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Technical Favorite Spark Plug?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Crazy Steve, Dec 26, 2018.

?
  1. AC

    60 vote(s)
    27.5%
  2. Champion

    40 vote(s)
    18.3%
  3. NGK

    68 vote(s)
    31.2%
  4. Denso

    3 vote(s)
    1.4%
  5. Autolite

    59 vote(s)
    27.1%
  6. Mopar

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  7. Motorcraft

    10 vote(s)
    4.6%
  8. Bosch

    8 vote(s)
    3.7%
  9. E3, Splitfire

    3 vote(s)
    1.4%
  10. Other

    4 vote(s)
    1.8%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. AHotRod
    Joined: Jul 27, 2001
    Posts: 10,384

    AHotRod
    Member

  2. seb fontana
    Joined: Sep 1, 2005
    Posts: 6,190

    seb fontana
    Member
    from ct

    I used to be a Champion user but got a whole set of bad plugs in the early '70s and switched to Autolite, still..Matter of fact I have a new set of BF22's from the mid '70s...
     
  3. I guess I am not very refined. I run ACs in my Chevys. They seem to hold up well enough.

    I run Champs in my bikes most of the time. I am currently running Harley plugs in my Harley because the guy at she shop gave me some but they are just Champs in a Harley box.

    Now I don't own one very often but sometimes I do own a Ford and I have a tendency to run Autolites in my Ford motors.

    Now for all of these choices there is no real logical reason. It is just what I have done for a long time and it works for me.
     
  4. Beanscoot
    Joined: May 14, 2008
    Posts: 1,285

    Beanscoot
    Member

    I have never had problems with any brands except for an original equipment Chinese plug in a customer's cheap chainsaw.
    I don't have brand loyalty, other than an aversion to "Torch" brand plugs.

    If they are not worn out but merely have deposits I clean plugs in a glass bead cabinet, regap and reuse.
     
    jimgoetz and junkman73 like this.
  5. Paul
    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 14,522

    Paul
    Editor

    I've had and used a few plug cleaners over the years but have never been happy with them.
    They leave the surfaces rougher than they should be and can lodge blast media between the ceramic and body.
     
    Boneyard51 likes this.
  6. Beanscoot
    Joined: May 14, 2008
    Posts: 1,285

    Beanscoot
    Member

    You're right about grit getting lodged in the plugs. The design of the plug recess has a lot to do with this, i.e. if it is a sharp V or a U shaped base. I soak the plugs in gasoline for a couple days and let dry before beading them, and check meticulously for any beads remaining.
    Luckily my time is worthless.

    I have a piece of aluminum threaded so that I can screw in four plugs at a time and have only the business end exposed to the glass beads.
     
  7. Fireball Five
    Joined: Oct 5, 2018
    Posts: 55

    Fireball Five
    Member

    We ran Champion j2j's in Buick I L 320 from late 60's to late 70;s never had a plug problem, but had an intermittent misfire coming out of corners. couldn,t find it 'till one night in the dark my helper backed off trailer and was snapping throttle open giving her an Oklahoma tune up and letting the family know we were home. I was standing by R.F. wheel and every time he popped it I saw sparks jumping from rubber insulator to cyl. head. {plugs set deep with pushrod housing/casting close} All that grief was due to poor quality wires and end insulators.Hard lesson, Ez fix.

    According to the Buick History Book, Buick management hired a man from France named Albert Champion and he was able to develop a plug that solved problems with their Valve in Head engine. {1905-08} Part of his renumeration settlement was he went on to mfg. Champion plugs and Buick/GM developed the AC line of plugs and other accessories.
    As Polaris snowmobile dealer in the 80's &90's, everything was NGK and we sold hundreds of boxes. They were easy to foul with old and bad ign. or carbueration or over choking. Good otherwise. The old Buick 8 never fouled a plug in 10 years with those ice cold J2J's and a cam that wouldn't idle below 2000. Never understood that.
    In dealer service school, once saw a factory tech. starting a new 3 cyl. sled that had apparently been flooded when hauling it. Every pull would give a 2 second burp. He'd pull out the plugs and pitch them in the trash. 3 new ones, same thing.. Better after 9, with 12 it finally ran. He said "Don't ever try clean fouled plugs".
    One time I blasted, filed, and gapped and tested a set that had been in an engine full of water. It was our towing truck. It would run w.o.t. for one mile then fall apart down to 25 mph. After fuel filter, fuel pump, points, cond. and coil, I put in New plugs, Hard lesson Easy Fix!

    Fireball 5
     
    Boneyard51 likes this.
  8. Beanscoot
    Joined: May 14, 2008
    Posts: 1,285

    Beanscoot
    Member

    Two stroke engines are much more sensitive to spark plug condition than four stroke engines, so it is not fair to condemn spark plugs for use in cars because that brand of plug is unreliable in a two stroke engine.
     
    zzford likes this.
  9. When I bought my 64 'vette it had AC plugs in the 350 HP 327 [a 1966 engine] The previous owner had just replaced the plugs. I drove it 1 day before I fouled a plug. Bought a new plug and another AC ... fouled another one the next day. I put autolites in it and never again had problems with it. I use autolites.
    The plugs in my Pontiac motor area really cold heat range to clear the bumps on the pop-up pistons. NAPA didn't have autolites in my heat range so I bought Champions. Fuel fouled a plug last summer and changed it...no problems but this winter I'm gonna find a set of cold autolites for it.
     
    deucemac likes this.
  10. This has been illuminating...

    I had an ulterior motive for posting this. A bit of history...

    Being a Ford guy generally, I used Autolites for years. Champions were good while still reasonably fresh, but weren't good for the long haul. Fords just didn't like ACs, and given the recommendation for Autolite at the time by no less a GM guru than Smokey Yunick, the die was cast. Then in the early '70s Ford was forced to sell Autolite for anti-trust reasons (too much market share), with Bendix (Fram) becoming the new maker. Ford continued to use Autolites in their new cars, just sourced from Fram now. In the mid-late '70s, Autolite started having quality issues; if you bought a set of 8, it seemed like even money at least one would go bad within 1K miles. So I'm at the local Ford dealer one day and bitched about the plugs. The kid behind the counter (a gearhead who I knew slightly and grandson of the owner) goes 'Yeah, they went to shit, so Ford's gone back into the plug business. They were having too many warranty issues. You want Motorcrafts.' Sure enough, problem solved... sort of. You couldn't find 'em at the parts houses, you had to go to the dealer... and pay dealer list (ouch!). Then they started reappearing at the parts stores in the early '80s, everything is wonderful. But then they got popular again, gained too much market share, Ford was reminded about the terms of the anti-trust agreement, and Ford pulled them out of the parts stores except for 'selected locations'. None near me apparently, back to the dealer...

    Meanwhile, Fram figured out that they had nearly killed the brand in spite of all the marketing they did and started addressing their quality issues, finally offering 'lifetime' warranties (now gone) to lure buyers back. I was gunshy; sell me crap a few times, and I won't be back. I know I bought at least a couple of set of plugs wires I didn't need because of their bad plugs. So I became curious as to what guys were using now, hence the poll. It appears that Autolite has fully addressed the quality issues; in fact, I saw a press release that says that current Motorcraft plugs are now built by Autolite (to Ford specs) so there's little if any difference these days.

    I will confess a bit of surprise at NGKs high rating. Yes, I've known for years if you had a motorcycle they were the 'go to' plug (nothing else will hold up), I wasn't aware that they'd made large inroads into the domestic automotive market.

    One last question; are you using 'OEM style' plugs in your vintage motor, or have any made a switch to 'exotic metal' plugs like Iridium or Platinum? I know that Autolite still makes the 'old style', does NGK offer the same?
     
    Truckdoctor Andy likes this.
  11. Cliff Ramsdell
    Joined: Dec 27, 2004
    Posts: 1,135

    Cliff Ramsdell
    Member

    Me, Well if it was a Ford is was Autolite then Motorcrafts. GM products almost always got AC plugs and Being a Mopar guy for years it was OEM Mopar plugs which were repackaged Champions.

    Working at the dealer I always paid a few extra bucks for the plugs at the shop instead of buying at the parts store or worse yet the department stores.

    Story told back in the early/mid 80's at Chrysler training school was Champion, the OEM supplier to Chrysler at the time sent the best plugs to the factory/dealer's, next chain was the parts stores and the rest we sent to the department stores and the such. Any truth, can't say but buying them at the dealer I never had a problem but the same plug bought on the road for a fix or friends fixing their own cars had issues with plugs.

    Plug cleaner, used them over the years and good for the short term or getting it running but no long term life left in those poor old plugs.

    Cliff Ramsdell
     
  12. Beanscoot
    Joined: May 14, 2008
    Posts: 1,285

    Beanscoot
    Member

    I wonder how many bad experiences with spark plugs have been caused by wrong application, especially, wrong heat range for the engine and its usage.
     
  13. Cliff Ramsdell
    Joined: Dec 27, 2004
    Posts: 1,135

    Cliff Ramsdell
    Member

    Oh, and the running joke on the autolites was why are they called Autolites? Because they Auto Lite but they don't........

    Cliff Ramsdell
     
  14. LOL I have had good luck with Champs and I have had the same outcome as you with Ford and GMs using the Autolites and ACs. I always thought that I was just nutz about that but what are the odds of both of us being nutz on the same thread. LOL
     
  15. junkman73
    Joined: Dec 19, 2018
    Posts: 98

    junkman73

    Must be old stock or something but the Champion plugs I picked up today are made in USA.Says so on the box.
     
  16. junkman73
    Joined: Dec 19, 2018
    Posts: 98

    junkman73

  17. LOL that's the label that is made in USA.
    Sorry I just couldn't resist. :D :D :D

    I was never aware that Champs were made off shore. I used to buy them in Mexico that were made in Mexico though. So I guess that they had at least one factory in Mexico.
     
  18. Blues4U
    Joined: Oct 1, 2015
    Posts: 4,334

    Blues4U
    Member
    from So Cal

    Yes they do, and non-resistor too if that's your preference.
     
  19. I use the copper NGK’s in all of our vintage equipment and Harley’s. The daily drivers get the same type they were built with. Platinum, Iridium, etc., I just get them in NGK brand.


    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  20. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 9,867

    Atwater Mike
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    In the early '60s, I worked at a Porsche service center. Many Porsche owners also had a VW...mostly sedans, but buses also. So we did a fair amount of VW service/repairs.
    The owner stocked Champion plugs for VWs, but Bosch only for Porsches...he had a deal with the local parts house to stock 200 sets of Champions at all times, for the 'deal'.
    I was having lots of problems with 'dead plugs', right after (and DURING!) tune ups.
    I had an old canvas bag plug cleaner, right next to a 'plug diagnostics machine'...the machine hooked a hi-tension cable to the plug that was screwed into the single manifold. Compressed air was dialed up to 100 PSI, in a chamber that was visible at the business end of the plug by a 45 degree mirror. If the plug fired 'blueish', it was receiving spark and firing properly. If not, it was visible 5 inches away.
    I noticed something immediately, first 'suspect' plug: Apply air slowly, after 40 PSI (on its gauge) the firing ceased, closer look showed it 'firing', but not from the electrode tip: It was 'firing' upward, from a crack in the 'cone' to the inside of the threaded bore!
    Decrease air pressure and it fired normally.
    I tested some more of them, (L87Y) without gapping, just unwrapped and screwed in.
    We contacted the owner of the Parts house, he came over and said,"I'll just be darned!"
    He replaced the entire stock of Champion plugs with Bosch...we kept doing biz with him.
    I never used Champions again.
     
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  21. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 3,831

    BamaMav
    Member
    from Berry, AL

    Had an OT PT Cruiser foul the plugs one time, Champions IIRC. Tried cleaning them, still wouldn't run. Put in a new set of Autolites and ran like scalded dog.

    I use plain old copper in my 302 Ford, don't see a need for anything else. The exotic metals like Iridium and Platinum are for new engines like the 4.6 and 5.4 Fords, especially in the pickups. It's such a job to change them, a half a day job in some of them, it makes sense to put in a plug that's gonna last over 100,000 miles, a lot of folks will never put that many miles on them anyway. The second and later owners usually get the job of replacing or having them replaced. I put a set of plugs and coil packs in my OT 99 F150 5.4, took me half a day and about a pint of blood! No more miles than I put on it, I expect them to last 10 years or more!
     
    blowby likes this.
  22. NGK all the way!

    When you work in a parts department everything is on sale
     
    Truckdoctor Andy likes this.
  23. Mike VV
    Joined: Sep 28, 2010
    Posts: 1,735

    Mike VV
    Member
    from SoCal

    I like all of the "snake oil" spark plugs..!
    Fun to watch people spend their hard earned money on (will fix ALL of an engines ills) plugs that most folks do not recommend.

    BUT...apparently enough people do. Both Split Fire and E-3 (same manufacturer ??), have sponsored many high dollar NHRA drag races over the last 10 or so years...so yea, keep spending those bucks.

    Mike
     
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  24. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 3,880

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    Weird, ain't it? High voltage is strange stuff. From reading lots of experienced motorheads here and elsewhere I've noticed some general things that seem to be accepted wisdom that I never bothered to consider. One, is that once a spark plug becomes fouled while it can be cleaned and re-installed to service it will never quite be what it once was and is prone to misfiring. Another is that flooded out spark plugs from excess gasoline can be permanently damaged as well. Maybe the quality of the porcelain has something to do with these types of problems.

    One older mechanic mentioned that if he even dropped a plug by accident, say knocked it off the bench a few feet to a concrete floor he would not use it and would replace it, because of the possibility of invisible, internal cracks or chips in the porcelain.

    This business of putting a spark plug under compression in kind of a test chamber to observe spark quality is a good one. Plug gap is kind of interesting too, I would have not thought just a few thousandths of an inch one way or another would be important. I set them to factory spec and go for a beer.

    The whole ignition system has to work together, plug wires, coil, cap, coil wire, rotor etc. An ignition scope visually illustrates why changing even a single ignition part can make a huge difference in how the engine runs.
     
  25. Beanscoot
    Joined: May 14, 2008
    Posts: 1,285

    Beanscoot
    Member

    "One, is that once a spark plug becomes fouled while it can be cleaned and re-installed to service it will never quite be what it once was and is prone to misfiring. Another is that flooded out spark plugs from excess gasoline can be permanently damaged as well."

    I have found that fouled or flooded spark plugs will work fine, and burn themselves clean once the problem causing the fouling or flooding is corrected.

    I glass bead plugs only when they have dry crusty deposits, from the cylinder burning a lot of oil. They seem to work all right after that for me.

    But certainly any used plug, cleaned or not, that has been in use for some time will not last as long as a new one.
     
    Truck64 likes this.
  26. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 6,278

    blowby
    Member
    from Nicasio Ca

    Yes it is. Mike's post above was enlightening, I never considered the quality/condition of the insulator. Even with no insulator the gap from center electrode to outer body has got to much larger than the regular gap.
     
    Truck64 likes this.
  27. Blues4U
    Joined: Oct 1, 2015
    Posts: 4,334

    Blues4U
    Member
    from So Cal

    Hahaha, reminds me of a certain "snake oil" seller that is very big in NHRA sponsorships.....
     
    Truckdoctor Andy likes this.
  28. Blues4U
    Joined: Oct 1, 2015
    Posts: 4,334

    Blues4U
    Member
    from So Cal

    So, just an anecdotal incident that happened to me, many years ago, and it involved Champion spark plugs. On a Chevy L6 I was having some carb flooding issues that I worked out, but I then I was having a starting problem. In fact it got to the point it wouldn't start at all. The plugs were fairly new, just weeks old, that I had installed while trying to sort out the tuning of the engine. And after the flooding issue I had pulled all of them out and cleaned them, even warmed the end of the plug up over a flame to burn off any excess gas. Made sure they were clean of any carbon and the gap was correct. I was a young buck working with a journeyman heavy equipment mechanic and I was telling him about my problem. He asked me what plugs I was using, I told him, Champion. He advised me to change them, even though they were new and I had cleaned them. He said they were "washed out", he had seen it many times, and Champion's were the worst about it. I took his advice, got and installed a set of AC plugs and the engine fired immediately and ran great. Never had another problem with it.

    Riding dirt bikes here is So Cal, this really drove the point home. Spending half an hour trying to kick start a large bore (500 - 600 cc) single cylinder dirt bike that has hot start issues will do that. Flood it out, and then your screwed. If you're miles away out in the desert or the mountains when it happens, you're really screwed if you don't have a spare plug in your tool kit. This is when you learn that there is a difference in plug brands, and some are more reliable than others. This is why guys prefer NGK over Champion.

    We each have our own experiences that form our thoughts on these things, and I'm not buying the "fouled or flooded spark plugs will work fine, and burn themselves clean once the problem causing the fouling or flooding is corrected" line. Sorry, no offense intended, but I'm going to have to disagree.
     
  29. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 3,880

    Truck64
    Member
    from Ioway

    I've found this true as well but, apparently this is not universal. Fouling/flooding is best avoided in any case.
     
    Atwater Mike likes this.
  30. Champions mostly but I have a lot of NOS ones around.....always ran NGK's as well with out issues.....
     
    Atwater Mike likes this.

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