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Ford Truck Club Forum > GARAGE TALK > Garage Talk: Shop Class 101



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  #1  
Old December 12th, 2011, 06:53 PM
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Exclamation How to Spark Plug Wires

Replace Spark Plug Wires Before They Wear Out
Change the wires now to prevent big problems later

Worn spark plug wires and boots can start to leak voltage to nearby engine parts, causing arcing and creating performance problems. Replace them before that happens.

Replacement procedure
1: Record wire locations
Use your digital camera to record the route of each wire. They have to go back the same way.(see 3rd. paragraph below)
2: Arrange wires
Uncoil the new spark plug wires and sort them by length.
3: Remove the boot
Using a wire puller, twist the boot to break the seal from the plug and then pull off the old plug. Match the old wire length to the new wire.
Buy an adjustable spark plug wire puller to make the job easier.
4: Add grease
Apply dielectric grease to both the plug and the coil/distributor end of each wire. Route the wire and press it onto the plug/coil tower until it clicks.
Dielectric grease is available at any auto parts store.
5:Wire options
The premium replacement exactly matches the factory connectors. The economy wire doesn't.

»Do spark plug wires wear out? You bet. That's because spark plug wires aren't actually made of wire. They're made of delicate carbon fibers. Over time, the carbon breaks down and the fibers separate, causing high electrical resistance. High resistance degrades the spark, resulting in poor combustion, misfires, lousy gas mileage and ultimately a glowing “Check Engine” light. If you let that condition go on too long, the wires can start to leak voltage to nearby engine parts, causing arcing, severe performance problems, and even ignition component failures.

That's why it pays to replace your spark plug wires before they wear out. I recommend changing them during spark plug changes (whenever your owner's manual recommends, or between 60,000 and 100,000 miles). Here, I'll show you which materials and tools you'll need and all the steps required to do a quality job of your own. You'll save at least an hour of shop labor charges and ensure that you won't be in for the costly diagnostic fees associated with worn spark plug wires. The whole job is pretty easy and will only take about an hour.

Before you start the job, use a digital camera to record how the wires attach to the coil/distributor/coil pack and the path they take to each plug. Notice how each wire wraps around the others and how they are arranged in the plastic retaining clips.
NOTE: They're arranged that way for a reason: to prevent cross-firing and interference with other engine sensors. So be sure to put them back in the same manner.

When you're at the auto parts store, I recommend that you buy a premium set of wires. The economy wire set we looked at didn't match the factory connectors, and the individual wires were either too long or too short for our vehicle. The premium set carried a lifetime warranty; the economy set, only two years. Next, invest in a spark plug wire puller tool. A wire puller tool makes removal much easier and saves a lot of busted knuckles. To use it, simply grasp the boot with the rounded jaws, rotate left and right, then pull straight out. This is a tool that's worth the investment.

Some manufacturers precoat the insides of the plug and coil/distributor boots with dielectric silicone grease. The grease prevents the boots from sticking to the plug or coil/distributor. It also provides an additional layer of insulation to prevent voltage from traveling down the inside of the boot. If your set isn't precoated, purchase a small tube of silicone grease and run a bead around the inside of each boot.

Then remove one old wire at a time and match it to a replacement wire of the same length. Route the new wire and push the boot onto the plug or coil/distributor until you feel it click. Repeat the procedure for each wire




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Last edited by JSoko; December 12th, 2011 at 07:01 PM.
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HawaiianF150 (December 12th, 2011)
  #2  
Old December 12th, 2011, 07:24 PM
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Nice Joey!

Seen people using regular silcone grease -- yikes. Good you mentioned 'dielectric' grease.

Is there a Ohms Resistance level or guide based on type of plug wire used that we should check before going out to buy new wires or after buying and prior to instillation?

Old days it was 8000ohms but nowadays - i just dunno.



What we leave behind are our words and our deeds. Nothing else really matters.






Last edited by HawaiianF150; December 12th, 2011 at 07:27 PM.
  #3  
Old December 12th, 2011, 07:28 PM
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not sure on the #, it would be nice to know an acceptiable level

but I do check all wires new & old with a meter and you can spot a differance
I use an average on the New wires to see if any are bad out of the box


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  #4  
Old December 12th, 2011, 07:38 PM
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Most quality wires will have an ohms restance value as part of the advertising. i am gonne give this a thought or two

Good reading: Perhaps too much for some. http://mr2.com/TEXT/DavidKucharczyk/ignition.html

Bottom Line - the lower the Ohms (electrical resistance) rating the easier it is transfer the electricity to the spark plug and the more energy your plug will have to ignite the fuel.

Look for Ohms rating less than 1000ohms per foot. Some do have it down to 250 ohms per ft.

Just because it is better to be wiser than a TV add read here;
http://www.magnecor.com/magnecor1/truth.htm



What we leave behind are our words and our deeds. Nothing else really matters.






Last edited by HawaiianF150; December 12th, 2011 at 07:44 PM.
  #5  
Old December 12th, 2011, 08:00 PM
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heres what my evinrude's service manual says

http://www.fordtruckclub.net/forum/p...0_original.jpg

and heres what my f150's manual says

http://www.fordtruckclub.net/forum/p...5_original.jpg

Aaron

'95 F150 XLT, reg cab long bed, swapped 351w,
4.56 gears, 4-link SAS, 14" coil overs.

SAS Thread!!!

'04 F250 Lariat, crew cab short bed 4x4 6.0L PSD, 3.73 gears, straight piped,
sinister coolant filter, welded egr, CAT EC-1 coolant, blue spring.
60 gallon fuel tank/tool box, SCT X4 w/IDP custom tunes, SOON TO BE STUDDED!!



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  #6  
Old December 12th, 2011, 09:22 PM
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I'm gona check a set of MC wires, now

just read all 4 above links, good reads Thanks

OK with my ohm meter set @ 20K reading was @ .54 on a 1.5 foot long plug wire (dont know if this is a good # or not ???)

SUMMING UP:
All internal combustion engines rely on an ignition system — and an engine that is required to produce more horsepower and needs to operate at higher-than-production-engine RPM needs a more powerful ignition system to achieve the extra horsepower and higher RPM

Often, on production vehicles used on the street, replacing a tired ignition coil with a higher-output ignition coil from Accel, Crane, Jacobs, Mallory, Moroso, MSD, Nology, etc, can improve ignition performance, particularly under load and at higher RPM

Electrical devices, including SPARK PLUGS, use only the electrical energy necessary to perform the function for which such devices are designed. IGNITION WIRES are nothing other than conductors, and whereas an ignition wire's inefficient or failing conductor or insulating jacket (particularly a jacket inside grounded metal shielding) can reduce the flow of electricity to the spark plug, an ignition wire that allegedly generates an "increase" in spark energy will have no effect on the spark jumping across the spark plug gap, as the energy consumed at the spark plug gap won't be any more than what is needed to jump the gap (e.g. a 25 watt light bulb won't use any more energy or produce any more light if it's screwed into a socket wired to supply current to a 100,000 watt light bulb).


For Those Who Fought For It...
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Last edited by JSoko; December 12th, 2011 at 09:44 PM.
  #7  
Old December 13th, 2011, 12:44 PM
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Joey - If your test result is .54k at 20k ohms then you roughly have 1.3k ohms or 1,300 ohms per 1.5 ft. Almost no resistance and most likely acceptable on your truck.

Aaron - that is 5000ohms max per foot. Any resistance reading more than that is indicating unacceptable plug wires. IMHO, I would change them out if they are anywhere near that value. And the other picture is indicating the max acceptable Ohms (see Secondary voltage below) across your coil.

To fully understand and apply this use an spare but good wall light switch. Please don't do this on a live or installed switch! Turn on your tester, set to Ohms and zero if you have an analog tester.

Connect one test lead (typically the red - Power lead) to to one side of the 'Copper' colored electrical contact on the switch and the the other lead (black or Ground) to the other Copper colored contact. Flip the switch on and off to see the difference.

Pardon the volume of spam that follows but you might find it useful.

Terms to understand:

Ohms; This is the resistance of the wire to flow of electricity. Or thinking of the difference between a small diameter hose and a large diameter hose. The range of ohms goes from zero to infinity. Zero ohms is when it's real easy for the electricity to flow. A reading of infinity is when there is no path for the electricity to go through (a closed valve).

Volts; This is the force behind the electricity. Or the "pressure" at the faucet.

Amps; This is how much electricity flows. Or gallons per minute of water through the hose.

Watts; This is power and is a function of amps and volts.

DC; Direct current. Other than within the alternator, all of the voltages in your car is "direct" current.

AC; Alternating current. This is what you would see in the wiring in your house. 110 volts is in reality a wave that goes from a positive value to a negative value. Don't play with the house wiring!!

Primary voltage; This is the input voltage to the coil and is around 12 volts (I'm trying to keep it simple!).

Secondary voltage; This is the output from the coil and is MAJOR voltage. This is what ends up going to the spark plugs and will cause personal damage if you grab it!

Leads; These are the wires that are hooked up to the meter (I'm not trying to be a smart ass, honest). Normally the leads are black and red.

Alligator Clips; These are the clips that enable you to attach the lead to something.

Know that a reading of OL means "over limit." That means the resistance is off the charts, and you have a break in the circuit. If you got an OL reading for the plug wires, you'd know there was a broken wire that needs replacing.

Consider that a low reading, anywhere from 0 to .5, indicates very little to no resistance. This means there's a continuity of current in the circuit.

Test any circuit with your ohmmeter. Remember that "over limit (OL)" means there's too much resistance and a break in the wire somewhere. A near-zero reading indicates no resistance and smooth-flowing current. In circuits like plug wires where a set range of resistance is necessary for them to work properly, any reading other than the proper range indicates bad wires that need to be replaced.

Start your testing at the highest setting possible and then step it down to a lower scale range to read it easier. Analog testers are most accurate when read in the middle range due to calibration. Typically analog meters have between 1% to 3% accuracy within full range. Although you don't need an expensive digital tester you may find that it has a lot of merit and use throughout the home as well as your vehicles.

I used an analog meter for almost 25 years and many internal fuses later I splurged on myself and graduated to a 50% off "On Sale" Craftsman meter model# 82334. I like it mostly because of the "Hold" and Auto-range functions". My eyes aren't as fast as I once was years ago and the "Hold" function lets me see what the highest range was. I also like the "No Brainer" lead connections. Depending on the scale I want to use the meter connections are color coded and shows me where to plug in the meter leads. But got to admit my analog buddy was almost idiot proof.

http://metersupport.com/manuals/82334.pdf

Whether its for current voltage (Volts) or the electrical resistance to electrical flow (Ohms) checking - Especially true for an analog meter is; always test at highest range possible to avoid damaging your tester and reduce your range setting as you get the results. Not doing this could overtime, give consistent bad readings as it makes the needle bounce to max.

If using an analog tester (needle display) you must set the "Zero" the Ohms meter each time you use it after it has been turned off any period of time. Change your range setting lower to get the needle to show its reading near the middle of the scale. Or set your digital meter to Auto-range. This is because most measuring devices (gauges, meters and so on) are most accurate in the mid scale range.

This is not as critical on a digital meter when common sense is used. I use a digital meter that is always set to auto-range so i can have my brain-fart and eat the cake too.

A reading of 0 ohms indicates that there is no resistance in the component and it is shorted. If a component is supposed to have 1,000 ohms of resistance and a test shows it has 100 ohms of resistance, which indicates a short. If it reads infinite, then it is open indicating a break in the path of electrical flow.



What we leave behind are our words and our deeds. Nothing else really matters.






Last edited by HawaiianF150; December 13th, 2011 at 06:17 PM.
  #8  
Old December 13th, 2011, 01:40 PM
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Wow! lots and lots of very good information!

I would just like to add an interesting fact that most folks don't realize:

EVERYTHING runs on DC voltage. AC voltage is used to transfer energy from one point to another, because it is less affected by resistance (ohms) than DC voltage over long distances. Any device that you plug into an AC wall outlet has a rectifier in it's power supply circuit, which converts AC power to whats known as ripple DC power, which is then passed through a filter (capacitor) to smooth out the ripples for a nice even DC voltage.


Big T



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  #9  
Old December 13th, 2011, 06:15 PM
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Big T thats so right!

Lets toss another tid bit out there

Nikola Tesla took the idea of wireless electricity past the century's old mind tied boundary's and are still foundationally and correctly supported to this day. Probably for all time.

Nikola Tesla worked for Thomas Edison in the late 1880's. Edison is renowned as the "Father of Modern Electricity" by providing electrical DC current to the masses. It was Tesla and Westinghouse who actually developed todays concept and practical use of AC current.

Edison was credited for another thing, fooling Tesla into believing he was serious when he offered Tesla $50k to improve on Edison's failing DC electrical designs. Shortly before Thomas Edison passed, he made public comment that he wished he had realized his failings by not adapting AC as the more reliable source of electrical power for the public.

DC current is the foundation on all electrical power sources known to humanity. It's development led the world past the chains and shackles of constrained thoughts.



What we leave behind are our words and our deeds. Nothing else really matters.





  #10  
Old December 13th, 2011, 06:20 PM
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I tried another wire and it showed .78 on the 20K scale
is that more or less resistance than the wire that showed .54

just so I know can you tell me what the reading would be for a bad wire ? useing this 20K scale


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