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 FAQ: Which Spark Plugs & Ignition Wires should I use?

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RidzRiv
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Which Spark Plugs & Ignition Wires should I use?   Sat Aug 20, 2011 11:49 pm

Good to know because the copper plugs are so much cheaper!
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rk0ehn
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Which Spark Plugs & Ignition Wires should I use?   Wed Sep 07, 2011 6:57 pm

I found this information and this is how our ignition system (coils) work which is called "wasted spark ignition system"

Distributor-less Ignition Systems are available in two types - Individual Coil Systems (also known as "coil-on-plug") and Wasted Spark Ignition.

Wasted Spark Ignition systems use one coil for every two cylinders. The coil provides the spark for one of the paired cylinders on the compression stroke and to the other on the exhaust stroke. Because the coil fires the spark plug on the exhaust stroke as well, it is appropriately named 'wasted spark ignition'. In effect, the spark plugs fire simultaneously and twice as often.

One of the two paired spark plugs is always negative polarity while the other spark plug is always positive polarity. Negative polarity means the spark plug's center electrode is negatively charged and its ground electrode is positively charged. Positive polarity is the opposite. Each time the plug fires, a rapid exchange of the protons and electrons occurs, called ionization.

The negatively charged electrons will be attracted to whichever side of the spark plug that is positively charged. The positively charged protons have much more mass than electrons, and thus cause more wear on the electrode they collide with. Hence, one plug will exhibit more wear on its ground electrode, while the other plug will experience more wear on its center electrode. If a spark plug with a precious metal on only the center electrode were to be used with this type of ignition system, there would be uneven wear on half the plugs. Although single precious metal or standard nickel plugs will still allow the engine to run, plug life will be greatly reduced.

Therefore, if a vehicle was originally equipped with dual precious metal spark plugs, replacement with a single precious metal or standard nickel plug may reduce plug life and engine performance.


Source:
http://www.championsparkplugs.com/sparkplug411.asp?kw=Wasted+Spark+Ignition&mfid=2

Is this true? I mean about the precious metal plugs that came with the stock engine (OEM).

AA wrote:
The stock plugs were platinum and probably are good for 100k miles on a well-maintained STOCK car

I heard copper works pretty well and I will purchase those plugs but i don't think it will reduce performance, you might have to change copper plugs more often about every 30-40k miles due to the "wasted spark ignition" that the 3800 v6 has.



Last edited by rk0ehn on Fri Nov 04, 2011 3:46 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: temp   Sat Sep 17, 2011 1:40 pm

i have a 97 with k&n intake adn i have a 180 or 160 thermostat im going to put on when i get new plugs n wires...what should i go with????? msd or what??
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Which Spark Plugs & Ignition Wires should I use?   Fri Nov 04, 2011 1:34 pm

Recent news on ZZP (Gen 2) ignition wires, reported from ZZP:

"At ZZPerformance we always strive to have the absolute best products combined with the lowest prices to give you a great experience. Despite our best efforts, sometimes we fall short of the quality you've come to expect from ZZP. Looking at customer feedback, we learned that our ZZP Gen 2 brand plug wires were one of these times.

Originally we had a great product with almost zero failures. The wires increased HP, economy and helped achieve the record HP numbers we are famous for. Those were our Gen 1 wires, only available in red. They were a low resistance wire set with black numbered bands around them. We then changed suppliers and began shipping our Gen 2 sets in red, black, and blue with the plug numbers written in white ink on the wires. These were higher resistance in an effort to be compatible with more ignition sets.

In time the feedback on these wires began to paint a picture of customers that had better experiences with other wire sets. We investigated the issues and broke down the complaints and concerns. In doing so we grouped the comments in order of highest comments/warranty.

1. The wires broke

2. I have misfires

3. I don't make the HP I should be

4. The wires are not the correct lengths, specifically front wires are too long

-Originally we thought customers were pulling on the wire instead of the boot causing them to fail. We tried to correct this by changing the wire clamps to something beefier with 2 jaws instead of 1. In testing we discovered that issues were reduced but not eliminated. We then glued all the boots to the wires and completely eliminated this type of failure.

-Misfires were result of poor clamping and too high of resistance on many coils, especially older ones. It turns out that each coil has an optimum resistance it works best with. Our original wires were close so we went to a resistance just a littler higher than those.

-HP drop was a result of high resistance and broken terminals.

At ZZPerformance, we take our reputation seriously and feel it's important to correct our mistakes. Thank you for your continued support.
Zooomer, Owner of ZZP."

ZZP is currently rolling out their 3rd gen line to replace the defective 2nd gen. They are offering a free replacement to owners of 2nd gen wire sets, including shipping.

_________________
'98 SC Riviera • 268k miles • 298 HP/370 TQ • 0-60: 5.79s • ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 • 4087 lb • 20.1 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley • AL104 plugs • 180Ί t-stat • FWI w/K&N • 1.9:1 rockers • OR pushrods • LS6 valve springs • SLP headers • ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts • MaxAir shocks • Addco sway bars • UMI bushings • GM STB • Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s • F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus • SS lines • Brembo slotted discs • DHP tuned • Aeroforce • Hidden Hitch


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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Which Spark Plugs & Ignition Wires should I use?   Fri Nov 04, 2011 2:30 pm

This is good news. Paul (forgot his screen name on here) had this happen. I installed a 3.4" pulley, wires, plugs, etc on his Riv about a month or so ago. He bought the blue wires from ZZP. I had to take one of them back off, and the dumb thing pulled right out of the boot!!!! Junk wires....I'll have to let him know about the replacements.
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AA
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Which Spark Plugs & Ignition Wires should I use?   Fri Nov 04, 2011 3:09 pm

I had the same thing happen to me years ago with a cheap AutoZone brand ignition wire set. I pulled the boots off 3 of them, returned the wires, and the guy behind the counter accused me of not grasping them correctly to remove. I think it's almost commonplace for salespersons to assume the wire's boot design is never at fault - it's user installation error. But at least in ZZP's case, it's been admittedly attributed to poor quality construction.

Personally, I feel more than a few brands suffer from similar issues, but it's deemed acceptable by professionals, because most wires are installed by competent mechanics who know the "tricks" of installation. But if a vendor is aiming the products at the everyday shade-tree mechanic (like ZZP, and to some extent AutoZone), there needs to be an improvement to the design of such products, so the average person won't destroy them unintentionally. I'm not talking about brutal attempts to make the product fail, but installation & removal shouldn't require years of experience to get right.

For example, everyone knows it is wrong to pull an AC power cord from the wall using the cord, but improvements in design have resulted in strain relief systems that make the cord and plug nearly indestructible. They are virtually molded together in some cases. I paid over $80 each for my 50 ft Yellow Jacket heavy gauge AC extension cords. These cords have lasted through years of use, abuse, weather, you name it. If I pulled on the cord and it resulted in plug separation, it would be inexcusable. They would be junk. But this doesn't happen with good products. Good products are built considering the average user is going to abuse them.

_________________
'98 SC Riviera • 268k miles • 298 HP/370 TQ • 0-60: 5.79s • ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 • 4087 lb • 20.1 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley • AL104 plugs • 180Ί t-stat • FWI w/K&N • 1.9:1 rockers • OR pushrods • LS6 valve springs • SLP headers • ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts • MaxAir shocks • Addco sway bars • UMI bushings • GM STB • Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s • F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus • SS lines • Brembo slotted discs • DHP tuned • Aeroforce • Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO • 49k miles • 0-60: 4.8s • 16.9 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Which Spark Plugs & Ignition Wires should I use?   Fri Nov 04, 2011 4:37 pm

Right. The f'ed up thing about it was that I literally JUST put it on. I just needed to pull it off to re-route the wire next to it. We all know you can't get a "full hands" grip on the boot when installed. I had prolly 3 fingers around the boot, and one around the wire (yes, they were greased as well). The dumb thing just seperated lol. They all felt "weak" when snapping them onto the plugs as well. I wasn't a fan of them as soon as I saw them....

Speaking of grease, I can't stress enough the importance of using the supplied grease inside the plug boots. There were 2 plug wires on the rear of the engine that either one of us could get off. I mean, they just wouldn't budge. We made a shank out of an old screwdriver, sharpened to a blade on 2 sides. I had to run the shank up the boot and split them off the plug. Had they been greased, I would've never had to do this....
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Which Spark Plugs & Ignition Wires should I use?   Fri Nov 04, 2011 6:15 pm

I've never used grease on the OEM wires I use. Not saying it's a bad idea at all, just that I've personally decided not to bother. I've seen over 100k out of each wire set with no troubles. What that says to be is: 1) OEM wires/Autolite plugs are good stuff, and 2) changing plugs every 20k-25k miles keeps the contacts from corroding together. One could argue I might get more miles if I lubed, but with 125k miles on my current set, I really don't want them to last very much longer. I'll happily replace them at the first signs of a misfire.

_________________
'98 SC Riviera • 268k miles • 298 HP/370 TQ • 0-60: 5.79s • ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 • 4087 lb • 20.1 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley • AL104 plugs • 180Ί t-stat • FWI w/K&N • 1.9:1 rockers • OR pushrods • LS6 valve springs • SLP headers • ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts • MaxAir shocks • Addco sway bars • UMI bushings • GM STB • Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s • F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus • SS lines • Brembo slotted discs • DHP tuned • Aeroforce • Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO • 49k miles • 0-60: 4.8s • 16.9 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Which Spark Plugs & Ignition Wires should I use?   Sat Nov 05, 2011 2:35 pm

I certainly don't disagree with you, but for people unlike us who change their plugs every 50K-100K, grease is a fabulous invention lol. I change my plugs every spring so.....
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PostSubject: Anyone run the new E3 plugs ?    Mon Dec 26, 2011 11:12 am

Anyone run the new E3 plugs? Just wondering what heat range and PN and if anyone noticed or had problems with them. The guys on power block seem to love them to death...
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Which Spark Plugs & Ignition Wires should I use?   Tue Dec 27, 2011 2:48 am

Haven't run E3s, and don't know anyone who has. Visiting their website, I notice something in common with other 'radical' parts manufacturers: claims for increased power, improved efficiency, reduced emissions, and longer engine life, but NO PROOF in the form of test data or 3rd party verification. Furthermore, claiming to manufacture a plug that does all of those things so well raises several flags for me. Here's the exact claim, according to JEGS.com:

• Produces up to 12% more power
• Reducing fuel consumption by up to 13%
• Cuts harmful toxic emissions up to 58%
• Reduces carbon deposits, so your engine will run cleaner and smoother and last longer
• Edge-to-Edge design concentrates spark energy for easier starts in all weather conditions

Here's what I think:

12% more power? Really? When I had my car on the dyno for MAF tune, I picked up 8 WHP over 7 runs, for a total of 298 HP at the crank. But if instead I had just installed these plugs, I could have picked up 30 WHP, for a rated 334 crank HP. So why is there no evidence of this claim? Because it could never happen, that's why. I'd bet money not even 1 HP would be gained by installing these plugs.

Improve fuel economy by up to 13%? Versus what? Maybe compared to a set of plugs with 300k miles on them, misfiring every other spark. Whoever believes their 20 MPG average will magically become 22.6 is smoking crack. That's a HUGE change that could potentially save a driver like myself $500/yr in saved fuel cost. Where is the documentation for this amazing spec? Oh, I found it. The claim is only valid when using E3 plugs in a 2-stroke lawnmower.

Cuts harmful toxic emissions up to 58%. This is a hefty claim. Specifically, which harmful gases, and exactly how much was reduced? In comparison, how much reduction is achieved by a typical catalytic converter? Actual tests would help clear up the claimed result. Instead E3 gives us a page of theoretical bullshit called "Ignition Theory", and another page of meaningless graphs called "Combustion Cycle Analysis", followed by some ambiguous EPA backing on the "Environmental Benefits" page.

Will E3 plugs make my engine last longer? Longer than the 238k miles I've put on my engine using $1.25/ea Autolite 104 copper plugs? And E3 plugs can make my car start faster than the instantaneous ignition I have currently? Where is the improvement?

Here's a spec E3 won't tell you:

E3 plugs will cost you 480% more than tried and true Autolite Coppers, and a bonus: E3s are Made in China.

That's almost $40 for a plug change. Suddenly the math doesn't add up!

All these plugs are is another "tornado" air intake... another $20 "chip" claiming to add 20 HP. Turns out I'm not the only one who has doubts about the validity of E3's claims:

"Spark plugs have long been a popular area for "innovation" of this sort. One of the latest comes in the form of the E3 spark plug featuring its DiamondFire electrode. This one falls into the plausible-but-unlikely category. Writer Larry Edsall recently undertook the latest iteration of a 5,000 mile annual road trip and decided to try out the E3 plugs. While E3 claims a 3-5 percent improvement in mileage, Edsall found his dipped from 20.11/19.98 the previous two years to 19.18 with the E3 plugs. He did all the usual maintenance like oil changes and tire pressures before leaving. Of course the vehicle was a year older and more worn which may have contributed to the dip. But even a fully scientific test with two or more vehicles running side by side in the same conditions (aside from the spark plugs) would probably yield a negligible difference at best."
- Autoblog Green/Detroit News

From LS1Tech forum:

Members are reporting everything from "40 extra horses" to "Complete fraud. Snake oil at its best."
Link: http://ls1tech.com/forums/generation-iii-external-engine/1161505-e3-spark-plugs-good-they-claim.html

Amazon.com consumer review rating: 1 out of 5 stars. Reviewer comment:

"During the second tank the saw stopped running accompanied by a clanging noise in the cylinder. Then the saw froze right up. Upon disassembling the cylinder I located the problem. The "horse shoe" ring that goes around the electrode broke loose from the body of the spark plug and became embedded in the top of the cylinder. The damage to the piston and cylinder have rendered this engine useless. In 40 years of working on engines I have never seen a standard spark plug break down like this one did. I can only assume that it is a design flaw, poor materials, or poor quality control that caused this to happen. The life time warranty is limited to the replacement of the failed plug. So if you value your equipment I would think twice before purchasing one of these plugs."


Problem reports from Corvette Forums:

http://forums.corvetteforum.com/c6-tech-performance/2318157-anyone-try-the-e3-spark-plugs.html

_________________
'98 SC Riviera • 268k miles • 298 HP/370 TQ • 0-60: 5.79s • ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 • 4087 lb • 20.1 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley • AL104 plugs • 180Ί t-stat • FWI w/K&N • 1.9:1 rockers • OR pushrods • LS6 valve springs • SLP headers • ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts • MaxAir shocks • Addco sway bars • UMI bushings • GM STB • Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s • F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus • SS lines • Brembo slotted discs • DHP tuned • Aeroforce • Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO • 49k miles • 0-60: 4.8s • 16.9 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Which Spark Plugs & Ignition Wires should I use?   Tue Dec 27, 2011 10:46 am

agree
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Which Spark Plugs & Ignition Wires should I use?   Tue Dec 27, 2011 11:57 am

I agree Aaron. All I see when I look at those plugs is more electrode material to shroud the spark. Years ago, a common speed trick was to clip back the ground electrode to unshroud the spark. Indexing plugs was another trick. The E3 plugs look like they would do the exact opposite.

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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Which Spark Plugs & Ignition Wires should I use?   Tue Dec 27, 2011 4:45 pm

2000ws6transam wrote:
Anyone run the new E3 plugs? Just wondering what heat range and PN and if anyone noticed or had problems with them. The guys on power block seem to love them to death...

popcorn
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Which Spark Plugs & Ignition Wires should I use?   Tue Dec 27, 2011 5:07 pm

yeah i was on some other forums where people ran them and they got worse effects then the AC delco's .... Horsepower TV must have them as a sponsor so they make them look good....and it looked like they compaired them to bosch which is a crappy plug IMO so autolite 104s it is!

http://www.e3sparkplugs.com/video-center.php

(pretty sad build 370 CID only doing 335 HP
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PostSubject: what do stock wires and plugs from the general look like?    Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:11 pm

guy told me he had them replaced with new stuff when i got the car but a freind told me they were the stock plug wires...ttt dont think the guy that did the work would get factory stuff ( he used RTV for the elbows and T-stat) when the lowwer intake gaskets were changed out..
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Which Spark Plugs & Ignition Wires should I use?   Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:20 pm

You can find AC Delco plugs at AutoZone. Not hard to find, not expensive.

The wires are can be found at any GM parts counter for about $60, less online. They are all black and say "AC Delco" or "Delphi" on the coil connector boots.

_________________
'98 SC Riviera • 268k miles • 298 HP/370 TQ • 0-60: 5.79s • ET: 13.97 @ 99.28 • 4087 lb • 20.1 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:30
3.4" pulley • AL104 plugs • 180Ί t-stat • FWI w/K&N • 1.9:1 rockers • OR pushrods • LS6 valve springs • SLP headers • ZZP fuel rails
KYB GR2 struts • MaxAir shocks • Addco sway bars • UMI bushings • GM STB • Enkei 18" EV5s w/ Dunlop DZ101s • F-body calipers
EBC bluestuff/Hawk HP plus • SS lines • Brembo slotted discs • DHP tuned • Aeroforce • Hidden Hitch


'05 GTO • 49k miles • 0-60: 4.8s • 16.9 avg MPG • Nelson Ledges Lap: 1:26
Because fun
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Which Spark Plugs & Ignition Wires should I use?   Sat Feb 04, 2012 5:59 am

I'm having a tough time deciding on the best choice of plugs for my Riviera. After hearing so many good things about Autolite, I've already made my decision to go with them. However, the heat range and choice of metal is the problem.
My current mods on the way are a 3.5" MPS, Gutted Air-Box with a drop in K&N filter, PRJ Performance Ignition Wires, 180 degree thermostat, SLP Headers, SLP high flow catalytic converter, and Borla XS Pro mufflers.
First of all, do you think those mods are sufficient to warrant dropping two heat ranges to the 104s? or should I be looking at the 605s?
And last, I do a lot of highway driving, as in 220 mile commutes back and forth from home to college every couple weeks or so. I'm not sure if the copper is the best choice for me because I don't want to be replacing them every 20,000 or having to re-gap them constantly. I'm debating between the Autolite AL104s (Platinum) and the Autolite XP 104 Plugs (Iridium). What would be the better choice? (Allowing heat to escape more easily and reducing potential KR) Or do you think I should just suck it up and go with the coppers? I don't want to personally, but I will if you think I could potentially harm my engine using the Iridiums
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Which Spark Plugs & Ignition Wires should I use?   Sat Feb 04, 2012 9:18 am

You won't have a problem with plain 605s. That's what I would put in. I do NOT have to regap them constantly. I check them every year and haven't had to fix a gap yet after 4.

Your gas milage will start to suffer more with 104s, IMO.
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Which Spark Plugs & Ignition Wires should I use?   Sat Feb 04, 2012 12:31 pm

I put in the 104 copper Autolite plugs. With my very minor mods, I think I went too far with the 104 series. I am getting about 21 mpg when I drive like an 80 year old with a heart condition. If I lay into the throttle, I am getting about 19 mpg.

Result from the plugs? Not sure, but I will probably replace the 104 series with the 605 series.
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Which Spark Plugs & Ignition Wires should I use?   Sat Feb 04, 2012 3:29 pm

Anybody else have any imput on this? I definitely don't want it to have a harmful effect on my gas mileage? Also, if I end up going with either platinum or iridium, should I stick with the 104 series to accomodate for plugs tendency to dissipate heat slower? Which would be the better choice between iridium and platinum?
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Which Spark Plugs & Ignition Wires should I use?   Sat Feb 04, 2012 3:37 pm

I dont see where you would get more than 1mpg (if that) from a plug heat range change.
That being said, a wrong temp plug (too cold) will foul if you are driving like miss daisy.
Word on the street is our motors like iridium the best, but many of us use copper because they are cheaper when you change them every year.
Ideally you should scan for KR with the 605's and move to 104's as a way to help reduce any knock that might be present when the motor gets heat soaked.
With your mods, and if you are trying to squeeze every mpg possible, go with the iridium 605's. NGK's are a good brand too.
Plenty of other things that can effect mileage more than plug heat range.

_________________
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Which Spark Plugs & Ignition Wires should I use?   Sat Feb 04, 2012 4:28 pm

Thanks Mr. Riviera.. I know the colder plugs are better when you're constantly at WOT, but with all of my highway driving its not like I can get on it all the time. I don't want the plugs to foul out from not being pushed to their potential all the time. I think for me moving down only one heat range would be best
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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Which Spark Plugs & Ignition Wires should I use?   Sat Feb 04, 2012 6:28 pm

I think there are dozens of things that impact MPG more so than the heat range of your plugs - like the condition of your plugs. As mentioned, if plugs aren't fouling, they're operating in their correct boost range, so shouldn't be any penalty to MPG. If you pull your plugs and they're black or coated with residue,then they're fouled, which causes misfires. Obviously that will affect fuel economy negatively.

I've gotten some unbelievable MPG results in the past using standard copper AL104s, so wouldn't suspect the plugs if my economy took a dive. Check plugs for fouling. If they look good, keep'em in. If they are fouled, then move to a warmer range.

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PostSubject: Re: FAQ: Which Spark Plugs & Ignition Wires should I use?   Sat Feb 04, 2012 7:07 pm

AA do you think autolite xp605s are a solid choice for my mods? Better thanthe xp104s? Why is iridium a better choice than platinum?
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