at the plug electrodes. This is much lower than the output potential of the coil.
Spark plug gap is the distance between the center and side electrodes. Normal gap specifications range between .030 to .060 inch. Smaller spark plugs gaps are used on older vehicles equipped with contact point ignition systems.
Spark plugs are either resistor or non-resistor types (fig. 2-46). A resistor spark plug has internal resistance (approximately 10,000 ohms) designed to reduce the static in radios. Most new vehicles require resistortype plugs. Non-resistor spark plug has a solid metal rod forming the center electrode. This type of spark plugs is NOT commonly used except for racing and off-road vehicles.
The heat range of the spark plug determines how hot the plug will get. The length and diameter of the insulator tip and the ability of the spark plug to transfer heat into the cooling system determine spark plug heat range.
A hot spark plug has a long insulator tip that prevents heat transfer into the waterjackets. It will also bum off any oil deposits. This provides a self-cleaning action.
A cold spark plug has a shorter insulator tip and operates at a cooler temperature. The cooler tip helps prevent overheating and preignition. A cold spark plug is used in engines operated at high speeds.
Vehicle manufacturers recommend a specific spark plug heat range for their engines. The heat range is coded and given as a number on the spark plug insulator. The larger the number on the plug, the hotter the spark plug tip will operate. For example, a 54 plug would be hotter than a 44 or 34 plug.
The only time you should change from spark plug heat range specifications is when abnormal engine or operating conditions are encountered. For instance, if the plug runs too cool, sooty carbon will deposit on the insulator around the center electrode. This deposit could soon build up enough to short out the plug. Then high voltage surges would leak across the carbon instead of producing a spark across the spark plug gap. Using a hotter plug will bum this carbon deposit away or prevent it from forming.
Spark plug reach is the distance between the end of the spark plug threads and the seat or sealing surface of the plug. Plug reach determines how far the plug reaches through the cylinder head. If spark plug reach is too long, the spark plug will protrude too far into the combustion chamber and the piston at TDC may strike the electrode. However, if the reach is too short, the plug electrode may not extend far enough into the cylinder head and combustion efficiency will be reduced. A spark plug must reach into the combustion chamber far enough so that the spark gap will be properly positioned in the combustion chamber without interfering with the turbulence of the air-fuel mixture or reducing combustion action.
Figure 2-46. - Sectional view of a (A) non-resistor and (B) resistor spark plug.
The spark plug wires carry the high voltage electric current from the distributor cap side terminals to the spark plugs. In vehicles with distributorless ignition, the spark plug wires carry coil voltage directly to the spark plugs. The two types of spark plug wires are as follows:
SOLID WIRE - Solid wire spark plug wires are used on older vehicles. The wire conductor is simply a strand of metal wire. Solid wires cause radio interference and are no longer used on vehicles.
RESISTANCE WIRE - Resistance spark plug wires consist of carbon-impregnated strands of rayon braid. They are used on modern vehicle because they contain internal resistance that 2-34Continue Reading