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Spark Plug Essentials

Proper Care and Install Guidelines

Replacing spark plugs really should be nearly as easy as changing lamps, but it’s not. Bulb changing doesn’t require using a socket wrench or gapping utilities. An extended socket that fits a plug isn’t a correct plug socket. A spark plug socket has two things that differentiate it from a deep socket.

The first is a foam rubber fit that cushions the plug while it is in the socket. Second is the hexagonal part around the top socket. The hexagonal area allows a wrench to fit on the socket when there’s insufficient room for a ratchet. Bikes usually have plenty of clearance for torque wrenches or ratchet, and yet the capability to support a wrench to the socket is useful for motorcycles with Fat Bob fuel tanks and a few automotive uses (like a Corvette having headers).

For many decades there were two standard types of plug sockets. Shovelheads and 80″ Big Twin Evolution engines need a 3/4″ spark plug socket, and Evo Sportsters and Twin Cams need a 5/8″ one. And then some thing occurred: spark plugs that required an 11/16″ socket where available on the market, and 11/16″ plug sockets are often difficult to find. We’ve heard individuals put a short length of foam pipe wrap (the product that’s often used to insulate hot water pipes) inside of an 11/16″ deep socket to use by their own. This method works and is an inexpensive solution to improvise a tool for the person that doesn’t replace a lot of 11/16″ plugs.

Spark Plug Spacing

Spark plug gap is essential for proper firing. Some people assume spark plugs are pre-gapped from the manufacturing plant, which isn’t often the case. But even when plugs are already gapped, motion through shipping could possibly make the gap several thousandths inches shorter. Gapping a plug is not rocket science. All it takes are the ideal tools, some practice, and a little bit of dedication.

To begin with, pliers and a feeler gauge usually are not the right tools. Our preferred gapper is the simple, good-old wire-loop tool where each wire loop represents a distinct size of the gap, and the steel tabs suit various ground electrodes. Our very least preferred is the disc with the ramp throughout the edge. One problem with the disc style is that it exerts pressure in the core electrode while gapping. The other disadvantage is that often one side of the ground electrode may end up somewhat further out from the middle electrode. Screamin’ Edge and SplitFire spark plugs, one part of the ground electrode’s prong will be a bit higher than the other.

Focusing on 3 simple guidelines will allow you to properly gap spark plugs. Initially, don’t flex the center electrode. Next, never ever flex the ground electrode sideways. Use the gapping tool to slowly move the end of the ground electrode closer to or farther from the end of the core electrode. Finally, check out the correct spacing by moving the correct wire loop in between the gap. The gap is right once you feel a little amount of friction as the wire moves through the gap.

Changing Spark Plugs

Just before removing a spark plug, ensure that the engine has cooled down, and then start using a burst of compressed air to blow dust and dirt from the small area around the plug. A ratchet and a spark plug socket are the suggested utilities for this particular portion of the task. Once carefully taking out the spark plug wire by drawing on the boot, not the wire, I remove the aged spark plug with a spark plug socket and ratchet by turning them counterclockwise.

When the old plugs are out, it is time to install the properly gapped plugs. Start out by applying a small amount of anti-seize lubricant on the threads of each spark plug. Current Harleys have aluminum heads and spark plugs have a steel shell. Repetitive cooling and heating of the cylinder heads may set off a chemical reaction from the aluminum cylinder head and steel plug shell. The result is a spark plug that acts like it’s welded in place.

Soon after applying the lubricant (anti-seize) around the spark plug threads, begin turning the spark plug tighten manner to the head using your fingers rather than using a spark plug socket or ratchet. A best practice that lessens the possibility of getting a spark plug that is cross threaded and the pricey damage that may occur. Once the brand new plug is finger tight, reach for the plug tools, the torque spec for plugs in a TC 88 is 11-18 ft-lbs., so split the main difference and opt for 15 ft-lbs.

That way, if the torque wrench is a bit off with no reason in mind, you”ll still remain within the recommended spec. Is the right torque critical for plug installation? Basically, yes! In cases where the spark plug is a bit loose, high temperature transfer to the cylinder head may be minimized, and then the plug can overheat. When a plug remains not tight enough, it could find its way out of the head due to vibration and combustion pressure. And that’s very bad. Poorly tightened spark plugs have been held responsible for combustion chamber build ups finding their way into the threads of the spark plug hole.

On the other hand, turning spark plugs very tight brings about other issues. Whenever a spark plug is tightened too much, it’s likely that it will probably be much harder to take out. Over tightening could also crush the gasket on the seat plug. Over tightening can damage the threads within the head and has been blamed for distorting the gap.

Without having a torque wrench, make the fresh plug tightened using the finger and use a ratchet to gently tighten the plug an additional quarter to half a turn. This method is clearly less precise than using a torque wrench, nevertheless it can get you at some point in the 11-18 ft-lbs. limit.

This season, bike runs will kick off from all over the country. The vast majority of motorcycle drivers will undoubtedly be assembling for 1 week long festivity all expressing their fascination with bikes. You will hear a number of tales and building tips to chat about with new friends while you drive the days with the bike week. Make sure to ride safe and wear the required safety equipment like carbon fiber helmets. Good luck and have a wonderful ride.

Bear in mind it’s very important to make certain you ride your motorbike with protection. Always make sure that you wear genuine motorcycle helmets.



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