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Spark plugs in older engines - fouling/shorting

 
 
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RichardD
Marshall


Joined: 13 Mar 2003
Odometer: 22856
Location: State of Confusion



PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2014 10:58 am    Post subject: Spark plugs in older engines - fouling/shorting Reply with quote

I've been having plug fouling problems with my Veteran car and yesterday I had a fascinating conversation with Tim at the Green Spark Plug Company and he pointed me to the link below.

It would seem that as fuels get worse and engines get more computer controlled we will have to find a way round the plug fouling problem.

My case is a perfect example: I fitted new Champion D16s and ran it a tickover for about 15 minutes whilst I dialled in the idle settings and then test drove the car for about 10 miles. A couple of days later I drove the car for a total of 90 miles but after 40 the performance had dropped hugely and then got so bad I barely made it home. The jetting was very rich indeed but older plugs would just have needed brushed clean. I rejetted to lean it right out but the car still ran badly.

New plugs were fitted (NGK AB-6) and the points and ignition timing reset (along with an earthing problem being sorted) and the engine runs brilliantly even after 50 miles and plenty of tickover time.

I'll be trying out the oven cleaner trick today to see if that saves me £20 each time a oil up some plugs and I've also ordered some Champion D21 plugs which will cope even better and see how they go.

http://www.gsparkplug.com/shop/fouling-shorting...-champion-vs-ngk/

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** GED **
Mud Obsessed


Joined: 18 Jun 2014
Odometer: 2008
Location: Scouser



PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2014 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mr SPAM is a well known turbo cleaner to veg oil users....
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RichardD
Marshall


Joined: 13 Mar 2003
Odometer: 22856
Location: State of Confusion



PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2014 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've got various ones, purchased today and being tested.

I may even use them to clean my oven!

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teamidris
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Joined: 24 Feb 2008
Odometer: 3350
Location: Staffordshire UK



PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2014 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That engine will get you both ways as it will wet the plugs and not run hard enough to clean them back off Sad (thinking of RV8 that oils plugs but can burn them clean again).
In the S1 landy I have platinum plugs and they seem way better than ordinaries. They must have been in for 20 years? Which is maybe why they don't sell them anymore Laughing

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RichardD
Marshall


Joined: 13 Mar 2003
Odometer: 22856
Location: State of Confusion



PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2014 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Luckily I think I've got the engine leaned out enough to not have that much of a problem now. I checked the plugs again this evening whilst I was making the new HT leads (yellow and black braided with brass thumbscrew tops) and even the blackest is nice and brown on the cathode. I've been told that unleaded will make the anode black.

I'm going to take all my 'tuning' tools with me to the VCC event next weekend because the Zenith carb expert will be there and undoubtedly keen to help.

I've tried to clean the fouled plugs and 3 have cleaned up nicely but one is very nasty. I'll take some pics

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RichardD
Marshall


Joined: 13 Mar 2003
Odometer: 22856
Location: State of Confusion



PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2014 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some photos

First, one that failed to clean and is as oily as removed from the engine (noting that it is wet from being rinsed)



One that cleaned up perfectly




and one that cleaned up a bit



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rhinoman
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Joined: 04 Sep 2004
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Location: Brinkworth, Wilts



PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2014 7:45 pm    Post subject: Re: Spark plugs in older engines - fouling/shorting Reply with quote

[quote="RichardD"]
It would seem that as fuels get worse and engines get more computer controlled we will have to find a way round the plug fouling problem.


I find it hard to believe that modern fuels are worse than they were when your car was built, in fact one of the reasons for the very long life of a modern spark plug is that its not prone to shorting through lead contamination. Fouling was always an issue with oil-burning two strokes and generally plugs with a very fine electrode were used to resist fouling, in my day NGK V plugs were the favourites.
The 40,000V claim demonstrates that that poster knows nothing about how a spark plug works, under starting conditions you would probably see around 5kV. Are you sure that your magneto is 100%?

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2000 Vitara 4u2, 3+3 lift, 33s, winch, safari rack, steel front axle and 5:83 R&Ps, LWB brakes
1986 SJ413K Pickup, 1.6 conversion
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RichardD
Marshall


Joined: 13 Mar 2003
Odometer: 22856
Location: State of Confusion



PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2014 10:39 am    Post subject: Re: Spark plugs in older engines - fouling/shorting Reply with quote

rhinoman wrote:
RichardD wrote:

It would seem that as fuels get worse and engines get more computer controlled we will have to find a way round the plug fouling problem.



I find it hard to believe that modern fuels are worse than they were when your car was built, in fact one of the reasons for the very long life of a modern spark plug is that its not prone to shorting through lead contamination. Fouling was always an issue with oil-burning two strokes and generally plugs with a very fine electrode were used to resist fouling, in my day NGK V plugs were the favourites.
The 40,000V claim demonstrates that that poster knows nothing about how a spark plug works, under starting conditions you would probably see around 5kV. Are you sure that your magneto is 100%?


Modern fuels are a lot worse quality than 100 years ago but they are at least more consistent. Amongst the problems are the additives and ethanol which causes all sort of problems for any cars older than about 7 or so.

The 'poster' was simply something I've referred to on a spark plug specialist's website and I cannot vouch for it at all except that I've experienced fouling of new plugs within 30 miles that has killed the plugs.

Something I need to straight in my head is the difference between 'hotter' and 'cooler' plugs and what that means for using in engines. It is both counter intuitive and confusing and of a type that will leave me scratching my bonce until I can fully understand it. For clarity I'm starting a new thread .....

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