Spark Plug Upgrade - Page 3 - Chevelle Tech
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post #31 of 71 (permalink) Old Jan 10th, 20, 6:25 PM
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Re: Spark Plug Upgrade

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Originally Posted by Droptop72 View Post
I would just add that from personal experience and the experiences of others I have seen, platinum and iridium spark plugs work EXTREMELY well and provide excellent service in the applications they were designed for, for the most part port fuel injected, aluminum headed, coil on plug or coil near plug computer controlled engines. On the other hand, the results seem to very from nothing gained other than longer life, to actually having a detrimental effect on old school engines. Other than perhaps some engines on the extreme end of the performance curve, there doesn't seem to be much upside to using them in a classic car considering the price difference.
So long as the heat range is correct, there should be no difference in performance between a standard spark plug and a platinum/iridium spark plug-except the platinum/iridium spark plug will literally last 100,000 miles. They'll both produce the same spark.

My old headers pretty much covered the number 8 plug. I just picked up a set of American Racing Headers (they offer headers specifically for a big block Monte) and it's spark plug accessibility may be better.

I'd rather use spark plugs that don't need to be replaced often.

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post #32 of 71 (permalink) Old Jan 10th, 20, 7:25 PM
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Re: Spark Plug Upgrade

I've had good success with the NGK BP6ET (13/16" hex) or BCP6ET (5/8" hex) (4563 is the NGK "stock number") spark plugs. I switched to these after high rpm miss at the track with resistor plugs (R43N {yes, I still have some} R43XLS, R44XLS).
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post #33 of 71 (permalink) Old Jan 11th, 20, 3:56 PM
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Re: Spark Plug Upgrade

I haven't seen an Atlas plug in decades, used to be one of the best. Today, standard NGK, Auto-Lite and Motorcraft are all I use, they always seem to work the best, last longer than anything else, and don't try to con people into buying junk (reference E3 plugs, one of the very worst).

The nice thing about all this stuff is, NOBODY is forcing anyone to use good stuff, everybody is free to use the good stuff, all the way down to the absolutely useless stuff. So, use what you like, but, don't whine and cry when it lets you down in the middle of nowhere.


BTW, does anyone know why the NGK plug shown has 3 negative electrodes? I doubt it. Much like an E3, these plugs were designed for ONE reason only, but the NGK is far superior than the E3 ever will hope to be.


The reason is very simple to understand, leanness in emission engine combustion chamber areas and mixtures. It gets immensely harder to light off a fuel molecule when there are less of them for any given volume area. So, the NGK engineers found that adding more sensibly designed negative electrodes, and not masking the area would help. Unlike the E3, the NGK is far better in allowing a single fuel molecule access to a spark to light it off.


It is really just that simple!


So, before you all call me a liar, and claim I don't know what I am talking about, lets take a look a few decades ago, into the realm of four stroke motorcycles. Anyone here have one of the first air cooled Suzuki GSXR inline 4 motorcycles? Anyone have one of the NGK or ND (Nippon Denso) spark plugs out of it? Remember what they were? They were an air cooled inline 4, with TWO oil pumps inside the engine, one to do standard lubrication, the other pil pump sprayed cool oil into the under sides of the piston domes, and valve spring areas to help cool the nuclear hot engine, to help keep the fuel molecules modulated, and not too hot to pre-ignite. To help maintain a good chance of fire off when the engine leaned from excessive heat, NGK and ND developed a regular design spark plug....WITH TWO NEGATIVE ELECTRODES, DECADES BEFORE THE E3 JUNKERS CAME ALONG.

Last edited by Dave Ray; Jan 11th, 20 at 4:14 PM.
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post #34 of 71 (permalink) Old Jan 11th, 20, 7:36 PM
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Re: Spark Plug Upgrade

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Ray View Post
I haven't seen an Atlas plug in decades, used to be one of the best. Today, standard NGK, Auto-Lite and Motorcraft are all I use, they always seem to work the best, last longer than anything else, and don't try to con people into buying junk (reference E3 plugs, one of the very worst).

The nice thing about all this stuff is, NOBODY is forcing anyone to use good stuff, everybody is free to use the good stuff, all the way down to the absolutely useless stuff. So, use what you like, but, don't whine and cry when it lets you down in the middle of nowhere.


BTW, does anyone know why the NGK plug shown has 3 negative electrodes? I doubt it. Much like an E3, these plugs were designed for ONE reason only, but the NGK is far superior than the E3 ever will hope to be.


The reason is very simple to understand, leanness in emission engine combustion chamber areas and mixtures. It gets immensely harder to light off a fuel molecule when there are less of them for any given volume area. So, the NGK engineers found that adding more sensibly designed negative electrodes, and not masking the area would help. Unlike the E3, the NGK is far better in allowing a single fuel molecule access to a spark to light it off.


It is really just that simple!


So, before you all call me a liar, and claim I don't know what I am talking about, lets take a look a few decades ago, into the realm of four stroke motorcycles. Anyone here have one of the first air cooled Suzuki GSXR inline 4 motorcycles? Anyone have one of the NGK or ND (Nippon Denso) spark plugs out of it? Remember what they were? They were an air cooled inline 4, with TWO oil pumps inside the engine, one to do standard lubrication, the other pil pump sprayed cool oil into the under sides of the piston domes, and valve spring areas to help cool the nuclear hot engine, to help keep the fuel molecules modulated, and not too hot to pre-ignite. To help maintain a good chance of fire off when the engine leaned from excessive heat, NGK and ND developed a regular design spark plug....WITH TWO NEGATIVE ELECTRODES, DECADES BEFORE THE E3 JUNKERS CAME ALONG.
Dave, is it really necessary to insult or discount the intelligence/knowledge of the members here? There might be several members here who know why the electrodes are designed that way.

OBTW, in the picture there, those three (ground) electrodes are positive electrodes, not negative. In non-waste spark systems, the center electrode is negative with respect to the outside/ground electrodes. It's electrically more efficient for spark production when the hotter terminal (the center electrode) is connected to the negative side of the ignition coil secondary circuit.
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post #35 of 71 (permalink) Old Jan 11th, 20, 8:48 PM
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Re: Spark Plug Upgrade

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Originally Posted by 69ZL1 View Post

Dave, is it really necessary to insult or discount the intelligence/knowledge of the members here? There might be several members here who know why the electrodes are designed that way.

OBTW, in the picture there, those three (ground) electrodes are positive electrodes, not negative. In non-waste spark systems, the center electrode is negative with respect to the outside/ground electrodes. It's electrically more efficient for spark production when the hotter terminal (the center electrode) is connected to the negative side of the ignition coil secondary circuit.

Yes, I think it really is necessary. You just proved it.

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post #36 of 71 (permalink) Old Jan 11th, 20, 9:12 PM
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Re: Spark Plug Upgrade

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Originally Posted by 69ZL1 View Post
OBTW, in the picture there, those three (ground) electrodes are positive electrodes, not negative.
hmmm. As the ground electrodes are clearly attached (welded) to the body of the spark plug, it must be designed for a a positive ground & body vehicle??



But please continue telling us that Dave Ray and his experience and words of wisdom he shares with us here are a problem.
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post #37 of 71 (permalink) Old Jan 11th, 20, 10:18 PM
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Re: Spark Plug Upgrade

All I can say is I tried the E3's years ago in a 102" shovelhead Harley and they were a waste of money and went back to Champions, same (rebuilt) motor is 98" still around 9.6:1 now and runs great on either NGK or Champions but it's not computer controlled


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post #38 of 71 (permalink) Old Jan 12th, 20, 10:55 AM
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Re: Spark Plug Upgrade

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Originally Posted by paul bell View Post
So long as the heat range is correct, there should be no difference in performance between a standard spark plug and a platinum/iridium spark plug-except the platinum/iridium spark plug will literally last 100,000 miles. They'll both produce the same spark.

I would have said the exact same thing five years ago, but I have heard and seen too many cases where it just wasn't the case. Performance issues have cropped up and changing back to stock plugs have cured the problem. Honestly, it probably only effects certain engines combinations. Perhaps it's engines with richer fuel mixtures or lower powered coils or less compression or something like that. All I would say to anyone is if you want to try a modern plug, go right ahead, they MAY work just fine for you, but don't be shocked if they don't.
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post #39 of 71 (permalink) Old Jan 12th, 20, 10:58 AM
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Re: Spark Plug Upgrade

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Ray View Post
I haven't seen an Atlas plug in decades, used to be one of the best. Today, standard NGK, Auto-Lite and Motorcraft are all I use, they always seem to work the best, last longer than anything else, and don't try to con people into buying junk (reference E3 plugs, one of the very worst).

The nice thing about all this stuff is, NOBODY is forcing anyone to use good stuff, everybody is free to use the good stuff, all the way down to the absolutely useless stuff. So, use what you like, but, don't whine and cry when it lets you down in the middle of nowhere.


BTW, does anyone know why the NGK plug shown has 3 negative electrodes? I doubt it. Much like an E3, these plugs were designed for ONE reason only, but the NGK is far superior than the E3 ever will hope to be.


The reason is very simple to understand, leanness in emission engine combustion chamber areas and mixtures. It gets immensely harder to light off a fuel molecule when there are less of them for any given volume area. So, the NGK engineers found that adding more sensibly designed negative electrodes, and not masking the area would help. Unlike the E3, the NGK is far better in allowing a single fuel molecule access to a spark to light it off.


It is really just that simple!


So, before you all call me a liar, and claim I don't know what I am talking about, lets take a look a few decades ago, into the realm of four stroke motorcycles. Anyone here have one of the first air cooled Suzuki GSXR inline 4 motorcycles? Anyone have one of the NGK or ND (Nippon Denso) spark plugs out of it? Remember what they were? They were an air cooled inline 4, with TWO oil pumps inside the engine, one to do standard lubrication, the other pil pump sprayed cool oil into the under sides of the piston domes, and valve spring areas to help cool the nuclear hot engine, to help keep the fuel molecules modulated, and not too hot to pre-ignite. To help maintain a good chance of fire off when the engine leaned from excessive heat, NGK and ND developed a regular design spark plug....WITH TWO NEGATIVE ELECTRODES, DECADES BEFORE THE E3 JUNKERS CAME ALONG.

I don't know if this means anything or if it is even accurate or not, but the first multiple electrode spark plugs I ever saw were in the 1990's for NASCAR engines, and I was told that the primary reason for two electrodes was is case one broke or burnt off during a race, the cylinder would keep firing.
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post #40 of 71 (permalink) Old Jan 12th, 20, 3:51 PM
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Re: Spark Plug Upgrade

Yes, there were some NASBORE sparkers that FOLLOWED the NGK twin electrode designs, and, that was because if a vacuum leak occurred, there would be two electrodes to melt away, so the possibility of the engine finising a race was in play.

As we are ALL aware, the ends of the electrodes wear away a minute bit with every spark. This creates a larger and larger spark gap with every spark made. A single electrode spark plug will wear excessively, as we have all seen, when we take a used set of plugs out that we, ourselves gapped specifically when we installed them, all those miles ago. With two gaps, the erosion is spread out between two areas, lessening the erosion for any given time period of use.

The other reason is what I gave earlier, the leaner the mixture, the lesser the amount of fuel molecules, the harder it is to "catch" one to fire off when there aren't sufficient numbers of molecules close enough together to be in place between a single electrode set.

Think of why we heeded electronic ignitions in the first place....EMISSIONS. We developed first, the TI for performance, then, pre-HEI, the "Unitized", then, we did better, but still had issues, the large coil in cap HEI. WHY??? Another "three letter anacronism, "EPA". So, the next question is...WHY?

Well, a changeable ignition system changes emissions, and that is from things like spark weakening when points get dirty/carbon'd up, and, to changing timing through point rubbing block wear, and dwell/riming changes. So, the obvious answers, build one of these, NO points, no timing change, no emissions changes from timing varying, and, we then go into the leaner mixtures, less fuel molecules to light off easily between closer set electrodes on spark plugs, so, larger gaps, more spark output in the system. What we devised was a system that did not change timng from wearable parts, and output to handle the larger plug gaps to light off fuel molecules when there weren't a lot of them clustering around spark plug electrodes.

Since then, all sorts of stuff, THAT HASN'T PROVED TO HELP THE LARGE HEI'S MUCH, have been rammed down our throats by all sorts of over-hyped advertising departments, for increased sales.

It still isn't hard to comprehend, understand, once you know why all this came about, EMISSIONS COMPLIANCE. Think about it, GM still has only ONE "performance" large coil in cap HEI, installed in all carbureted ZZ series engines, and then, only very minor module changes with the "990" series ones. Then, we have more than a few aftermarket modules claiming "over the top", "trillion volt" output stuff, great sales hype advertising, stuff that have "buffaloed" lots of people into wasting a lot of money, only to see no, to extremely little improvement. Most improvement coming from the simple fact that some modules can get tired, and ANY new one, perks the system right up, same with the coils used in the coil in cap HEI's.

See, once the facts are known, it is simple to understand, no foul on anybody, just proper education.

Have a great day, folks.
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post #41 of 71 (permalink) Old Jan 12th, 20, 5:56 PM
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Re: Spark Plug Upgrade

Quote:
Originally Posted by paul bell View Post
hmmm. As the ground electrodes are clearly attached (welded) to the body of the spark plug, it must be designed for a a positive ground & body vehicle??



But please continue telling us that Dave Ray and his experience and words of wisdom he shares with us here are a problem.

It doesn't matter whether the car is a negative ground or the older vehicle positive ground arrangement. The operation of the coil secondary circuit and the spark plug is the same. There are two polarities (positive and negative) in the functioning of a spark plug. The two polarities are seen at the center electrode, and the side electrode(s). To make the spark plug efficient at generating an arc, you make the hotter of the two electrodes the cathode (negative), and the "cooler" electrode the anode (positive). The plug center electrode is hotter than the side electrode(s), so ignition system designers hook the coil secondary winding end that spikes electrically negative to the spark plug terminal (ie: the center electrode). The other side of the secondary winding (the electrically positive end) is then attached to ground (the same ground as the spark plug side electrode(s)) or tied internally in the coil to the C+ terminal (to reduce the number of external connections needed for coil operation.

I invite you to research what I've posted here, and offer up any technical disagreements you have.

You referenced experience above. Here's mine. I have a degree in electrical engineering, along with several decades of experience in ignition module design, ignition IC design, ECM/PCM design, and more hours of engine dyno work than I can count. You are also invited to ask Dave if he and I have probably worked with the same individuals at one time or another.
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post #42 of 71 (permalink) Old Jan 12th, 20, 6:56 PM
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Re: Spark Plug Upgrade

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Originally Posted by 69ZL1 View Post
OBTW, in the picture there, those three (ground) electrodes are positive electrodes, not negative.
OK, you have degrees in the various ignition & electrical fiends. So please explain your statement that the ground electrodes of a modern spark are the positive part of the circuit. As the ignition coil has one side grounded to the body & engine, which is also the negative of the 12 volt battery & charging circuit, the other side of the coil (the high tension end) becomes the de-facto positive side.


I respect you level of education in this area but what you stated does not make sense.
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post #43 of 71 (permalink) Old Jan 12th, 20, 9:02 PM
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Re: Spark Plug Upgrade

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Originally Posted by paul bell View Post
OK, you have degrees in the various ignition & electrical fiends. So please explain your statement that the ground electrodes of a modern spark are the positive part of the circuit. As the ignition coil has one side grounded to the body & engine, which is also the negative of the 12 volt battery & charging circuit, the other side of the coil (the high tension end) becomes the de-facto positive side.


I respect you level of education in this area but what you stated does not make sense.
First, if you look at the internal wiring diagram/schematic of the can type coils in our antiques, they do not have any of its leads wired to ground.

Going forward here, in order to ease describing things, I'm going to need to get a little soft in the engineering descriptions, and instead use some everyday type descriptions/examples. Not trying to insult anyone's intelligence here, but it's the only way I can figure out how to get the coil operating process explained in a non-engineering geek environment.

Although an ignition coil isn't designed or used in the same manner as a transformer, they both have primary and secondary windings. There are two terminals for each winding, producing four terminals in a transformer. Put an AC signal into the primary windings of a transformer, and you'll get an AC waveform out of the secondary windings. With an AC signal in the secondary, you'll obviously get one secondary terminal to be positive, and the other secondary terminal will be negative (relative to each other).

Oops, gotta stop and take care of a house issue. Will be back later to finish. In the mean time, remember the part about the secondary winding voltage levels.
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post #44 of 71 (permalink) Old Jan 12th, 20, 11:09 PM
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Re: Spark Plug Upgrade

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Originally Posted by 69ZL1 View Post
First, if you look at the internal wiring diagram/schematic of the can type coils in our antiques, they do not have any of its leads wired to ground.

Going forward here, in order to ease describing things, I'm going to need to get a little soft in the engineering descriptions, and instead use some everyday type descriptions/examples. Not trying to insult anyone's intelligence here, but it's the only way I can figure out how to get the coil operating process explained in a non-engineering geek environment.

Although an ignition coil isn't designed or used in the same manner as a transformer, they both have primary and secondary windings. There are two terminals for each winding, producing four terminals in a transformer. Put an AC signal into the primary windings of a transformer, and you'll get an AC waveform out of the secondary windings. With an AC signal in the secondary, you'll obviously get one secondary terminal to be positive, and the other secondary terminal will be negative (relative to each other).

Oops, gotta stop and take care of a house issue. Will be back later to finish. In the mean time, remember the part about the secondary winding voltage levels.
(Okay, I'll admit my ignorance here on what is required to edit/add to a previous post, like above.)

I'm back.

Okay, let's use the analogy of a step-up transformer. When you input a "small" voltage into the primary windings, you get a larger voltage induced in the secondary windings. In a 100:1 turns ratio (Secondary to Primary) transformer, if I put 200 volts in the primary winding, I'll get 20,000 volts in the secondary winding (measured across the two terminals of the secondary). If it was possible to quickly put a DC voltmeter across the secondary terminals and read the voltage (at the peak of the waveform) we would read either +20,000 volts, or we would see -20,000 volts, just depending on which way you hooked the voltmeter.

A "similar enough" thing happens in an ignition coil (except we're using pulsed DC current, instead of AC current). When the points open, the primary current is interrupted/halted. Because the coil is an inductor (and not a wire resistor), when the magnetic field collapses we get a flyback (inductive kick) voltage seen at the primary windings. This flyback voltage can jump up to 100-200 volts. If you take this 200 volts reading, and multiply it by 100 (ie: the coil turns ratio) you get 20,000 volts across the secondary winding. (Remember, one end is going to be +20,000 volts compared to the other, and the other is going to be -20,000 compared to the other.)

Okay, we've got 20,000 volts at the coil secondary to play with to arc the plug gap. How do we hook things up? Well, remember that to get a plug to arc acceptably "easy" we need to make the hotter of the two plug electrodes negative voltage compared to the "cooler" electrode. (Those of you who are familiar with vacuum tube theory and operation will understand.) So, we hook the negative voltage side of the secondary winding to the coil center terminal that goes to the distributor cap, and eventually through the plug wires and then the spark plug terminal and finally to the plug center electrode. Now, what to do with the other (ieositive) terminal of the secondary winding? There's no fourth terminal in our old can coils (it's cheaper to make them that way), so the manufacturers just hook the positive terminal to the coil C+ terminal. It's not as "pretty" as hooking this secondary terminal to ground in a fourth coil connection, but the 12 volt DC voltage offset on the secondary windings is insignificant compared to the -20,000 volts on the other end of the windings.

So, during ignition (plug arcing) your fast voltmeter, or oscilloscope will read (using the chassis as a ground/reference point) -20,000 volts at the plug center electrode, and zero volts at the side electrode. Or, if you'd like, you can use the center electrode as the reference, and you get zero volts at the center, and +20,000 volts at the side electrode. Either way, the center electrode is always negative compared to the side electrode, and the side electrode is always positive (the anode) compared to the center electrode (the cathode).

Well, this went longer than I had planned, and as I mentioned before, I've had to bend the physics a little here to make it palatable to read.

It's late, and I'm tired of typing for now. Let me know if something needs additional clarification.
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post #45 of 71 (permalink) Old Jan 13th, 20, 9:37 AM
 
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Re: Spark Plug Upgrade

Not following your logic at all.The plug body is effectively grounded in the head which is tied to the NEG. battery terminal so that is the negative electrode. Only the center electrode can be positive.
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