installs and extracts a spark plug from an internal combustion engine. The spark plug includes a conical seal and a press portion. The press lever system includes a lever and a spark plug press coupled to the lever such that rotation of the lever is converted into linear motion of the spark plug press. The spark plug press includes a distal-facing surface and a proximal-facing surface. The distal-facing surface is configured to couple against the press portion in response to rotation of the lever in a first rotational direction. The proximal-facing surface is configured to couple against the press portion in response to rotation of the lever in a second rotational direction opposite the first rotational direction.

Inventors:
JENKINS, Sean Craig (General Electric Company Global Research, One Research Circle Bldg. K1-3A5, Niskayuna New York, 12309, US)
Application Number:
US2018/015877
Publication Date:
August 08, 2019
Filing Date:
January 30, 2018
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY (1 River Road, Schenectady, New York, 12345, US)
International Classes:
H01T13/08; B25B27/02; H01T13/12; H01T21/02
Foreign References:
CN102581814A2012-07-18
US1284938A1918-11-12
GB732367A1955-06-22
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WULLER, Adam R. et al. (Armstrong Teasdale LLP, 7700 Forsyth BoulevardSt. Louis, Missouri, 63105-1847, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1. A press lever system for selectively installing and extracting a spark plug from an internal combustion engine, the spark plug including a conical seal and a press portion, said press lever system comprising: a lever; and a spark plug press coupled to said lever such that rotation of said lever is converted into linear motion of said spark plug press, wherein said spark plug press comprises: a distal-facing surface configured to couple against the press portion in response to rotation of said lever in a first rotational direction; and a proximal-facing surface configured to couple against the press portion in response to rotation of said lever in a second rotational direction opposite the first rotational direction.

2. The press lever system of Claim 1, wherein said spark plug press comprises a spark plug holder comprising a proximal portion and a distal portion spaced apart longitudinally, said proximal and distal portions configured to hold the spark plug.

3. The press lever system of Claim 2, wherein said proximal portion comprises said distal-facing surface, and said distal portion comprises said proximal-facing surface.

4. The press lever system of Claim 1, further comprising at least one linkage coupled between said spark plug press and said lever, said at least one linkage configured to convert rotation of said lever into linear motion of said spark plug press.

5. The press lever system of Claim 4, wherein said spark plug press further comprises a body, and said at least one linkage comprises a connection shaft, a first pivot joint coupled between said lever and said connection shaft, and a second pivot joint coupled between said body and said connection shaft. 6 The press lever system of Claim 5, wherein said first pivot joint is configured to slide along said lever when said lever is rotated.

7. The press lever system of Claim 5, wherein said first pivot joint has a fixed position along said lever when said lever is rotated.

8. The press lever system of Claim 1, wherein said lever comprises a lever arm coupled to said spark plug press and a handle coupled to said lever arm.

9. The press lever system of Claim 8, wherein said handle is oriented at a right angle relative to said lever arm.

10. The press lever system of Claim 1, further comprising a mounting device configured to couple against the internal combustion engine and react loads applied to said press lever system during operation of said lever.

11. The press lever system of Claim 10, wherein said lever is pivotably coupled to said mounting device.

12. A maintenance system for an internal combustion engine, said maintenance system comprising: a spark plug comprising a conical seal and a press portion, said conical seal configured to be received in a spark plug socket of the internal combustion engine in a sealing interference fit; and a press lever system comprising: a lever; and a spark plug press coupled to said lever such that rotation of said lever is converted into linear motion of said spark plug press, wherein said spark plug press comprises: a distal-facing surface configured to couple against said press portion in response to rotation of said lever in a first rotational direction; and a proximal-facing surface configured to couple against said press portion in response to rotation of said lever in a second rotational direction opposite the first rotational direction.

13. The maintenance system of Claim 12, wherein said conical seal comprises a taper pin design.

14. The maintenance system of Claim 12, wherein said spark plug press comprises a spark plug holder comprising a proximal portion and a distal portion spaced apart longitudinally, said proximal and distal portions configured to hold the spark plug.

15. The maintenance system of Claim 14, wherein said proximal portion comprises said distal-facing surface, and said distal portion comprises said proximal-facing surface.

16. The maintenance system of Claim 12, wherein said distal-facing surface is configured to couple against a proximal surface of said press portion and urge said conical seal into the spark plug socket in response to rotation of said lever in the first rotational direction, and said proximal-facing surface is configured to couple against a distal surface of said press portion and extract said conical seal from the spark plug socket in response to rotation of said lever in the second rotational direction.

17. The maintenance system of Claim 12, wherein said spark plug press comprises a body and a connection shaft coupled between said body and said lever, wherein said connection shaft is configured to maintain a longitudinal orientation of said spark plug press.

18. The maintenance system of Claim 12, wherein said spark plug press comprises a body and an adjustable portion slidably coupled to said body, said distal-facing surface and said proximal-facing surface are positioned on opposing sides of said adjustable portion.

19. A method of maintaining an internal combustion engine, the internal combustion engine including a cylinder head and a spark plug socket extending through the cylinder head, said method comprising: positioning a spark plug press proximate to a first spark plug installed in the spark plug socket, wherein the spark plug press is coupled to a lever; and rotating the lever in a first rotational direction, wherein the rotation of the lever is converted into linear motion of the spark plug press in a first translational direction, such that a proximal-facing surface of the spark plug press urges the first spark plug in the first translational direction, resulting in extraction of the first spark plug from the spark plug socket.

20. The method of Claim 19, further comprising: coupling a second spark plug to the spark plug press; and rotating the lever in a second rotational direction opposite the first rotational direction, wherein the rotation of the lever is converted into linear motion of the spark plug press in a second translational direction opposite the first translational direction, such that a distal-facing surface of the spark plug press urges the second spark plug in the second translational direction, resulting in a sealing interference fit between a conical seal of the second spark plug and the spark plug socket.

Description:
SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR INSTALLING SPARK PLUGS

BACKGROUND

[0001] The field of the disclosure relates generally to internal combustion engines, and more particularly to installation mechanisms associated with spark plugs in internal combustion engines.

[0002] At least some known internal combustion engines include a cylinder that defines a combustion chamber and a spark plug extending into the combustion chamber. The spark plug ignites a fuel/air mixture in the combustion chamber by creating a spark across an electrode of the spark plug. For at least some known internal combustion engines, however, installation and replacement of the spark plug requires significant downtime of the engine and a specially trained technician to replace the spark plug. Additionally, replacement of the spark plug may require costly travel by the technician to access a remote site of the internal combustion engine. Moreover, for at least some known internal combustion engines, the orientation of the spark plug within the combustion chamber may affect temperatures of an electrode of the spark plug during combustion and, thus, the overall life span of the spark plug. Specifically, the temperatures of the electrodes may be reduced and the overall life of the spark plug increased by indexing, or properly orienting, the spark plug within the combustion chamber. However, at least some known spark plug installation techniques, such as threading the spark plug into a threaded sleeve, do not facilitate indexing the spark plug.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION

[0003] In one aspect, a press lever system for selectively installing and extracting a spark plug from an internal combustion engine is provided. The spark plug includes a conical seal and a press portion. The press lever system includes a lever and a spark plug press coupled to the lever such that rotation of the lever is converted into linear motion of the spark plug press. The spark plug press includes a distal-facing surface and a proximal-facing surface. The distal-facing surface is configured to couple against the press portion in response to rotation of the lever in a first rotational direction. The proximal- facing surface is configured to couple against the press portion in response to rotation of the lever in a second rotational direction opposite the first rotational direction.

[0004] In another aspect, a maintenance system for an internal combustion engine is provided. The internal combustion engine maintenance system includes a spark plug and a press lever system. The spark plug includes a conical seal and a press portion. The conical seal is configured to be received in a spark plug socket of the internal combustion engine in a sealing interference fit. The press lever system includes a lever and a spark plug press coupled to the lever such that rotation of the lever is converted into linear motion of the spark plug press. The spark plug press includes a distal-facing surface and a proximal-facing surface. The distal-facing surface is configured to couple against the press portion in response to rotation of the lever in a first rotational direction. The proximal-facing surface is configured to couple against the press portion in response to rotation of the lever in a second rotational direction opposite the first rotational direction.

[0005] In yet another aspect, a method of maintaining an internal combustion engine is provided. The internal combustion engine includes a cylinder head and a spark plug socket extending through the cylinder head. The method includes positioning a spark plug press proximate to a first spark plug installed in the spark plug socket. The spark plug press is coupled to a lever. The method also includes rotating the lever in a first rotational direction. The rotation of the lever is converted into linear motion of the spark plug press in a first translational direction such that a proximal-facing surface of the spark plug press urges the first spark plug in the first translational direction, resulting in extraction of the first spark plug from the spark plug socket.

DRAWINGS

[0006] FIG. 1 is a schematic sectional view of a portion of an exemplary embodiment of an internal combustion engine, including an exemplary embodiment of a spark plug;

[0007] FIG. 2 is a side view of the spark plug shown in FIG. 1;

[0008] FIG. 3 is a schematic side view of an exemplary press lever system for installing the spark plug shown in FIG. 1 ; [0009] FIG. 4 is a schematic side view of a portion of the press lever system shown in FIG. 3, coupled to the spark plug shown in FIG. 1;

[0010] FIG. 5 is a schematic plan view of the portion of the press lever system shown in FIG. 4, illustrated with the spark plug shown in FIG. 1;

[0011] FIG. 6 is a schematic sectional view of the press lever system shown in FIG. 3 coupled to the internal combustion engine shown in FIG. 1 and extracting the spark plug shown in FIG. 1 from the internal combustion engine;

[0012] FIG. 7 is a schematic sectional view of the press lever system shown in FIG. 3 coupled to the internal combustion engine shown in FIG. 1 and installing the spark plug shown in FIG. 1 into the internal combustion engine;

[0013] FIG. 8 is a schematic sectional view of the press lever system shown in FIG. 3 coupled to the internal combustion engine shown in FIG. 1 and completing installation of the spark plug shown in FIG. 1 into the internal combustion engine;

[0014] FIG. 9 is a schematic side view of an alternative spark plug press for use in the press lever system shown in FIG. 3; and

[0015] FIG. 10 is a flow diagram of a method of maintaining an internal combustion engine.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0016] In the following specification and the claims, reference will be made to a number of terms, which shall be defined to have the following meanings.

[0017] The singular forms“a”,“an”, and“the” include plural references unless the context clearly dictates otherwise.

[0018] “Optional” or“optionally” means that the subsequently described event or circumstance may or may not occur, and that the description includes instances where the event occurs and instances where it does not. [0019] Approximating language, as used herein throughout the specification and claims, may be applied to modify any quantitative representation that could permissibly vary without resulting in a change in the basic function to which it is related. Accordingly, a value modified by a term or terms such as “about,” “approximately,” and“substantially” is not to be limited to the precise value specified. In at least some instances, the approximating language may correspond to the precision of an instrument for measuring the value. Here and throughout the specification and claims, range limitations may be identified. Such ranges may be combined and/or interchanged, and include all the sub-ranges contained therein unless context or language indicates otherwise.

[0020] The exemplary press lever system described herein overcomes at least some of the disadvantages associated with known spark plugs for internal combustion engines and methods of installing known spark plugs. The embodiments described herein provide a spark plug with a conical seal and a press lever system for installing the spark plug. The conical seal includes a taper pin design configured to secure and seal the spark plug within an internal combustion engine. The press lever system is configured to quickly and easily exchange the spark plug in the internal combustion engine, and is configured to both press-fit the spark plug into a cylinder head of an internal combustion engine, and extract the spark plug out of the cylinder head.

[0021] FIG. 1 is a schematic sectional view of a portion of an exemplary embodiment of an internal combustion engine 100, including an exemplary embodiment of a spark plug 200. Internal combustion engine 100 includes a cylinder head 110 including a main combustion chamber 120 defined by a main combustion chamber lining 122. In the exemplary embodiment, main combustion chamber 120 is cylindrical in shape. It should be understood that in some embodiments the term “cylindrical” applies to only an approximate degree, as would be recognized by one of ordinary skill in the art, rather than to an absolute or perfect degree. In alternative embodiments, main combustion chamber 120 has any suitable shape that enables internal combustion engine 100 to function as described herein. Internal combustion engine 100 also includes a piston 130 suitably configured to cyclically stroke in correspondence to volume changes of main combustion chamber 120, as is known in the art, and spark plug 200. [0022] In the exemplary embodiment, cylinder head 110 includes a spark plug socket 112 defined by cylinder head 110. Spark plug socket 112 extends through cylinder head 110 along a longitudinal axis 114 and is configured to maintain a position of spark plug 200 within cylinder head 110. In the exemplary embodiment, spark plug socket 112 is symmetric about longitudinal axis 114. In alternative embodiments, spark plug socket 112 is other than symmetric about longitudinal axis 114.

[0023] In the exemplary embodiment, spark plug 200 includes an electrode assembly 202 in flow communication with main combustion chamber 120. Electrode assembly 202 is suitably configured to supply energy at a preselected capacity to ignite a fuel/air mixture within main combustion chamber 120. Cylinder head 110 also includes a suitable valve (not shown) coupled in flow communication with main combustion chamber 120. The valve is operable to supply the fuel/air mixture to main combustion chamber 120 to facilitate ignition within main combustion chamber 120 at the preselected energy capacity supplied by electrode assembly 202.

[0024] FIG. 2 is a side view of the spark plug 200 shown in FIG. 1. Spark plug 200 includes an inner terminal stud 201 circumscribed by an insulator 204 on a proximal end 206 of spark plug 200 and a spark plug positioning device 208 on a distal end 207 of spark plug 200. A terminal nut 210 is coupled to inner terminal stud 20 land extends from insulator 204 at proximal end 206. Similarly, electrode assembly 202 is coupled to inner terminal stud 201 and extends from spark plug positioning device 208 at distal end 207. Specifically, electrode assembly 202 includes a center electrode 212 extending from inner terminal stud 201 and a ground electrode 214 extending from spark plug positioning device 208. Proximal end 206 is configured to connect to a spark plug wire electrode (not shown) which supplies an electrical current to spark plug 200 to supply energy at a preselected capacity to ignite a fuel/air mixture within main combustion chamber 120.

[0025] In the exemplary embodiment, the spark plug wire electrode supplies electrical current to terminal nut 210. Terminal nut 210 supplies the electric current to inner terminal stud 201 and electrode assembly 202 to create an electric spark across a spark gap 216 separating center electrode 212 from ground electrode 214. The electric spark ignites the fuel/air mixture within main combustion chamber 120. [0026] Spark plug positioning device 208 includes a conical seal 218 with a taper pin design. In the exemplary embodiment, conical seal 218 has a conical frustum shape with a narrow end 220 oriented toward distal end 207 and a wide end 222 oriented toward proximal end 206. Specifically, in the exemplary embodiment, conical seal 218 is a right circular conical frustum (that is, a portion of a cone not including a tip of the cone). In alternative embodiments, conical seal 218 has any suitable shape that enables internal combustion engine 100 and spark plug 200 to function as described herein. Spark plug positioning device 208 also includes a press portion 224 including a proximal surface 221 opposite a distal surface 223. Proximal surface 221 and distal surface 223 each extend, in a direction transverse to longitudinal axis 114, beyond portions of spark plug 200 that are longitudinally adjacent to press portion 224. In the exemplary embodiment, press portion 224 extends from insulator 204 and has a ring shape. In alternative embodiments, press portion 224 is a hex nut. In alternative embodiments, press portion 224 has any suitable shape that enables press lever system 300 (shown in FIGs. 3-7) to function as described herein.

[0027] Conical seal 218 includes a conical seal side 226 which has a smooth conical frustum shape and extends longitudinally between narrow end 220 and wide end 222, and circumferentially about longitudinal axis 114. Conical seal side 226 does not include threading to couple spark plug 200 within spark plug socket 112. Conical seal side 226 is oriented obliquely to longitudinal axis 114 such that a conical seal angle 228 is formed between longitudinal axis 114 and conical seal side 226. In the exemplary embodiment, conical seal angle 228 is within a range between and including about 0 degrees and about 10 degrees to facilitate sealing of spark plug 200 within spark plug socket 112 (shown in FIG. 1). Moreover, in some embodiments, conical seal angle 228 is within a range between and including about 1 degree and about 6 degrees to facilitate sealing of spark plug 200 within spark plug socket 112. In certain embodiments, conical seal angle 228 is about 3 degrees to facilitate sealing of spark plug 200 within spark plug socket 112.

[0028] During installation of spark plug 200, a press lever system 300 (shown in FIGs. 3-8) is configured to install spark plug 200 into spark plug socket 112. Specifically, press lever system 300 is configured to convert angular motion into linear motion such that a linear force presses conical seal 218 into spark plug socket 112. The linear force is high enough to form a sealing interference fit between conical seal 218 and spark plug socket 112 which is sufficiently strong to withstand a pressure difference between a pressure in main combustion chamber 120 and an external pressure outside cylinder head 110, and to maintain spark plug 200 sealed within spark plug socket 112.

[0029] FIG. 3 is a schematic side view of press lever system 300 for selectively installing and extracting spark plug 200 into and out of spark plug socket 112. Press lever system 300 includes a lever 320 and a spark plug press 330 coupled together such that rotational motion of lever 320 is converted into linear motion of spark plug press 330. Lever 320 includes a handle 322 and a lever arm 324. Spark plug press 330 includes a body 334 and a spark plug holder 336.

[0030] In the exemplary embodiment, press lever system 300 also includes a mounting device 302 is configured to couple against a portion 116 (shown in FIGS. 6 and 7) of internal combustion engine 100 suitably located with respect to spark plug socket 112. More specifically, mounting device 302 is configured to react loads applied to press lever system 300 during operation of lever 320 against portion 116, to provide leverage during the installation or removal process. In the exemplary embodiment, mounting device 302 includes a metal stand configured to maintain a position of press lever system 300 with respect to spark plug socket 112 during the installation or removal process. In alternative embodiments, mounting device 302 includes any apparatus that enables press lever system 300 to function as described herein.

[0031] Press lever system 300 also includes a pivot device 326 coupled between mounting device 302 and lever 320. Pivot device 326 allows lever 320 to pivot with respect to mounting device 302 about pivot device 326. In the exemplary embodiment, pivot device 326 includes a pivot joint or connector. In alternative embodiments, pivot device 326 includes any apparatus that enables press lever system 300 to function as described herein. Lever arm 324 is coupled between pivot device 326 and handle 322. Handle 322 extends from lever arm 324 and is configured to allow an operator of press lever system 300 to manually rotate lever 320 about pivot device 326. In the exemplary embodiment, handle 322 is oriented at a right angle relative to lever arm 324. In alternative embodiments, handle 322 has any orientation relative to lever arm 324, including but not limited to a parallel or aligned orientation, that enables press lever system 300 to operate as described herein.

[0032] Press lever system 300 further includes at least one linkage 327 coupled between lever 320 and spark plug press 330 and configured to maintain a longitudinal orientation of spark plug press 330 with respect to longitudinal axis 114 during the installation or removal process. Specifically, in the exemplary embodiment, the at least one linkage 327 includes a connection shaft 332, a first pivot joint 328 coupled between lever arm 324 and connection shaft 332, and a second pivot joint 329 coupled between body 334 and connection shaft 332. First pivot joint 328 allows connection shaft 332 to rotate with respect to lever arm 324, and second pivot joint 329 allows body 334 to rotate with respect to connection shaft 332, such that spark plug press 330 maintains the longitudinal orientation as lever 320 is rotated. In the exemplary embodiment, first pivot joint 328 has a fixed position along lever arm 324 as lever arm 324 is rotated. In alternative embodiments, first pivot joint 328 slides along lever arm 324 in order to convert rotational motion of lever 320 into linear motion of spark plug press 330 and maintain the longitudinal orientation of spark plug press 330 as lever 320 is rotated. In the exemplary embodiment, second pivot joint 329 has a fixed position along body 334 as lever arm 324 is rotated. In alternative embodiments, second pivot joint 329 slides along body 334 in order to convert rotational motion of lever 320 into linear motion of spark plug press 330 and maintain the longitudinal orientation of spark plug press 330 as lever 320 is rotated.

[0033] In alternative embodiments, the at least one linkage 327 is any suitable mechanical linkage that converts rotational motion of lever 320 into linear motion of spark plug press 330.

[0034] FIG. 4 is a schematic side view of spark plug press 330 of press lever system 300 coupled to spark plug 200. FIG. 5 is a schematic plan view of spark plug press 330 of press lever system 300. With reference to FIGS. 3, 4, and 5, spark plug press 330 is configured to couple to spark plug 200. In the exemplary embodiment, spark plug press 330 includes body 334 and spark plug holder 336. In the exemplary embodiment, body 334 includes a metal body configured to attach spark plug holder 336 to the at least one linkage 327 and lever 320. In alternative embodiments, body 334 includes any apparatus that attaches spark plug holder 336 to the at least one linkage 327 and lever 320. Spark plug holder 336 includes a proximal portion 338 spaced apart longitudinally from a distal portion 340. In the exemplary embodiment, proximal portion 338 and distal portion 340 each include a partial ring shape with a respective opening 342, 344 configured to receive spark plug 200 therethrough. In alternative embodiments, proximal portion 338 and distal portion 340 each include any shape that enables press lever system 300 to operate as described herein. Additionally, proximal portion 338 includes a distal-facing surface 346 configured to press against proximal surface 221 of press portion 224, and distal portion 340 includes a proximal-facing surface 348 configured to press against distal surface 223 of press portion 224.

[0035] Press lever system 300 is operable to extract spark plug 200 from spark plug socket 112, for example after spark plug 200 becomes deficient. Press lever system 300 also is operable to install a replacement spark plug 200 into spark plug socket 112 FIG. 6 is a schematic sectional view of press lever system 300 coupled to internal combustion engine 100 and extracting spark plug 200 from internal combustion engine 100. Press lever system 300 is positioned with respect to spark plug socket 112 on portion 116 of internal combustion engine 100, and spark plug press 330 is positioned proximate to an installed spark plug 200 such that spark plug holder 336 at least partially circumscribes spark plug 200, and such that press portion 224 of spark plug 200 is positioned longitudinally between proximal and distal portions 338, 340 of spark plug holder 336. Lever 320 is rotated about pivot device 326 in a first rotational direction 602. In the exemplary embodiment, lever 320 is rotated in first rotational direction 602 by a user (not shown) gripping handle 322 and pulling upwards. In some embodiments, the user’s other hand is used to urge mounting device 302 against portion 116 to stabilize press lever system 300. In alternative embodiments, lever 320 is rotated in first rotational direction 602 in any suitable fashion that enables press lever system 300 to function as described herein. The at least one linkage 327 allows lever 320 to translate spark plug press 330 in a substantially longitudinal first translational direction 604 as lever 320 rotates in first rotational direction 602. That is, first pivot joint 328 and second pivot joint 329 allow spark plug press 330 to rotate with respect to lever 320 in a third rotational direction 606 in order to remain substantially aligned with longitudinal axis 114 as lever 320 rotates in first rotational direction 602. As such, the at least one linkage 327 converts rotational motion of lever 320 into linear motion of spark plug press 330. [0036] As lever 320 translates spark plug press 330 in first translational direction 604, proximal-facing surface 348 (shown in FIG. 3) couples against distal surface 223 (shown in FIG. 2) of press portion 224, urging spark plug 200 in first translational direction 604. More specifically, the force applied to lever 320, transferred via spark plug press 330 to press portion 224, urges spark plug 200 with sufficient force to break a sealing interference fit between spark plug socket 112 and conical seal 218. After the sealing interference fit has been broken, rotation of lever 320 in first rotational direction 602 causes spark plug press 330 to extract spark plug 200 out of spark plug socket 112 in first translational direction 604, thereby removing spark plug 200 from internal combustion engine 100.

[0037] After the originally installed spark plug 200 has been removed from internal combustion engine 100 as described above, press lever system 300 is operable to install a replacement spark plug 200 in internal combustion engine 100. FIG. 7 is a schematic sectional view of press lever system 300 coupled to internal combustion engine 100 and installing spark plug 200 into internal combustion engine 100. FIG. 8 is a schematic sectional view of press lever system 300 coupled to internal combustion engine 100 and completing installation of spark plug 200 into internal combustion engine 100. Press lever system 300 is positioned on portion 116 of internal combustion engine 100 with respect to spark plug socket 112, and lever 320 is initially in a raised position such that spark plug press 330 is above empty spark plug socket 112. The replacement spark plug 200 is positioned within spark plug holder 336 such that spark plug holder 336 at least partially circumscribes spark plug 200, and such that press portion 224 of spark plug 200 is positioned longitudinally between proximal and distal portions 338, 340 of spark plug holder 336. Lever 320 is then rotated about pivot device 326 in a second rotational direction 702, opposite first rotational direction 602 (shown in FIG. 6). In the exemplary embodiment, lever 320 is rotated in second rotational direction 702 by a user (not shown) gripping handle 322 and pushing downwards. In some embodiments, the user’s other hand is used to urge mounting device 302 against portion 116 to stabilize press lever system 300. In alternative embodiments, lever 320 is rotated in second rotational direction 702 in any suitable fashion that enables press lever system 300 to function as described herein. The at least one linkage 327 allows lever 320 to translate spark plug press 330 in a substantially longitudinal second translational direction 704, opposite first translational direction 604 (shown in FIG. 6), as lever 320 rotates in second rotational direction 702. That is, first pivot joint 328 and second pivot joint 329 allow spark plug press 330 to rotate with respect to lever 320 in a fourth rotational direction 706, opposite third rotational direction 606 (shown in FIG. 6), in order to remain substantially aligned with longitudinal axis 114 as lever 320 rotates in second rotational direction 702. As such, the at least one linkage 327 again converts rotational motion of lever 320 into linear motion of spark plug press 330.

[0038] As lever 320 translates spark plug press 330 in second translational direction 704, distal-facing surface 346 of proximal portion 338 couples against proximal surface 221 of press portion 224, urging spark plug 200 in second translational direction 704. More specifically, the force applied to lever 320, transferred via spark plug press 330 to press portion 224, urges spark plug 200 with sufficient force to create a sealing interference fit between spark plug socket 112 and conical seal 218. The sealing interference fit between conical seal 218 and spark plug socket 112 is sufficiently strong to withstand a pressure difference between a pressure in main combustion chamber 120 and an external pressure outside cylinder head 110, and to maintain spark plug 200 sealed within spark plug socket 112.

[0039] In some embodiments, press lever system 300 is used to install spark plug 200 such that electrode assembly 202 is rotationally positioned at a preselected orientation about longitudinal axis 114, or indexed, with respect to main combustion chamber 120. For example, the preselected orientation is selected to position electrode assembly 202 relative to a flow of the fuel/air mixture and/or combustion gases within main combustion chamber 120, which affects a temperature of electrode assembly 202 during combustion and, thus, an overall life span of spark plug 200. As such, indexing electrode assembly 202 to the preselected orientation may decrease the temperature of electrode assembly 202 during combustion and the overall life of spark plug 200 may be increased. Press lever system 300 allows a user to quickly and easily index spark plug 200, because spark plug 200 does not rotate substantially about longitudinal axis 114 during installation via press lever system 300. Thus, a user can position spark plug 200 in the preselected orientation as spark plug 200 is initially coupled to spark plug press 330, and spark plug 200 retains the preselected orientation as lever 320 is operated to install spark plug 200 into spark plug socket 112. [0040] In some embodiments, at least one spark plug 200 and at least one press lever system 300 are provided as a maintenance system 600 for internal combustion engine 100. Maintenance system 600 is used, for example, to replace one or more previously installed spark plugs 200 in internal combustion engine 100.

[0041] FIG. 9 is a schematic side view of an alternative embodiment of spark plug press 330 for use in press lever system 300. In the illustrated embodiment, spark plug press 330 includes an adjustable portion 938 in lieu of proximal and distal portions 338, 340 of spark plug holder 336. In addition, distal-facing surface 346 and proximal-facing surface 348 are positioned on opposing sides of adjustable portion 938. More specifically, adjustable portion 938 is selectably positionable in each of longitudinally spaced-apart first and second positions 902, 904 along body 334. In FIG. 8, adjustable portion 938 is in second position 904, with adjustable portion 938 in first position 902 illustrated in ghost lines. In first position 902, distal-facing surface 346 is configured to couple against proximal surface 221 of press portion 224 for installing spark plug 200 into internal combustion engine 100, and in second position 904, proximal-facing surface 348 is configured to couple against distal surface 223 of press portion 224 for extracting spark plug 200 from internal combustion engine 100. In alternative embodiments, spark plug press 330 includes distal-facing surface 346 and proximal-facing surface 348 positioned in any suitable fashion that enables press lever system 300 to function as described herein.

[0042] FIG. 10 is a flow diagram of a method 1000 of maintaining internal combustion engine 100. Method 1000 includes positioning 1002 spark plug press 330 proximate to first spark plug 200 installed in spark plug socket 112, wherein spark plug press 330 is coupled to lever 320. Method 1000 also includes rotating 1004 lever 320 in first rotational direction 602, wherein the rotation of lever 320 is converted into linear motion of spark plug press 330 in first translational direction 604, such that proximal- facing surface 348 of spark plug press 330 urges first spark plug 200 in first translational direction 604, resulting in extraction of first spark plug 200 from spark plug socket 112. In some embodiments, method 1000 further includes coupling 1006 second spark plug 200 to spark plug press 330, and rotating 1008 lever 320 in second rotational direction 702 opposite first rotational direction 602, wherein the rotation of lever 320 is converted into linear motion of spark plug press 330 in second translational direction 704 opposite first translational direction 604, such that distal-facing surface 346 of spark plug press 330 urges second spark plug 200 in second translational direction 704, resulting in a sealing interference fit between conical seal 218 of second spark plug 200 and spark plug socket 112

[0043] The above-described press lever system and associated spark plug provides a quick and simplified method for replacing spark plugs in internal combustion engines. Specifically, the press lever system includes a spark plug with a conical seal and a press lever system for installing the spark plug. The conical seal includes a taper pin design configured to secure and seal the spark plug within an internal combustion engine. The press lever system is configured to quickly and easily exchange the spark plug in the internal combustion engine. Specifically, the press lever system is configured to both press-fit the spark plug into a cylinder head of an internal combustion engine, and extract the spark plug out of the cylinder head. The spark plugs and the press lever system described herein simplify the process of exchanging spark plug, which reduces maintenance costs and down time of the internal combustion engine. In some embodiments, the spark plugs and press lever system enable the exchange to be performed by onsite operating personnel associated with the internal combustion engine, rather than by an outside maintenance technician. Additionally, the spark plugs and the press lever system described herein allow the spark plugs to be easily indexed, or oriented relative to the cylinder head and other engine components, such that an efficiency of the internal combustion engine and a life span of the spark plugs is increased.

[0044] An exemplary technical effect of the methods, systems, and apparatus described herein includes at least one of: (a) replacing a spark plug in an internal combustion engine; (b) indexing a spark plug in an internal combustion engine; and (c) increasing the life span of spark plugs in an internal combustion engine.

[0045] Exemplary embodiments of press lever systems and methods are described above in detail. The press lever systems, and methods using such press lever systems, are not limited to the specific embodiments described herein, but rather, components of systems and/or steps of the methods may be utilized independently and separately from other components and/or steps described herein. For example, the exemplary embodiments can be implemented and utilized in connection with many other applications that are currently configured to use spark plugs.

[0046] Although specific features of various embodiments of the disclosure may be shown in some drawings and not in others, this is for convenience only. In accordance with the principles of the disclosure, any feature of a drawing may be referenced and/or claimed in combination with any feature of any other drawing.

[0047] This written description uses examples to disclose the embodiments, including the best mode, and also to enable any person skilled in the art to practice the embodiments, including making and using any devices or systems and performing any incorporated methods. The patentable scope of the disclosure is defined by the claims, and may include other examples that occur to those skilled in the art. Such other examples are intended to be within the scope of the claims if they have structural elements that do not differ from the literal language of the claims, or if they include equivalent structural elements with insubstantial differences from the literal language of the claims.